On the afternoon of Christmas Eve 2016, Mei and I headed across the Huangpu River to Lujiazui (陆家嘴) in search of a Christmas market held at one of the large hotels there.
Lujiazui is Shanghai’s modern financial and business district, directly facing the historic one across the river. It’s also the base of all the skyscrapers that make up the skyline on the Pudong side of the city. None of these towers existed prior to 1994.
On the ground, though some pedestrian infrastructure exists it cannot mask the reality that, like most of Pudong, Lujiazui was not designed to be walked. Very wide roads and large distances between buildings mean taxis and private cars are the dominant mode of transportation here.
We discover after arriving that we hadn’t read the fine print that the Christmas market won’t begin until evening, when we’ll already be on the metro headed home for dinner. But the weather is so nice we decide just to enjoy the view from this side of the river, which we don’t see too often.
I occasionally hear people debate which skyline better represents Shanghai. The Pudong skyscrapers were mostly built by state owned enterprises and are heavily pushed as the modern face of China in tourism and propaganda images. The Puxi buildings have far longer histories but originated mostly as foreign banks and trading houses.
Though we miss our Christmas market, we still end up with a gift from our trip here in the form a great sunset.
Shanghai rarely sees snow, but we think our orange, pink and purple Chirstmas is nice too.