For day two, I thought I’d stick to the official schedule but the call of Art Deco intervened. The Congress was held at the Peninsula Hotel, conveniently located on the Bund.
(The Bund is an area of old Shanghai that runs along the Huangpu River. In it’s day, the Bund was the Wall Street of China and serious business is still conducted here. But the Bund has also become Shanghai’s #1 tourist spot, and the place where Chinese folks go to take their wedding photos. The Bund is where old meets new, perhaps more dramatically than anywhere else. On the opposite side of the river is Pudong, where almost everything is less than 15 years old and the whole place looks like a scene from Blade Runner.)
Since I was coming from the Metro, walking along the Bund meant going past Shanghai’s grandest Art Deco building, the Peace Hotel. I hadn’t seen the place since 2007, before the renovation so I had to have a quick look inside.
Two hours later, I was still there. Restored, it was more fantastic than before. Since the Congress wrapped up at the Peace Hotel, I’ll save those photos for the last post.
Now, I was totally off schedule and there was still one more piece of business to attend to. In 2007, I photographed one the spectacular gates to the Shanghai Electric Company. Problem was, the gates were recessed like pocket doors and after I pulled one out and took a picture, I assumed the opposite side was the same. It wasn’t until I returned home and opened a book that I realized the two sides were different.
So, seven years and 6,137 miles later, I corrected this oversight. With that put right, I was free to explore things elsewhere in this richly Art Deco area.
Next, I went to see the “twins.” The twins are the Hotel Metropole (left, now called Metrolpolo?) and Hamilton House (right), a pair of nearly identical skyscrapers with neo-Gothic tops and delightful concave facades.
The hotel was being refurbished so I’ll show you what it looked like in 2008.
I love half-round buildings so next, I went to the Bank of Canton.
Then, a place I wasn’t familiar with, the fascinating Royal Asiatic Society.
Dinner was at Xain Qiang Fang, a restaurant in the former Wing On department store. Art Deco, of course. After a meal served lazy Susan style, we called it a day.
Next post: Randy searches for the China Aviation Association building.
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