Shanghai

 

SHANGHAI, CHINA BY MARUKO ZHAO:

Maruko Zhao was not born in Shanghai where she now resides, so her first impression of the populous city was through a film on the Republic of China.

Even then the artist recalls how elegant, artistic and prosperous the city was, and still is today.

Like most of the inhabitants of China’s capital cities, Zhao spent a large portion of 2020 in lockdown – from January until June.It was in quarantine that she learnt how to bake some of her favourite snacks.

“During my quarantine, I learned to make some special snacks that I love,” Zhao says. “There are some snacks that you need to be patient to finish, which also made me calm during the quarantine.”

“My favourite [dish from the city] is crab roe dumpling, which is a famous snack in Shanghai. The steamed bun is thin and full ofsoup. When it is still steaming out of the steamer, it is necessary to suck out the soup with a straw before eating, otherwise it would be very hot.”

As Zhao cites, Shanghai is a “cultural blend” where the locals and visitors are “happy to accept new things.”

It is this combination of historic practices with modern influences which have seen Zhao fall in love with the city and why it should be a destination everybody should visit if only virtually for now.

“When I think of Shanghai, my first thought is a leisurely street that is planted with Firmiana (a native flowering tree); simple, full of life,” Zhao says.

“And not too far away we can see the business district with developed economic concentration opposite to the Huangpu River.Shanghai is a very distinctive city in China, with modern and an ancient life atmosphere all at the same time.”

Before travel is possible, Zhao suggests filling a room of your home with the scent of magnolia – the official flower of Shanghai.That way we can travel spiritually and mindfully without even leaving the house.

Follow Maruko Zhao @maruko_zhao

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