Or, Blast from the Past.
For some time now I’ve been meaning to go back to 江尖公园, which is the island I can see from my window. I probably went over there about three years ago to have a look at the fake ancient street only to find that the money had apparently run out and the place was being left to slowly decay. A man was practising the flute there at the time.
Soon after my trip, the street was fenced off, and when the fencing was removed, I assumed that the work had been finished and had been filled with pretentious boutique shops populated by bored, low-achieving girls.
And thus I toddled off this afternoon to see what had been going on since I was last year. Answer? Nothing. The place remains an unoccupied shell apart from a functioning (?) restaurant. I could also hear some people, probably security guards, playing majiang in an upstairs room as I went through the entrance.
I then took a turn round to 县前三号, which is this group of three buildings which have been under construction for the past two years or so. Before they started on those, they built some buildings in what I’d describe as a sino-colonial style. I thought they might be small shops and restaurants, and the sales office for the project itself, but I’d never been over there.
What I found was that these were also shells of buildings. The entrances are boarded up, although all the windows are wide open. It seems to be a rather extravagant gesture, reminiscent of the mouldering buildings outside 大慈 in Chengdu, which had obviously been mothballed and which have now been demolished without ever recouping the money expended on them. Like 江尖公园 there was a restaurant, which does appear to be open, but that was all.
I had been chiding myself for not being inquisitive sooner, but all I found was the same oriental folly which was there on the previous occasion.