Hey y’all, so I’m sitting in the Beijing airport as I write this (this airport sucks!), waiting to fly back to Shanghai. However, my weekend in BJ will have to be covered at a different time.
So, let’s pick up where we last left off, shall we?
TUESDAY, MAY 21
My sister had to work, so she asked her language teacher, Gu Qin, to take me around some of the lesser know areas. Gu was so nice and told me so much about Shanghai, its history, culture, everything. For example, women in Shanghai have more power over men do to their history working with silk. Silk trade brings in more money than hard labor. It's the MAN’S family who has to pay for the wedding and used to do dowries. Ha!
We took the metro to the antique market that was full of interesting things wither made to look like antiques, or were just little knick-knacks. According to Gu, the Chinese don’t consider something less than 300-years-old an antique.
The tea market she took me to was a very non-touristy building full of artists’ shops. Calligraphy and different teapots were sold, and of course, tea. I tried some Jasmine and light brown tea which were nice, but not my thing.
I was surprised when Gu took me to Guilin Park, an amazingly beautiful garden and former home of a gangster. Gu told me a lot about his life, relationship with the government, his concubine, and the architecture of the park.
Met up with Dori afterwards and we went to Yu Gardens, a shopping area that’s architecture brings to mind “traditional China.” We took A LOT of pictures! We had dinner at a rather new, swanky area, which was nice.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22
I had the day to myself so I took the metro to see the Shanghai Museum. Wow! There were so many great artifacts and pieces of art. Some of which dated thousands of years ago. It really reminded me how “new” America is.
I went back to the TV Tower in the Pudong side to go all the way to the top. I was stuck in line behind a large tour group of men, which wasn’t fun. Some kept trying to take pictures of “the white girl”. But it was worth it once I got to the top. The view…oh my god! Fantastic. There was a glass floor on which I laid down to take pictures. However, the selfie angle was super awkward.
Dori got off work so we went to pick up our custom skirts. I love mine so much. I wore one out of the fabric market. Dori had coerced her friend Peter into meeting us at The Bund to do a photo shoot of us. All the pictures are on her camera, so I can’t post them yet. The Peace Hotel was a few blocks away, so we went up to the very top to have drinks. I can’t begin to tell you how great the view was of the skyline after the sun went down. I made sure to use the panorama app on my phone.
THURSDAY, MAY 23
Another day mostly to myself. After a tour of the US consulate, I took a nap since all the running around in Shanghai had started to wear me out. My sister and I took the high speed train that night to Nanjing so she could pass me off to her friends Natalie, Ildiko, and Laura, who go to school there. Met for dinner at Element Fresh before Dori had to go back to SH.
It was down to the four of us and they thought they’d take me up to the top of the Continental Hotel before going back to their dorms. Once we got back to their housing complex, we saw there was a party on the patio. I met a ton of their fellow graduate students, who all seemed nice for the most part. BTW, Nanjing dorms are just like American dorms.
FRIDAY, MAY 24
We all slept late and then Natalie, Ildiko and I went back to E Fresh for lunch. We definitely had the same waiter.
Since I wasn’t interested in seeing a touristy stuff on the Nanjing massacre (when the Japanese took over the city and raped and killed everyone), they took me to a super non-touristy underground shopping area called “Fashion Lady”. It was an experience. The stuff being sold was ridiculous. Natalie took a bunch of pictures of me with some of the crazy items.
My last stop in Nanjing before heading to the train station was to get a massage. Cheap, but quality. Unfortunately, we had underestimated time, which meant Natalie and I had to rush to get me to the train on time. Our cab driver pulled some Fast & Furious, Grand Theft Auto moves. We both dashed out of the cab, cut in the security line, ran up the escalators, and sprinted to the gate. I’m 85% sure I was the last person they let in the gate. But as winded I was, I’d made the train on time.
Alrighty, that’s all for this post. One more to go where I’ll dish about all the cool stuff Dori and I did during our three days in Beijing. Spoiler alert! There was a lot of walking with a little tobogganing.