I visited Shanghai from May 20 until May 26 for business. I do not remember exactly how many times I had visited the city. It could be over 10 times. Every time I visit there, I would always realize the city is changing at a rapid pace. It’s been almost 10 years since I visited last time. I thought I might have landed at a completely different place when I saw the view of the city from the aircraft.
I stayed at Intercontinental Shanghai Expo in Pudong near the Nanpu bridge along the Huangpu river. It is located on the area Expo Shanghai 2010 had been held. The city center is across the river. To the nearest Subway station, it takes 5 minutes by tax. You can walk approximately 10 minutes to the ferry terminal if you take a ferry to the other side of the bank. I had enough time to go to the other side of the river for sightseeing after business meetings this time. I also enjoyed walking on a promenade along the river. I went for a walk by 6 o’clock before the breakfast every morning. Like other Asian cities, people would start their day early in the morning. The ferry terminal is crowded with people waiting for a ferry to the other side by 06:00 in the morning. People, young and old alike, are walking, jogging, exercising stretching-out, or meditating at the promenade. It looks to me they are enjoying themselves before their long day in this energetic city.
Boats are going by all the time. They are containers or bulkers going to inland ports or on their way back to Shanghai. Some boats are full load nearly at the waterline. Some are empty. I wonder where they are going and how many days it takes. I never got tire of watching from the window of my room.
There is a Roman catholic Cathedral in Xujiahui in the downtown across the river. St. Ignatius Cathedral was originally built by French Jesuits in the 1920’s. The Cathedral and the Roman Catholic believers went through a lot of hardship after 1949. The Cathedral was vandalized by the red guards during the cultural revolution in the 1960’s. The priests were sent to forced labor. The Cathedral which can accommodate some 2,500 was once used as a grain warehouse for long time. It was re-opened to public in the late 1970’s again. I wanted to visit this beautiful cathedral during the stay. I had missed such a chance before. After my business meeting finished early on the afternoon of May 23rd, I rushed there taking the subway changing the lines twice. It is located between the high rise buildings in the bustling area of Xujiahui. The church is closed at 16:30. I was able to get there by 4 o’clock and stay for a short time. There is the main entrance where staff members were standing. There were security cameras around. I felt awkward. But, I told them “I am a Roman Catholic” in English. They welcomed me warmly as a brother into the churchyard. There were a few people quietly praying in the cathedral. I do not know either how the church is managed under the state-control, or how they are different from my Roman Catholic faith. Inside the cathedral does not looks different from the churches back home. I just remember now I had felt refreshing after praying.