Arriving at People's Square, which I accomplished via the Red Line (Metro Line 1), was a bit anti-climactic. I was expecting some grand vista like that of the infamous square which-must-not-be-named in Beijing. Instead, I came out of the People's Square metro station into the usual blasting heat but surrounded in green. I met three people that I believe were pretending to be English-learning tourists from Hangzhou (though they could have been legit) but managed to politely decline their advances of going to a tea ceremony (I read on Wikitravel that this is a common occurrence with an end result of going to a tea house that costs the invitee several hundred rmb). Honestly, however, I was on my way to the Urban Planning Exhibition Center and could care less about a tea ceremony.
The Urban Planning and Exhibition Center is a large five story building closest to the People's Square Metro station. It cost 30 rmb for one adult ticket. The Center is particularly known for the giant model of Shanghai on its upper floors which is quite breathtaking to see. They also have temporary exhibits; the one I got to see on my visit was a retrospective on architect John Portman, to which I will save for another post because I find his work... um, controversial.
The first two floors were dedicated to Shanghai built history and then and now photographs of the city over the years. The next was Portman, and then I reached the model room:
In the above two photographs, Pudong is on the left, and Puxi is on the right. Left back is.. drum roll... the Expo!
The Grand Gateway is this:
Another view of where I live, with Grand Gateway and Metro City (a globe set into the ground) and the Xujiahui metro station:
Now, the reason I wrote the post title as "People Unfriendly" has to do with trying to get to the Shanghai Art Museum. The Museum itself may have little worth to me (and it turned out to be closed) as I've already seen the exhaustive collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, but getting to it proved to be a chore. I had to go underground in order to "cross the street". This exemplifies the Shanghainese (and possibly Chinese) mentality that cars are the premium mode of transportation. This thinking creates a pedestrian nightmare, however, when you have to cross the "street" that is made up of up to 8 lanes of traffic. Cars, buses, and to a lesser extent, mopeds, scooters and bicycles have the right of way. If you are crossing the street and a car is taking a right turn, you have to let it go. This is also true even if, say, a taxi is going straight through the intersection. Mopeds and bicycles are occasionally chaotic and I'm surprised there aren't serious accidents at every intersection. I've seen several occasions of either bad or weird driving that would put the stereotypical New Jersian in a good light, or pedestrians not looking both ways while crossing and nearly getting run over. (I will try to film this kind of interaction and post stateside when I get back.)
As I have been learning, everything in China is fenced off, even the roadway here to prevent people from crossing the road. People are like cattle here it seems. Personal vehicles rule supreme.