Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Shanghai Weekend

Hi everyone! I was hoping to wake up to sunny skies in Shanghai but I guess King Tut is still mad at Kristin because this is what it looked like outside her hotel room Friday morning.

YUCK! I think Kristin and Amy are upset about the weather but it sure didn't keep them from slowing down. On Friday morning we went to a place called the "Soft-Spinning Material Market." It's a very busy market with tons of little shops that sell nothing but fabric. I've never seen so much fabric in my life! I wasn't quite sure why we were there but then Kristin and Amy decided to buy jackets made from Chinese silk. And guess what? The jackets were made specifically for them! A woman at the shop Kristin and Amy went to took tons of measurements. Here you can see Kristin getting measured.

After they were done getting measured, Kristin and Amy picked out the fabric they wanted and looked at books to show the woman...or seamstress as Kristin called her....what style jacket they wanted. Kristin says many people in China have their clothes made at markets like this one instead of shopping for pre-made clothes at a mall. She says this is called "custom tailoring." I had no idea! Anyway, Kristin and Amy's jackets will be done in 2 days! Can you believe it?!

As soon as we left the market, our driver and guide took us to the house where a man named Sun yat-sen used to live. Our guide told us that he is considered the "father of the Chinese republic." Who knew?

The house is now a museum. The house is located in a part of Shanghai known as the "French Concession." Kristin says many people from France moved to this part of Shanghai in the 1800's.
Next we went to a place called the "Arts and Crafts Research Centre." I really didn't want to go because arts and crafts are for girls. But Kristin said I might see some people making nice needlework prints. I know my Aunt Lynn likes to make needlework prints so I decided I would see the crafts.

This is a picture of what is called "Shanghai Gu Embroidery." It sure looks different than what Aunt Lynn makes. This looks more like a painting!

Here you can see one of the artists working on the embroidery. Her needle is SO small that I could barely see it and the thread is really, really thin. Kristin says that's why the finished product looks like paint. Wow...she must have really good eyes!

It was still foggy outside when we left the arts and crafts place but Kristin and Amy decided to stop at a corner in the French Concession to take photos anyway. Here are a few of the photos Kristin took.

I've seen lots of bicycles in Shanghai...just like I saw when I was in Beijing this summer with my friend Michael from the Stanley Foundation.

It was interesting to watch all of the people, cars, and bikes on this corner. I even spotted a UPS delivery person. But this one wasn't driving a truck. He was riding a moped. Very strange!

Kristin and Amy took more photos but I decided to take a nap. Then they decided to have dinner at the Italian restaurant at the hotel. I guess they were tired of eating Chinese food. The restaurant is right near the coolest fish tank I have ever seen! It has four pillars which are connected by glass beams. It also has many lights and TONS of colorful fish.

The best part was getting to walk underneath the glass beams so I could look up and see the stomachs of the fish. How cool is this photo!

Here I am with some of the fish. Pretty cool!

I must have been really tired from our long day in Shanghai. I feel asleep while Kristin and Amy were eating.

It was still foggy when I woke up on Saturday. YUCK!

Saturday morning Amy's sister-in-law Mary came to the hotel and took us to where they live. They live in a section of Shanghai called "Pudong." This is one of the newest parts of Shanghai. Most of the buildings in Pudong have been built in the last 20 years. And there are a LOT of buildings in Pudong.

Mary and her husband Steve live in a big apartment building. It is very nice.

Mary and Steve teach at one of the international schools in Shanghai. Kristin says many people from around the world...including and work in Shanghai. So there are many international schools for the foreign children to go to while they are living in Shanghai. Who knew? We walked to the school to see a high school basketball game. Mary and Steve's son Peter plays for the varsity team (and he is REALLY good!). Guess what? The school looked a lot like my school in America on the inside. And the basketball game looked like a basketball game I would see my school.

They even have boy scout troops at the school. Very interesting.

We spent some time walking through a mall that is a lot like the big malls in the United States. Kristin even bought me a book about China (but she was too busy to take a photo of it with me). Thanks Kristin!

We also took a cab to an area not far from Mary and Steve's apartment. Mary wanted to show Kristin and Amy the apartments most Chinese residents live in. They certainly aren't as nice.

Mary even told us that many people who live in these buildings share one kitchen and bathroom. I didn't think that was so strange. I share a bathroom with my sister and brother. But then Kristin told me that it wasn't one family sharing the was many families. She says it would be like my family sharing a kitchen and bathroom with every family on my block at home. Wow...I would NOT like that!

We had dinner with Amy's family and then we took a cab back to the hotel. I thought we were done for the day but Kristin and Amy wanted to go to a place called "The Bund." It it right along the river and you can see the cool buildings and Orient Pearl Tower from this part of Shanghai. Amy and Kristin decided to go because the fog had lifted and they knew were going to get to see the buildings (FINALLY!!). It sure looks cool at night, doesn't it?

On Sunday Amy's family (including Steve's sister Diane who is visiting from Iowa) took us on a small walking and cab tour of the area of Shanghai were our hotel is located. I'm really glad Amy's family lives in Shanghai. I know they helped Amy and Kristin a lot when they were planning this trip. Thanks Mary, Steve and Diane!

It's time for us to head to the airport....we are leaving for Delhi, India soon.

Until next time....