Saturday, January 3, 2009

Exploring Shanghai

We enjoyed exploring Shanghai on foot, walking from our hotel to People's Park.  This time, we checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art, a small but interesting collection of cutting-edge Chinese art.  Next, we strolled down Jiangyin Lu, several blocks of small shops specializing in ornamental things for people's homes:  fish, birds, flowers, plants, pet crickets, etc.  We ended the afternoon at Yu Yuan, a complex of interlocking gardens in the center of the city.   The park was divided into a series of gardens -- pavilions, rocks, trees, and water -- by low walls and unique gateways.

Christmas in Shanghai

Steve flew from Dalian and Susie flew from L.A.  We met late on Christmas Eve in the Shanghai airport and began a two-week tour in central and southern China.  Our first stop was Shanghai, where we stayed in a nine-room hotel in a former European mansion in the city center.  Shanghai is the largest city in China and one of the largest in the world with a population somewhere around 20 million.  It is a sleek, modern metropolis, the center of China's international trade, finance, and banking.  The Bund, a riverfront area dominated by banks and hotels dating from the 1920s, gives the city a European flavor, while the futuristic neon-lit architecture across the river in Pudong creates a skyline with a contemporary flair.

Our first stop on Christmas Day was the Shanghai Museum.  It has a collection of more than 120,000 pieces of Chinese art spanning the entire history of this ancient civilization:  jade, bronzes, sculpture, calligraphy, painting, furniture, coins, seals, etc.