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Part #16: The Perfect Night in Shanghai

Part #1: Off to China
Part #2: The Joys of Hilton Gold
Part #3: Getting a Chinese Visa
Part #4: Exploring the Hutongs
Part #5: A Walk in the Park
Part #6: Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
Part #7: The Great Wall is Truly Great
Part #8: Beijing’s Art District
Part #9: Bulletting Toward Shanghai
Part #10: Radisson Blue Shanghai – A Review
Part #11: Family History in Shanghai
Part #12: Breaking News: I Did Not Find a Husband in Shanghai
Part #13: Traveling Like a Local to Zhijiajiao
Part #14: Traveling Solo and the Great Tea Festival Scam
Part #15: Ancient Shanghai

There is one distinct advantage to traveling solo: Going on a much awaited photoshoot of the Shanghai skyline.

There are few people in my orbit who have the patience or desire to spend several hours attempting to capture the perfect picture. And I don’t blame them. On a rational level, I can see how sitting on the floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center while my butt grows numb from immobility might grow tiresome after the first hour or two. But I find the process strangely calming and satisfactory – especially when that perfect shot shows up on the LCD panel and I say to myself – “That’s it. That’s the one.”

Even my extreme hatred of the cold is dulled by the irrational need to capture the perfect picture, to never be satisfied with an okay shot, to keep trying different settings, different angles, until I get that feeling inside of me that says, “okay, I can go home now.”

That’s how I spent my second-to-last night in China: Thoroughly alone and content. It was also my first introduction to the Pudong and made me wish I had carved out a little more time to explore the towering skyscrapers, luxurious shopping centers, and vast array of parks and museums.

I timed my arrival for shortly before sunset so I could capture the skyline as it changed from sunset to dusk to night. Here is a good reference for the tallest buildings (not structures) in Shanghai.


At 2,073 feet, the Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in Shanghai and the second tallest in the world. The Shanghai World Financial Center, nicknamed the bottle opener building, is the seventh tallest at 1,614 feet. China’s third tallest building, the Jin Mao Tower, clocks in at 1,380 feet, making it the 17th tallest in the world.


Shanghai’s three tallest buildings

I paid the admission fee and rode the elevator up to the Shanghai World Financial Center’s observation deck on the 10oth floor – the third tallest in the world. I found a relatively uncomfortable spot on the floor with a perfect view of the skyline beneath me. And then I snapped, and waited, and snapped and waited, and snapped some more.


Little by little, the lights started to come on.







After a couple of hours, I ventured outside. The potential for picture taking seemed endless, even as the wind snapped across my cheeks and nibbled at my fingers. So what if I risked frost bite. I was in photography heaven.

This is one of my favorite shots: Shanghai’s three tallest buildings basking in the moonlight.





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