A little background: in February 2007, I began work as the art director for a packaging company out here in California. We represent European and Asian manufacturers of plastic bottles and the like for higher-end treatment and cosmetics products (shampoos, conditioners, lotions, that sort of thing), along with creating some custom lines of our own. So several times a year, the owner goes overseas to visit factories, attend conventions, etc. In January of this year, there was a big trade show in Shanghai, and the owner, his wife and I went to China for a week or so to check out the show, meet with our Chinese rep and tour several plants where we're currently producing new goods.
The first few days were in Shanghai, for the Cosmprof trade show. We stayed at a new hotel near downtown called the Eton. Awesome joint, highly recommended. Our rooms were on the 38th floor, where we had full access to this very sweet executive lounge.
This was a shot from my room window, early morning, of a new tower nearing completion. Shanghai, like most of China, is in the midst of what may be the largest construction boom since the dawn of time. There are new buildings, huge ones, going up everywhere. Fun fact: in 1979, there was but one building over 20 stories tall; today, there are over 5000, with more coming.
The whole trip was primarily business from start to finish, but we did have a couple of mornings free to do a little sightseeing. In Shanghai, we visited the 400-year-old Yu Gardens, a stunning example of Ming Dynasty architecture. The building above isn't part of it; that's just one of many new shops/restaurants that have recently formed into a bazaar all around the gardens.
This is the entrance to the gardens. See that zig-zag bridge on the left? Those were constructed in that fashion to confuse the ghosts that might otherwise haunt the gardens' tenants. (Asian culture rocks.)
Another view illustrating the past and present of China: on the left, just above the trees, you can see the tippy-top of the Oriental Pearl tower, and on the right, in the hazy distance, the city's newest skyscraper, the Shanghai World Financial Center, a 101-story behemoth.
Pretty sculpture in one of the Gardens' ponds.
Inside the Gardens' proper.
Cool rock walls, with another zig-zag bridge.
This is the "head" of the Dragon Wall. Awesome.
The other end of the Dragon Wall. Dragons are the bomb.
One chamber had furniture made out of formed tree roots. Very cool, if not the most inviting-looking chair.