Another whirlwind trip, this time to Shanghai
Trip Start Nov 30, 2010
25Trip End Ongoing
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And Modern. And any other superlative I could pronounce is possibly true, too.
We left Shangyu and went to Hangzhou, where Tian had a meeting at Zheijiang University.
The new campus is expansive, and like everything else in China, under construction. I roamed the stacks of the library building, found the English section, and settled down in a big comfy sofa. I perused the university's zoology, physics, and chemistry journals while I waited for the two hour meeting to end. I learned lot's of interesting stuff, especially in the fields of moth communication and sand compression / bedrock stress testing research
Afterward, we booked tickets on the new high-speed train to Shanghai, where we had more visits planned. Speeding along at over 350 kilometers per hour, we arrived in 45 minutes. The ride was smooth as silk and totally comfortable. It was interesting watching the countryside zoom by. The drive would of been several hours and nerve racking, but this trip was so easy!
The new transportation hub, Hongquiao Station is enormous, and gleaming, and highly efficient. It combines high speed rail, train, subway, bus, and air transportation services in one place. The automated ticket machines made it quick to buy our return transportation, despite the TV's horror stories of the upcoming New Year's Festival induced long lines at ticket counters elsewhere around the country.
We were picked up by an old friend, and brought to the Hong Mei Entertainment Street, which hosts a variety of International restaurants, bars and pubs. Being somewhat tired of the local food, I looked longingly at the Italian and Mexican eateries as we marched into yet another Chinese restaurant.
Pop Shanghai Cuisine proved to be cool, however
Later we went to a club near the Shanghai Indoor stadium, where we hung out with Tony Tian, a talented jazz singer with an excellent grasp of English, and a deep knowledge of the history of his art. Tony's grandmother had taught him a Bing Crosby song when he was a child, and Tony instantly was hooked on singing. Between glasses of an excellent Italian red wine and shared stories of favorite artists, Tony and his piano player treated us to several American standards. If I had had a guitar or upright bass, I would have gladly joined in..
Other highlights of the first trip to Shanghai included a trip to the Shanghai Museum, in People's Square, which has extensive collections of ancient Chinese art. We will be going back to spend more time there, as we were very busily scheduled, and couldn't devote enough time to properly explore the displays.
However, I did have enough time later to happily sit in a music store and play many electric guitars while Tian spent some quality time visiting with her old classmate from her hometown
A few days later, after making our way back to Hangzhou, and Shangyu, we found ourselves back in Shanghai, at the Indian Consul's visa service, applying for our visas to....India!
Should everything work out as expected, we will be flying to Delhi, India to assist a delegation to the World Sustainable Development Conference event being held there. In Shanghai, I was able to find an inexpensive good quality suit for the trip at Mark & Spencer's, a UK chain which had a lot of western size clothing! We had looked without success around Hangzhou, which I know must have large sized clothes, but in the time frame we have to work in, M&S was a godsend. I don't want to hang with world leaders wearing my crooked grin and torn jeans. Thank goodness for search engines.
It seems like we have been going non-stop since we arrived here in China, I've barely had time to sit down and seriously study my language books, or post to this blog, or download photos from my camera. Many thanks to those of you who are following my adventure, and thanks for the emails, which keep me connected.