John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Saturday 14 June 2014

[Friday 13 June 2014]

4* Ocean Hotel, Shanghai
Day 3, Shanghai (B/L/D)
Following breakfast, you will embark on a full day tour of the city, taking in the delights of the famous classical Yuyuan Garden, the French Concession and Tianzifang, the arts and crafts enclave in the French neighbourhood.
After lunch you can saunter around Xintiandi — “The City’s Living Room”, a multifunctional entertainment district with unique 1920’s style stone gate buildings known as “shikumen”.
[i] In the morning there was a visit to the Bund, postponed from yesterday, followed by the French Concession. We visited Yuyuan Garden after lunch. I think we skipped Xintiandi, having seen similar structures in the French Concession. And there was a visit to Nanjing Road, postponed from yesterday.

Day 165 1 Kings 11; 1 Corinthians 11
I was awake at 5am and got up, though I’d slept OK up till then. The alarm clock was set for 7am; Janet stayed in bed till 7.15am; and I used the bathroom after she vacated it. Down for breakfast, then back to the room. Janet wrote, “At ca.9am we set off on the coach”, but the photographic evidence (below) suggests it may have been 8.45am. Hot, though humid, hazy day. After we gathered in the lobby Max broached the subject that I was expecting yesterday, i.e. of tipping. The holiday blurb somewhere had said, “It is customary to tip both your driver and guide ¥30 (about £3) per person per day”, but a later document upped that: “It is customary to tip both your driver and guide ¥40 (about £4) per person per day.” On the basis of the latter, I’d calculated

¥40 (“both driver”) + ¥40 (“and guide”) → ¥80
x 2 (because there were two of us) → ¥160
x 15 (number of days of the holiday) → ¥2400 (or £240)

But Max asked for only ¥30 (or £3) a day from each of us, i.e. ¥900 (or £90). He suggested we put the money in an envelope and give it to him this evening. Out of that he would tip each guide and driver in each place we would visit. (There wasn’t just one “driver” and one “guide”, as I’d calculated; in each place there was a different local guide — sometimes two — and two different drivers, let alone the cruise, on which there were two “in-house” guides, and other guides on the excursions.)

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 08:43:54
Waiting for departure in the hotel lobby

The coach dropped us at the start of the Bund, and Maggie conducted us along it, telling us its history and pointing out features.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 09:43:08
Monument to the People’s Heroes

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 09:46:08
Iconic Pudong District skyline across the Huangpu River from the Bund

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 09:49:04
View south along the Bund

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 09:49:04
View south along the Bund — detail

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 09:57:14
Peace Hotel (left); Bank of China building (right); statue of Chen Li, mayor of Shanghai, 1949–1958

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 09:59:42
The Customs House (centre)

We were given free time. Maggie suggested that we look in the lobby of the “Peace Hotel”, originally when built by Sir Victor Sassoon the “Cathay Hotel”.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:10:34
In the lobby of the Peace Hotel

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:10:46
In the lobby of the Peace Hotel

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:11:28
In the lobby of the Peace Hotel

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:14:04
In the lobby of the Peace Hotel

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:14:30
In the lobby of the Peace Hotel

After that we boarded the coach and were taken to the former French Concession. There was a small fountain with statues of three traditional gods but depicted in modern style. Maggie said that we’d see one of them in traditional style later. Again, there was free time to look around, and we went to a “Paulaner Bräuhaus, München” branded bar. and I had a weissbier — draught, I think — somewhat pricy, but the best of its kind. I had the impression that it, and the other beers that were being served, were brewed in-house. Certainly, all the beer I saw served was somewhat cloudy. (I expected my weissbier to be cloudy.)

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:41:14
In the French Concession

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:43:40
In the French Concession

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 10:56:40
In the French Concession

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 11:19:34
In the French Concession

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 11:21:34
In the French Concession

After that we were taken to a silk factory. The smaller cocoons were occupied by one pupa, and the silk could be extracted as single strands, though a number were twisted together for weaving. The larger cocoons had two pupae, and the silk was matted. That was extracted and stretched over wooden half-hoops, then further stretched and formed into layers on duvets.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 11:57:48
Silk factory

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 11:58:30
Silk factory

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 11:59:04
Silk factory

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 12:00:20
Silk factory

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 12:01:56
Silk factory

There was an extensive shop selling silk goods: dresses, jackets, duvets, etc., at reasonable prices. Janet found this interesting and would have bought something, were it not for the problem of getting it home. I found this part a little tedious. On the way out there were exhibited caterpillars munching mulberry leaves, and cocoons.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 12:43:58
Silk factory

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 12:44:16
Silk factory

Then we were taken to and through part of the old town, where our restaurant for lunch was situated.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 13:23:04
“Chinatown”, Shanghai

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 13:23:44
“Chinatown”, Shanghai

On the first-floor balcony of a temple there was a statue, in traditional style, of one of the gods that had been represented on the fountain in the French Concession.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 13:26:50
“Chinatown”, Shanghai

Lunch was on an upper floor in a restaurant. There was the same arrangement as yesterday: seated around round tables, helping ourselves to multiple dishes from a central glass turntable. Apart from on her “pig out days” Janet didn’t partake at lunch-times, and asked me what each was like. The food tended to be “hotter” (i.e. chilli-hot) than Chinese-style fare back home.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 13:34:44

After lunch we walked to the nearby Yuyuan Garden, with water features and ornate-roofed buildings and natural rock formations set up like statues. They have the knack of constructing tranquil gardens, the Chinese. After being conducted through it, we were given free time to look around and a rendezvous point outside a Starbucks café not far from the exit.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:40:08
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:40:28
In Yuyuan Garden

Some of the buildings had entrances in the shape of the outline of vessels and vases — no two entrances of this style alike.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:43:06
In Yuyuan Garden

One building had undulating eaves like the body of a dragon, terminating in the dragon’s head.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:47:40
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:48:58
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:50:06
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:50:56
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:53:40
In Yuyuan Garden — lotus plants and flower

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 14:53:56
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 15:03:48
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 15:05:30
In Yuyuan Garden

A sign promised “toilets”, but when I followed its apparent direction, through a gateway into a courtyard, there were none to be seen. [Typically, at the start of holidays, I get the “runs”.]

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 15:09:00
In Yuyuan Garden

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 15:11:42
In Yuyuan Garden

We exited, and in the old city, passing stalls selling noodles and dumplings and other food items, managed with difficulty because of the weekend crowds to find me a seat in a covered arcade a couple of corners from the rendezvous location, while Janet went off and found a chilled drink. I was feeling a bit “under the weather”. After we all met up we were taken to the Nanjing Road shopping area. (This was the only “down side” of this tour: the plurality of visits to shopping streets, markets and bazaars.) Maggie suggested a café in the square there if one wanted a drink, but the music there was intrusive and loud. So leaving there, and having no interest in the shops, we found a bar down a side street a block away, and whiled away the allotted time under the long awning that lined the street. I had a couple of Tsing Tao beers and Janet diet cola. I felt much better. Across the road from us there was the entrance to a “Muslim restaurant”.

Saturday 14 June 2014 — 16:55:04
Nanjing Road

“On the way back to the hotel,” Janet wrote, “Max told us we could upgrade on the Yangtze River Cruise for £170. So I decided I’d use my money to pay for this.” I usually shower in the morning, but I felt hot and sticky so had another shower when we got to the hotel room. Copied the 41 photos from today from the camera to the WD Elements HDD (17:58–17:59). We set off in the coach (“Coach A” still, as throughout the trip) to a restaurant for dinner. Janet found some of the dishes “hot” but also found herself getting used to this. There were McDonald’s-style fries in one dish. And tortilla chips in another. Strange! (Not sure whether here was an example, but in a number of restaurants the meat in some of the dishes was bacon.) Only edited five of today’s photos (21:06–21:24) before I felt too tired to continue and went to bed.

[Sunday 15 June 2014]

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