Well, as would be expected China is becoming quite a diversified or cultural experience for us, and we have only been here two days. As we have told you many times, in the hotel the people are so polite it is embarrassing. There are three bell men to meet your car, and if you walk up to the hotel, as we have done several times, they run to greet and assist you. Then inside, there is a girl who smiles and answers any questions. And if you have a question, she takes you to where ever you asked about. Then there is a girl in the elevator corridor and on and on. This morning after breakfast, Tom and I went to the eight story mall next to the hotel; and, well, not so friendly. We really felt like a minority, which of course, we were.
One cannot drink the water here, so didn’t want to chance McDonalds or other fast food places in the Mall as they have been known to mix their sodas with water etc. so back to the hotel for lunch. I had planned to order a hamburger which costs $32, because basically I was hungry. Tom too! Well, the head waiter comes over and informs us, “This is Asia, so I recommend ______!” Tom had Wonton Noodle soup. It was noodle soup with shrimp dumplings, BBQ pork, choy sum and mushrooms. Sounds ok, right? The pork was horrible; put that in caps. Tom did not recognize anything that looked like shrimp and thought he might get sick just looking at it. It must have been the choy sum, whatever that is. I will tell you that Tom and I came out laughing because what else could you do. Crying didn’t seem right! We just called it another cultural experience.
So tonight we walked out to the famous Bund which is a walking street down by the Huangpu River. The river is extremely busy, like Amsterdam with a very stiff current. The first place we stopped was a pizza place because we are already a little tired of “Asian” food. Nope, they said “No single groups tonight.” I guess that was more like our mall experience. Not everyone is friendly in China. So we found another pizza place and it was heaven. Of course we couldn’t have appreciated the wonderful place had we not had the previous experiences. The owner was so friendly and forgave us out faux pas of not having reservations, and told us about the different cities we were going to visit. What a true jewel in the midst of our Asians meals.
We visited two Buddhist Temples. Tom posted some photos from the temples. One Buddha was made entirely out of jade and another was made from 15 tons of solid silver. I love the photo of the ancient temple against the sky scraper. They do have some fantastic buildings in this area of Shanghai like the iconic Oriental TV Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. We can see the Pearl Tower from our hotel window and it is magnificent. Around the ancient temple were our first homeless beggars. People in rags and filth everywhere. People with withered limbs and with all sorts of crutches and chairs. A far cry from our hotel area where we had spent the morning walking. That is when it dawned on us, China isn’t interested in human rights so beggars and the homeless don’t fit in the upscale Lujazui financial district. Dow Chemical had a luncheon at the hotel to give you an idea of this place.
In the last email, made fun of the environmental messages in our room. I was wrong. It is the first hotel in Shanghai to be certified with the ISO. They are the only hotel in Shanghai to be environmental friendly. When you consider that the city is home to 23 million people, and we saw most of them on the roads yesterday, I say they have a ways to go, but guess you have to start somewhere. Yesterday when we got back to the hotel, I had so much soot on me from the car emission, I felt like I was wearing glue.
Today our tour officially begins. We have to be in the lobby at 8:00 to meet our tour host and then have a full day of sightseeing ending with a Chinese Acrobatic Show and Dinner.
Check out the snake photo. Tom does not like snakes, but this one is sweet. It is made out of candy, and you can pick candy from several jars when you finish the buffet.
“Certainly travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miram Beard
Confucius say – Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
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Tom & Holly