Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shanghai Story Walk V Part 1 (10/4,11/2012)

Thursday, October 4, 2012
We have one more day off for the National Holiday, so we will complete the last walk of the Shanghai Story Walks book by Yvette Ho Madany. Story Walk V ("Spheres of Influence"), takes place in the former French Concession.
Starting at the Shaanxi Nan Lu Metro station, Exit 1:
Turn right and right again onto Huaihai Zhong Road. Just past a Starbucks is the arched entrance for Lane 927:
This is the neighborhood of Huaihai Fang, called Joffre Terrace in the French Concession days, built in the 1920s. A bit differently than suggested in the book, you should turn left down the first lane of houses. On your left are the fronts of the row of houses and on your right is the back of the next row of houses.
At No. 27 (not in the book) is the former residence of Zhu Kezhen (1890-1974):
a prominent meteorologist who received his PhD in 1918 from Harvard.
No. 33 is the former residence of Hu Die (1908-1989):
an actress who won a Best Actress Award in 1959 at the Asia Film Festival. She migrated to Canada.
Turn right and right again to start down the next row. Not mentioned in the book is No. 76:
At the moment, this is the FQ Projects Gallery, displaying works of young Chinese artists.
No. 64, the former residence of Xu Guangping (1889-1968):
the former student and wife of writer Lu Xun. She lived here after his death and edited The Complete Works of Lu Xun.
No. 59, former residence of Ba Jin (1904-2005):
a prolific writer and translator.
No. 52, former residence of Zhang Xianglin (1891-1976):
a graduate of St John's University and Columbia University; he was Chinese Consul-General in New York from 1927-1929. He was also secretary-general of HSBC from 1943-1953.
Now at the end of the row, turn left and left again. No. 99, former residence of Xu Beihong (1895-1953):
an artist who specialized in oil painting; he also donated his paintings for war causes during WWII and is known for ink drawings of horses. One of his horse paintings is in the new China Art Museum in the former Expo China Pavilion.
This lane will lead you out onto Maoming Road. Just across the street at the corner with Nanchang Road:
Astrid Apartments built in 1933 in Art Deco-style.
The sycamore trees provide a shady canopy:
Head east on Nanchang Road to Lane 127 and look for No. 4:
The former residence of He Keming (1894-1989), a Chinese lantern craftsman who started with a booth in Yu Garden at age 16. He was the first to use lead wire instead of bamboo for the structure of the lamps that he covered with silk and decorated with gold and silver threads. He shaped them into lucky animals from Chinese folklore and became famous worldwide.
(Backwards writing at the Ying Yang bar at No. 125):
No. 79 Nanchang Road:
There was supposed to be a castle-like villa which was built in 1939. I guess we didn't go far enough:
(I went back to find the castle-like villa:
Apparently a local resident lives with two uncles in the villa his grandfather built over 70 years ago.)
Lane 212 Nanchang Road:
Described as a tired-looking and like something from Charles Dickens:
Probably some of the most-interesting lane houses we have seen.
And a busy lane, too, with a steamed bun vendor:
Farmer's market:
Boys amusing themselves:
No. 65, the former residence of Yang Hucheng (1893-1949):
a general in the Kuomintang government, although he supported an alliance with the Communists against the Japanese. When Chiang Kai-shek concentrated his efforts against the Communists rather than the invading Japanese, Yang took part in what is known as the Xi'an Affair in 1936. Along with General Zhang Xueliang, he had Chiang Kai-shek kidnapped and put under house arrest to convince him to cooperate with the Communists. Chiang Kai-shek conceded, but was pretty pissed at Yang and Zhang. Yang was sent abroad, lured back and put in prison, and finally the Kuomintang assassinated him along with his two young children (his wife had already died) and his secretary and family in 1949.
No. 7 Lane 178, the former residence of Guo Moruo (1892-1978):
a writer, historian, and expert on early Chinese writing (oracle-bone inscriptions). In 1927 he was part of the Nanchang uprising where the pro-Communist faction of the Kuomintang tried to take control. After they failed, he returned to Japan where he had been educated. In 1937 he came back to China to join the movement against Japanese aggression, but was unable to bring his Japanese common-law wife and five children. While in China, he married a Shanghai actress and had six children. After WWII, his Japanese wife arrived in Shanghai, but finding Guo had another family, she managed without him. During all this time, Guo was still married to his arranged first wife whom he married in 1912, and she continued to live with his family!
Not in the book, No. 53, former residence of Lin Fengmian, a painter featured at the China Art Museum:
No. 47, the former French Sports Club:
This block long building started out as the French Sports Club until 1926, then was the College Municipal Français, a public school. Since 1958 it has been the Shanghai Science Hall/Shanghai Association of Science and Technology. Unfortunately we are looking at the rear of the building. If you can get past the guards, you should try to see the façade, and perhaps even a stained glass window.
Not in the book, but next door at No. 57 is the Shanghai Exhibition of Science and Technology:
Having made a u-turn and go back along Nanchang Road to Sinan Road and turn left. Sinan Road has many large villas such as the one at No. 36:
Definitely Art Deco touches here:
After taking the next left at Gaolan, go to No. 1, the former residence of Zhang Xueliang (1901-2001):
Built in 1934, Zhang rented this villa with his mistress Zhao Yidi (known as Miss Zhao No. 4). Zhang was the son of a warlord who became a general under Chiang Kai-shek. In 1931, he "let" the Japanese occupy three of China's northeastern provinces without resistance, a shameful incident. However, he is depicted favorably in China because of his involvement in the Xi'an Affair, where along with General Yang Hucheng, he had Chiang Kai-shek kidnapped and put under house arrest in order to get him to cooperate with the Communists against the Japanese. Zhang accompanied Chiang Kai-shek back to the capital of Nanjing, but was eventually placed under house arrest. He was taken to Taiwan in 1949.
On a personal front, Zhang was already married when he met Miss Zhao No. 4, who was 16 years old. She was supposedly his secretary, but they lived together for decades and had a son. In 1956 Zhang converted to Christianity, so he divorced his wife and married Zhao in 1964. They lived their last years in Hawaii.
At the end of Gaolan Road you enter Fuxing Park, established as the French Park in 1909. The book tells of  the statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the fathers of Communism:
There is so much more to Fuxing Park, from the rose garden:
to sidewalk vendors:
Hairy crabs:
Two elderly women with balloons!
Return to Gaolan Road and walk down to No. 16:
The former St. Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church, completed in 1934 after a Russian general organized a drive in 1932 to raise money for a memorial for those who died fighting for the Czar during the revolutions in 1917. The church was often rented to Chinese for weddings. Closed in 1955, it has had several reincarnations, once as a factory for washing machines and more recently as a bar. Today it seemed to be a cafe.
Continuing on Gaolan Road to No. 11, a striking villa (not in the book):
No. 23, "one of the prettiest villas in Shanghai:"
Built in 1918 and bought in 1945 by the Yang couple who had nine children. The current owners are an Australian man and his Miao minority Chinese wife, who found the original blueprints and restored the house. The walls are supposed to have been hand plastered with pebbles. The wooden shutters have a cut-out of symbol for clubs on playing cards (not queen of hearts design as stated in the book).
The owners bought this red carved window and installed it in the wall along the driveway:
It is suggested you walk down the lane/driveway to see the villa next door:
And the two houses behind No. 23:
No. 28, the former residence of Song Hanzhang (1872-1968):
a banker who worked in the Daqing Bank, which became the Bank of China of which he was the managing director in 1935.
No. 31, the Shanghai No. 4 School for the Deaf:
The sign language used in Shanghai schools is not the same as American Sign Language.
(Continued in Shanghai Story Walk V Part 2.)

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