Our last touring day in Shanghai was spent with Peter and Fiona in the old city area, of which the highlight was definitely Yu Yuan Garden, a Ming Dynasty construction not far from the Huangpu (Yellow River). The word "garden" is really not adequate, because although plants, water features, rocks and pathways are the essential elements, buildings and bridges are equally important. The buildings range from gazebo-sized to conference-center sized. And as I hope you can see in this picture, walls between features sometimes take center stage. This is one of many dragons that grace walls and surprise and delight the visitor around every corner.
Pictures don't do it, but here's a suggestion, anyway, of one of the many, many vistas created in this space. We took over two hours, and didn't see it all, and even all that we saw we couldn't entirely take in.
This is the prize photo of Peter and Fiona from this day. I'll post more when there's time. Right now, we're dashing to get the train to Suzhou, which is the REAL garden spot. More later!
Fiona was my guide to the Shanghai Museum. Free admission! But a tiny lunch cost an arm and a leg by Shanghai standards.
We looked at ceramics and bronzes and carved jade items that made me ask Fiona: "What were our ancestors doing 4,000 years ago?" The scope of this civilization is astounding.
A set of 8 stone lions guards the facade of the Shanghai Museum. Each has his own personality, and represents a different sort of protection. They are reproductions from eras that range from a few hundred years BCE to about 900 CE.
We had sandwiches labeled "hamburgers" (round bun + ham = hamburger, right?) and hot chocolate for about 84 RMB ($13) - insane to pay such a price, but museum food the world over is high-priced. And the surroundings were beautiful. In typical Shanghai fashion, just as we reached the front of the line, a man barged into line and insisted on being served immediately. The young uniformed man who managed the line could only look apologetically at us. Fortified with food and drink, we headed out to enjoy the galleries
This is a scene from walking down the street to the hotel from the Fudan campus. Sycamores line the street, and two young women walk arm in arm. In the US, you don't see that very often. It's very companionable, as I can attest, having walked in that fashion with Fiona today on the way back from the Shanghai Museum. In our case, it was mainly so that we didn't lose one another in the crowds getting on and off the subway. But it sill had that companionable, intimate feeling. You don't see male friends walking that way with each other in Shanghai. Or in the US, need I add.
Here, a young woman rides her bike and eats her breakfast at the same time. You can see that lots of students ride their bikes. She's in front of the cafeteria, where we all ate lunch together on Friday. Peter showed me how to ask for rice, and point at the toppings I wanted. I ended up with two toppings: one with tofu, celery, and a tiny bit of fish, and the other with gelatinous duck blood and quail eggs and some other green. I honestly didn't know what those little squares were. They looked like a dark-colored tofu. But Peter's Chinese tutor let me know they were duck blood, and made a face -- indicating she would never eat it herself. But really, they tasted great. Let's hear it for culinary adventures.