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Hello from Shanghai and Nanjing…

For the sixth time in three days, someone has told me that “Shanghai isn’t really China.”   This is because Shanghai is a major international cosmopolitan area that seems to be more like Manhattan, London or Paris than it is like WuXi, Nanjing or Guangzhou.  And they are probably right…even though people speak Mandarin or Shanghainese here; they also speak English everywhere and lead a typical urban life. 

Shanghai has been a major international port since the 1800’s where European and American traders established headquarters here and traded opium for tea and silk.  It has also been known for haught couture and its large artist community.  It is a lovely city, really.  Pudong, a section of Shanghai that was developed over the past 25 years is beautiful and modern…it kind of reminds me of Irvine, CA.  My contacts are right, it doesn’t really feel like China.

Soooo….on Wednesday, I hopped on a train to Nanjing (more traditionally Chinese and a very old city).  I know the CEO of Apprise Software and although he is American and the company is headquartered in Bethlehem, PA, he moved to Nanjing in 2007 to be close to his developers and his customers.  Nanjing is an important area for innovation and software development  because of its many excellent technical universities.  The bullet train took 2.5 hours each way and traveled about 200km/hr…we passed through farmland dotted with enormous power lines and traditional 6-8 story Asian factories (I am not sure why they build factories this way).  These structures and the relentless construction of more infrastructure was everywhere.

After a delightful Chinese lunch with the Apprise development team, I returned to the Nanjing train station to wait for the train back to Shanghai.  I was the lone Caucasian in a sea of hundreds of Chinese people who were openly staring at the single laowai (foreigner – not a particularly friendly meaning).  I might be a little crazy to be traveling all over China by myself…but it is truly an adventure and I am seeing the real China, too!

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One Comment

  1. The new fast train between Nanjing and Shanghai was just replaced with a newer faster train which goes to the new train station in Shanghai. This one goes about 330 km/hour and takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. These are great train and very different from the typical Chinese train experience. Great to see you in Nanjing!


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