By Lukas Steinberg
We’re a little late on this one but here it comes: the 100% fake-booze, fake-boobs, dance and hangover-free holiday edition! And if that’s still not enough, head over to our calendar for more.
China Art Museum
Ever wondered what happened to that oversized red monstrosity that towered over the Expo site and yet which many visitors never had the chance to glimpse inside due to weird visitor restrictions? Well in case you haven’t noticed, the China pavilion is still there, it’s just been closed for the last 10 months as they made space for the China Art Museum. Over three levels, the exhibition will present history and development of modern art in Shanghai and China. For the occasion, seven major foreign museums were invited to exhibit works from their collections in the international section, including works from Victor Hugo’s House in Paris: Auguste Rodin, Nadar, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Luc-Olivier Merson as well as Hugo himself.
Free // China Art Museum (ex China Pavilion), Guozhan Lu, Pudong (South Xizang rd Station, line 4 or 8)
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
The price may appear fairly steep, but we imagine keeping exotic fish alive and well in smoggy Shanghai is pretty expensive too. We like the contrast between spacious fish tanks and the cases crammed with half-dead fish zombies as seen in front of Chinese restaurants and Carrefour’s seafood section. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium also tries to raise awareness of the extreme pollution of China’s rivers and seas. The long underwater tunnel is the absolutely stunning highlight, and overall it’s worth the 160RMB if your interest in aquatic creatures goes beyond sushi. The biggest annoyance are crowds of (adult) visitors knocking on the glasses to say hi to Mr. Shark and “Nemo”. Hopefully the extended opening times during the holidays will help that.
160RMB // 9am-9pm // 158 Yincheng Bei Lu, near Lujiazui Huan Lu (银城北路158号, 近陆家嘴环路)
Once in a while it’s necessary to remind ourselves that there actually are legitimate film releases in China. This week you can chose between a cinematic “gem” with an average 7% rotten rating, Taken 2, and its total opposite when it comes to critical acclaim. So let’s not talk about the trash and have a quick look at the box office hit “Looper“, which features a time-travel storyline, a plot device termed “frivolous” and at risk of promoting “feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation” by the State Administration for Radio, Film & Television: “In the year 2042, a man working for a group of killers called “Loopers” (they work for the mob and kill people who are sent blindfolded back in time from the year 2072 by their bosses) recognizes a victim as himself. He hesitates resulting in the escape of his older self.” (IMDb)
Sheshan Hill and Paintball Action
Take Line 9 all the way down to ‘Songjiang Xincheng Station’ (the final stop) and make your way from there. The Shanghai Paintball Center is located on No. 388 Chenghua Lu, not far from the metro station itself. You can rent all the necessary munition (masks, uniforms, weapons and paintball ammonition) there and let the fights begin. Call 13818773979 for more info. If you don’t feel like crawling in the dust and getting splattered with paintballs, you can also hop off Line 9 a bit earlier at ‘Sheshan’. Take Bus 92 from the front of the station for two more stops, and you’ve made it. A relatively easy journey for some fresh air and green outside the city. You can hike in the bamboo forest, visit the observatory and the Sheshan basilica on top of the gentle, 100m high hill, which is only rivalled by Shanghai’s innumerable skyscrapers.
Being a water town and the so-called “Venice of Shanghai”, Zhujiajiao has many of the characteristics of a Chinese tourist trap: groups in hats, slightly overpriced food, and noisy vendors trying to sell you tacky souvenirs. But if you’re able to ignore all those possible annoyances, Zhujiajiao can actually be quite the enjoyable experience for a spontaneous one-day trip that requires little to zero preparation. The water canals divide the narrow alleys and old buildings in a charming way, and there are quite a few nice little places to discover that are included in the combo tickets you can purchase at the gates (optional). They cover a ridiculously short (!) boat ride that really feels like it lasts for no more than two minutes, but also entrance to some nice little gardens, an old Qing-era post station, a temple and so on. When we went there, we were surprised by light rain, but in the end it somewhat added to the charm of the scenery. So if you’re equipped with some umbrellas, snacks and drinks, this could be a nice short getaway with a bunch of friends from the noise and smog of the concrete jungle. Zhujiajiao can easily be reached by bus. Check here for directions.