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Shanghai: May 17

Another Busy Day

sunny -26 °C

We started our day with a bus ride to the Bund where we were free to walk the mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River and take in the two skylines: on the one side, all the new, modern buildings that have been erected in the last twenty years, contrasted, on the other side, with the elegant old buildings. Our bus then took us to Manning Road, the biggest (and quite expensive) shopping district in Shanghai. There are no cars allowed and the number of people on the wide walking street was incredible. There were a lot of street vendors trying to sell their wares but we were surprised that there were very few beggars. Our guide told us that when they're found, they are taken to a government shelter where they are given a bed and food for a week. They are then sent back to their families in their home towns. When possible, they are given training for a skill that they can use to support themselves i.e. Blind people have been trained to become very good massage therapists.

The Shanghai Museum presented the historical items from many areas such as jade, pottery and enamel ware, bronze, clothing styles, currency, calligraphy and wooden furniture.

On we went to the Shanghai General Carpet Factory which produces beautiful silk and cashmere rugs and carpets. Once again, we were aware of the patience and skill required by the people who work there. A basic carpet has 130 knots per linear foot, a medium carpet has 300 knots and an expensive carpet (don't walk on it just hang it your wall!) has 500 knots per linear foot. One woman had been working there for 20 years and was a master of precision, at producing detailed silk carpets with intricate, multi-coloured designs. She was working on a 6' x 9' carpet and, though she seemed to be working at an amazing speed, the carpet was going to take a year to complete.

Lunch was in the Mongolian BBQ. It was something like the Mongolian Grill in Waterloo (fill your bowl and take it to be cooked) but we are spoiled with a lot of extra ingredients like mushrooms, pickled corn, water chestnuts etc. Here in China, there were fewer choices, but still very good.

We next went to an area called the French Concession. Before the beginning of the People's Republic, some European countries claimed areas of China as their own territory. When the Chinese government reclaimed them, this one area was maintained in its original state and when you walk through the streets, you feel like you're on a street in France or Italy. The shops were all very expensive but it was fun to window shop. We were responsible for our own dinner and then went to see an amazing acrobatic show – ERA The Intersection of Time. It's the best-selling show in Shanghai and has been running for ten years.

Then it was back to the hotel to pack our belongings in preparation for our departure tomorrow

Posted by jkroetsch 13:14 Archived in China

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