Visiting the Birthplace of Communism
During one of many visits I took to Shanghai, I thought it might be interesting to see where Communism in China was established.
As I was traveling back and forth between the states and China, I kept a little book of travel notes and places I'd like to visit if the chance arose. On this particular trip, I took the opportunity to visit a museum that was built in the area where the first meetings of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China were held in 1921.
Before I left the hotel I had the front desk clerk write on a slip of paper the Chinese characters for 76 Xingye Road, Xintiandi, Huangpu District. Many years ago I learned this trick while traveling off the beaten path in Japan, and it got me to and from my destination every time with cab drivers and friendly locals. For the return trip, I had them also write the name and address of the hotel, I recommend doing this so that no matter how far off the beaten path you want to go, you can always get back to home base.
When the cab pulled up to the museum, it was swarming with Chinese tourists. As I walked in with the crowd I stood out like a sore thumb, but felt a collective somberness that one feels when visiting temples, or significant cultural or
historical sites. The atmosphere in the old house that had been converted to a museum of Communist history was quiet, almost stoic, yet filled with documents, photos and memorabilia. The building is a modern version of the one that was once there, but the significance of its origin was not lost.
Once inside we all received a small booklet of propaganda with historic milestones including an interesting account why their first historical meeting was moved in haste and resumed aboard a pleasure junk on South Lake.
So, if you are traveling to Shanghai, pencil 76 Xingye Road in your travel book. There's more to expand upon regarding this post so stay tuned for my next blog entry.