China 2005

Our next day took us to the Jade Buddha Temple, a silk factory, Shanghai Museum, Yu Yuan Garden and Old Town. Shanghai is again, another huge city with a population of some 16 million. 9 million bikes and 952 bus lines. Again property is expensive. A beautiful clean city with many parks, high-rises and very nice people. We especially had fun at the markets. If you are nice to them and respect them, they go the extra mile. We had such fun bargaining and all came away with treasures and gifts. Our visit to a silk factory was a mecca for silk. There were many in our group that took home a silk quilt for around 90.00 CDN (kingsize). We got to see the whole process and the end result, including racks and racks of silk shirts, ties, rugs, sleepwear, jackets, scarves, material and vests. Our coach driver was very inventive as you can see by the parking job in front of the hotel where we took lunch. Steve enjoyed showing us a bit of his prowess on a musical instrument. I must tell you now, each and every meal that we ate was not only enjoyable but a new experience. We never did tire of the food, which some times can happen. Each area of the country specializes in a unique cuisine and we were lucky enough to be able to taste three distinct flavours while in China.

The Shanghai Museum was wonderful and we all commented that we just didn't have enough time. I only got to visit three areas myself. You can see by the pictures that there were some exquisite items on display. The new Shanghai Museum has ten special galleries of bronze, calligraphy, ceramics, furniture, jades, minority art, paintings, sculpture, seal carvings, coins and arts and crafts, together with a special gallery of donated relics and three temporary exhibition halls.

We were then taken to the Bund, the famous financial district of old Shanghai. These buildings were all put up in the early 1920's and it is a very special area. Some of our group went down in the evening when it was all lit up and said it was truly something worth seeing. Our next stop was Old Town with its colourful banners and lanterns...we all wanted to stay here and just enjoy the liveliness of it all...

Next stop was the Yu Yuan Garden with it's zig zag pathway. Built in 1559, a beautiful garden and as you can see, more in bloom because of the warmer temperatures. Pan Yunduan spent twenty years and all his savings building it to please his parents in their old age.

After all this sightseeing we were ready to shop and what better place that the markets in Shanghai. We were armed and ready to go and ended up spending three hours there. It went by in a breeze and none of us finished up empty handed. We had a free night so 8 of us decided to have dinner right across the street at a Mongolian Hot Pot restaurant. Vivica knew what to order and once that was decided we chatted endlessly about our purchases until the food arrived. Beef, pork, vegetables, rice and shrimp. We continued chattering until someone screamed! Seems the shrimp were so fresh they were still alive and starting bouncing out of their covered dish. Well, this sent us into hysterics. Here we were catching shrimp and laughing, the regulars looking at us like we were nuts, and of course we were, to think the shrimp would be anything less than alive when they arrived. Our waitress did the deed in the hot pot and we settled down again because we were all so hungry. What a fun way to end a simply incredible day.





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