Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

Geometry. Awesome.

After studying it so many years ago , who knew I’d be photo blogging about it?

The city is an environment rife with geometry with the sharp lines of towering skyscrapers , swirls of freeway bridges , and the funky stuff that happens at night. Ancient China is steeped in geometry as well. The most popular examples being the revolutionary (at the time) use of half circles to construct the largest , sturdiest bridges at the time, and the traditional archway doors in the ancient gardens and homes.

Shanghai World Financial Center in all its glory.

Xuhui Rd buildings showing off at night.

Graceful looping action of the elevated highways.

Interior of the 瓷房子 Ci Fangzi / Porcelain House in Tianjin. Try to throw coins from the top into the bottom!

Peaceful Hangzhou Westlake bridge.

Shanghai Zhujiajiao Water Town bridge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

This week’s photo challenge!

Urban is a theme I can really dig , living in Shanghai and all.

Can’t get much more urban than the view from my old apartment.

It just screams “YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF MY THINGS, MY FRIEND!”

The first time I stepped out onto the balcony and saw this , I was in love!

Here is one more that I feel highlights the changes Shanghai is going through right now. It takes a lot of work to transform from a stifled Commie city to a thriving Commie Capitalist city.

What is the man there thinking? Alone and cast adrift in the midst of the rubble. Reminiscing or dreaming of a better tomorrow?

Shanghai From Way up High

They don’t call it Shanghai for nothing. Er, wait actually Shanghai literally means on the sea. But I almost never see the sea here. So yea Shanghigh.

Here is a collection of photos I’ve snapped from various high places ; my old house , SWFC (The Bottle Opener), JinMao Tower , and one of the houses I tutor at. Yea , I’ve lost the ability to consider Cleveland as a city.

BinJiang Forest Park

Yesterday I had a nice little field trip with my students way out in BinJiang Forest Park. The park is just north of the Outer Ring Highway in northern Pudong near where the Yangzte River meets the ocean and next to where the Huangpu River is formed out of the Yangzte. After the highway the bus navigated a windy narrow road through some chemical processing plants , and a clustering of cheap restaurants located in  dilapidated buildings supporting the workers.

When you finally make it past the grimy surroundings , the vibrant green juxtaposition of the park is especially refreshing.

I’ve always been intrigued by BinJiang Forest park ever since the moment I lay eyes upon that vast green oasis on google maps. I’ve made it out to some of Shanghai’s other “forest” parks and was interested to see this one.

At times I can really miss the wild parks and forests of Ohio. As teenagers and in University every weekend during nice weather (and hell even during snowstorms) it would be off to a park. Ohio has an abundance of huge wilderness areas with dirt trails , no other people , a real commune with nature. In Shanghai the city parks are often crowded, rather small , not a real park  but a facsimile of the forest created in an enclosed urban space in between the skyscrapers and busy roads.  I’m always looking to find a place in China that can match the parks of my memories.

I will say that BinJiang park is a very nice park indeed. I fear it is impossible to find the types of parks I knew in Ohio , in Shanghai but BinJiang did a great job of making me feel nostalgic for home. Several different ecological zones are recreated in the park including a kinda marshy boardwalk , some small lakes , and a plains area. The park also has a “cough cough” view of the dirty zone where the Yangzte meets the ocean.

There were more places to stroll but I was a bit limited by having to stick by twenty 4 year olds. We had fun running around playing doing crazy stuff but I would definitely like to revisit this park another time without the entourage and see everything.

If you are feeling adventurous and have some spare time to make it all the way out there ( northernmost stop of line 6 is the closest and then from there you will have to figure out the bus route) I recommend this place. If you need a break from the city and are looking for a different spot then Century Park Binjiang is the place!

(Sorry no pictures for ya. My wordpress storage limit has just about been reached  , I gotta do something about that.)

Puxi and Pudong 浦西和浦东

One of the main orientations of Shanghai is that of west of the Huangpu river and east of the Huangpu river. The Chinese words for east and west are 东(dong) and 西(xi). The Huangpu river is 黄浦。 So the split of the city is literally east of the Huangpu and west of the Huangpu. I live on the Puxi side in JingAn district (静安区)and have made a few trips out to Pudong but don’t often frequent the area.

Puxi is the old side of town and Pudong is the new area. Prior to 1990 the area was little more than farmland and today is another part of the concrete jungle. I have pictures on the end of the post but try to wrap your head around the fact that in 20 years what was once farms is now a collection of shining and glistening skyscrapers that is the trade and finance center of China and hosts the tallest buildings in China. In a mere twenty years! , the pace of development and construction is crazy over here! I’ve read that the majority of the world’s cranes reside in China and the Chinese use more concrete than anyone else in the world! I’ve only been here since early July 2010 but it seems like every time I step outside something new is sprouting up. As I type a brand new metro line and station is being constructed right outside my building and the subway line (#7) I go on nearly everyday opened only six months before I arrived! I’ve seen massive road construction on Changshou Rd ( the street I live on) , a new bank pop up outside my house , countless stores/restaurants open and close by my apartment , and new walls built practically overnight. Quite a far cry from the lazy seemingly unchanging development of my suburb of Mentor, OH or the regression of my home city Cleveland , OH.

Pudong is mainly the home of the financial and trade districts , many wealthy business men , and many wealthy business expat types. It can feel a bit odd and manufactured . like a new shiny city that popped up outta nowhere in two decades (which it is). It seems a bit cleaner and snappier than Puxi but I feel it’s just wide avenues , suit n’ ties, pretty buildings , and shopping centers. It lacks that more true to life style of Puxi with our crowded dirty areas of cheap eateries I’ve come to know and love. It is certainly very interesting to check out Pudong though and there are a few good attractions. Whenever I take a trip over I enjoy it and have a good time. Some of the more important things to check out in Pudong are the JinMao Building , Shanghai Aquarium , World Financial Center, Oriental Pearl TV Tower , Shanghai Science and Technology Muesuem , and the awesome green space of Century Park. There are also loads of high quality international schools supporting the expat populations. Good to know if you are one of these said expat or if you are looking for a good teaching job. A few different metro lines service Pudong with line 2 being the prevelant line through. Pudong is also serviced by Pudong international airport and the super snazzy maglev train line to the airport! That thing is fun but more on that later.

Puxi contains the area of Shanghai considered to be old town and then all the new developments radiating out from that area. Another neat contrast between Puxi and Pudong occurs on the Huangpu river. Pudong side is all glittering lit up skyscrapers while the Puxi side shows the old of Shanghai. The Bund lies along the river , this area contains the foreign concession buildings. It’s quite a juxtaposition of the new shiny China with old European architecture. Puxi contains the buik of sights of Shanghai as well as the bulk of the population. Chances are you will spend most of your time in Puxi on a visit. An important factor to consider is living on the side of the river you work on , it can quite annoying and take a lot of time ,depending on your destinations, to make the journey across the river to the other side of town everyday. I will do further writeups and a city profile for Puxi and Pudong later but I feel this is a good intro post to the topic.

Anyways , Friday I will be dipping out to Pudong to catch an I-max movie at the science center and lounge by the lake in Century Park , with a pretty girl no less! Woo hoo!

Peace Grease!