Hope you enjoyed 48 hours in Shanghai (Part I), last week’s contribution to the Ctrip English YouTube channel. We feel pretty good about the community that is starting to coalesce around these videos, but we still have a very long way to go and every one we finish is a step along that path, so… Feast your eyes here on 48 hours in Shanghai (Part II). This episode has bikes and food and hip hop, as well as a couple of interesting tricks from videographer Stephan Larose that you might want to check out. We’re going to be taking a break from Shanghai after this one to show you some other parts of the country in our upcoming videos (Chengdu hotpot anyone?), but for now sit back and see Shanghai through our eyes, drop a comment or suggestion, insult the host and go ahead and VPN or proxy in China) so you don’t miss the next installment. Here’s a taste of what’s coming up…
Everyone begins with breakfast
The video starts with that most important of decisions: how shall we break the fast? Ham and eggs at a place like Element Fresh? Or deep fried dough strips and sweet, hot soy milk off the street? If only we could have two mornings… or perhaps soy milk in the wee hours and bacon for elevenses… Mmmmm my tiny brain frizzles and my little heart flutters at thoughts of a day full of fast breaks. I have to elaborate here a little because for anyone living, or traveling in China—be it a newcomer walking by the crumbling ruins for the first time, professionals capturing places they love before they fall under the hammer or an old timer lamenting funk streets—the real crush and blow of Progress is something that will be encountered here, the country of perpetual development. Architects move to China because this is where the work is, where buildings rise and fall daily. The first minute of our video tries to show this environment and its impact on casual, day-to-day living—it’s as common to sit in a shiny new glass and steel building beside tennis courts eating bacon and eggs as it is to walk across bricks and bent rebar to grab some hot soy milk. This is normality and for many Westerners, it is exactly what draws them to somewhere like Shanghai in the first place. The feel and mood of each video so far has changed with each different subject: In Shanghai Parks we showed you one of the wells from which Chinese society draws its strength, whereas Shanghai Seafood Extravaganza was just a lot of early morning fun with fishmongers (followed of course by good eats at Goga!). But what we are trying to engender with each video is the idea that all of this is normal, no matter how different and alien it might seem; all of the slices of life we portray are things we ourselves live through. It’s all real… basically,what I’m saying is, people all over the world put their pants on one leg at a time, no matter how different things might seem.
Shoppers and MCs
In the opening credits of the video, we talk about Shanghai as a “glitzy metropolis full of young hustlers on the quest for good times and great opportunities” and that is definitely a part of the whole. The city’s overall vibe for the newcomer is often one of business and pleasure and high-class luncheons, followed by wine on the Bund (or diamonds and models in our case). Shanghai really wants to be a party capital as well as a financial one and that desire is palpable—in the clubs, the bars, the streets, the cafe and especially the shopping centers. We elected to show you Yuyuan Gardens (a classical Chinese garden, now a key tourist site surrounded by shops and a carnival of color known as the Yuyuan Market) and the Qipu Lu Bazaar, a sprawling shopping complex that focuses on clothing and accessories. Any city with that kind of culture will have a hip hop temple somewhere, and Shanghai is no different. We hooked up with local emissary, producer and promoter Showtime who showed us around for the rest of the night. First to an invite only Nike-sponsored hip hop event and then to the raucous Iron Mike MC battle at the D10 club. It was a lot of fun and we hope you like what you see. If you do (or don’t) feel free to drop your thoughts onto this post or at the Ctrip English YouTube channel. We’d love to hear from you. You can check out the videos below (you’ll need that VPN if you’re in China!)