I’ve mentioned this before, but I really quite like Shanghai at night. It has a semi-deserted feel to it, but there’s still enough light and movement on the streets that it doesn’t feel calm-before-the-storm you’re-about-to-get-whacked threatening, it just turns into a subdued version of the normally way too stimulated Shanghai.
Near-empty sidewalks! Near-empty streets! Oh my, is that near-nothingness I hear? It’s so much more quiet and peaceful, even the air seems fresher. Shanghai’s never completely quiet (wait until the Spring Festival for Shanghai to turn into a ghost town), but there’s definitely much less of everything at night, which is greatly appreciated in a city like Shanghai, which is known for being constantly more of everything.
Oh, but there’s still a lot of crazy. Yep, you still encounter some crazy obstacles at night. Like a bathtub. Weird.
The moon is bright and I’ve eaten more mooncakes in the past week than I can count (and still have quite the stash left)!
Happy Mooncake Day! Er … Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
Downtown Suzhou is a historic area under cultural protection. Therefore there must be rainbow-colored lights and ridiculous lit-up sculptures! Oh of course. Welcome to China!
In all seriousness though, Suzhou’s a lovely town with that crazy Chinese mix of really old and insanely new, and even though it’s quite close to Shanghai, it’s oh so much more peaceful. Old Suzhou has some pretty canals, bridges, and traditional architecture, but it also has that fake touristy sheen that most historic places in China have. It seems kind of unavoidable unfortunately. It’s a nice place to take a stroll though … if you don’t mind the crowds, if you don’t mind the same ol’ trinkets being hawked in every other shop, and if you don’t mind that you feel very little sense of actual history.
Architecturally speaking, sites of government and worship are often placed on higher elevations (atop hills) because of our societal connotations of height with power and oversight. This picture looks south from the pedestrian overpass that crosses Yan’an Road, which is a major road that runs east-west through basically all of Shanghai. I love walking on it because, a) it’s the easiest way to cross into Xuhui, b) it offers a nice view, c) I love when cities consider pedestrian circulation, and d) it’s a weird power trip to walk over the cars below. Especially when the weather’s nice and the lights aren’t murked out by hazy skies.
Shanghai at night is quite peaceful, because unlike cities like New York, Shanghai closes pretty early with most restaurants closing around 9 and the subway done by 11ish. The main exceptions would be the Bund area and the former French Concession. For all intents and purposes, Yan’an Road can be considered the dividing line between the more business and residential Jing’an to the north and expat- and restaurant-heavy Xuhui to the south (part of Jing’an is south of Yan’an … but whatever). This follows the historical lines between the International Settlement of which Jing’an is a part and the French Concession, now part of Xuhui. I’m completely oversimplifying this, but let’s just say that I’ve crossed this overpass many times and often at night – either on my way to dinner or on my way back.