We had a pretty smooth cruise from Manila to Shanghai except for the thunder and lightning storms and a 60˚swing in the temperature in two days time. Just as we were about to leave steamy Manila we saw a van drive up and the staff started unloading white bundles---maybe 100 of them. We couldn’t figure out what they were bringing onto the ship. We later heard that the ship had sent out a huge load of passenger laundry that morning when we arrived in port. Since so many passengers qualify for free washing and ironing service, the laundry on board has been swamped. It shows the lengths to which Regent will go to keep their guests clean and happy.
Recently the ship has begun serving dinner outside on the aft veranda—which to us is heavenly. In good weather we can have all three meals al fresco. Before we hit the cold winds of China we had several lovely nights dining on Asian cuisine under the stars with friends.
We arrived in Shanghai on a cold, rainy night. When we docked, our cabin was on the river side so we bundled up and sat on our balcony to watch the
Shanghai is Full of these Shops
dinner boats cruising past. Shanghai lights up all of the buildings along the Bund and many of the new skyscrapers on the Pudong side of the river. It is a grand sight especially with the rain and the fog drifting around the buildings. There were two dazzling fireworks displays which just added to the magic that is Shanghai at night.
The next day dawned cold and windy and rainy. So what better thing to do than to go shopping in this shopper’s paradise? We first went to our favorite restaurant that overlooks the Huang Pu River and had the most delicious braised bok choy ever. It was exquisite. The Chinese take such pride in their cooking and it shows in the end product. Shanghai is getting geared up for the 2010 Expo which will open in May for six months. The Bund along the river is still closed for reconstruction, new subway lines are being installed, roads are torn up and the cruise terminal is yet to be finished. But we know that come May 1 everything will be ready. Shanghai expects 70 million visitors to the Expo--we won’t be there during that crush of humanity. We receive the
Bob and Lucia
Colorado Springs, CO
San Francisco Chronicle on board and just this week they had an article in their travel section about how Shanghai is reemerging as a world-class city. They call it the “capital of cool!”
We took a taxi to Tao Bao which is a multistory beehive of shops and restaurants and most importantly out of the rain. There are jade screens and scrolls, pashmina and silk jackets, flashlights and computers, tailors and toys, umbrellas and underwear. The bargaining is fierce and the shopkeepers are persistent. It is a fun afternoon and I came back to the ship with bags of treasures.
We found a foot massage parlor which was nice and warm. The Chinese masseur kept laughing and finally he told us what was so funny. He said that our noses and feet are sooooooo large. He couldn’t get over the size of Kevin’s shoes. He just kept repeating “big nose, big feet, big nose, big feet!” In spite of that we gave him a tip!
Traveling from Shanghai to Xiamen we had a Mexican satellite signal and got to watch the Academy Awards. It was a very entertaining show and the first time in years that we
have been able to watch it since we are always at sea in March. Kevin guessed all the winners.
Xiamen was a new stop for us. Amoy, as it is known in the West, was one of the initial ports opened by the British at the end of the First Opium War. The Western influence is still evident in the architecture and the international flavor of this resort city. Gulangyu Island is a ten minute ferry ride from Xiamen Island and this is where the highest concentration of colonial mansions, churches and gardens are located. We enjoyed the waterfront promenade and the pedestrian commercial streets. We found some narrow back alleys stuffed with dumpling shops and noodle houses. Our big buy was a bag of tangerines. They are in season in China every year when we come through on the world cruise. We only had half a day in this port and then we were off to one of the grand cities of the world—Hong Kong.
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