OKINAWA AND SHANGHAI


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March 14th 2013
Published: March 14th 2013
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THE KING'S CROWNTHE KING'S CROWNTHE KING'S CROWN

Okinawa castle
The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest and fiercest fought campaigns of WWII. The tremendous loss of Allied personnel, local civilians and Japanese troops led to President Truman’s decision to use nuclear weapons instead of attempting a land invasion of mainland Japan. About one third of all Okinawan civilians perished either in bomb attacks, suicides or being sealed alive in caves where they had sought refuge from the carnage.

During the Vietnam War, I flew into Kadena Air Base on Okinawa for five years. At that time the island was still recovering from the world war as 90% of the buildings were destroyed by the time the Japanese surrendered. The Ryukyu Islands were still under the control of the U.S. In 1972 Okinawa reverted to Japanese sovereignty. Since then it has become a booming resort for vacationers from the north.

The day we arrived in Okinawa it was unseasonably cold and rainy. Fortunately it was Sunday when the main shopping street becomes a pedestrian thoroughfare. A portion of Kokusaidori is even set aside as a playground for kids. We visited the vegetable and fish markets and were given samples by the friendly merchants. They appreciated our attempts at Japanese and chuckled at our pronunciation. Okinawans are known for their openhearted spirit which is called “yuimaru.”

We also visited the Shurijo Castle. Originally built in the 14th century, this walled fortress was leveled in WWII. It has been almost completely rebuilt and now stands as the symbol of Okinawa, towering over the city of Naha.

We cruised up the river to Shanghai through a thick “Chinese mist” --aka smog. The Industrial Revolution was late in coming to China but it has consumed the country now. Between the frequent Gobi Desert sandstorms and the use of coal, the air quality in this part of the world is pretty abysmal. But Shanghai is one of our favorites of the mega-cities in Asia. It is a very cosmopolitan and vibrant city. We always have fun in Shanghai.

We waited for all of the tours to clear out and then hit the Bund. This is the great walkway along the Huangpu River. The buildings on the river are an architectural wonderland with everything from art deco masterpieces to classic European style edifices. When lit up at night it is a sight to behold.

Even though Shanghai is a
WELCOMEWELCOMEWELCOME

The Okinawans are warm and friendly
huge city it is easy to get around as there are thousands of cabs and they are cheap. You can go almost anywhere for $2 or $3 tops. The only exception is at night when a cab ride is a very expensive proposition.

Our first stop was at the Yu Yuan bazaar to pick up some silk things, like ties, bags and scarves. Then it was on to Tao Bao and some heavy duty bargaining for electronic stuff. This is a favorite shopping stop for many cruisers but I think the prices have become a bit inflated in the last few years. We went to the French Concession area to see the historic hotel where Mao and Nixon signed the famous Shanghai Accord which opened relations between the two countries. It was also once the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party. Boy, those comrades had good taste! The Ruijin Hotel was built at the turn of the last century and is set within a lovely 100 acre garden. This has to be the largest green space in Shanghai. The hotel is managed by Intercontinental and is now a beautiful, deluxe property.

The French Concession is one of the few areas of Shanghai that has not been totally modernized through urban renewal. There are still low rise neighborhoods and a wonderful area called Tianzifang which is a beehive of small shops and restaurants lining the alleyways.

We had time to get to the oldest restaurant in Shanghai for lunch. The Mei Long Zhen is a regular stop of ours whenever we visit the “Pearl of the Orient.”


Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 24


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SUNDAY IN NAHASUNDAY IN NAHA
SUNDAY IN NAHA

The main street stays closed to traffic
SPAMSPAM
SPAM

A staple since WWII
PRETTY FISHPRETTY FISH
PRETTY FISH

And also good tasting
DRIED BONITO STICKSDRIED BONITO STICKS
DRIED BONITO STICKS

They are shaved for miso soup flavoring
GREGG & ADRIENNEGREGG & ADRIENNE
GREGG & ADRIENNE

At Shurijo Castle Park, Okinawa
CASTLE OFFICIALCASTLE OFFICIAL
CASTLE OFFICIAL

We were intrigued by his ears.
PEACE HOTEL IN SHANGHAIPEACE HOTEL IN SHANGHAI
PEACE HOTEL IN SHANGHAI

A classic hotel.
COTTON CANDYCOTTON CANDY
COTTON CANDY

Made from coconuts
APPLE, OF COURSE!APPLE, OF COURSE!
APPLE, OF COURSE!

Huge store on Nanjing Road


14th March 2013

Travel Blog
We soooo want to travel with you again and this time, follow along on your coat tails. You seem to know all the best places to eat and shop and make us wish we were there along with you. You do an excellent job at representing each and every port. Thank you.
14th March 2013

Sounds wonderful. We are going on Silver Shadow in April - HKG to TYO - any suggestions? Love, Tweedie and Mac
14th March 2013

The Old Days
Once again your blog evoked lots of memories and also new things to look forward to seeing one day. I always enjoyed Okinawa as it was so very different from Tokyo and environs. Is it as rural as it once was? You didn't mention seeing the pigs in the river in Shanghai. I hope that is one sight you missed. Hugs, Jeannie
14th March 2013

shanghai
been a while since I have been there---the Apple store is something else--travel safe---Bill K
14th March 2013

Envy
Boy, did you bring back memories. Okinawa in 1969 is different from our visit in 2008 and probably different from your visit now. The Bund-what a street, and the French Consesion-June buught a lovely lavender jade necklace, only by putting together four bracelets. They strung them while we were thaere in a few minutes and away we went. Thaks n again for the memories ion my virtual cruise.
14th March 2013

you bring china into our office
wonderful, Pictures. Thank you Ilse and Martina Good Sailing
15th March 2013

That cotton candy looks delish and the I <3 dong sign would make a very tasteful T shirt souvenir. You both look fantastic. Hope this is the best cruise yet! Catherine
16th March 2013

Great blog
Hey Kevin & Susan, have enjoyed seeing your great blog on your adventures. Brings back memories of places we ahe been and interesting in seeing the few places we have not seen. We are in Tucson for about 5 weeks and just got back from a side trip to California. We caught up with some Cruise Specialist friends, Larry & Dodi Clark and Elizabeth Kingma. We all had good things to say about C.S., our individual rep's and of course you two. We made so many great friendships over the years from our travels. ( I hope you have been informed that Jim Foxworthy passed away. We feel so bad for Mary Beth but it looks like she has a nephew that is close and has been a big help) We will be back in NC in a week or so and keep the blogs coming. We always look forward to hearing from you. Norm & Linda
18th March 2013

Just checking in
Did you watch any of the Big 12 basketball? KU won. Down deep I wanted to see Iowa State do better against KU but that wasn\'t to be. More basketball this week with NAIA here. It is going to be cold and rainy/snowy this week. It was 83 this past Fri. and I played mah jongg indoors all afternoon. I'm ready for some consistent warmth. What do you think of the Carnival problems? Sandy

Tot: 0.608s; Tpl: 0.053s; cc: 13; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0188s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 3; ; mem: 1.4mb