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Incredible Shanghai

Discussion in 'Travel' started by Mindian, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    Though we have travelled a lot ,this is the first time I am attempting a travelogue... more so, because I did not find any about china here. Of course I have been ably aided by google:)

    We landed on Dec 4th at Hangzhou a sub-provincial city located 180 kilometres southwest of Shanghai to a freezing temperature of 2 degrees after a five hour flight from KL. Our first place for sightseeing was the lei feng pagoda, a 5 storey tall tower with eight sides, located on sunset hill, south of the west lake in Hangzhou. It was originally constructed in 975.destroyed by the Japanese in the 1600s, and reconstructed in October, 2002.we could go up the elevator and see a most picturesque view of the West Lake and the surrounding hills.

    The underwater stage at West Lake was our next and last stop for the day and the sun had already set by 5 pm. Since it was winter and hazy and a no show day we did not see the show but were told about it. I found the idea really innovative and amazing. The stage is 6 inches under water and the actors perform on the stage giving the illusion that they are performing on water. The show is usually the depiction of a Chinese wedding with all its finery and all the trees surrounding are lit up and people watch the show sitting on a boat.

    Dec 5th:
    The West Lake area and the surrounding hills to the south have been largely responsible for Hangzhou's reputation as "Paradise on Earth." We had a lovely 40 minute boat ride admiring the panoramic scenery, weeping willow trees, flowering peach trees, rockeries, ancient stone bridges, and hills dotted with multi-tiered temple pagodas.


    Then to Mei-jia-wu tea village : a journey through a scenic countryside, winding roads and a tunnel. We were ushered into one of the guest rooms and seated in U-shape table. Then a lady walked in and shared with us a lot of the technical knowledge about Longjing tea - such as how the tea leaves are picked and processed, health benefit of Longjing tea and how best to brew and preserve the tea.
    And then we were served the tea, the woman making the mundane art of pouring tea a delightful art to watch. It tasted subtle, some said it had a delicious chest nutty aroma but to me it tasted like seaweed and smelt like spinach. But when served with dried orange peel and cranberries it was quite drinkable. The green tea candy was extremely delicious.
     

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  2. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    After a two and a half hour drive we came to Suzhou, also known as China's Venice on the Grand Canal.Our first halt was at the Couple garden retreat

    Was originally Constructed in late 1700s.It was later bought by Shen Bingcheng, the official of Susong, who expanded its area and divided it into a western and eastern part and changed the name to the Couple's Garden Retreat. It refers to the garden's two parts as well as to that of a couple. It is located in the north-eastern part of the city and occupies 0.8 hectare. It has water on three sides, and is rectangular in shape.

    These classical gardens of Suzhou can be divided into a residential and a garden part. A residence in the middle, with garden on both sides, one side of the gardens makes use of yellow stones, and the other makes use of lake stones, with their own style.
    The landscape is based on yellow stone rockeries, with ponds, and flowers and trees the delightful combination of rockery and water is both soft and strong, expressing the harmonious beauty of Mother Nature.
    The Couple's Garden Retreat has 24 buildings, 21 tablets and parallel couplets, 10 brick carvings, and 7 valuable old trees such as pinus bungeana Zucc, pinus thunbergii Parl, wisteria sinensis Sweet, etc.

    Then again since it was almost 5.30 went to the Times Square in Suzhou which boasts of the largest LED screen in the world. The screen is over 500m long and spans from one end of Time Square crossing a street to the other end of Time Square. I liked it because unlike New yorks Times Square this was not at all crowded and we enjoyed the display on the screen with hot coffee and onion rings from Burger King. The drive around Jinji Lake was too beautiful with fully lit up skyline and to "overseas hotel" our stop for the night which was again a Chinese style hotel in a garden.

    Dec 6th Sunday


    Our day started with the Silk factory, Suzhou being the leading producer of world's silks. To me it was a total waste of time since we did not buy any. From here it was a two and a half drive to Shanghai.

    Woke up after a nap to tall crowded buildings…never seen so many, spaced so close to each other. Shanghai has a population of nearly 20 million and homes to cater to different economic classes. We stopped at the The Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

    This 468 meters high (1,536 feet) tower is the world's third tallest TV and radio tower surpassed in height only by towers in Toronto, Canada and Moscow, Russia. However, even more alluring than its height is the tower's unique architectural design that makes the Oriental Pearl TV Tower one of the most attractive places anywhere the inner tower is a recreational palace, while the Shanghai Municipal History Museum is located in the tower's pedestal. The large lower sphere has a futuristic space city and a fabulous sightseeing hall. From here, on a clear day a visitor can see all the way to the Yangtze River. The base of the tower is home to a science fantasy city. The pearl at the very top of the tower contains shops, restaurants, (including a rotating restaurant) and a sightseeing floor. The view of Shanghai from this height is too beautiful and when viewed from the Bund at night, the tower's three-dimensional lighting is absolutely lovely.

    It is amazing that this ultra-modern tower combines ancient concepts such as the spherical pearls, with 21st Century technology, commerce, recreation, educational and conference facilities. All of this and it really is a TV and radio tower that services the Shanghai area with more than nine television channels and upwards of ten FM radio channels. Truly, 'oriental pearl' is the most suitable name for this tower

    I liked the glass bottom on the floor of the observatory …seeing shanghai through that was an experience. Dinner that day was in a national restaurant where we were greeted by drums and treated to Chinese dance performances at our individual tables as we ate.

    We then caught the 7.30 show of the acrobatics that lasted till 9.15 pm. ERA INTERSECTION OF TIME ACROBATIC SHOW
    They say you haven't been to Shanghai unless you've seen the acrobats. A multi-million dollar show, "ERA: The Intersection of Time" is Shanghai's most popular acrobatic show, featuring the gamut of traditional and contemporary Chinese acrobatics from aerial walking, bowl balancing, and trampoline shows to high flying trapeze acts and motorcycle cage (8 people zooming inside the cage)stunts. I would say this was the most enjoyable thing in our trip mainly because I have never seen anything like this before. Unfortunately no pictures or video allowed. We then checked into the grand hotel at 10 pm.
     

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  3. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    Dec 7th Monday

    Started with the pearl factory in the morning, again a total waste of time as we did not know how authentic the place was. Then to Nanjing road ,a 5 km long road of both departmental and road side shops. A quaint little place which has a train and tram that takes you along the whole road. After lunch we went to Long hua market where I bought a Chinese dress in black and a blanket. Then we were taken to a Chinese herbal centre where we were first subjected to a boring 15 minute lecture on Chinese herbs and medicines and then to a FREE (of course we tipped them) foot massage. Ohhhh, it was too good and totally rejuvenated me to continue shopping the next day.

    Dec 8th Tuesday

    Morning checked out at 8 and straight to cheng huang miao shopping mall, a lovely place built in Chinese style with lots of shops. It is also near to the popular temple of Cheng Huang Miao, which is referred to as the `Temple to the Town Gods'. This was a lovely place to pick up souvenirs and handicrafts. Then on our drive towards Hangzhou we stopped for lunch at Wuzhen and visited the water village

    It is about 75km away from Hangzhou, one of the six ancient water towns south of Yangtze River with 1200-year-old history, the residential houses are built beside rivers, while on both sides of streets, abundant ancient architectures of Ming and Qing Dynasties still remain as they were. One gets the feeling of walking into a traditional Chinese water painting as you stroll down the streets. Inside we visited the Jiangnan Hundred Beds Showroom, Indigo-Blue Printed Calico Workshop, Mr.Yu Liuliang's Coin Display Room, Shadow-puppet Theatre, Ancient Stage, and Pawn Museum. And oh yes, at last bought something for my hubby dear… …a cotton Chinese style shirt.

    And here are some of my experiences that are the best part of any visit to a new city.

    Oh my god, the food is terrible for vegetarians. After Korea I thought I could handle anything so had not carried any food. Though there were at least ten dishes at every meal they all tasted the same and horrible. Imagine boiled cabbage, boiled spinach, bamboo shoots, fried brinjal (okay) sautéed carrots and beans, corn, rice at every meal.

    I got only Chinese tea everywhere. Luckily we managed coffee at the fast food joints. I survived on milk, bananas, subway sandwich and macs burger (bless them, they removed the burger and gave it to me with veggies and cheese)

    Most of the sign boards are in Chinese and people talk only in Chinese, many did not even understand English. All negotiations in shops were through calculators only.

    I developed tremendous respect for the Chinese for making Shanghai the way it is. The government has provided bikes and there are bicycle stations everywhere so that one can rent a bike and move from one place to another.

    Lots of benefits for senior citizens, wide roads and flowers everywhere (imagine red roses around one really long flyover)

    Women are quite strong (and a bit rough too, I thought…if u bargain for something better buy it or be prepared for some shouting. of course it didn’t bother me as I did not understand a word of what they were saying) and many of them drove the public buses too.

    Our flight was at 11.35 and we went straight to the airport as it was a long, tiring, rainy and cold day .It was a nice trip, incredible that a city with 20 million population has achieved so much in the last fifteen years. Kudos to the people of china.
     

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  4. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    mindi buddy,

    I am a little breathless...finished reading at one go..

    you say you do not have experience, but you have written it so well that if i would want to go, i would refer yours.

    now dearies, i am not going to update my list..but already sri has updated his list. he read this along with me.
     
  5. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    my dear buddy shan,

    u really made my day( or night i should say)...so badly wanted to write and post it today...:)
    u know i have never written here before but was surprised that i did not find any info here before my visit so thought I must amend that...so glad you and little Sri approved of it.
     
  6. knot2share

    knot2share Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Mindi

    I thoroughly enjoyed your trip experience and the photos are beautiful.
    You have done a great job narrating everything so well. You said you had
    a sore throat and could not talk or sing isn't it ?? and so you sat and wrote
    all this. Possibly you should have more such dayssssss :hide: :). Adding photos really gives the travelogue a bit more of a character isn't it? I loved it all. Glad to know that you finally managed to buy something for yourelf and hubby. That foot massage really pepped you up for the shopping next day. Good one!
     
  7. Sindhurao

    Sindhurao Gold IL'ite

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    Hi mindian:

    That was a good travelogue. The first I am reading about China. The lovely photographs were a good add-on with your narration. Sure seems to be a country to visit.

    Thanks for writing about your trip here.

    Sindhu
     
  8. aparnag

    aparnag Platinum IL'ite

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    nice travelogue.
    you took us to shangai..
    thanx a lot..
     
  9. Saraswathipv

    Saraswathipv IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Mindi,

    Beautiful description :clap about a trip to a beautiful place.
    I travelled with you right from that lecture on herbs till the route along the flyovers with red roses, watching people in bikes and bicyles.

    Lovely pics too. I too would love to go there now, but yes, will try to avoid hearing the shoutings after bargaining :biggrin2:, and will be prepared for the sandwiches and the repeats of boiled cabbage, spinach, bamboo shoots etc.

    Thanx for sharing the lovely experience with us.

    Bye
     
  10. susri

    susri Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Mindi,
    What a detailed and nice writeup. :thumbsup Photos are really looking great. Sure, you would have enjoyed a lot. Names of the places are really tough to remember.........:biglaugh
     

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