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Festive Nanjing Road Recaptures Shanghai's Heyday
熱鬧的南京路  重現上海風華

Finally, this hour, the latest entry in our series, Summer Nights. We've been exploring 探索places that come alive when the sun goes down and, today, we head to China's financial capital金融首都, Shanghai. In the 1920s and '30s, Shanghai was one of the world's most exciting and notorious惡名昭彰的 cities. All that ended when the communists took over被共產黨接手.
But, in the last decade or so, Shanghai has reemerged再現. It's now a dynamic充滿活力的 city of 23 million with a skyline that dwarfs that of Manhattan上海大樓天際線之高,讓紐約的曼哈頓都相形失色. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from China's Times Square, Nanjing Road中國的時代廣場 南京路.
FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: It's Sunday night on Nanjing Road and this is the most vibrant充滿生氣的/欣欣向榮的 part of the city in the summers. Right now, I'm surrounded by thousands and thousands of people strolling along漫步. Nanjing Road's kind of an assault to the senses是一種感官震撼. It's full of old colonial architecture老派的殖民風格建築, tons of neon signs不計其數的霓虹燈 and, if you can listen here, people come out and sing in the evenings.
LANGFITT: Right here, there are about two, three hundred people gathered in a circle圍成一圈 to listen to a band.
LANGFITT: The instruments include drums, flute and the erhu二胡, a two-stringed Chinese fiddle. Wang Hongping sings with the band every weekend (unintelligible) musicians playing in public parks公園.
WANG HONGPING: (Through translator) We're all musical illiterates不會看五線譜, but we really like music. We common people get together and sing Red songs共產黨的紅歌, Communist Party共產黨 songs, just to enjoy ourselves.
LANGFITT: Wang sings me one of her favorites.
HONGPING: (Singing in foreign language).
LANGFITT: The tune旋律 is called "On Top of Beijing's Golden Mountain北京的金山上." This verse refers to Chairman Mao毛主席 as a golden sun, warm and kind. In fact, Mao Zedong hated this sort of Shanghai scene - riotous neon advertisement喧鬧的霓虹燈廣告, scores of stores大量的商店, a boisterous monument吵雜的建築物象徵to capitalism, so he put the city into a deep sleep讓這個城市陷入沉睡.
In the mid-1990s, as Shanghai was waking up, Wang Hongping moved here from the countryside. Now 45, she works as a barber理髮師 and sells clothes. Wang says Shanghai's provided great opportunities, including mentoring from her fellow music makers, something she never could have found back home.
HONGPING: (Through translator) The Communist Party reformed and allowed us peasants農人 to move to the big cities and realize our dreams實踐夢想. In the countryside, you could never find so many teachers who could teach you to sing.
LANGFITT: If music isn't your thing, there's always country line dancing一種一字排開的鄉村舞蹈. In fact, that's kind of what it looks like. I've just walked up on a group of mostly women and a couple of men and it looks like they are literally country line dancing.
LANGFITT: Two women, Zhu Fengying, a retired crane operator起重機駕駛(操作員), and her dance partner, Gung (unintelligible), explain.
ZHU FENGYING: (Foreign language spoken).
LANGFITT: It's the 16-step dance十六步舞. It's Chinese, they say.
LANGFITT: As much fun as Nanjing Road is, there is a little bit of a dark side黑暗面 to the place. I've sometimes been here on my own and been hit up repeatedly by hookers不斷地被妓女騷擾. Fortunately, tonight, I'm just walking along talking into a microphone, so all I'm getting is a lot of stares and nobody's bothering me.
LANGFITT: Crossing the street, avoiding a trolley, I come across this.
LANGFITT: It's a brass band of elderly men. They're wearing bright red uniforms with epaulets勳章. Wang Geyuan, 73, plays the saxophone.
WANG GEYUAN: (Foreign language spoken).
LANGFITT: We're the Loving Happiness Band, he says.
LANGFITT: The band is private, but receives some government support, hence the five-star government emblem徽章 on their caps. Like other performers on Nanjing Road, they play for large crowds of Chinese tourists, but take no money.
GEYUAN: (Through translator) The best thing about playing is it makes us happy and, if we're happy, the audience is happy.
LANGFITT: Wang, a retired artist with China's People's Liberation Army中國人民解放軍, opens his case and shows me his saxophone.
GEYUAN: (Through translator) This saxophone was made by an American company. It's not a very professional one. This is just a hobby.
LANGFITT: It says it was made in the United States in 1936.
LANGFITT: It's now almost 10:00 on Nanjing Road. Security guards appear, signaling it's quitting time示意要大家散會了. As the summer crowds thin out當人潮逐漸散去, the band plays one final song.
LANGFITT: Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Shanghai.
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