Let’s Meet in Shanghai

When a friend says, “I’m coming to China.”  You say, “Let’s meet in Shanghai.”  Let the fun begin. For me, a last jaunt on this side of the world.

We checked off a wonderful tourist to do list.  We rode the Maglev Train from the aiport.  We visited the Bund, Yu Garden, the gorgeous and quiet Longhua Temple, the ornate and busy Jing’an Temple, and the Tianzifang neighborhood.  We strolled through parks, watched dancers and taiqi groups, talked to people, took pictures with them, received welcomes, recommendations and good wishes for our stay.  We sat in a small room and had our feet massaged by perfect little hands while watching “China’s Got Talent”. We ventured over to Suzhou and Zhouzhuang, two of the gorgeous water towns west of the big city.  We ate noodles, dumplings, and street food, and even a little Mexican food just for a change.  My friends visited the financial district for a journey up in the bottle opener and views of the second tallest building in the world (Shanghai Tower, 2073 feet, 120+ stories).  We walked in the rain, and then some more rain.  It is Shanghai, after all.  Enjoy.

For more about the Shanghai Tower, check this out.  http://n.pr/1H9Aopn

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Chicago

Last month, I was back in the U.S. for about a week.  I spent time with my independent eighty-six year old Mom.  I saw friends I’ve loved for more than twenty years.  I lit piles of stuff on fire with my brother.  I enjoyed blue skies and a warm afternoon stop at the local dairy bar.  And I had the privilege to travel to the fabulous city of Chicago with three teenagers (two nieces and a nephew).

We made a museum tour, tried some excellent pizza (at my favorite, Gino’s East), ate plenty of other great food, enjoyed that gorgeous skyline and the bluest skies, and learned a little more about each other.  Such a lovely trip.  Enjoy some pictures.

Beijing, again and again

There was a trip to Beijing in March.  In addition to our spectacular morning at Panjiayuan, we also ventured to 798 Art District, Lama Temple, and the Drum Tower.  Wow!  I love an exhausting day of walking and discovering in a big city.

Enjoy.

Oh, You Are Lovely

Panjiayuan is a fantastic spot in Beijing.  I love it.  I love looking and talking and not understanding half the conversation.  I love it when they courteously compliment my negotiating skills when they still have made money off this foreigner.  I love not knowing what everything is, like a lot of places I go in China.  This visit to Panjiayuan, I thoroughly enjoyed with a fellow pottery/porcelain/curiosity lover.  We looked – we asked – we wondered – we loved – we bought – we love.  Thank you, S, for a morning memory I will carry with me a very long time.  Enjoy.

The Water Towns

We had avoided many destinations in China during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year).  We had heard and seen the throngs of people who travel during that time.  This year, being perhaps our last in this big country, we have quite a few cities left on our list.  So we took a chance and got lucky.

Suzhou is a city in Jiangsu Province, just west of Shanghai.  It is in the Yangtze River Delta, which lends itself to beautiful views on many canals and ponds.  It has more than two thousand years of history and is sometimes called the Venice of China or Venice of the East.  The meticulous gardens are, together, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with those in the other water towns along the canals.

It was a quick trip down to Shanghai, then a full day along the canals, and a trip back to the tundra the next day.  On our water town excursion, we spent a rainy morning and midday in Suzhou, then went on to an overcast Tongli and, finally, some sunshine in Zhouzhuang.  It is a touristy area, yes, but lovely, just like all the pictures I’ve admired for so long.  And, because it was the weekend before the Chinese New Year, perhaps many other travelers were with their families.  I hope they had a lovely time because we certainly did.

Enjoy some of our views in the water towns.

Blue Sky in Beijing

I love a blue sky.  On a recent trip to Beijing, we were lucky enough to have a few days, including one on the Great Wall.  Living in China, or anywhere, one must appreciate the blue sky when you’ve got it.  #gooutside  Enjoy.

Check this or this to see how pollution is effecting China.  For a different perspective on Blue Sky, check out this from South Carolina.

– Nice hotel close to NanLuoGuXiang – Beijing Traditional View Hotel.  Also try the Indian restaurant and visit Pottery Workshop just steps away.

So Many Beautiful

The 1st graders at school have a little trouble with certain parts of English grammar.  For example, when they want to say they ate too much, or that they like something a lot, they say, “I ate so many lunch.” or “I so many like it.”  As teachers, we find ourselves using this phrase to express the same gleeful satisfaction.  On my December trip to Jiangxi Province, someone may have asked, “Isn’t it beautiful?”  Yes.  So many beautiful.

Wonderful hostel for about 150rmb/night:  Jingdezhen Youth Hostel at the Sculpture Factory – http://www.yhachina.com/

Fantastic Guide & Driver (and he can show you the best coffee in JDZ):  http://www.tojingdezhen.cn/home.html

Helpful Webpage to learn more (Thanks, Time Out Shanghai!):  http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Travel-Weekend_breaks/8873/Weekend-break-Jingdezhen.html

Beautiful shop and residency available from The Pottery Workshop (shops located in other cities too):  http://www.potteryworkshop.com.cn/Jingdezhen.asp

Beautiful retreat to visit and residency available from Sanbao:  http://chinaclayart.com/index.html