Photo: Don McPhee/The Guardian
Where worlds collide
"Whore of the Orient," begins everything ever written about Shanghai, "Paris of the East." Why should this guide be any different? Shanghai truly is a city where two worlds collide, at once both a symbol of the capitalist new order and its inscrutable Chinese face.
Here, among the dizzying pace of change and rampant urbanisation you will find a stark image of what China now is and where it is striving to go. If it's peace and quiet you want, best look elsewhere.
Make no mistake, Shanghai is a frenetic old place and with up to 16 million citizens it gets pretty busy. Fortunately the Metro system runs like clockwork, which is more than can be said for everything else.
There are still enclaves of ancient tradition and colonial heritage to be found in the metropolis if you look hard enough, but above all it's is about money. Money and lots of it. So get ready for the high life and check out the way the other half lives. It's the all-singing, all-dancing capital of what all the papers are saying is The Next Big Thing. Get there before it's old news.