Saturday, May 31, 2008

Meaningless Milestone #3 and Guest Blog #9 - Mark's Parents

Today's blog is a special double blog, that right today you get the last post my parents send us from Shanghai before they left to head back to the comfort of the States, and today of all days we hit yet another milestone.

That's right, this is post number 300 for this blog, which mean that we are just a few short months away from hitting our one year of posting milestone. We glad, and somewhat surprised, that you are all still following along. Thanks.

Ok, on to the actual post, the final from my parents and their quick tour of China. They should be safely back at home now, probably sleeping off the jet lag...

Shanghai is a VERY large and bustling city which is a combination of both the Eastern and the Western cultures. At times you would think you were in a large American city such as Chicago or New York.

However, when you wander away from the high rises, expensive shops and five star hotel, you find yourself in another world; a world Charlie & I would have been afraid to explore if we hadn't spend time first in Xiamen.

When we landed in the afternoon our tour guide took as on a whirlwind tour of the city, showing us the Bund, the Yu Garden and the French Concession. The Bund is blocks of buildings, mostly built in 1920-30, along the river and each one reflects the western commercial power/architecture at that time. The buildings of the Bund are mostly banks and hotels, the other side of the river, the Pudong area, meaning east side of the river, was populated by farmers until about 20 years ago. There were fields of rice and other vegetables until the government relocated the peoples and now we have a very modern city skyline with skyscrapers. It was cloudy and overcast so we knew, once we got to the hotel, that we were not going to go over to the Pudong district to get the view from the Hyatt as Mark & Tina suggested.

However today we took a taxi to the Bund Tunnel and walked to the Hyatt. There was a lot of construction and it took us a while; a one point we realized some workers were taking pictures of us! We laughed and posed with our fingers in the "Victory" sign. We decided not to go to the top, Cloud 9 Bar, because we wouldn't be able to see anything (still overcast), but, and Mark you wouldn't believe this, we went to the Chinese Restaurant at the 87th floor. We felt as if we were in a cloud and Charlie ordered something which he even ate, and we used chopsticks!

Then we took the same tunnel back because we couldn't find anyone to ask where the ferry was, and then walked to the Old Town area and eventually to the Xin Tiandi for dinner. Walking the Old Town area was like being back in Xiamen: the fruit stalls, the fish, the turtles, chickens, grasshoppers, and the teas. Whereas we had not seen many people in PJs, as we got closer to the back alleys that is exactly what they were wearing! The commercial vendor markets can be aggressive but the alley ones seemed surprised to see us. We stopped at a bakery and purchased a danish. . . boy are we brave.

There are lots of cars, bicycles, and scooters, and also the carts filled with most anything. How all these vehicles manage to get along without accidents is amazing. There is horn blowing but no tempers that we can see. I sometimes think they all made of rubber as they weave in and out and never get a scratch.

Ending this e-mail with a funny saying the Chinese have : "Even dogs don't want to play with 7 year old boys. They are too noisy!" (Our tour guide told us this when I said I was teacher of young children.)

Flying home tomorrow. This has been the trip of a lifetime. Thank you Mark and Tina for moving to China and for welcoming us into your home.

Love, Margaret

1 comment:

Flo said...

That is the trip of a lifetime. Thanks for letting us come along.