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Jun-25-2010 02:38printcomments

Shanghai: the Paris of the East
In The People's Republic of China Writer Lands in a clean and vibrant city; and if one can tolerate the summer humidity, a great vacation spot.

Gerry Villani;s images of Shanghai, China
Photos represent some of Gerry's early impressions of Shanghai.

(SHANGHAI, China) - Shanghai is a modern Asian metropolis of about 20 million people, bustling with activity. The arriving visitor notices numerous banks, tall offices, apartment buildings and small businesses. Stores are well-stocked, and numerous eateries line the streets as well. Pastries seem to be a popular item.

Shanghai, China photos by Gerry Villani

I arrived the afternoon of June 24th, amid incredible humidity. A woman by the name of Yi Bao, whom I met on the internet, was kind enough to meet me at Pudong Airport, and we lugged my baggage to a modern air-conditioned bus for a trip through the new Pudon section to the older part.

It was like riding through an urban garden, with all of the tall trees and other greenery softening the concrete edge.

The new Pudon area was created in the 1990s during an incredible mania of building, and it includes the airport and entails a lengthy drive on a modern highway, narrow by US standards, but otherwise world-class.

Some of our writer's first impressions. Shanghai, China photos by Gerry Villani

We then took a taxi a few blocks to the Yes Inn, a hotel not only with regular suites, but with dormitories that are rented cheap to globe-trotting travelers such as this writer. My stay is $40 a week for a section of four bunk beds in two parts.

Traffic consists of cars, bicycles, trucks, and motorcycles that seemingly at times dare each other in a game of chicken. Pedestrians appear to be well-fed and adequately dressed with no extremes of fashion.

However, the signs of a police state are visible: hotel guests check in with identity cards and passports; if staying in a private home, they need to register at the nearest police station with 24 hours; 72 hours if in a rural area.

I needed to present my passport at a bank in order to change three US dollars into Chinese currency; I walked out with 20 Yuan in paper bills and some coins. Online social networking sites are not accessible, but there is a wide variety of broadcast radio and TV stations. Shanghai is a clean and vibrant city; and if one can tolerate the summer humidity, a great vacation spot.

It has thousands of expats from all over the world working for multi-national corporations and as English teachers and other instructors of languages in its many schools. It has two airports and rail connections, so travel onward to other destinations is easy. Bring along some inexpensive conversational Chinese books, and you will fit right in.


Gerry Villani has been a resident of Salem, Oregon since 1964, and he has watched the capitol city grow and change significantly over the years. After graduating from Mount Hood Community College in Oregon with an AA in journalism, Gerry traveled the world as a photojournalist for the U.S. government from 1974-1986, then worked for state government and then put his communication skills to work for companies in Salem, Tualatin, and Beaverton before joining

Among other accomplishments, Gerry has taken thousands of photographs and is developing a photo stock company that will be marketed through Gerry's skills in technology are ever increasing, and he holds a Certificate in Computer Operations from Chemeketa Community College which he earned in 1986. To learn more about Gerry's photography, visit his site or email Gerry at

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