On Sunday following the Learning 2.011 Conference in Shanghai, China, I explored the Bund with friends. According to Wikipedia, the Bund:

is a waterfront area in central Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. The area centres on a section of Zhongshan Road (East-1 Zhongshan Road) within the former Shanghai International Settlement, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, facing Pudong, in the eastern part of Huangpu District. The Bund usually refers to the buildings and wharves on this section of the road, as well as some adjacent areas. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai.

If you ever come to Shanghai you don’t want to miss the Bund. It’s the one of the most architecturally impressive areas, as well as the busiest. On a holiday weekend like we have now prior to the Mid-Autumn Festival, thousands of people flock to Shanghai from the surrounding areas of China and come to the Bund. We felt a bit like celebrities as Westerners (and some of us blondes) as people regularly asked us to pose with them for photos. One person explained, “For many years, China was a closed country to foreigners.” This was his way of saying, “We don’t see folks like you in these parts very often, so that’s why we’re keen to take photos of you.” I can only imagine the reaction if I’d come to the Bund with my wife and three blonde children!

I recorded a seven minute video blog yesterday at the Bund and reflected on some aspects of China which I’m reticent to write about on my blog for reasons I’ll describe. China is an amazing country and wonderful for many reasons, but it also gives me pause to count my blessings. I hope this video encourages you to do the same.

It took over two hours for this 280 MB video to upload to YouTube over my Astrill VPN connection at our hotel. YouTube is blocked by Chinese authorities, so it is not possible to access YouTube videos nor share them without a VPN or proxy service.

I made a few errors in the stories I recorded at the Bund (saying “hotel” instead of “school” at one point, and “deported” instead of “disappeared”) but hopefully you’ll still get an accurate idea of what I was trying to share. Lots to think about historically and politically here in China.

Some technical details: I recorded this series of videos on my iPhone4 with the built-in microphone and edited the clips together using iMovie for iPhone. I copied the exported “high resolution” (medium 520p) video to my laptop using iPhoto, and uploaded it to YouTube from my laptop browser using Astrill VPN and my hotel wifi.

We ended up not being able to figure out how to buy tickets to a river cruise on the Huangpu River, and instead of seeing the lights of the city at night from the water enjoyed about three hours of drinks and appetizers at the historic light house near the north side of the Bund. The English WikiPedia article has some additional photos of the remarkable scenes at the Bund. The following were two of my favorites from the night. I took many more and will upload them later after I get home. The second image is a panoramic photo I took on my iPhone using the app Pano. Be sure to view the full / large resolution version. Spectacular!

Spectacular evening skyline in Shanghai of the Pearl Tower

Evening on the Bund in Shanghai

This afternoon (Monday in China) I head for home in Oklahoma, but before my flight in the morning I”m hoping to visit the Shanghai Museum. On all my trips here, I have yet to visit a museum in Shanghai. It’s been a great conference and week here in China, but I’m ready to get home to my wife and kids. Next year the conference will be in Beijing in October instead of September. It’s my dream to be able to participate and bring my family to experience this amazing country and its people.

Adios from Shanghai!

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