I doubt this is politically correct, but I left for Shanghai humming the tune “I Like Chinese” by the Monty Python. I briefly studied the city of Shanghai at university when I took an intro to urban studies, so I was always curious to see this city with my own eyes. China is moving fast and I was becoming afraid that I would not be able to catch a glimpse of Shanghai with it’s old shikumen (traditional 2 or 3 stories buildings) since they are being destroyed at an alarming rate.
I had 2 other reasons to visit Shanghai. First, the Shanghai Expo 2010 will be over this October and secondly I wanted to eat real Chinese food in China. My conception of Chinese food like almost everybody has been dictated by the worldwide interpretation of original homeland dishes by the ever-growing diaspora of Chinese chefs.
A first meal in a new city or a new country is like a first kiss. Would it be something memorable or just a speed bump on the road to unfulfilled desires.
I took the Maglev train into the center of Shanghai, nothing like a futuristic floating train to put you in the mood. Finding my hotel on East Jingling Road turned out to be a lot easier than I expected. Shanghai is pretty easy to navigate with its grid design.
From my hotel, my first destination was the Bund with its view on the hyper-modern Pudong skyline.