Monday, March 22, 2010

March 20th – Shanghai

I always make the same lame joke whenever I come to Shanghai – "it will be good when it's finished". For the past two decades the city has been in one of the world's biggest building booms, and its ever-changing skyline is constantly being added to, with gleaming space-age skyscrapers, while neighbourhoods of low-rise buildings are torn down to make way for more tower blocks and shopping centres.

This year, Shanghai is about to experience its Coming of Age party, when the World Expo opens in just 40 days time, so I thought that maybe, this time, there wouldn't be so many building sites, so much dust in the air, and the noise of so many jack hammers and demolition cranes. I couldn't have been more wrong – the whole place is being given a noisy and messy makeover, but it's nowhere near finished yet. Pavements are being torn up and re-laid, new roads are being constructed, and even more skyscrapers are shooting up. Whether it will all be finished in time for May 1st is anyone's guess, but if any city can turn it around, it's Shanghai.