Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shanghai, a.k.a. Tomorrowland

We had a long wait at the airport Tuesday afternoon with no place to sit other than restaurants. Eventually we found out that is considered perfectly okay in China. We saw lots of people from our ship since there are only two flights a day to Shanghai—one in the morning and the one we were on in the evening. The flight was delayed an hour. Then we waited a long time on the runway for gate. We didn’t get to our hotel room until after midnight and fell straight to sleep.

I have had tummy problems the last couple days. Yesterday lunch was not included in our tour, and I opted out altogether. Steve got a hamburger at the airport, which bought us a place to sit for quite a while. After the late night, I slept in while Steve went to breakfast. I had a granola bar and tea for breakfast (love the in-room kettles!), but that went through me too. So I decided on a second day of fasting.

In the morning we went to the Shanghai Museum. Gorgeous building!

Lots of beautiful things but mostly arranged in glass cases in dark rooms. In the painting and calligraphy room the lights came up when you stepped near to look. We especially enjoyed the Ming and Qing furniture and the minorities crafts room. 

We only scratched the surface before going to the shopping area outside Yu Gardens. The buildings are several hundred years old. Felt very much like “old China”. Also very crowded and full of gift shops and boutiques. 

We ran into several people from our ship, including out tablemates, Joseph and Josephine. They are Italian-American. He grew up in Italy and has a strong Italian accent. She came to the US as a child and is all New Jersey. We enjoyed their company, but today only greeted, marveled at the “eye-candy” as Josephine called it, and exchanged pictures.

The Yu Gardens were a rich official’s estate that he built for his parents in the 15th c, but his father died before it was complete. Steve complained that our daughters hadn’t built us such a nice house.

I kept thinking what a beautiful place it would be with sunshine.

Our guide, Linda, left us on our own to find lunch in the shopping area. I was tempted by squid on a stick, crab soup filled dumplings, and any number of other things I saw around me, but sadly, thought my digestive track needed the rest and passed them up. Steve was not tempted by such delicacies or by the McDonalds, but found a Starbuck’s.

Going up in a hundred-story building was on the itinerary, but Steve is not enthusiastic about heights and I was feeling drained, so we came back to the hotel for a rest. I slept for 3 hours. I woke refreshed and ready to go out for the evening.

Linda took us to the pedestrian mall on E. Nanjing Road. Think Times Square in NYC.  The driver picked us up and then dropped us at the Bund, the waterfront, for a view of Shanghai on the far side of the river.

Someone had mentioned Shanghai being futuristic. I was certainly thinking Tomorrowland when I took this shot. (The incredible highway we came in on last night twenty stories in the air with ramps that spiraled 720 degrees down to earth felt pretty futuristic as well.)

Our side of the road had the early 20th c buildings of the English and French governments. 

The side of the river in the first picture has all been built in the last 25 years.

After we had had a look, Linda led us back down to the street and called the driver to take us to the boat for an evening cruise, but I wasn’t done walking. “How far is the boat?”

“Far. About a thousand meters.” 

“A thousand meters? That’s half a mile. Can we walk?” So we did. Lovely stroll along the river.

The boat ride was 50 minutes up and back as darkness fell and the lights came on. Awesome.

While Steve was elsewhere, Linda started telling me a story about her family. We got interrupted, but later I asked her to finish. I was very touched that she shared it with me, and I think I was an encouragement to her.

As the cruise came to an end, I wasn’t done drinking in the lights, so Linda gave us directions home. It turns out it was only about a 40 minutes walk. Well, an hour because I kept stopping to take pictures and Steve stopped at McDonalds. I did put an ice cream cone in my stomach and it seems to have done all right.

Our hotel, the Radisson, is the space ship disk down Nanjing Rd. in the center of the picture. Not hard to find our way.

It’s our last night in China. I’m ready to go, but already full of plans for the next trip. I’d love to do the cruise at a drier time of year. The autumn pictures I find on-line are on fire with color. Or find a place for hiking in the area to have a more intimate view of the gorges. I want more time on the wall. And a couple people on the ship mentioned going near the Tibet border. One woman said it was so beautiful that she cried. So hopefully there will be a next time for us.

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