A tale of two sides

Shanghai is a city best seen from above. I recently took in a view from a rooftop bar called Flair, on the 58th floor of the Ritz-Carlton.

The bar was full, but I was able to wedge into a spot overlooking the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower. An array of neon lights from the skyscrapers in Shanghai’s Pudong district – an area that was mainly farmland until it was developed in the 1990s –  gave the clouds moving slowly overhead a yellowish tint.

View from the top of the Ritz-Carlton.

Shaped liked a rocket waiting to blast off into space, the Pearl Tower reminded me of one of the tacky electronic toys that vendors outside the Forbidden City in Beijing use to get your attention as you enter the palace. To the southeast, another behemoth of a building, the 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center – jutted into the sky. Not to be upstaged by the bizarre Pearl Tower, the top of the World Financial Center resembles a bottle opener, with a gap large enough for a modern day King Kong to perch. Continue reading