On my first visit to Shanghai several years ago, the Bund was looking a bit worse for wear.
On my second trip to Shanghai a couple of years later, there were hopeful signs.
I interviewed a developer, and he informed me that a complete restoration of the Bund – returning it to its pre-Liberation glory days – was in the works.
There would be shopping arcades, boutique hotels, art galleries, day spas, and restaurants serving haute cuisine – and they would be housed in those imposing stone buildings, which would be restored one by one.
Champs-Elysees of the East?
The unsightly promenade that fronted the Whampoa River would be torn down. Tunnels would be built, diverting through traffic underground, allowing wider side walks and other enhancements.
“Some day it will rival the Champs-Elysees in Paris,” I was promised.
On my third trip to Shanghai, the Bund was one massive construction site, and my hopes ran high.
In the meantime, I had been to Hangzhou, and I had seen first hand how the once shabby shores of West Lake had been successfully transformed into a thing of beauty. I was expecting a similar transformation in Shanghai.
Tomorrow: My Verdict
Copyright Michael Taylor Pictured: The Bund in Shanghai circa 1928 with the World War I Memorial to the right Photo Credit Wikimedia