Picture China is a photographic journey through contemporary China. From the teeming metropolises of the east coast to the rural villages of the interior to the lofty Tibetan plateau, New York City based photographer Dan Eckstein traveled 10,000km over the course of eight weeks to document this rapidly changing country. The result is a unique portrait of life in modern China and the issues that its people face.
(Quote: Picture China)
The Chinese course I attended last year used the book Chinesisch für Deutsche (Chinese for Germans). The problem is that it doesn’t contain information on how to write Chinese characters at all. You have to figure it out by yourself. And the first dialogs are about mother, father, cat, dog and the fact that some students learn while others have a break. Not the kind of vocabulary that I suppose is most needed during the first days in Shanghai.
So I think about getting a new book. ChinesePod is going to cover Integrated Chinese throughout the next semester. I also read about the New Practical Chinese Reader which is prefered by some reviewers. How on earth should I know which one is better?
I called Tongji University yesterday to ask them when the spring semester 2008 will start. They didn’t know, told me “the schedule is not yet aranged” and I should try again in november. The whole thing seems to depend on the Chinese Spring Festival whose date is well-known. I suppose it’s one of these intercultural challgenges we have to cope. ;-)
Just to show the difference to Germany: The winter semester 2008/2009 at TU München will be from October 13, 2008 until February 2, 2009.
I recommend you to get a SIM card from one of the three large telco companies:
Make sure to check out the promotions they are running. It might also make sense to buy a second-hand SIM card that is eligible for a menu that is no longer offered.
Each of my two Viettel V90 menus gives me 2 Gigabyte of data per day (!) for 90.000 Dong (3.90 USD) a month.
Depending on where you live you might need one or two things:
An air filter. I recommend the Sqair. It’s inexpensive, silent, effective and beautiful.
Less obvious: A dehumidifier. Humidity goes up to 85 percent. When I realized that there is an issue the backpack and toilet bag in my closet were already covered in mold.
Today my dehumidifier gets eight liters of water out of the air of a 27 square meter studio.
There are some things that I’d say are essential, like Pudong, the French Concession or the Bund. Here some advices which might help you to plan ahead.
You can take Line 2 to Century Park, one of the largest parks in the city. After crossing it you arrive at the Shanghai Science and Technology Market with its large underground fake/tailor market.
Then you walk the whole Century Avenue (or take the metro to save time/energy) to Lujiazui, the area with the highest skyscrapers. You’ll find the Shanghai Tower, the World Financial Center and the Jin Mao Tower as well as the Oriental Pearl Tower and (if you like to go shopping) the Super Brand Mall.
This trip should end with a scenery of the Bund at dawn, seen from Pudong. Preferably at the weekend as I don’t know if it’ll be illuminated during the week. Depending on the time you spend shopping, I think that’ll take half a day to one day.
Xujiahui is a large conglomerate of Electronic Markets in Xuhui District. You can get off, look around, maybe visit a nearby church and then walk Hengshan Lu to Huaihai Lu through the French Concession with its villas and plane-lined alleys. You can continue on the high priced Huaihai Lu to People’s Square. Takes a half to one day. (If you only want to do the French Concession then go to South Shanxi Road and continue from there.)
The art street. Moganshan Lu 50, a former factory, is now home to many artists and galleries. Everytime you go there things have changed, new exhibitions open every week, there are concerts and other events. Especially on Friday/Saturday. I’d advice to go there around lunchtime, visit the galleries, take a dinner somewhere and return for a concert.
Two of the most famous places in Shanghai. Not necessarily the most beautiful ones but definitely members of the “must have seen” category. Half a day should be enough but you can spend much more time in the numberous museums around there. Although not quite as famous as the East Nanjing Road, the West Nanjing Road is, in my opinion, more beautiful. Very elegant and high priced. It leads to Jing’an Temple.
Starting near the Old Town you should walk the Bund up on the riverside to see Pudong and down on the other side to enjoy the buildings. Then you can continue to the Old Town. Should take half a day to one day.
That’s something I highly recommend. See one of the poorer neighbourhoods that are being torn down to make place for uniform appartment buildings. In these places you can still see little food markets with living animals (with broken feet…), meat lying around in the sun and things tourists usually don’t see.
A friend adds that there is another interesting place in Hongkou District, Duolun Lu, a street where many famous Chinese writers have lived. Knowledge of Chinese history might be helpful. I haven’t been there yet.
Maybe you also want to visit the Campus of Chinese Universities. Either Tongji, where I studied, or Jiao Tong.
If you’re not afraid of walking:
Here’s a map:
In the evening, you might enjoy the great view over Pudong and Puxi at the Vue Bar in the Hyatt on the Bund.
China expert Michael Schuman describing his disappointment with where China is headed:
Xi’s vision for “a community with a shared future,” as he calls it, is like a neighborhood where a man beats his wife every night, but anyone who tries to help her is “intervening in his internal affairs.” In order to show you are not “prejudiced,” you invite the guy over for pool parties, and smile as if nothing’s wrong. Maybe he’ll bring you a few beers. That’s how Xi defines “mutual respect.”
Every Chinese New Year, Apple commissions a short film.
This year it’s about the mythical Nian. Wikipedia explains:
Once every year at the beginning of Chinese New Year, the nian comes out of its hiding place to feed, mostly on men and animals. During winter, since food is sparse, he would go to the village. He would eat the crops and sometimes the villagers, mostly children. […] The weaknesses of the nian are purported to be a sensitivity to loud noises, fire, and a fear of the color red.
Hence the fireworks, noises and the red color everywhere. I remember riding my bike through Shanghai on Chinese New Year with things exploding left and right. It felt like crossing a battlefield.
Here’s the making-of video to the short film with director Lulu Wang and colleagues touting the iPhone 12 Pro Max as a cinema camera: