In every city there is usually a comer where you can feel the pulse of city life and detect the spirit of the place. In Shanghai you do this in Huangpu Park.
It is a long, slender park that curves aim the lower reaches of the Suzhou Creek and then turns south as it follows the embankment of the Huangpu River, from whence it gets its name. In the early morning, it is here that you will see the city rise: witness the legion prepare for the day by performing the slow and grateful taiqi quan body-and- breathing exercises. Later you will see them relaxing, taking children for a stroll, and reading. When evening falls, you will see people strolling hand in hand or just sitting in the cool evening air, some reading under the park lights, others practicing musical instruments.
Day or night, you can rest your elbows on the embankment wall and watch the maneauvering of the river traffic, a blending of sail and power that is almost unparalleled in the world.
The Bund is the old European name given to the road ha ~ns alongside the park The Chinese know it as Zbongshan Road, or “Wal tan.” Along this road arc many of the organizations that drive Shanghai. Many of them are located in buildings that once belonged to the “foreign con~sains ” The best way to identify them is to stroll through Huangpu Park and occasionally lean your back against the sea-wail to study the buildings across the road.
Probably the first building you will notice is the Peace Hotel with its pointed grin tower. Once the most palatial hotel in the East, a.s its former name, Cathay Hotel, suggests, it is almost a museum piece of the dignified but old- fashioned architecture that can now be found only in cities like Vienna, Paris, and some of the East European capitals.
Next to it, to your right, is the Bank of China, almost exactly the same height but without the tower. The four other buildings about haft the height of the Bank and also to your right were formerly old banks and trading companies they now house the Chinese state trading cor potations which are solely responsible for the import and export of goods and commodities to and from all foreign countries.
People’s Park is of historic interest because it was once the Shanghai Race Course in the days when foreigners ran the city. The Communists saw it as a pan of the decadent foreign influence and converted it into a park for the people. The park ls well kept, has a vast expanse of lawn, and possesses a great many trees to protect you from the summer heat. To the west of the park is the Shanghai Municipal Library, built in the 1850s and once the club house for members of the track.