UPDATED September 25, 2017

BY Henry Gold

IN Bamboo Road, Company

no comments

UPDATED September 25, 2017

BY Henry Gold

IN Bamboo Road, Company

no comments

A Shanghai Walkabout

There is something very alluring about watching a man dressed in his pyjamas walking out of a bank and counting his money. If you have not guessed, I am in Shanghai, China, in a place no lesser authority than CNN calls the greatest city in the world.

I am here to complete what I started four years ago and that is to cycle the section of the Bamboo Road from Shanghai to Hanoi – the part I missed in 2013 due to my nephew’s wedding.

As some of you may recall, when I arrive in a new city I like to go on a walkabout to get a sense of the place – its beat and its appeal. But how do you get a sense of place that has reportedly between 25 to 30 million inhabitants? So perhaps consider everything you will read here with – shall I say – a grain of salt?

I started my walkabout by looking to buy a pair of sunglasses. I walked many a street and even more shops before I finally identified a store with a big flashing sign – the Shanghai version of a dollar store – 10 Yuan store or about $2 Canadian. What can I say? The Chinese economy is booming and it is hard to get a bargain like back home. I did find the perfect set of sunglasses and though I was told that you must always bargain in China, I had no idea how to begin, and so simply resigned myself to overpaying.


If you live on this planet, you have probably heard how quickly the Chinese build things. For example, our tour leader Doug told me that the 2nd tallest building in the world with a height of 632 meters (and I can vouch for it – I went to the top to check it myself) did not even exist four years ago and now I can see it from my hotel window as I type this.


But I think this furious building phase must have happened before the great calamity that has overtaken the city. Just take look in this picture. Not one of the young men has any free will. They are held prisoners of the tiny screen. A foreigner like me can walk by them and they have no curiosity, fear or even contempt for me.


If you think this is an isolated case, well, you are in for surprise. Everywhere I went, everywhere I looked, people were either taking selfies or being completely mesmerized by the little screens; cooks, waitresses, storeowners, even for heaven sake, security guards. Poor Chairman Mao must be turning in his grave but on the other hand this is great news for Silicon Valley. They can now rule the world without any worries. Albert Einstein was not only right about the theory of relativity he also predicted a worldwide generation of idiots.


Another thing that I want to tell you that you are probably mistaken about is the rumour that the Chinese will eat anything on four legs. That is totally incorrect. Just take a look at these beautiful animals I found relaxing in a park. No one was bothering them.


I also want to point out that the people of this great city really do know how the old and the new can coexist well. Just take a look at this next picture to see how well the old is being preserved.


Having said all of that, there were some very positive sights I observed. I saw the most attractive live green wall I have seen anywhere in my world wanderings.


I also managed to get a glimpse of the most unique collections of eggs I have ever seen…


…and a Bonsai tree that was said to be a living fossil. Frankly, I think someone has been feeding it steroids.


In any case, if any of this has you wondering about my other walkabouts on the Bamboo Road, you have three choices. You can still join us on the 2017 Bamboo tour, you can wait and register for the 2019 tour or you can simply read them here.

One Day In The Life Of Bangkok

Walking In Kuala Lumpur

Walkabout In Malacca

The Last Walkabout On The Bamboo Road

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