Travel: Shanghai by Sidecar
Several of my friends owned sidecars in Beijing and I commuted several times in them, it’s fun, but my main and preferred transport remains the humble bicycle.
We started with a stop at the local quarters and a little tour through the market, frogs and all on sale alongside noodle and dumpling makeshift stalls.
I thought it would be a great and novel way to see Shanghai as tourists in our short weekend there. We’ve travelled dozens of times to Shanghai mostly for work and given that we have so many friends both local and foreign, we never get to “discover” the city in a way tourist do or guidebooks show you.
I organised a surprise birthday present for a 2 hour sidecar tour seeing the “don’t miss” of Shanghai which covered a little bit of architecture, the local quartiers, beautiful architecture (yes to art deco!), passing quickly through the Jewish quarters and of course the stunning views of The Bund, passing through the 外白度桥 Waibaidu Bridge,the first all-steel and only remaining camelback truss bridge in China.
You can also add on to your selected package a bottle of bubbly Tattinger (there’s only one choice and so thankful it’s a quality one and I didn’t have to worry about if it was up to the chef’s standards)
Our guide Antoine did our tour in French – super personable, adding his own anecdotes of living in Shanghai the last few years and gave us a well rounded perspective with interesting history nuggets.
1933 an old abattoire in complete art deco style built with concrete imported from the UK and designed by British architect C.H. Stableford, a gorgeous building well thought through with functionality from chucking the carcasses down the chute to hiding from aggressive animals that run amok en route to death. The space while very charming architecturally has a heavy air of sadness and death around it. A huge art deco incinerator is across the road to burn the carcass. The building was apparently built to fill the need for red meat for foreigners.
From a Chinese standpoint, death is bad feng shui and it’s up to one to believe it or not, shops that open here don’t tend to stay open for long. I was here in 2009 and none of the shops that opened here still remain. More photos on my Flickr album.
You can reach out to them here for bookings. The generic tours are great to cover quite a few places and things in a limited time, typically I ask too many questions (journo curiousity) and would love the options of more focused thematic tours eg Food (through the markets), architecture, history and cultural tours! I would definitely do this again if there are more in depth theme focused tours.
In any case, I recommend seeing Shanghai this way – it’s perhaps the best way to do so in a short time and on a glorious blue sky weekend.