Tuesday, February 9, 2010

China Trip #7

Post #7 about our trip to China. Even with being at bit housebound because of snow (we lost power the better part of one day), this is taking longer than I expected. But, it is almost like taking the trip again as I sift through the nearly 1,000 pictures we took. To see other posts scroll down and click on "older posts."
Dateline Shanghai: January 12, 2010
Another interesting morning at the breakfast buffet. New varieties of Chinese pancakes and dumplings. The sauteed greens are always good. The young waiters seemed surprised that we wanted refills on the coffee, one finally commenting "you drink a lot of coffee." Seemed like only folks in our group went to the coffee pot - the Chinese businessmen at breakfast were all tea drinkers.
We boarded the bus for the Shanghai World Financial Center, one of the taller buildings in the world and tallest in Shanghai. Located in the Lujiazui Trade Zone it is near the Shanghai Stock Exchange and global financial institutions and hotels. The SWFC has 101 floors and reaches 1,614 feet above ground. At 1,555 feet, the observatory gives a spectacular view of the city and the Huang Pu River. We entered through airport type security and took the super fast and smooth elevators complete with an outstanding light show. Other than ears popping, you hardly know you are moving. There was definite pause before I could take the step on the glass floors.
Shanghai World Financial Center from the ground up.
The view from the observation deck is almost 360° and stunning. Glass floors really give a feeling of floating above the city. Walking up to and leaning against the windows for the view is - well let me just say those last steps were tentative.
Yes, everything was high-tech and high in the air. Even standing at a urinal, the view of the city was stunning. The toilets were ultra high-tech with an arm featuring a control panel and heated seats. Yes, if a guy was squeamish about standing in front of the window to pee, there were alternates against walls.
Leaving the SWFC we went to a park along the river. Street vendors were selling kites and candy covered fruit while couples and tourists strolled along the waterfront checking out the spectacular view of the city and commerce on the river.
Next we visited the Jiangnan Silk Shopping Center. We began with a tour and demonstration to learn more about silk production. From there we entered a large showroom with every imaginable silk item for sale. We bought a mid-weight comforter which they super compressed so we'd be able to stuff it in our luggage. Using it at home, we found it very light weight but very warm, even in our cold house.
A few of the beautiful silk comforters for sale.
Our guide and students in our group use all their strength to stretch out silk. It is very tough and durable... and as we have found out, very warm. All of our hotel rooms had similar comforters.
Lunch was in a big open cafeteria in a shopping district. Somewhat different atmosphere than the other restaurants we'd visited. We'd been served seafood at several meals, but this was the first whole fish.
Several of us tried the fish, but for whatever reason (perhaps the attached head) most at the table passed. It was easy to grab chunks with chop sticks, but I still got some bones.
After lunch we went to Chinatown, an area of traditional shops and restaurants. We toured the nearby gardens and spent some time walking among the shops. By this time we were a bit tired of shopping, but we enjoyed the sights and watching people.
It was difficult to select one picture that we took in the beautiful gardens.
The gardens were beautiful with bridges, ponds, and dragons.
Old and new. From the traditional architecture of the gardens to the ultra modern Shanghai World Finance Center seen in the background.
This giant bug was in a courtyard in Chinatown and attracted lots of attention. It was made of soda cans.
That evening my wife enjoyed a massage at one of the small shops across the street from the hotel. She reported that it was quite intense and it was a good thing she'd been taught to say "Too hard, too hard" in Chinese. The hour cost 150 Chinese REM or about $22.00. About 1/3 of the going rate at home. After two full days, we crashed early that evening.
A few random observations.
What’s up with the covers over the toilet paper? Supposed to keep it clean or keep it out of sight? Maybe make it tear easier? I find it a pain - harder to find the loose end.
No clocks in our hotel rooms on the mainland. Not sure why. But, they give combs, Q-tips, toothbrushes/paste, and at the Beijing hotel, a condom. In Shanghai the bath mirror was heated - no steaming up! Soaps and shampoo seem less scented (at least the hotel type) and suds a little less (could be hard water).
Hotels use electoronic keys like in most major hotels in U.S. At the Jin Gong Jin Jiang Hotel in Shanghai, you just wave the card in front of the lock. Enter the room and place the key in a slot just inside the door and it is like a master light switch. When you take the key upon leaving it shuts things down in about 30 seconds. Good for energy conservation.
The Beijing and Shanghai hotels we stayed in had multi-use electrical outlets so a converter is not really needed most of the time. Electricity in China is 220v. Used a converter for the computer since it included a surge protector, needed it in Hong Kong hotel, and I highly recommend one for travel. Computer and camera battery charger worked fine. I think a hair dryer might not. All the hotels had dryers, anyhow.
At the hotel in Shanghai several students reported someone trying their door during the first night. The next night I was startled awake when the door shook. Remaining quiet, I could hear movement and then nothing more. The next morning there was evidence of cigarette ash next to the door handle and on the floor. Lesson learned - always use the dead bolt and security chain.

1 comment:

Progressive said...

Great post. Very interested.