It’s hard to imagine that über-modern Shanghai…

… once looked like this.

Shanghai has kept in touch with its past by preserving the Bund, a strip of historic buildings along the harbor. Former banks and trading houses have been converted into upscale hotels and shops. It’s a must-see attraction in Shanghai… but Karen didn’t see it. Because of her injury just a few days ago in Hong Kong, she was in no condition to walk all day. And so it was that the bump on her bum became known as the bund, as in, “How’s the bund feeling today?” and “Do you want the aisle seat, because of your bund?”

Chris, Angie, and I set out to tour the (original) Bund. I split off on my own in the morning and found that solo travelers get a little extra attention around here… from scammers.

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Waiting for Chris and Angie at the harbor front, I milled around at Mao’s feet. I wasn’t the only one.

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It seems like I was the only one scratching my head and wondering why you’d want to pose with your baby in front of a brutal dictator. Chris and Angie snapped me out of my stupor, and we set out to tour the Bund.

With extravagance all around us, perhaps it was inevitable that we would end up at the Hyatt’s 86th floor lounge for drinks (still nursing her injury, Karen wasn’t up to joining us).

Sky-high Hyatt (on the right)

From here we glimpsed the Shanghai World Financial Center, which we nicknamed the bottle-opener.

It is the tallest building in China… for now. We were told that such an honor mustn’t rest with a Japanese-owned building, so the Chinese are building a significantly taller building next door.

Shanghai Tower reaches for the sky

Upon completion, the Shanghai Tower will be the second-tallest building in the world, topped only by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Until another record-breaker comes along.

Just another day in high-flying Shanghai.