Yesterday we (me, husband, OD or Older Daughter) did the most touristy thing we could think of for OD’s last day in Shanghai. We took the metro to the financial district, rode an elevator up to the 88th floor of the Oriental Pearl Tower and ate a buffet dinner while the sun went down. The Oriental Pearl Tower is a part of a twinkly, panoramic scene of the Shanghai skyline in James Bonds’ Skyfall. The scene in the film could easily be called breathtaking, but for real-life diners breathtaking means the cloud of pollution that envelops the revolving restaurant, as dense and brown as the streets of London circa 1880. I found it shocking. But dark falls, you have a cocktail, pick up a couple of plates of roast beef and tater tots, watch the twinkly coloured lights and the barges floating on the Bund, and forget what you are breathing.

Outside the tower we walked along an elevated sidewalk over a highway right through the financial district. Apparently 30 years ago where we walked was mostly marshes, where frogs croaked and cranes nested and the wind blew. But once China gets an idea in’er head, there’s no shiftin’ it, and China’s idea was to make Shanghai’s future as splendid as its past. It really is extraordinary.

We had to wait in line for the downward elevator after dinner, and stood in a happy group admiring their baby girl. Before I knew it the mother handed me her baby. We smiled at each other, out came all the smartphone cameras, including Jonathan’s, and we all had a moment with the air apparent.