Saturday, April 9, 2011

The French Concession (4/9/2011)

Saturday, April 9, 2011
In 1843, the British negotiated a deal where they created an area of self-rule for foreign powers. The French declined to join the Brits, and made a separate deal for their own Concession west of the Old City. They had their own electrical system and police force.
The French Concession area is pleasant due to all the sycamore trees lining the streets, like here on Maoming Nan Road:
There will be green tunnels in the summer!
A Disney Store!
The Shanghai Expo 2010 is over now, but the mascot Haibao lives on!
Okay, don't move the cement truck. Just hook it up to a pump:
and pump the cement wherever it is needed:
"Bar Street", actually still Maoming Road, is popular with the expats at night:
Trompe de l'oeil aquarium:
A quasi-chalet:
The popular 'blue frog" chain:
A florist at work on a street corner of Yongjia Road:
Old China Hand Reading Room on Shaoxing Road:
Opened by photographer Deke Erh in 1996, it contains antique furniture from the Qing Dynasty:
Window and fountain:
A "Germanic" mansion on Ruijin Er Road:
More typical housing:
A calligraphy shop on Taikang Road where you can get works done by a living master:
Mixing up plaster, or is it Kent's product?
The Liuli Museum of Glass Art:
The burger is free if you can eat it all in 10 minutes:
Tianzifang, a labyrinth of lanes filled with shops and restaurants:
Paint your own baby:
Narrower lanes:
Beer bottle planter:
Busier lane:
Kids at play:
A well:
Narrow plank tables at the Kommune Restaurant, where the specialty on weekends is the Big Daddy Breakfast (3 egg omelet, 3 rashers of bacon, large country toast):
We had ham & Edam cheese sandwich and a Peking duck wrap for lunch.
Couldn't figure out these pipes on Sinan Road:
We see lots of wiring like this:
What we were supposed to be seeing were the European-style villas:
With the south-facing verandas:
The trees have been here a while:
And as they grow, they pull away the stones:
Then what?!
The villas in the French Concession attracted senior officials of the Nationalist and Communist Parties.
We visited the former residence of Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People's Republic of China. He was here in 1946-47 as head of the Shanghai Office of the Delegation of the Communist Party of China. Because the ruling Kuomintang refused to allow an office to be set up, the villa was known as Gen. Zhou Enlai's Abode. Although on paper the two parties were in agreement, the Communist Party of China wanted to expose the underhanded operations of the Kuomintang (supported by the U.S.). They did so by meeting with local and foreign press, and printing newspapers. Meanwhile, the Kuomintang kept surveillance on the house. Beside the former residence was a museum as a Memorial to the Office of the Delegation of the Communist Party of China, outlining its activities through photographs and papers.
Here is Zhou Enlai in the lovely courtyard:
Japanese maple:
More villas that have been renovated:
And a villa that has not:
Then we visited the former residence of Sun Yatsen (as seen from the rear):

After first going through the Museum of Sun Yatsen, where he presides out front:
Sun Zhongshan, or Sun Yatsen was a remarkable man, who was a medical doctor, and there was evidence that he spoke and wrote in excellent English. His wife's name, Song Qingling, was mentioned several times in the Zhou Enlai museum as an activist. Sun Yatsen was a pioneer of Nationalist China, helping to overthrow the Qing Dynasty, the last of the imperial dynasties. He was provisional president when the Republic of China was founded in 1912. He developed the political philosophy of the Three Principles of the People - nationalism, democracy, and the people's livelihood. Sun Yatsen lived in Shanghai from 1918 until his death in 1924. His wife continued to live here until 1937, and it was she who arranged the furniture in the house in 1956 when she decreed it should be preserved in his memory.
Several times we have seen bridal couple being photographed. We don't know if they are the actual bridal couple, or models.
The former Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas sits on Gaolan Road:
The church was built in 1934, and it was saved from destruction during the Cultural Revolution when the Russians pasted Mao posters on the building. Russians have gathered here for recent events, and it is hoped that it will again become a house of worship.
Container gardens:
Bikes and motor scooters are parked everywhere, but they belong in these designated areas of the sidewalk:
We have seen four uniformed men pick up a locked motor scooter to move it around the corner to a proper parking area.

We definitely like the detours through local parks. Fuxing Park was established and designed by the French.
Wisteria arbor:
Group exercise to music:
Playing cards:
Ending our French Concession walk on Huaihai Road, we saw another landmark building, the Cathay Theater.
Built in 1932 in Art Deco style, designed by Hungarian architect C. H. Gonda, it still operates as a cinema. It was owned by Sir Victor Sassoon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Another visit to the French Concession.
The Mansion Hotel:
Built in 1932, designed by French architect Lafayette, it was the clubhouse of the gangster "Big Ears" Du Yuesheng.
The Lyceum Theater:
Built in 1930 as the home of the British Amateur Drama Club.
The Rose Coffee Shop of the Okura Garden Hotel:
The Okura Garden Hotel was built in 1926 as the French Club.
Remember the cement-laying pipes?
They are finished, and they also tore down the walls hiding the mystery building:
The brand new Shanghai Culture Square: 
Built in 2011, it is the largest and deepest underground theater in the world. Due to height restrictions in the French Concession, they decided to build downward instead of up.
We couldn't get into the Ruijin Guesthouse last time, because it is still under reconstruction:
Built in 1920 as the manor home of newspaper magnate Mohawk Morris, of the North China News.
One of five villas in the compound.

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Took a walk in the Changning area, and saw a couple buildings that I would call French in design:

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