*Please note: though this is a members-only event, we welcome non-members to attend and sign up for membership at this event.
The 1980s Shanghai was another world – one almost unimaginable today. What are some of the outstanding contrasts? One of RAS's Founding Members and Shanghai architecture expert Tess Johnston is in town. In this members-only lecture, she will take us into the not so distant past as she reveals personal accounts of a city that has undergone massive renovation and gentrification that only a handful of us witnessed. Travel in time as we follow Tess through the streets of Shanghai in the 1980s when there was:
- No traffic, in fact there were almost no cars except for the few scarce and slow taxis and the Red Flag sedans of high-ranking officials that stopped all traffic, including pedestrians, at street crossings.
- Pollution, not today's sophisticated varieties, but from fires at boiling-water sales points and from coal-fired boilers for the few centrally-heated buildings like hospitals and hotels and apartment buildings for foreigners.
- Not much to buy and all diplomatic personnel entitled to shop in the foreigners-only 'Friendship Stores' (primarily for tourists) and the special food markets for diplomats.
- Wonderful second-hand items to buy on Sunday morning at the street markets on the pavements in Old Town where most genuine antiques were offered (as faking had not yet infected that trade).
- And vast and delicious offerings of 'street food' from the many stalls and sidewalk vendors of everything from sticky sweets to the ubiquitous noodle soups with their wide choice of add-ins.
- Finally, the Chinese young people, always eager to talk to foreigners in order to practice their English. They often surrounded us during our weekend visits to public parks, as did the many older Shanghainese who had learned their flawless English in the foreigner-founded schools and universities of their youth.