Sunday, January 08, 2012

Exploring Shanghai – 27 December 2011

Leaving the hotel at 0900 was a relative luxury after the previous few mornings and we headed first to the Shanghai Museum for a whistle-stop 90 minutes. One could clearly spend a lot more time there appreciating all the porcelain and bronze objects illustrating the historical skills of the Chinese artisans. It is fortunate that there are still some fine works that have not ended up in the collections in English stately homes!

Another shopping opportunity was provided when we stopped at the pearl centre. This opportunity was taken full advantage of by a number of the women in the party.

It has been most interesting to see the various different dishes that have been offered at the Chinese restaurants we have been taken to. The only common factor has been white rice but today's lunch even challenged that norm as we were offered “brown” soy flavoured white rice.

The “old” Chinese quarter of the city was our next stop where the buildings are about 140 years old and exactly what one expects from Chinese style architecture. We had a short time to wander around before heading to the Yu Yuan Garden; a fabulous masterpiece of Chinese garden design, incorporating water, rocks, plants and buildings.
It is not surprising that Mr Pan who paid for the construction over 18 years was bankrupted shortly after. No expense was spared in creating an artificial mountain and an artificial forest on the 2 hectare site which he started as a place for his elderly parents to walk in.

We were offered the choice of another tea ceremony or, for an small extra charge, the chance to visit the viewing gallery on the 85th floor of the Jinmao building: the viewing gallery was the unanimous winner. Completed in 1998 the Jinmao Tower is now the second highest in Shanghai. It will move to third place in 2014 when the building across the road is completed.
Not only is the view to the outside fantastic, the view down the inside to the 55th floor is amazing. The internal atrium is part of the Hyatt hotel which occupies floors 55 through 84.

Another Chinese meal and then a very impressive Chinese acrobatic show rounded off the day.

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