Blogs from Shanghai, China, Asia


Asia » China » Shanghai March 25th 2021

24th March - Ancient Water Town: Exploring Zhujiajiao Zhujiajiao Water Town is situated forty seven kilometers away from Shanghai. It is a typical and ancient water town in Qingpu District, south of the Yangtze River, which has almost 1,700 years of history. Zhujiajiao, also called “The Venice of Shanghai”, features lovely waterways, curved rock bridges, old streets cemented with stone, and over 10,000 buildings dating back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911). The village prospered through clothing and rice businesses. Fangsheng Bridge one of 36 bridges, Built in the 17th century, the 70-meter-long Fangsheng Bridge is now the most well-known landmark in Zhujiajiao. Fangsheng means release animals in Chinese. Local people believe releasing animals means you are merciful to animals and Buddha will also be merciful to you. There are 9 ancien... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai March 17th 2021

14th March - Shanghai People's Park and People's Square The Shanghai Marriage Market is a marriage market held at People’s. Parents of unmarried adults flock to the park every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. to trade information on their children. The primary goal of attending the marriage market is for parents to find a suitable partner for their child. The standards of finding the right match may be based upon, but not limited to age, height, job, income, education, family values, Chinese zodiac sign, and personality. All of this information is written on a piece of paper, which is then hung on long strings among other parents' advertisements for their children. The parents walk around chatting with other parents to see if there is a harmonious fit only after their children's standards are ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai March 13th 2021

12th March - A night stroll along the Bund Alice was our guide again, I joined her a couple of days ago for a walk during the day along the Bund. It was midday in U.K. and 8pm in Shanghai. Alice made us all laugh when instead of pointing out the skyline buildings with her finger she produced a chopstick from her pocket. The clock tower building is The Shanghai National Post Office, built in 1924 with an interesting mix of European styles of architecture. It is now a historical landmark under protection as the Shanghai Postal Museum. Inside the museum, there is a statue of Mr. Zhu Xuefan who was the first minister of the postal department. There is also a display of oracle bones that records military correspondence. There is also a stamp collection ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai March 10th 2021

10th March - The Bund Shanghai As we started our stroll along The Bund the first sight was something more familiar with New York. The Bund’s ‘Charging Bull’ has become a popular attraction on the waterfront. At 5.2-meters long, 3.2-meters high and a whopping 2.5 tons in weight, it is almost identical to the original Wall Street Bull on which it is based – only “redder, younger and stronger,” according to the artist of both, Arturo Di Modica. Designed to represent the growing virulence and power of China’s economy, it was unveiled on May 15, 2010, after the global financial crisis and just ahead of Shanghai’s Expo extravaganza, in a boast that the country was immune to the economic woes of the rest of the world. Several people were having photographs taken but we managed to ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai March 2nd 2021

2nd March - Yuyuan Bazaar Shanghai I visited this area back in 2010, & whilst the lovely old traditional building haven’t changed, the area around the Tea House resembled a theme park. A lot of the displays were still there following the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations but some I think are now permanent ! I remember better visiting the Yuyuan Gardens which is next to the bazaar so fingers crossed our new virtual guide will take more tours in a less commercial area. I guess some of the virtual guests had not visited Shanghai before were interested to see the local arts and different foods on offer. Yuyuan Bazaar location - Originally there was just a temple that was built in the 15th Century. Over 100 years ago there was an increase in pilgrims who ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai » Pudong May 19th 2020

I have never been very good at languages. I took Latin in high school, from the teacher who probably invented it. Then German at U.C. Berkeley, which I enjoyed but could not dedicate much study to. My grandparents across the street spoke mostly Japanese. Since we grew up with them, we have a decent vocabulary, and know the correct pronunciation of much conversational Japanese. And I have studied numerous online Japanese language courses prior to our visits to Japan. I enjoy Pimsler the most, very straight forward, conversational and interactive. No hangups on grammar. But Japanese, German, and English do not compare in difficulty to the five most difficult in the world. What are they? Turkish is the 5th hardest, perhaps most prevalent in its agglutination, in which multiple individual words are pushed together to create ... read more
Polish cheers

Asia » China » Shanghai » Luwan March 2nd 2020

Cancel a trip yet? My cousins cancelled their trip to Japan this month. But I am boarding a plane tomorrow for a short flight to Vegas. What should you do? What is corona virus? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. Around 80% of people recover without requiring special treatment. The virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, has since spread to 53 countries. Of the roughly 84,000 reported cases, China accounts for over 78,800. Older people and those with preexisting conditions – including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes – are the most likely to develop a severe illness as a result of COVID-19. Well, I definitely would stay out of Asia. And not just because of the Corona virus, but because much of the region is ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai December 29th 2019

The food in Shanghai is so incredible, it enhances the overall travel experience and can easily be its own memory. That is, if someone suggests recommendations for a culinary trip, I would hands down recommend Shanghai without a shred of hesitation (with the only other town being my beloved Chicago). From local Chinese cuisine to international fare, this city has it all. Everything I sampled, tried, and devoured – from small bites at the local coffee shop to full-on sit down meals at restaurants – was suburb. The combination of tastes and flavors astounded me every time. And what was clear in my experience is that whatever the Shanghainese do, they do it damn well. Let’s start with the coffee shops. I for one adore coffee shops – they are my happy place. And it pleased ... read more
Christmas Dinner :)

Asia » China » Shanghai December 26th 2019

Contemporary China has a fascinating relationship with spirituality: as a country with historically deeply rooted traditions and practices which spread throughout the region, it is also accelerating in modernity at lightning speed. When you are here, it is hard to reconcile China’s historical traditions with its current society. I think the Jing’an Temple (photographed below) is a perfect example of the dichotomy between rich cultural practices and modernization. Though there are a number of religions in China, including Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam consisting about 10% of the population, this blog post will be focusing on Buddhism, which is the country’s most practiced religion (15% of the population). However, it must be prefaced that the vast majority (over 70%) of mainland Chinese are non-religious, which makes it the world’s largest non-religious population. That is... read more
Jing'an Temple
Buddha Art Exhibit

Asia » China » Shanghai December 24th 2019

“The Economy, Stupid.” My fascination with China began with a conversation. I was traveling back to Chicago from attending a wedding in France in the summer of 2017 when I accompanied an old college acquaintance. Throughout our journey home, he talked about how his parents struggled to move to the United States and how hard they worked in their white collared jobs (while facing prejudice in the workplace – go figure, California) to give their children a life they did not have growing up in China. Most of my Chinese-American friends echo the same story. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, a few bad policies and natural disasters led to one of the worst famines in Chinese history. The most conservative of estimates state that at least 15 million Chinese died of starvation (some scholars ... read more

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