Clouds and Crowds

Trip Start May 25, 2011
Trip End Jun 07, 2011

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Where I stayed
What I did
Pearl TV Tower, Wal-Mart, Temple of God, Xintiandi, and stop at the Frenchmans' Quarters

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Sunday, June 5, 2011

We were spared from any rain today and happy to have slightly cooler temps but . . . .there were clouds.  This was a problem because we were planning on going to the Pearl TV Tower.  The other interesting factor today were the crowds.  Crowds are the norm being in Shanghai.  But this weekend is especially packed with people in the city.  This is a holiday weekend in China.  It is the Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival) which is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.  If you refer to your lunar calendar : ), that would be Monday, June 6th.  So just as the lakes get crowded on Memorial Day weekend, everyone is out to enjoy a long weekend and celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. But in Shanghai that is like the lake crowd times a thousand.

We used the "people mover" to get through the Sea Tunnel to Pudong (literally means east of the Huangpu River) or the other side of the river in Shanghai.  We waited through lines to get up to the observation desk in the Peal Tower.   At 468 m (1,535 feet) high, it was the tallest structure in China from 1994–2007, when it was surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center. We were disappointed that we were in the midst of a cloud and everything was white.  We took some fun pictures.  For those of us who have a slight fear of heights, it may have been an answered prayer as there was no anxiety at all because you really could not tell how high up we were.  But the fear will be there soon as we are now determined to wait for a clear sky and get over to the World Financial Center.

After the Pearl Tower we were given a task, we were to go to Wal-Mart and each of the kids were to find five things that they would buy in the US and take note of the price to compare when we were home.  This was a super fun assignment as we ran around the store looking for the stuff we loved and gawking at the unusual items (pig's feet, seaweed Pringles, blueberry Lay's, green tea Oreos, and so on).  We were surprised that all of the raw meat is just out in the open for people to pick through.  Also it you are buying a duck or chicken you get the whole thing - beak and all.  I have pic of some of the items that we saw.  The prices are in yuan so you have to divide by 6.45 to get dollars.  It was a 2 story building and there was a "travelator".  We thought that was a funny word for escalator until we saw it.  It is a flat escalator (no steps) so you can take your cart on it.  Just hold onto the cart on the way down!

Oh, I  forgot to mention that we also used the opportunity to stock up on whatever we needed - candy, snacks, and luggage.  Ms. Sidner also found some great books for her 2nd grade class. 

We then went to lunch.  It was a fabulous lunch in a very nice hotel.  Grace, Garrett and Heidi entertained us on the piano as we ate our lunch.  As you can tell from the pictures, most of the meals we are served large plates in a family style atmosphere.  All of the plates are on the lazy Susan and we take what we want.  They just keep serving and we keep eating.  We always know that we are done when they bring the watermelon.  Today we were very disappointed to see the watermelon as we loved all of the dishes that they were bringing out.  The kids typically have extras food left in all of the dishes but they clear the watermelon plate as soon as it hits the table.

After lunch we headed to the Yuyuan (Yu) Gardens which was adjacent to a shopping area.  The garden was first established in 1559 as a private garden created by Yunduan, who spent almost 20 years building a garden to please his father Pan En, a high-ranking Ming Dynasty official, during his father's old age.  We spent a couple of hours shopping after our tour.  It was packed.  We picked up a few things but are concerned about packing up in two days so took it easy on the purchases.  Amid the fancy stores next to the flea market type places were some local artisans - a lady who made paper cuts, a man painting on leaves, etc..  These artists were very interesting to sit, watch, and hear how the trade was passed down through their families.  My favorite place here was an upstairs seating are that we found tucked above the Dairy Queen.  So we bought smoothies and headed upstairs to "people watch".  

We saw some more split pants.  I know that it helps them potty train their kids more quickly as the chubby cheek tot that we saw had to be pretty close to one and diaper free.

We loaded on the pink bus with our purchases and headed to the French Concession and Xintiandi, where the CCP (China Communist Party was founded).  The French Concession was established in 1849, when the French Consul to Shanghai obtained a proclamation from the Governor (Daotai) of Shanghai, which conceded certain territory for a French settlement.  This is how all of the foreign groups would operate in Shanghai, carving out a piece of land to rule as they did business in Shanghai.  In this process, they introduce their architecture, plants, foods, and culture to the area.  The practice of these concessions came to an end in 1943 when the French government signed it over to the pro-Japanese puppet government in Nanking.

We wrapped up at the French concession area and headed off to a Brazilian barbecue for dinner.  After dinner, the bus dropped some of us off at the Bund waterfront.  We loved the night view with all of the lights.  It was interesting to see all of the screens that run advertisements on the buildings.  I tried to catch pictures and videos.  Lots of light and definite contrast as you look to the west with the Bund and its traditional, European architecture then across the river to the glitzy, modern Pudong area of Shanghai.

We hiked back to the hotel.  Trent and I were so exhausted that we felt asleep as we working on the itouch and computer.

It is the morning of the 6th now.  Getting up and ready for our last day in China.

See you soon,


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Aunt Jan & Uncle Rex on

Garrett & Grace - Glad you had a chance to entertain the group with your piano expertise. You guys rock!!! So glad you're having a blast in China. We've missed you and your Mom so much and are really anxious to see you when you get home and can give us a recap of all your fabuluous adventures. What a memorable experience for all of you. Wishing you a safe travel home. Love you, Love you, Love you. Morning, Noon, & Night.

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