Tale of two cities

Posted by CarrieB on Saturday, January 7th, 2006
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Hey Ya’ll. I cannot believe how last the week has gone. I would really like to come back to china; the people that I have met are so amazing. I feel very lucky to have spent as much time with them as I have. We met Sarah a couple of days ago, another one of our “characters.” She started and owns a business called Shanghaining.com kind of an Internet hip-hop community, as well as a Hip-hop clothing store. She is also a budding singer. We went to her studio the other day. She is very talented–I guess you would call her music trip hop…

Things are changing so fast here. Whole neighborhoods are going up with a blink of an eye. Kelly, our translator (now friend), brought us to the Bund yesterday, which is the waterfront. Across the river there are like EVERYWHERE in Shanghai 24 plus story buildings. I counted 15 of them, all of which Kelly said where not there six years ago. Six years. That one area is indicative of the whole city. None of us has ever seen expansion quite like this. I cannot believe they have enough natural resources to sustain all the development.

I was looking at a book the other day entitled Shanghai living, or something along those lines. The pages where filled with photos along with some brief sentences describing what life is like for people living in this large city. It was at a toss up as to which life style was more prominent: poorer people living in shanty homes in the middle of the downtown, or people living in the new high-rise buildings that are swiftly replacing the older neighborhoods.

Basically the city seems to be a tale of two cities. One that encompass “the haves,” which include people some how involved with new industry and Development. The other that represents “the havenots” the old decrypted neighborhoods that are half way between falling apart and completely demolished and the people that are left behind. What will happen to these people you may ask? Since the government owns the land, they move the people living in the older neighborhoods from downtown Shanghai to the outskirts of the city. Some view this as a positive thing; because the apartments are better…others view it as not so positive, because the people living there become displaced from their community, friends’ etc. all that they have relayed on for many years. It is really interesting, and I am not sure that is the word to describe it.

We are renting a car and going to a smaller town outside of Shanghai in the morning. It will be good to get outside of the city and see what is going on.

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