|Today was a hot 90 degree day in Shanghai. We are doing a city tour and transferring to another hotel in downtown Shanghai. We went down to breakfast at the Toy Story Hotel around 7:30. I had another nice multicultural breakfast. Then we returned to the room to finish packing. At 8:30 we went to the lobby to checkout and wait for Kyle to pick us up for our city tour of Shanghai.
Kyle arrived at 9:00. We loaded the luggage in the Buick van (GM has a Buick plant in China, as does Ford and others, so you see a lot of "American" brand names on the road) and headed into the City of Shanghai amongst the morning traffic. On the hour drive into the city, Kyle asked if we would be amenable to doing our itinerary in the reverse order. The reasoning was that it would place us near our hotel at the end of the tour. We readily agreed to his request.
Our first stop was the Jade Buddha Temple. This is one of many Buddhist temples in Shanghai. It is a Song-style temple built during the Qing Dynasty. There are many buildings in the complex, including the Hall of the Heavenly King in the first courtyard. Behind that is the Hall of Mahavira. Besides the Jade Buddha, there here are two statues of Sakyamuni, one sitting and the other reclining in the Jade Buddha Chamber. I was able to photograph everywhere but in the Jade Buddha Chamber. The Jade Buddha was carved from a single piece of jade.
Our next stop on the tour was The Bund which runs for 1.5 km along the Huangpu River. It is an area that exhibits a variety of buildings in different styles. Shanghai was once British and many of the buildings of that era are along the Bund. The Bund used to house the major banks, but now many have moved to modern towers across the river. We did a short walk along the street, then back along the riverwalk on the river bank to see the view across the way and the traffic on the river which included a stinky garbage barge. Our guide had trouble with the smell.
Kyle had suggested going to see a silk "museum". We said ok, but it wasn't a museum, it was the Tianhou - Silk store. They showed us a short history about the silkworm and showed the machine they use to extract the silk thread. Then we were taken into the bedding showroom. I bought a pillow, and then they took us through a draped doorway into the clothing section. Jean bought a yellow blouse.
On the tour we had an included lunch, so Kyle took us to the Old Shanghai Street area near the Yu Yuen Garden for our lunch. We were in a local Chinese restaurant on the second floor. We ordered off a menu that luckily had an English translation of the dish names. Jean had some dumplings and I had a crab dish. The streets through which we wandered had many familiar brand names, including McDonalds and Dairy Queen. The streets were very crowded, and we passed by a temple on the street where they were celebrating a person's passing. Throughout our city tour, we were not the only Westerners to be seen. There were many large tour groups and other small tour groups like ours.
After lunch, we wandered over to the Yu Yuan Garden which was quite an interesting place. It was also very crowded. The garden is over 400 years old being built during the Ming Dynasty under Emperor Jiajing. It is a famous classic garden of Southeast China. It was originally a private residence of Pan Yunduan, an administration commissioner of Sichuan Province. It was made public by the government in 1961.
The gardens and buildings are situated on two hectares in the heart of Shanghai. There are pavilions, residence chambers, an ancient opera stage, sculptures, towers, numerous ponds and rock gardens. The rocks are very unusual, almost alien shapes. The ponds were full of koi. Some of the fences are decorated along the top like a dragon's tale that you can follow to the dragon's head. It must of been nice to have this as you private residence. Don't know how many servants you would need to keep it up.
We walked back through the marketplace to our ride to travel over to Nanjing Road. We strolled along Nanjing Road, which is a pedestrian mall, looking at the stores and people along the street shopping. There were many peoples from many nations to be found. One of the funny things is the local transportation along Nanjing. It reminded me of the Tram Cars on the Wildwood boardwalk. They have these "trains" that go from one end of the street to the other. Unlike the Tram Cars, you cannot hop on or hop off along the route. You are in for the long haul. We only walked a small portion of the street since it was so hot.
We returned to the car for the short ride over to our hotel Raddison Blu Hotel Shanghai New World, which is right next to the New World Emporium. After our quick check in with Emily, we entered our gorgeous suite on the sixth floor with a king size bed in the Park Tower, aptly named since our view was overlooking People's Park. Nice, practically everything you would want in a room.
We dropped the bags and had to go see Emily again because one of the key cards was not working. Then I asked a gentleman in a business suit that I had seen come out of the back room at the checkin desk how to find the spa. He directed us over to the City Tower and to go to the 7th floor. We arrived at the spa and booked massages for tomorrow at 11:00 am.
We relaxed in our suite, Jean watching some movies on HBO, and I worked on the blog downloading/editing pictures from Disneyland. Along with our key cards, we received a coupon for one person to have a free drink (buy one, get one). So we dressed and went over to the City Tower and up to the 45th floor (the Park Tower only has 8 floors), then we had to walk up the stairs to the 47th floor. We sat at a table overlooking the city below. Unfortunately the room did not rotate. We were not the only people in the bar lounge. It was a nice sedate crowd.
Jean used the coupon and had two Long Island Iced Teas, while I had a Pina Colada. We sat and talked while a trio consisting of one gentleman on guitar and two female singers performed. It was a little karaoke since there were more instruments playing than just the guitar, but that is how it is done now. They did a nice job and we enjoyed the atmosphere. The waitresses wore silk oriental dresses, and there were others in black suits. Not sure what they do. However, those in the black suits would come around and offer us hor d'ourves throughout our time in the lounge. Nice.
I saw the gentleman of whom I had asked for directions earlier in the day. He was talking with others on the other side of the lounge. I had asked for and paid the check, but we were still seated while Jean finished her second drink. The gentleman was walking by and recognized me. Well, he sat down and we got to talking with the Hotel General Manager, Steve Finlayson. He's a Scotsman who works for Radisson for 17 years and has seen many changes over the years. Jean quizzed him on various topics and he was more than willing to talk about his career, aspirations, what it was like living in Shanghai, etc.
After our talk with Steve, he gave us his card and said if we ever needed anything to let him know, whether here or at any Radisson. We returned to our suite for the remainder of the night to relax, read and sleep.
A fun thing for you. Yesterday, Jean had made a list of rides that she missed being in Disneyland Shanghai. Some of her list would not fit with the Chinese culture and traditions. For example, the Haunted Mansion. Ghosts are not scary to those who worship their ancestors. Her list reads:
It's a Small World
Hall of Presidents