Internet-Site-Non-Grata in China

Since my arrival in Shanghai, I have not been able to access my own blog. I could write, edit, publish, but I could not see the result. I tried accessing other blogs, such as stilleggplant.blogspot.com, but could not do it either. I think we all know what is happening here. The website filtering in this country is effective. Sometimes I just forget that I am in China, especially when Shanghai seems very cosmopolitan, wordly, and like other modern and progressive big cities.

[At the time of this particular blog entry, it was written at blogger.com, a site that apparently had been blocked by the government at that time.]

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Xin Tian Di and the French Concession

Xin Tian Di (the New Heaven and Earth) is located at the periphery of the French Concession. In the olden days, Shanghai is divided into different districts as a result of the Westerners trying to carve out a part of the city for their own fellow compatriots. Thus, Shanghai has the British Concession, the American Concession (these two later became the International Settlement), and the French Concession.

When I arrived at Xin Tian Di, I saw immediately the restaurant that my friend had recommended, Xin Ji Shi. I thought of going in but decided to walk around and take Continue reading

The Bund by the Huang Pu River

Once in an exhibition at the now defunct Mill/Short Gallery in San Francisco, I attended the photographic show of a well-known Hong Kong artist named Fan Ho. The work was done decades before the gallery even existed, and the subject was Shanghai. The play of light and shadow in those black and white photographs remained permanently etched in the deepest pocket of memory. I dreamed that one day I would be able to see the architecture by the river that was immortalized by his camera.

That dream became a reality this morning as I went to see the Western-influenced architecture of the Bund by the Huang Pu (Wang Pu) River. I was originally planning to walk from my hotel to the site, but the Continue reading

Shang Hi, Everyone!

Shanghai Alley #1 by bloompy
Shanghai Alley #1, a photo by bloompy on Flickr.

I still cannot believe that I am finally in China! I am at last in the land of my ancestors.

Pudong airport did not try to be beautiful; functionally, however, it served its purpose of ushering visitors into Shanghai and sending travelers out of China. My arrival gate was quite a long way to the immigration area, but once I arrived there, the passport check was a breeze; no questions asked. After grabbing my luggage, I went through customs, then got out to the welcoming zone filled with people who were picking up their friends and relatives. Once I went out of the airport and into the open air, four men approached me Continue reading