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CHANGING CURRENTS
REFLECTIONS
The MEDIUM, the MESSAGE and the SAUSAGE DOG
CYCLING TO XANADU
THE CHINESE DREAM
CHINESE NEW YEAR ADS
BIG IDEAS FROM BEYOND THE WALL
ANYONE FOR TENNIS?
VIEWS FROM ABOARD THE CHINA EXPRESS:
1 Zola and Retail Marketing
2 Playing the Waiting Game
3 Beware the Ides of March
4 The county not on a map
5 Chinese Chess in Beijing
6 Build it and They'll Come
7 Riding the Water Dragon
8 The Best of Both Worlds
9 Storming the Great Wall
10 Welcome to the Wangba
11 The Catcher in the Rice
12 The Marriage Business
13 The Crouching Dragon
14 Counting the Numbers
15 A Century of Migration
16 Shooting for the Stars
17 Rise of Yorkshire Puds
18 Harry Potter in Beijing
19 Standing Out in China
20 Self-pandactualisation
21 Strolling on the Moon
22 Tea with the Brothers
23 Animated Guangzhou
24 Trouble on the Farms
25 Christmas in Haerbin
26 Dave pops into Tesco
27 A Breath of Fresh Air
28 The Boys from Brazil
29 Rolls-Royce on a roll
30 The Great Exhibition
31 Spreading the Word
32 On Top of the World
33 Moonlight Madness
34 Beijing's Wild West
35 Avatar vs Confucius
36 Brand Ambassadors
37 Inspiring Adventure
38 China's Sweet Spot
39 Spinning the Wheel
40 Winter Wonderland
41 The End of the Sky
42 Ticket to Ride High
43 Turning the Corner
44 Trouble in Toytown
45 Watch with Mother
46 Red-crowned Alert
47 In a Barbie World
48 Domestic Arrivals
49 Tale of Two Taxis
50 Land of Extremes
51 Of 'Mice' and Men
52 Tour of the South
53 Brooding Clouds?
54 The Nabang Test
55 Guanxi Building
56 Apple Blossoms
57 New Romantics
58 The Rose Seller
59 Rural Shanghai
60 Forbidden Fruit
61 Exotic Flavours
62 Picking up Pace
63 New Year, 2008
64 Shedding Tiers
65 Olympic Prince
66 London Calling
67 A Soulful Song
68 Paradise Lost?
69 Brandopolises
70 Red, red wine
71 Finding Nemo
72 Rogue Dealer
73 Juicy Carrots
74 Bad Air Days
75 Golden Week
76 Master Class
77 Noodle Wars
78 Yes We Can!
79 Mr Blue Sky
80 Keep Riding
81 Wise Words
82 Hair Today
83 Easy Rider
84 Aftershock
85 Bread vans
86 Pick a card
87 The 60th
88 Ox Tales
CHARTS
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2001 to 2007
BIRDS IN CHINA - PHOTOS
BIRDING in CHINA
PORTS of CALL
ABOUT & CONTACT

Rural Shanghai

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Mum and her daughter run to catch the boat back to the Shanghai "mainland"

The taxi driver’s puzzled look told me that I was in for a much longer journey than I had planned.  “Where to??” he repeated. I spoke more slowly: “To Chongming Island”.

  “Which port?” he asked. “Not to a port; please take me to the island.  I want to go to Dongtan in the east; very close to the main highway.”

  “Which port?” he repeated, with more than a note of exasperation in his voice.

  I was beginning to raise my voice:  “Please take me to the island via the bridge; I don’t want to go by boat”.

  “There isn’t a bridge; there’s a tunnel,” he said with a grimace.

  “Then please take me to the island via the tunnel,” I pleaded.

  “I can’t.  It won’t be open until next year!"

  This stopped me in my tracks.  The map I’d bought only the day before clearly showed a bridge – or maybe it was a tunnel after all – linking the Shanghai “mainland” with Chongming island and another bridge (tunnel?) connecting the island with Jiangsu province.  I showed the taxi driver the map.

  “That’s right,” he said, “that’s what they say is going to happen”.

  “Sorry,” I said, realising that my map was “before date” as opposed to “out of date”.

  “In that case please take me to the port”

  “Which port?” he asked.

  We eventually arrived at Wusong, which is the closest port to the centre of Shanghai and I bought a ticket for the next fast boat to Chongming Island, which would take about 50 minutes to cross the Yangtze.  I had about 40 minutes to wait, which was just enough time to buy a thick tracksuit top in a nearby shop (it was much colder than I thought it would be). 

  The hydrofoil docked on the island, and in a few minutes I had negotiated a round-trip to Dongtan nature reserve and four hours waiting time for about the same price that the same driver had initially wanted for just taking me there.

  Chongming island falls under the jurisdiction of Shanghai and holds a population of about two-thirds of a million people.  If plans for an eco-city there are to be believed, then up to another half million people could be added to that figure in the next several years.  It’s never been very clear though just how eco-friendly the eco-city will be – indeed many environmentalists have been up in arms since development plans were announced because the area that has been ear-marked is very close to a nature reserve of international importance (the very reserve that I visited today).  Although, having said that, things have gone a bit quiet on the development front since one of the main supporters of the project in the local government fell spectacularly from grace.

  On the plus side, Chongming island is getting bigger by the day; soil washed down from Yangtse is attaching itself to the island at an impressive rate.  Indeed, the New Scientist reported in 2006 that the land area of the island had doubled in size since 1950 – and is now more than 100km long by about 30 wide.  

  Funnily enough, walking around Dongtan nature reserve and watching the reed harvestmen (most of whom are migrant workers from Anhui) plying their trade as they sing their haunting melodies to coax their reed-pulling water buffalos forward, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve been caught up in a time warp that has whisked you back to the 50s – the 1850s that is. 

  This place is the proverbial million miles away from downtown Shanghai and its boutiques and bars.  Let’s hope it stays that way. 

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The other side of Shanghai - a million miles from the boutiques and bars