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The Peace Hotel

The Bund
April 14, 2004

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A veteran traveler recommended the Peace Hotel, a bit of history dating back to the late 1920s, when Chiang Kai Shek's Nationalist Party governed China. This art deco palace has a bit role in 1987's "Empire of the Sun." From one of its windows, the story's young hero signals through the gray dawn light with his flashlight to a Japanese patrol boat on the Hwang Po river. When the bombs start dropping immediately after, he fears he's started a war. On our first dawn in Shanghai, we saw no Japanese patrol boats on the river, but plenty of Japanese corporate logos on the buildings lining its banks. They lost the war, but not the peace.