Archive for July, 2012
As part of Manchester United’s world tour, they stopped off in Shanghai to play Shenhua. Both Anelka and Drogba didn’t play (because of more important CSL fixtures over the weekend). Also absent were the likes of all those who played during the European Cup (Rooney, Nani, Young, etc). Shame, but still made for a truly special night.
I must however admit how shocked I was to see the local Chinese crowd so feverishly supporting the foreigners… and not their own home side. As many know I am a United fan, but even I wore a Shenhua shirt to show support to the home team! New boy, Shinji Kagawa, scored his first goal for United… with many more hopefully to follow from the most expensive Asian footballer ever.
United won 0-1.
Also known as the “China Derby” this is one of the Chinese Super League’s major fixtures. The rivalry between Shanghai and Beijing is an obvious one, the two major mega-cities of China. The cultural capital versus the financial capital; old versus new.
It would prove to be a heated meeting, even in the rain as just the week before Shanghai played away to Nanjing, a match that was (and still is) filled with controversy, reported extensively by Cameron Wilson here. He also mentions that “This is no fake import of European football rivalry, the angst is built on ancient tribal spats which have existed for a very long time in China.”
We got a chance to sit behind the goal along with the Shanghai Ultras, a fanatic bunch of lively Shenhua supporters. Only season-ticket holders can sit in this area (we borrowed some from a friend who was out of town), and you must wear blue and yell and sing along as much as possible (the term “sha bi” is quickly learned). The atmosphere was seriously electrifying, with a team eager to turn around their troubled season (currently 13th place, with Beijing in 3rd).
A much added extra was the fact that Drogba had arrived in Shanghai earlier in the day, having recently signed a 2.5 year contract with the club, part of his entrance can be seen here:
Celebrations after 2-0:
The final score was 3-1 for Shanghai. Good night indeed.
After the match celebrations outside Hongkou Stadium (which included tearing up a Guoan mascot:
Full match recap + video highlights can be found on HERE (Wild East Football).
The Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC), designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, was the second tallest building in the world (492m) at its completion back in 2007. It remains the tallest structure in mainland China, although not for long as you can see the construction of the funky Shanghai Tower taking place right next to it, which will reach a height of around 632m, making it the second tallest building in the world.
I know this story may be old news to some and I have told it many times over the years, but the aperture at the top of the SWFC (which makes it look like a bottle opener) was originally designed to be a circle (in Chinese mythology, earth is represented as a square and the sky as a circle), but since the the building developers (Mori Building Company) is Japanese, many Chinese (including the Mayor of Shanghai) took this as a slap in the face and protested that the design be changed. It seems that the love the Chinese feel for the Japanese is so strong that everywhere a Chinese person sees a circle they think of the flag of Land of the Rising Sun.
The walkway that makes up the top part of the aperture is home to the worlds highest observation deck, with some glass panes in the floor to really make your legs turn to rubber. I am certainly not afraid of heights or walking on this glass but it was quite the spectacle observing the Chinese jump away in terror as soon as they realized they were walking on see-through glass almost half a kilometer up in the sky.
You get amazing views of downtown Lujiazui as well as the Bund on the Puxi side of Shanghai across the river. Breathtaking stuff.
Rumors still swirl that a spire will be added on top of the SWFC (which cost: $1.2b) to make it architecturally taller than Taipei 101 (cost: $1.8b) and One World Trade Center in New York (cost: $3.8b), but I do not believe these to be true (rather thankfully, because I think that is cheating!). Although “taller,” One World Trade Center’s top floor is almost 20% (100m) lower than that of the SWFC.
Visiting the observatory (plus 2 other floors) costs something like 120RMB, more information on their snazzy official site.