This was my first trip back to the World Expo site after its closure back in October 2010. For quite some time I had been meaning to go check it out at night, and also properly see the Shanghai Arena up close for the very first time. Of course I waited until the thick of winter to venture out to Pudong and take a look.
That evening hovered around 1°C, so I packed on a couple jackets, a hat, gloves, and thick scarf… setting up shop in Yaohua Line 8 metro station before venturing out into the cold for 2½ hours.
I did my best to capture these impressive structures, but did feel something was lacking in the lighting department… especially when you consider how other things are lit in Shanghai. Or even when you look across Shang Nan Road (map) where both the China Pavilion and Shanghai Arena (aka Mercedes Benz Arena) are located, to see how impressively the Expo Axis is lit. However, all three of these structures are immense and still very much breathtaking.
The vespertine photography adventures continue… Saigon-style.
Notre-Dame Basilica > Motorbikes! > Rex Hotel
Another, somewhat coldish night… hit up Lujiazhui, Pudong [again] with the dope wide angled lens. Booyakasha.
I still prefer my name for Holland Village… SHANGSTERDAM.
Holland Village [map], another housing project part of the “1 City – 9 Towns” initiative the Shanghai Planning Commission set up in 2001. Designed by Dutch architects, this project, like Thames Town (see my posts of Thames Town here and here), is not quite a success, partly because it is located too far away from the city (20min walk to metro, then over an hour to Peoples Square), and partly because Chinese tastes do not suit with Dutch architecture, nevermind the price tag of 35,000RMB per square meter. Hardly as intricate as the “British” Thames Town (not even a single bike stall!), but definitely worth a visit and walk around. Just about as much as a ghost town as the “British” Town, but a few more locals walking around, as Holland Village (aka Shangsterdam!) is better integrated with the surrounding town of Gao Qiao, whereas Thames Town was a seriously locked-down housing complex (with only 2 entrances/exits).
To visit Shangsterdam, you can easily walk from the North Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone station, the second to last stop on line 5. Then an easy, and picturesque (see previous post) 20min walk following the river through traditional Chinese streets and you’ll eventually see the windmill located on an island in the middle of the river you’ve been following.
During the Chinese New Year holiday we hit up Gao Qiao, located on the northern tip of Pudong, just over an hour north via subway from downtown Shanghai. Our mission was “Holland Village,” a residential complex built by Dutch architects to reflect living in Holland which is part of the “1 City – 9 Towns” initiative. On the 20min walk from the metro station to this new town, we were fortunate to follow along a picturesque, and relatively traditional Chinese street.
Day 4 of Chinese New Year… went for a stroll around Xujiahui (actually, the first 3 are from around my office). Fireworks in every direction, every night for almost 2 weeks long… Shanghai almost literally turns into a warzone.
The night of day 5 is when all hell breaks loose (besides New Years Eve of course)… and those pictures will be uploaded soon. The images of Chinese New Year day 5 from last year still holds the record for the highest traffic to my blog, ever… so, why not check out that post again HERE (warning: dope photography!). This year’s to follow soon!
Part 2 of our trek through Thames Town (part 1) brings us past a Parisian square, complete with French street names, a map of Paris, up to date advertising posters for current exhibitions going on in Paris, as well as proper Paris Telecom phone booths. What turned out to be a strange day, just got even stranger.
Also randomly stumbled upon a massive underground [and completely vacant] parking garage, located undernearth the church… parking for who, is anyone’s guess.
Is this England or China?
It is in fact: Thames Town, Songjiang, Shanghai [map]. A housing project which is part of the “One City - Nine Towns” initiative the Shanghai Planning Commission set up in early 2001. All are situated around the suburbs of Shanghai, this one resembling life in Britain (others include Sweden, Holland, Germany, Canada, Spain, Italy, and China – don’t worry, I’ll get to them eventually!). Thames Town, at a 20% occupancy is hardly a success, but it does make for an incredibly bizarre experience… somewhere between a ghost town and a film set.
Only difference is: this is real.
It’s a playground for the Chinese wedding photographers… with among other things, a church based on one in Bristol, and with a price tag of over 5 billion RMB ($750 million), this didn’t come cheap.