Saturday, January 3, 2009
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.
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