Friday, April 25, 2008

A "Shoutout" from Shanghai

Sam and I arrived in Shanghai yesterday afternoon. The weather is beautiful...a bit on the smoggy side, but it's what I expected with over 20 million people living here.

Yesterday, after settling in at the hotel, we all ventured out to explore Nanjing Lu, Shanghai's foremost shopping street. The group (Sam's co-workers and me) did a bit of shopping... mainly "window" shopping and enjoyed strolling along the street with throngs of others. The street ended at area called "The Bund". The Bund is at the heart of what used to be colonial Shanghai. Today it's a nice place to take in views of the Huangpu River...old colonial buildings on one bank and some of the world's tallest buildings on the other. Since there's a tunnel that transports you under the river, we were able to enjoy both views.

Today, I ventured out on my own once again and am happy to say that I actually got to enjoy the sight I set out to see. I took a taxi to the Yu Gardens and Bazaar. The gardens were amazing...quite magical to have such a peaceful place in the middle of the chaos of a bazaar and looming skyscrapers. I hope my pictures capture the calm, beauty, and art of a perfectly balanced landscape. After savoring the calm, I bravely entered the bazaar armed with my calculator. I have to admit that though bargaining is a real stretch for me, I quite enjoyed the experience. I'm sure I still paid way too much for my treasures, but at least I participated in the cultural ritual that was expected of me.

Getting home was not near the adventure I'd had in Shenzen, yet it was not without a challenge. Taking a taxi from the hotel in the morning had been a piece of cake with the help of the hotel staff. Flagging one down for the return trip...NOT so easy! First, I had to figure out where they would stop, because as a foreigner I didn't seem to be able to get the same response from the side of the street as the locals did. Once I found an actual taxi stop, my intuition told me not to go with the drivers that were wanting to bargain for the price. Thankfully, an English speaking tourist filled me in on the different taxi colors and which could be trusted to be fair. It wasn't long after that lesson, that I hopped in a blue taxi (as opposed to red) and was safely on my way home with plenty of time to blog and check email! It's a wonderful life to be on such a foreign adventure, yet to also be able to come home to family and friends each evening via the internet.
My love you! Thanks for checking in with me and for reading these ramblings :)


Terri said...

sounds like my kind of fun, wish i was there to navigate with you :) i'm glad you are enjoying where you are and are getting to experience such adventures. too, am glad you can share the adventures with us so easily. i have been sick this week and not blogging much, but maybe i can catch you on skype and take in some sights out your hotel window!! love you~~

cheryl said...

hey, friend, Great trip.
I've had an interesting weekend. I needed a white cane. I guess I sctratched my eye Friday planting flowers and yard fun. (The flowers were from Brookwood. I always think of you when I'm there.)
The doc was great over the phone but I plan to see him tomorrow, too.
more on email later.
love to you and sam
cheryl :-)