2013: A Photo Odyssey

By Aoraki

Big Bottle-Opener

I don't know what I was expecting when we visited China. Maybe the same sort of crowed chaotic scenes as Hong Kong but with more peasants dressed in communist green pyjamas.

Shanghai was AMAZING. It was like visiting a city from the middle of the 21st century. The subway system took us about 3 minutes to work out (even though we don't speak any Mandarin), and we never got lost, or had to wait longer than a couple of minutes for a clean quiet train. The Skyscrapers along the "new Bund" have to be seen to be believed. There are building here of every shape and size. Sphere's and pine cones, pineapples, crashed spaceships. In any other city one of these buildings would be the focal point. Here you almost didn't notice them -so lost amongst the engineering marvels were they.

We even travelled at 430 kph on a train with no wheels -a magnetically levitating train! The departure hall at the airport may have been the largest enclosed space I've ever been in. And the people were all dressed in Prada and Gucci and Zegna. The real thing -not knock-offs. We were dressed for casual winter travel, and felt like scruffy hicks. And forget about "good for the state" and looking after the people's republic. Shanghai businesspeople are very savvy, and have discovered the joys of a free market economy.

Whatever your preconceptions of China are, a week in Shanghai will open your eyes. And I also now understand why the US is so spooked by China. It's not about military might -it's that the Chinese may end up doing Capitalism better than the Americans...

This shot is taken from the giant kebab (the Pearl Tower) of the Big Bottle-opener (Shanghai World Financial Centre) and it's smaller cousin (the Jin Mao building). There is another even bigger 'scraper there now, this one twisted in a helix.

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