Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shanghai today...

It was some eighty years the mid nineteen thirties that Daniel Smith arrived in Shanghai. He came as a missionary with China Inland Mission and spent many years in China.  It was here that he married...and had four children.  One of those children happens to be the other grammy to three of my grand kids.  She wondered whether we may have passed by the boarding school in Shanghai where she spent several years of her life.  Maybe we did...though I am sure nothing is recognizable after all these years. After enduring atrocities at the hands of the communists...the Smith family eventually left China by way of the back door through Burma.  As I re-read the auto-biography of our daughter-in-law's grandfather...I tried to reconcile the China of his day with the one we just visited.  Is it that much different?  On the surface it appears to be.  Underneath...I think not.  There is still a communist government that ultimately believes they are the final authority.

Today I will take you to the Shanghai we saw.  The streets were full  of people...all 23 million of them it seemed!  Our first stop was...

...the Old Town Bazaar...a tourist mecca. The brochures warn travelers to stay away on national holidays because of the crowds. No one told us!

Our arrival coincided with the Chinese New Year and everyone seemed to think the market was a good place to spend the day.

 There were long line-ups at the concessions...

...dishing up local treats. 

Despite the huge highways into the city...many locals still get around on two wheels.

The cars are all new.  The bikes are all seems.

Scooters often transported the entire, dad and child.  

Oh...and sometimes the family pet!  Helmets are an unknown in China....and they seem to think headlights on scooters are unimportant as well.

These police have no problem maneuvering around in the city in their carts.

We had our own bus (complete with English tour guide)...but for those who  needed a narrated tour...this was the way to go. 

When our time of exploring on our own was over...we were to meet under the giant 'tea pot'...down one of these little side streets.  Oh dear...where was that again?  It is a little unnerving to know you can not 'phone a friend'...or ask the policeman for directions.  No one in that crowd seemed to speak English!

Whew!  There he was...our friendly guide, John...always wearing his red jacket.

After exploring the old part of town...we walked Nanjing Street and the upscale shopping district...and paid a visit to Plaza 66 Mall.  There the names were all familiar to us...and bargaining was out of the question. 

Next stop...The Bund.  Also called Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu...the famous waterfront has been regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years.

Shanghai is undergoing one of the fastest economic expansions the world has ever seen.  It has the largest stock exchange, the world's first magnetic train system, and well over three-thousand skyscrapers.  The World Financial Centre is one of the tallest buildings in the world (pictured in the back with the 'see-through' window on top)...however, it will soon be dwarfed by the tower coming up nearby.  Everywhere we saw cranes on top of buildings under construction.  During this building boom there have been times when 1/4 of all the cranes in the world are working in Shanghai. 

John...our favorite guy and source of so much knowledge! 

The Monument to the People's Heroes is a 24 meter concrete structure in Huangpu Park...built as a memorial for those died during the revolutionary struggle for Shanghai dating back to the Opium Wars.

After our walk along the famous waterway...we carried on to our next stop. 

The Shanghai Silk Carpet Factory.  We had a tour...and though the factory was closed for the New Year holiday... a few workers came to show us how their carpets are made.  Beautiful works of art...they are!

We had a nice chat with this young gal...who spoke a beautiful English.  She was an employee at the factory...a university grad...though she looked all of sixteen!  Though most of us were not in the market for a carpet...they did make a sale or two.

   We left Shanghai after our first day of touring...en route to Suzhou.  Next stop!


  1. What a whirlwind tour! It must have been frightening to be amongst so very many people.

  2. Thanks for the pictures. After hearing a bit about your holiday over lunch was fun to see the photos that added to the story....thanks for the tour. So very interesting.

  3. It looks like a busy, colorful place!

  4. Well that was exciting! Very colorful place, love all the color!


  5. What a great tour YOU had, and now we get to share it with you. Sounds like a fabulous trip. Getting lost in all the bustle would be very unnerving.

  6. Wow! What a great trip. As a homebody, it's nice to travel via laptop here!

  7. Loving all the photos especially after our chat yesterday. So glad you eventually found your way back to the Teapot!! What a fascinating legacy your daughter in laws family has...

  8. So interesting!!! I want to hear more.... Great pictures.

  9. Wow, what a beautiful and interesting city! I love all the colours and the modern structures. Looking forward to your next post. Wonderful photos!

  10. Thank you for taking us downtown. I was hoping to see the downtown bazaars with all their vendors. What a place to people watch, from fashion to foods. What a historical connection to your family.

  11. Thanks for sharing these photos and info. I like the floral shoe and the flowering cherry photos best.

  12. Much of what you showed reminded me on NYC--the crowds, the unusual skyline,the "hop on, hop off" buses, the bustling economy, etc. But Shanghai is definitely more colorful and their street food looked very different. It must have bee a fascinating place to visit, especially during their new year!

    I think I would have wanted a silk carpet, Judy, but then again I might not have had bought one if the price was what I think it was.

  13. You are so good at describing places... and you'd do a good job of leading tours yourself! Sometimes this is a good way to travel ... seeing a place through someone else's eyes. I can imagine some of this, having been to Indonesia. BTW that connection to China is quite amazing! Some of my relatives lived in China (Harbin)for two years, not as missionaries, they were fleeing Russia.

  14. Fascinating behind the scenes connection to China. What a colorful, intensely busy place. I'd have been stuck in the hotel room unable to function in those kinds of crowds. You did very well! Did you try any of the vendor food? Whatever that fowl is looks good.

  15. Wonderful photo's Judy...looks like you are having an amazing time. How exciting for your grandchildren to have that heritage?

  16. I am trying to imagine what it would be like to live in a city with 23 million people, but you did a good job in helping me see what that would be like. Thank you for sharing every picture. It really helps me get a clearer picture than I did have. Your photography is so professionally done! The picture of you and your husband is so good! And, on a sidenote, I know this is trivial information, but I have the same shoes that you have on and I wear them when touring new places. For some reason, that just made me smile today. They are most comfortable, would you agree?

  17. it's wonderful to be seeing China through your eyes. Sure glad you found your guide - I was starting to panic...

  18. You are a great story tellr and photographer. You explained so many aspects of Shanghai, from political to economic, historic and scenic. I was very impressed with the fact that 1/4 of all the world's cranes are in use at Shanghai. Amazing!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson