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

Inside the Diamond

My friend, Iris, has given me three incredibly memorable Shenyang experiences.  First and foremost, in 2010, she introduced me to a new school full of amazing Chinese people.  Five years later, I am still volunteering there.  Second, she invited me to visit her friend’s tea shop where I learned more about tea in two hours than at any other point in my life.  Most recently, Iris told me about a photo contest going on at what is affectionately called the Diamond building.  For one afternoon, they opened up the Shengjing Grand Theatre for photos inside.  The promotion for the contest was exclusively in Chinese.  Being an educated illiterate in this country, I would have never known about it if Iris didn’t encourage me to go.

Many times, I’d seen the sun and skyline reflected in the mirrored facade.  I had never thought about what it would be like, feel like, inside.  It took my breath away how the light and shadow came alive, like we were breathing them in. Oh, and the design, the architecture, the consistency of it all … there were facets and angles everywhere.

Yes, it had some odd design elements, as one might expect in China, but many diamonds have flaws.  They remain beautiful and unique.  Shenyang’s diamond is just that.  Enjoy.

Take Five

This time of year, I usually write a post about the changes on our familiar skyline.  The beautiful diamond building showing progress year to year.  That diamond now plays host to concerts and shows, a far cry from the hole in the ground it was a few years ago.

Last May, we moved from that south & east facing apartment with the diamond view.  We got a new outlook on life and on Shenyang.  My favorite daily view is the Ke Pu Science Park.  It is a wonder, a living thing that moves and changes every hour of every day.  Tai qi, basketball, ping pong, balloons, pond life, walkers and exercisers, kite flyers, dancing clubs and walking clubs, bird statues that light up at night …  Public parks all over China are a wonder.

Here are some recent shots of our views in Shenyang, plus one more recent sunrise in the Instagram feed to the left.  Enjoy.

 

 

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.

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.

Revisiting Fall

I have already written about our food experiences in Seoul, and I have a bit more to share.

What a gorgeous fall weekend we had with friends.  The colors on this glorious fall weekend were amazing.  We talked, walked, toured, ate, drank, walked some more, bought, ate some more, and had a fantastic time together.

Most of these photos were taken at Changdeokgung Palace on our tour of the secret back garden, and there are some other spots too.  As I settle in for another couple of months of winter, I thought it would be nice to revisit fall. Enjoy.

Beiling Park

Beiling Park is one of the most beautiful places in Shenyang.  Fall is beautiful, and I already plan to go back in winter to see it with a light blanket of snow.  The park is home to the Zhaoling tomb complex as well, a reminder that Shenyang was a favorite of the Qing Dynasty.  Enjoy.

 

Hours: 8am-5pm
Address: Enter at the intersection of Beiling da jie and Taishan lu.
北陵大街和泰山路, 皇姑区泰山路12号
Phone number: +86 (0)24 8691 0461
Price: 6 yuan to enter the park, another 30 yuan for the tomb

Read more: http://www.synotrip.com/shenyang/tourist-attractions/beiling-park-and-zhaoling-tomb-1883.shtml#ixzz3HxPtFIfC