Shanghai Experience in a Nutshell


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March 7th 2010
Published: March 31st 2010
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Shanghai Old MarketShanghai Old MarketShanghai Old Market

The Old Market on a Sunday morning
My parents and I spent 5 days in the Shanghai area. I loved the hustle and bustle... It felt like New York City, except most of the buildings were 4-6 stories and they were spread over a greater distance. There are some really amazing buildings there, and several interesting sky scrapers, please don't misunderstand. Shanghai just isn't as condensed as Manhattan.

Day 2 (Best of Shanghai Tour)
Our guide Sky picked us up from our hotel at 9am and whisked us (my parents and a group of English retirees) off to the Yu Yuan Garden and Old Market District in the City Center. I have to keep reminding myself that I was looking at new old Shanghai. The old market was a cluster of buildings built in a more traditional style with very narrow walkways that wove in between them. Here you could buy all kinds of trinkets and trash both real and fake. They had silks, pearls and jade...food, luggage and small keepsakes to remember your visit to Shanghai. It was a Sunday morning, and the market streets were crowded...much like the city itself. The city of Shanghai has a population more than eight times that of my home
Shanghai Old MarketShanghai Old MarketShanghai Old Market

Dressing the market to the nines for Spring Festival
state. From the old market, we slipped into Yu Yuan Garden, which was built by a successful man named Yu who had built the home and garden to honor his parents, whom he felt he had neglected on his path to fortune. Here I learned a lot about Ming Dynasty architectural customs, as well as ways to subtly draw attention to your social status, like the height of your thresh hold, or a second reception hall for more distinguished guests. We walked through the home and garden in the middle of Shanghai. It was very interesting, and at one point Sky led us through a limestone rock formation to another part of the garden...something I would have missed entirely without his guidance. After the garden tour we went to a beautiful tea house and theater. The theater only held performances at night, but we got to watch and participate in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, and sample lots of delicious Chinese tea. My favorites were the floral Jasmine teas they called Romeo and Juliet. Romeo, when placed in hot water blossomed into the firework like flower with green, spindly leaves and a red and yellow floret in the center. Juliet
Dragon WallDragon WallDragon Wall

The Dragon Wall that encompassed all of Yu Yuan Garden.
was much softer. From the green leaves emerged this soft, white, rope-like flower reaching up to the surface of the water. After that we went to the Shanghai Art Museum, and I saw up close pieces that I had studied in My Chinese Art and Culture class at the University of Iowa.



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Shanghai Yu Yuan GardenShanghai Yu Yuan Garden
Shanghai Yu Yuan Garden

Garden pavilion in Yu Yuan Garden
Romeo and JulietRomeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet

Jasmine tea blossoms in the Shanghai tea house.
Shanghai Art MuseumShanghai Art Museum
Shanghai Art Museum

Jade Bi disc at the Shanghai Art Museum


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