Tuesday, February 8, 2011

China Part 1

Back in October, the hubby and I cashed in our frequent flier miles for a trip to China to visit our daughter who was studying there for the semester. We have been to China before but had not been to Shanghai. We have been told that Beijing is the historical center for China, comparable to our Washington, DC, and that Shanghai is the business center for China, comparable to our New York city. Shanghai is much more cosmopolitan than Beijing. We saw many more international people in Shanghai than in Beijing. In fact, we saw no westerners on the streets of Beijing with the exception of family members of Olympic athletes when the games were there. Shanghai is a HUGE city. There are many skyscrapers, many cars, and many, many people. There is a considerable amount of smog. Many of these photos were taken from a moving taxi so they may be a little fuzzy. This shot is the skyline on a typical day.IMG_1005

This photo is the skyline on an unusually clear day.


I especially liked this shot of the painted water tower that we passed on our way into the city. IMG_1103 Most people live in government apartments like these.IMG_1009

There are some luxury apartments too. I don’t know if these are government subsidized or not.IMG_1110

There are so many cars that some of the roads are “two layer” if you will. They have what they refer to as the elevated road which runs right on top of another road and both of them were packed with cars.  IMG_1093


IMG_1116  Throw in several million bicycles….(look closely next to the black fence)..IMG_1081 scooters …..IMG_1183

trucks…IMG_1509three wheeled tractor trucks….IMG_1517and rickshaws……IMG_1514   and you have semi-organized chaos, otherwise known as Chinese traffic.

There were people galore. While we were there the international expo was going on so many, many visitors were in Shanghai for the expo. Many of them were Chinese who were bused in from other cities for the expo. We enjoyed a tour of the city on “The Big Bus”. We’ve taken Big Bus tours in other cities and thoroughly enjoyed them. We were able to see just how crowded the streets were from the top of the bus. IMG_1194

I couldn’t believe all of the people around the corner!IMG_1191  I’m not sure that the pictures do it justice.IMG_1192

This area is called the Bund. It is a street of beautiful historic buildings along the waterfront. Notice all of the Chinese flags along the tops of the buildings. Perhaps Americans could learn a lesson here. Patriotism is instilled in Chinese people from the day they are born.IMG_1064

We enjoyed some very good Chinese food. This restaurant had round tables with a lazy susan in the middle. The food was served in large bowls that were placed on the lazy susan so that each of us could taste all of the dishes. It was a great way to taste a variety of foods without making a commitment to any particular one of them.IMG_1057

The purpose of our trip was to visit our daughter who was studying at Fudan University. IMG_1091 IMG_1092 When the weather was warm she rode her bicycle to school everyday. My question was how in the world do you find your bike after class since they all look just alike! There must be thousands of bikes lined up all the way around the square on both sides of the street!IMG_1097 When the weather turned cold, she took a rickshaw to class. We spent one night at the VERY modest hotel on the university campus. We decided to take the rickshaw to the hotel. Since the three of us could not fit into one rickshaw, we had to take two. We were having a grand time racing in the rickshaws until a party pooper policeman came up in his car speaking Chinese over his car’s PA. We were trying to figure out who he was talking to when just as we arrived at the university my daughter exclaimed “Oh my goodness, he’s yelling at us! Get out, hurry!” As soon as we got out, the policeman drove away and the rickshaw drivers drove away, no questions asked! Apparently, they were breaking the rules!IMG_1090 The hotel which was inside the gates of the university was next to a dormitory building. I was amazed at the laundry hanging outside the dorm rooms in the morning. The students wash their clothes in a small plastic bucket each day and hang them out to dry! Many of them also walk down the street to a bathhouse to shower (sort of like summer camp).IMG_1096 The lovely daughter also planned a cultural activity for us. We went to an art studio and took a Chinese calligraphy class one night! The instructor spoke NO English so we had to have an interpreter. He was very serious about his art. It was one of the hardest things I have ever tried. The brush must be held a particular way half way up the handle. I felt like I would have more control of the brush if I held it lower down but he would not allow me to do so.IMG_1205

I’ll be adding other posts on the trip as I have time.signatureandsidebar003-001-1