My Walk to Work (Version 2)

While the office has moved, my home (the company apartment) has not.  This means that my journey to work has changed somewhat – from a mostly pleasant stroll through Pudong to a multi-modal cross-river journey.

This means I now catch a ferry each morning.  Ferries are a critical part of linking the two halves of Shanghai – while the Metro and major roadways run under the river, there are no bridges in the main part of  the city.  Bicycles are banned from the Metro, as well as the road tunnels (along with motorcycles and scooters, and apparently, most public buses).  Generally, where major streets dive below the river, a ferry service is also provided to carry people from one side to the other.

It’s a nice way to see the city each morning and evening.  Shanghai is very much a skyline city – with the buildings of the Bund and Pudong stretching along the two sides of the river.  The ferries are pretty low-key, flat-bottomed and open-sided, with huge steel gates that are slid open manually by one of the many shiphands.

The majority of passengers arrive by motor scooter, some by bicycle and a few like me on foot.  There is always much jostling for the best position by the scooters, so that as soon as the gate opens at the end of the journey, they can be first out of the ferry.  As the ferry starts to dock, scooters are switched on and revved, horns blasted and complaints muttered – it really is quite deafening in such a (semi-)enclosed space.

From the wharf on the Puxi side, it’s a 20 minute walk to the office – fine most of the year, but in this week’s 35+ degrees weather, it’s a little rude!  Running parallel to the river, Waimu Lu is an old industrial street – presumedly it once buzzed with dockside activity throughout the day, but is no somewhat desolate (the peace only broken by a stream of scooters disgorging from the ferry wharves every 10 minutes).

Unfortunately, the river side of Waimu Lu is fronted by buildings and/or massive concrete walls – for water retention (as explained in the previous post) or to protect more sensitive uses along the water (ranging from yacht clubs to waste treatment plants).  There are plans to redevelop the waterfront, to make it publicly accessible and more attractive, so it is likely that the street will change dramatically and rapidly.

But, hopefully, some of the older building stock will be retained and reused.  I think their scale and materiality is really appealing.

I fear though, that in the rush toward progress, Shanghai is not quite ready to place a value in this kind of ‘heritage’.  Just like every other place in the world, I guess…

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3 Responses to My Walk to Work (Version 2)

  1. blackwatertown says:

    I imagine that a journey like that ensures that you really are awake by the time you arrive at work – though you may already be exhausted.
    http://www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

  2. Pingback: My first year in Shangers | That Look Crayzy!

  3. Pingback: Tianjin / I do like to be beside the riverside | That Look Crayzy!

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