shanghai - the landinghong kong has the most ridiculously modern airport i've been in - high speed trains shuttle you between the shopping / services area to the gates - multiple escalators and levels carefully engineered to handle people traffic efficiently. very different from the old kai tak airport in kowloon, right on the harbour - with a runway approach that takes you within a few hundred feet of residential towers (on this satellite photo, the narrow strip of land in the north east extending into the sea is the runway of kai tak). apparently pilots had to be certified to fly into the old airport; now that it's retired, the skyline on kowloon side, long constrained in height by passing airplanes, is shooting up. but the new airport is safely tucked away on the far corner of lantau island, and it is from there i travel to shanghai's pudong airport wednesday evening.
there was a cramped bus ride with jesse from the airport, we dumped my bags at his flat, near which there were a whole lot of new commercial development and shabby-nice barber shops with pink lights and bored girls. one of the first things i noticed in shanghai is that almost all the roads are new - with orderly, fenced off bike lanes and traffic lights - winding through older, shorter buildings on the way to the new glass and steel. and then we're off in a cab trying to communicate where we're going, to a bar that jesse found out about somehow. there, we were treated to some of the best live music i've ever heard, by hasan and his friend from xinjiang. the bar was started by the owner of the bar, who wanted to have a place to play music in. tons of fun.
a busy run about town trying to get a visa fixed the next day was a quick immersion in hilarious chinglish and strange marketing irony.
is that what they really think?
and if you wonder what life in a communist country is about, consider that if you were in china, you most likely would not be able to access any blog. and todd writes passionately about how american companies are complicit in that censorship.