I’m not sure when, exactly, Shanghai officially started polishing its main thoroughfares for visitors to next year’s Expo 2010 (World’s Fair). Me, I began to notice the renovations in late Spring, when the boulevard that runs in front of my building was suddenly torn up in the dark of the night. Soon after, the sidewalks disappeared, and for several dusty, then muddy, weeks, my usually quaint French Concession neighborhood was transformed into a major construction zone. Fortunately, for the most part, the worst is over: the streets look great, the sidewalks are now cobblestones (of sorts), and even the dowdy subway station has a spiffy new coat of paint.
But there still remains one glaring eyesore. Namely, my faded brown brick twenty-five story apartment building, and its identical twin across the way. No way to sugar-coat this: they’re ugly. So, I must admit, I wasn’t entirely surprised to find this outside of my window today (click for an enlargement):
According to the notice pasted to the wall beside the elevator, starting today, building exterior work will be ongoing from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM, until completed. No sense yet as to whether the crew is going to erect bamboo up both of the twenty-five story buildings (based upon this photo, it would require a forest of the stuff), much less how they plan to improve the exterior. And goodness knows who or how this is all being paid for (presumably from the same pot of US$45 billion that the NYT claims is being spent on Expo-related developments). But rest assured, Shanghai Scrap is on the scene, camera in hand, ready to document every last chisel hit (especially the ones next to my windows) belonging to this most personal (and welcome!) of Expo 2010 improvement projects.