Sunday, May 20, 2007

China Day 3: Around Shanghai (April 30)

Today we decided to spend the day seeing more of Shanghai on foot. In the morning we went to one of Shanghai’s two Buddhist temples. You have to pay to get in to all of these temples, which makes me wonder what people who actually worship there do. There did seem to be some worshippers together with the many tourists. After the Buddhist temple we headed on foot over to People’s Park and People’s Square, the main public square in Shanghai.

The Chinese do gardens very w
ell (I think it’s part of the whole Confucian culture thing), and People’s Park is very nice. There’s everything there from flowers to ponds to forest (with skyscrapers in the background!), and there’s a good amount of space to explore. In the 1960s apparently the Red Guards had a huge public meeting here and marched through the square with their Red Books. There’s no sign of anything like this today, although there is a statue honoring the typical communist in the park.

Today was also markets day. We checked out the very busy food market near where Amanda lives (on the street behind the apartment), and in the evening we went to the Shanghai fabric market, where you can get just about any piece of clothing made from any kind of fabric fit just to you, for a lot cheaper than anywhere else. There are 3 floors and I am sure it would take me weeks just to get around to making a decision about material. There are also a lot of cool back-street markets near the fabric market, too. Markets are definitely a cool part of Chinese culture worth seeing. Later I got to experience the Chinese train station – in contrast to the airport, very, very crowded, enough to certainly leave you feeling bushufued. Thank goodness we could retreat to the apartment and have brie and spaghetti for dinner – very Chinese!

Pictures: 1. Reclining Buddha at Buddhist temple (close to nirvana), 2. Buddhas at Buddhist temple, 3. Posing next to the monument to the typical Communist at People’s Park, with the Shanghai guidebook serving as our Red Book, 4. Woman at the market behind Chris’s (Amanda’s boyfriend’s) apartment

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