Sunday, June 28, 2009

From the Roof of the Post Office

The International Post Office is the Volvo of Shanghai's colonial architecture: boxy but good. While it's actually a very large and well-known building, on the corner of Sichuan Lu and the Suzhou River, just about every single picture of it focuses on one particularly attractive corner, with a clock and some bronze statues:

Not so long ago I blogged about the street it's on, Sichuan Lu, and I've had a number of posts about the area. Suffice it to say that the post office is in an interesting area and on an interesting street, and while the Postal Museum may not in itself be a highlight to Shanghai, it's definitely worth making the Museum part of a larger wandering. I'd also like to give special credit to Delongguan Xiaolongbao. While this branch of the chain lacks much class, it's truly excellent xiaolongbao, and just a few minute's walk away. It's also interesting walking around all the older buildings and seeing the occasional river traffic, with the Post Office on the far right:

I won't go into much detail about the Museum itself. It's located one floor up and it's crazy extensive. I'm no stamp collector, but there were a couple interesting bits: a short take on the very early history of delivered messages, from thousands of years ago, and then a collection of Communist era stamps. They often looked like Chinese Propaganda Posters, only done in miniature. However a whole lot of the museum was given to old Postmasters or 1930s company tennis teams or what have you. Anyway it's all free and the boring bits are quite skippable. At the end strangely enough there's even an old railroad car and suspended propeller plane.

The best part is that after the museum, there's an elevator to the rooftop terrace. There's actually not much to the rooftop itself, except for some astroturf and a number of the worst Engrish signs in Shanghai, all collected in one place:

There's a beautiful sweeping view over both the Bund and Lujiazui. The pollution when I took this picture turned the distance into some kind of watercolor:

While it's also possible to turn and look over at Sichuan Lu and a more typical slice of Shanghai:

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