|Trinidad & Tobago|
|South Korea New!|
On the Bund, along the west bank of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, the morning sun illuminates the Victorian edifices from an era even before Mao's time. These old buildings, once bold proclamations of European wealth and power, were the seat from which Colonials had exercised their commercial interests in China; England had made a killing as the official pusher and pimp of the Chinese empire, setting up opium dens and brothels, strong-arming the decaying, dissolute Chinese monarchy with firepower when they tried to outlaw the drug that was devouring their cities. Today those façades appear quaint and antique. Freshly-scrubbed for tourists, they now overlook a wide pedestrian path that curves along the riverbank and hums with the traffic of families, lovers, and raffishly clad youths, chattering, snapping photos, sucking Coca-Cola, badgering their parents to buy all manner of trinkets and toys on offer, and generally basking in the glow of their emerging prosperity. Above them, shiny towers of glass and steel rise like a golden promise across the river in Pudong, as if proclaiming the victory of Chinese capitalist self-determination. After dark the buildings become gargantuan video billboards and their spectacular display of lights over the river turns every Shanghai night into a gorgeous celebration of consumerism; nearby on Nanjing Road, shoppers throng and bustle through the neon lanes. (read more)
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