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September 14, 2006 – A journey to Shanghai, China in Asia

A Second Home

Have been back in Shanghai for about two weeks now. Was planning to venture up north, but somehow the days have passed by quickly. Ran around a lot in terms of getting some stuff done before heading home. But a much bigger part of the reason was family and friends. Rick and I met up with one of his good friends since college. And of course, we also paid quite a few visits to relatives I hardly get to see, being from a country across a wide open sea.

So, what's Shanghai at the end of summer and into early autumn like? Well, the first few days back were warm and unbearably humid - similar to Thailand except way more stickier. Then rain came and the weather became cool and overcast, marking the beginning of fall.

Not only has the weather changed suddenly, but Shanghai has transformed quite a bit since the last time I was here, which wasn't too long ago (almost half a year). Feels like what I can imagine 1930s Shanghai was like back then. New developments and skyscrapers have sprouted, many new fancy shops and restaurants have opened, many Shanghainese have been enjoying the city's rekindled explosive prosperity, quite a few expats/foreigners have been coming here to embrace the booming economy, and you can feel a general vibe of capitalistic-frenzy everywhere.

behind that wall and those video screens lies a new development in the ritzy Xintiandi area - used to be a park six months ago

tried to get tickets to see the Lion King, but guess what?? - they're sold out till October!

I would actually say that Shanghai has made quite a few dramatic changes from the first time I was here less than a year ago. For instance, they have started putting in separated recycling and non-recycling bins, traffic cops have started issuing tickets for violations, and I even saw a 'no-spitting' sign. The only thing that's somewhat saddening is the tearing down of beautiful Old Shanghai structures and replacing them with highrises. Wonder why they don't just renovate and/or add to them? Besides that, it's been zealously great!

But the main question is, when will the next dynastic upheaval happen?

Hopefully never.

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