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New World City; I love these names, for all their simplicity the most foreign of Englishes.

The Golden Pen shop
Golden Wave
Fortune Duck
Double Happiness Matches.

(And in Singapore a restaurant called New World Fish Head Show Boat)

Outside a restaurant a band of tubby musicians in scarlet jackets oompah for no apparent reason. Down the road slope slender, abstracted beauties, feet barely leaving the ground. Other starchy belles pedal past in trim little suits on bikes with baskets, like fifties Girtonians off to lectures.

I reach the Bund and look out over the great brown churning Huangpo River. I watch tankers and tugs and cargo ships ploughing up and down like the picture on the cover of a Ladybird Book of Ships from the 1950s or the jigsaw I had and loved as a child: The Pool of London, a scene of almost impossibly simultaneous dynamism.

And beyond this shipping, in effect the new Bund, the new commercial and industrial zone, Pudong, a mass of construction. I watch a dirigible weaving in and out between towers and gantries and the Pearl Television Tower (again that curiously foreign English), a futuristic structure of struts and globes 486 metres high. Smugly I say to myself I will go across the river and be the only tourist there, in the new city of Pudong.

I get a taxi and we hurtle up the helter-skelter of a coiled access road up onto the bridge high above the Huangpo, to switchback down again on the far side; in ten minutes I am at the foot of the Pearl Television Tower; I pay my driver who is busy taking a pull from a jar of swampy looking water with some root (or newt?) afloat in it.


need these streets
city sublime
seismic city
chopper shot
perfect city
dark city
global flaneur
shanghai and seoul
city tourist
loathsome centres
krung thep
sex city
hong kong
nightmares dreams
new sublime
dickens in la

  verybigcity: e-Book by Rodney Blakeston
  :: SITEKICK.CO.UK :: 2002©Rodney Blakeston