Mary n Mel’s Adventures travel blog

On the Bund waterfront park in Shanghai with all the skyscrapers. That...

Shanghai museum was square on the bottom for the earth and round...

The porceilain exhibit took you through the evolution of gazing and colors....

Porcelain Alter object from Jiaqing reign 1796 AD

Mel's favorite. A wooden folding chair

Beautiful staircases lined the interior of the Shanghai museum

Shanghai night was aglow from the buildings and all the Friday night...

Shanghai by night on the way to the acrobat show

Waiting for the Acrobat show to start. We could not take pictures...

The Silk Embroidery Research Institute had a nice courtyard

A local fruit vendor came by. Cherries, tangerines and neon plums which...

Mihilo and me at the Embroaryiry place. Mihilo is the Tai Chi...

Mary at the Humble Administrators garden

Scary looking Tibetan masks

Look at all the different shapes of the buildings surrounding the People's...

Little Bear of a woman selling Panda hats outside the museum

Scooters riders had scooter blankets. Scooters and bicycles carried everything, everywhere.

Bride and bridegroom taking pictures in traditional red robes. You take pictures...

Traditional canal houses and boats. These look really good compared with most...

Zig Zag bridge at Humble gardens to keep the ghosts from following...


We are anchored on the Yangtze River, right in the midst of at least 100 neon/LED light skyscrapers. All types of shapes from twisting monoliths to oval/egg organic domes. The weather is also quite different than the 95 we had in Manila. Shanghai is a damp 45 with a high of 51. Its not been this cold since Jan 5 in LA. Time to dig out our sweaters we had put away under the bed.

It’s a long walk through the cruise terminal to immigration. Everyone has to go ashore and get their passport stamped along with a copy of our passport we need to carry with us at all times. Mel and I escort Nora our friend who is recovering from two recent falls and still feeling unsteady on her feet. The immigration line is long and cold. Mel loans her scarf to another man who is shivering in line in a wheel chair. Most people are not prepared for how cold it is after so much time in the tropics. Not a single smile from all the Shanghainese we meet in the terminal.

Our tour is to the Shanghai Museum and People’s Park. The skyscrapers continued in the 45 minute drive to the museum. There seems to be many more then when I was here 5 years ago. Our guide said 6,000 high rise buildings have been built in Shanghai during the past 20 years!! Lots of signs in English, although on the street, we did not meet many people who spoke English. The Shanghai museum was interestingly shaped – first 2 floors were square and top to were round. Inside the staircases and woodwork was beautiful, more traditional design. The galleries inside had artifacts from the last 3,000 years highlighting sculpture, jade, furniture, porcelain pottery, currency, calligraphy, painting organized generally by dynasty. Very nice museum. The People’s park was next door and is the largest open space in Shanghai city. The guide allocated 20 minutes for pictures but we did not see much to photograph.

Next we walked along the Bund, a waterfront park that goes for a couple of miles along the river. When you see a picture of Shanghai, it always includes the Bund. Colonial era Banks and custom houses line the other side of the which was the old Foreigner concession area. There is also a large Jewish heritage for those fleeing Europe. Saw lots of Disney products in the stores. Some of the folks went to Shanghai Disneyland. I’ll need to get a report if they liked it. I did buy a pair of Disney mouse ears pearl earrings although the sales lady indicated they were children’s Panda earrings. I am still I child in my heart.

That night we went to a Chinese acrobat show. It was a very cute theater geared for stage plays, not big productions. We were right up front in the second row. The show included variety acts as well as acrobatic. Plate spinning and knife throwing were presented as comedy acts. A woman magician pulled playing cards out of her sleeves for 5 minutes, flicking them out into the audience. The acrobat acts were accompanied by great music and a were well choreographed. Had a great time at the show and the nighttime drive through Shanghai. Those that stayed on the ship for the christening ceremony had a different experience which will be the subject of a future blog.

Next day was a trip a Suzhou a smaller city (8 Million) 60 miles south. It’s called the Venice of China because it is built around miles of canals. The canals were built 800 years ago. The Grand Canal was once 1,800 KM (1,000 miles) long to ferry products from the China sea to Beijing. The city is a maze of smaller canals linked to the Grand one. It was definitely a step back in time on our boat ride down one of the feeder canals. Everyone’s laundry was out drying as we rode down the canal. Lot’s of Disney blankets were waving in the breeze.

Stopped at the Silk Embroidery Research Institute where they demonstrated how silk is dyed and used in embroidery. Fascinating to watch the women create pictures on both sides of the material at the same time. Masterpieces were mounted between two glass panes that spun to reveal a different picture on either side. We were impressed with the one that had parrots of one color on one side, and another color on the other side. That was until we saw the absolutely stunning picture of a Tiger in silver, gold copper with eyes that looked alive. On the other side was a Lion, just as stunning as the Tiger! The artist uses a mirror so he can see both sides at the same time. Sorry , no pictures were allowed. We did pick up a couple of silk scarves.

Lunch was Chinese food at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, served family style. Everyone enjoyed it as I believe it was Americanized Chinese with most of the dishes very similar to food in LA. Second clue was that they served the fried rice first. Traditional Chinese serves the rice last as a filler after you have eaten all the good stuff. The only dish that was brand new to me was a egg/silver fish stir fry which was very tastily but few people tried. Dishes included mushroom soup, sweet and sour chicken, stir fry pork, Beef and green beans, Lo Mein, bok choy, wood ear fungus and couple more I can't remember. Lot's of food. Only thing I did not like was braised green onions that had a lot of a spice I wasn't fond of.

Next we went to the Humble Administrators Gardens which was a beautiful garden, ponds, pavilion complex built by a corrupt official with all his bribery money. Very nice, but very crowded. I bet it will look very nice in the spring when the trees are in bloom and a lilies in in the ponds.

Suzhou was much more laid back then Shanghai, with a mixture of modern and ancient. We are glad we got to see both cities. Shanghai could have almost been any modern city in the world from the pieces we saw. Suzhou gave us more the flavor of China. Wonder what it will look like if we come back in 10 years. Lunch was Chinese food at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, served family style. Everyone enjoyed it as I believe it was Americanized Chinese with most of the dishes very similar to food in LA and they servered the fried rice first. Traditional Chinese serves the rice last as a filler after you have eaten all the good stuff. The only dish that was brand new to me was a egg/silver fish stir fry which was very tastily but few people tried. i

Next we went to the Humble Administrators Gardens which was a beautiful garden, ponds, pavilion complex built by a corrupt official with all his bribery money. Very nice, but very crowded. I bet it will look very nice in the spring when the trees are in bloom and a lilies in in the ponds.

Suzhou was much more laid back then Shanghai, with a mixture of modern and ancient. We are glad we got to see both cities. Shanghai could have almost been any modern city in the world from the pieces we saw. Suzhou gave us more the flavor of China. Wonder what it will look like if we come back in 10 years.



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