Me and Chairman Mao
  And now for something completely different ...
Okay, not completely different--maybe like getting Dijon mustard in a bottle instead of the Day-Glo yellow stuff in the squeeze bottle--but different nonetheless. For one day only--mostly because I have very little to say (well, very little to say that is relevant to Shanghai)--I have turned this standard, normal blog into a photoblog, or "phog" as the kids say. And if not the kids, just me. In which case, I just made up an entirely new word. (What have you done today?)

On a very related note, I have also just realized how to "optimize" my photos--technology is, indeed, sumthin'--so this page should still load quickly, despite the many pictures in my phog. (Seriously, I think it could catch on.) Anyway, without--amazingly enough--further ado, here are the pictures.

All Art Deco, All the Time
The lobby of the Peace Hotel, ne the Cathay in 1929. Apparently it used to be a lot bigger back in the nebulously defined "day." C'est la vie.

As in the Bund, on the banks of the Huangpu River. The name refers to the embankment itself, which was built to help control flooding. The original word was either Hindi or German, I've been told both. In either case--and I'm guessing it's the latter case--the Bund was the seat of foreign power in Shanghai throughout the Twentieth century. These days, not so much. But it's a nice place to take pictures, so that's something.

Bigger, Biggest
Us on the Bund. The other side of the river is called Pudong, or "Pu East." (The side of the river we are on, and most of the rest of the city, is Puxi, or "Pu West.") However, since I have yet to figure out what "Pu" means--apart from the obvious, thanks--none of the crap (ha!) I just wrote really means anything to me. Anyway, the funny rocket ship thing--it may be connected to Ming the Merciless, I'm not sure--is the Oriental Pearl Tower, and it's about 1,535 feet tall. (What, did you think the other buildings were all just really small?) The other "tiny" building in the background--the second biggest in the picture--is the Jinmao Tower. I say tiny because it's only a fairly pitiful 1,380 feet tall. It's 88 stories overall, and the Shanghai Grand Hyatt occupies floors 54-88. We went up to the bar--Cloud 9, of course--on the 87th story (1,080 feet or so straight up) to have a look around on Sunday. All I can say is that it was a really, really long way down. Hello, terminal velocity.

A building in the Yuyuan Gardens, which were built as a family home in the late 1500s. I know--and I thought weeding our tiny little side yard was bad. Eep.
The building in the picture--and really, all the rest of the buildings--look so nice because they've been restored since then: the British ransacked the place during the Opium War in 1842, and the French did the same during the Taiping Rebellion of 1853. And yet, somehow, everyone still hates America. Thank you, W.

I have no clue whatsoever--thank God--what this guy's deal was. He was skating around in circles on Nanjing Donglu--the "Golden Mile"--which used to be the best shopping street in the city. Luckily, he was more than happy to pose for a picture. He was also happy to skate aimlessly away afterwords instead of following me around asking for money, which--in turn--made me very happy.

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