The contrast between Shanghai’s rich and poor neighborhoods is so drastic and sudden that it can be overwhelming at times. On a recent walking tour with my co-workers, we explored both the poorest slums and the fanciest of rooftop bars.
The tour began at an outdoor fabric market.
We then walked through small alleyways where buildings were going to be torn down or had already been destroyed, leaving behind only the most basic of infrastructures.
While the neighborhoods were mostly abandoned or turned into parking lot areas for the fancy apartment complexes across the river, a few stragglers remained behind.
We emerged from the broken down neighborhood and turned the corner into one of Shanghai’s swankiest spaces. The Cool Docks is filled with Western style outdoor restaurants, sparkling fountains, and stellar views of the Pudong skyline.
We all headed up to the top of one of the buildings for a drink on a rooftop bar that overlooked the Bund and the “beach.”
Our adventure continued with a two kuai ferry ride across the Huangpu River as day turned to night and the sky lit up.
The tour finished in the ritziest part of the city, Lujiazui. This area is filled with the most futuristic of buildings and five story malls that are filled from top to bottom with Cartier, Burberry, Gucci, and Prada stores (right in my budget…)
While jarring to see the massive difference in wealth around the city, it provided a fantastic insight into the many diverse ways of living in Shanghai and made me especially grateful for all that I have while spending this year here in China.