Shanghai is the largest city in China, beginning 5,000 years ago as a tiny fishing village. Seriously, coming from the US, wrapping my brain around the concept of a 5,000 year old city is a stretch. Staying at the Pudong Shangri-La http://www.shangri-la.com/en/property/shanghai/pudongshangrila hotel on the Huangpu River with views of the Bund Promenade.
On the one hour drive into Shanghai from the airport, we encountered continuous high rise apartments. We learned that all of them had been constructed in the past 12 years. Absolutely a sea of people. I was not expecting to hear they were that newly constructed because they looked rusty and rather worn. Clearly, the construction material was substandard. What could have been nice looking buildings were ruined by the fact that everyone of them had laundry hanging outside and many had air conditioners hanging out of the windows with wires running along the outside wall. From the time we departed the airport, smog has been unrelenting. Heavy smog. More than we have ever encountered in LA or anywhere else.
Arriving at the hotel, it is apparent that there is also great wealth in China. In contrast to the high-rise condos we saw coming from the airport, there are many massive, architecturally interesting buildings along the Bund.