“For a century, the Bund (Chinese: 外滩 wài tān /why tan/ ‘Outer Beach’) has been one of the most recognizable symbols and the pride of Shanghai. The architecture along the Bund is a living museum of the colonial history of the 1800s. You’ve never been to Shanghai if you haven’t seen the Bund… The Bund is a mile-long stretch of waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River. To the west of this stretch stand 52 buildings of various architectural styles, including Gothic, baroque, and neoclassical styles. It is often referred to as ‘the museum of buildings’.” – www.chinahighlights.com
A small group of us spent the morning walking from our ship’s birth at the Shanghai Port International Passenger Terminal to the beginning of the Bund at Broadway Mansions on the north side of the Wusong River (Suzhou Creek). We crossed the bridge and walked the length of the Bund to the south with a stop in a park along the way for tea at a tea house. Walking south really showed off the pollution as we were looking through it towards the sun. When we reversed direction on our return walk to the terminal the pollution seemed less severe, due to the optical illusion of having the sun behind us and bright trees, parks and buildings in the foreground of our vision (and photographs). The smog index was 139, somewhat unhealthy, on the international scale of 0 (no smog) to 400 (terrible and sickening). Of course, we all tried picturing the Bund and our walk 100 or 150 years ago during the colonial period when the buildings and development of the Bund were similar, but there was very little pollution. The Shanghai municipal government, along with the national Chinese government, are heavily publicizing the positive steps that are being undertaken in the city to reduce pollution and increase energy production from renewable sources, lessening contributions to pollution in the future. As Americans at this time, it was embarrassing to see China moving forward to combat climate change and pollution while watching the current Washington administration reversing course and removing the U.S. commitments and actions on combating climate change by executive orders and E.P.A. actions.