People's Park

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Shanghai's Marriage Market
If you have a bit of time on your hands over the weekend, pop into People’s Park for a paper-and-ink version of Match.com. While you might not find detailed descriptions of a candidate's “dream date,” you will find cut-and-dried biographies stating age, height, profession, income, and whether or not the candidate owns a house or car. Most of the individuals advertised are nowhere in sight, as it’s often a concerned relative listing the dating credentials here. But for a fascinating glimpse into the nebulous world of Chinese nuptials, grab a coffee and take a stroll through the thousands of advertisements lining the walkways. You never know what you might find.
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Shanghai People’s Park
The Shanghai Race Club, built by the British in the 1800s, is a lingering reminder that horseraces were once held here, just south of Nanjing Road. Opened to the public in the 1950s, this green refuge charms with landscaped traditional gardens and a reflecting pond with fish and pink lotus blossoms. It’s also a prime spot for people watching. Locals turn up to do tai chi exercises, play cards, and scope out the Marriage Market. Parents hoping to attract a suitable spouse wait under colorful umbrellas pinned with notes listing each child’s age, occupation, family values, and even zodiac sign.

Photo by Ira Smirnova.
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