China October 12, high speed train
We left the hotel for the high speed train for Shanghai. The ride was very smooth,fast clean, efficient and comfortable. The only thing noteworthy about the trip was wondering why we can’t do this in our country.
The Bund, along the water front, is a “symbol and epitome of Shanghai’s modern history”. The city has become a world famous financial center. The Pudong across the river boosts some of the most unique modern architecture we have seen, this used to been a area of brothels, squalor, the homes of he cities poorest. In 1990 it became an economic development zone, the largest building site in the world and very high rent district. Next year the second tallest building in the world will be completed here. It also boosts one-third of the worlds tallest cranes.
Ya Yuan gardens and bazaar houses many shops and gardens. The gardens are home to a temple from the Ming dynasty and many rockeries from the Ming dynasty.
In the evening we went to the Shanghai Acrobatic show. I went with the attitude that this would be nothing more than the Ed Sullivan show, I was wrong. The troupe started to lose stature several years ago, as the state put more and more pressure on academics the troupe began to fail. A national recruitment, with the promise of good wages helped the school grow in stature. Young people forgo academic training and work full time on training their bodies. There are 2 traveling troupes and the resident troupe. When you become too old for the troupe your life becomes very difficult because you have no education.
China October 13,2014
We toured Feng Jing, Shanghai’s Venice. We rode a gondola thru the town and under the numerous bridges, each bridge has it’s own personality. Retired farmers are the gondoliers. The streets are filled with vendors and restaurants. The village has numerous small apartments that were used to house communist workers. Spartan would be high praise for these little rooms. There are several rooms with Mao tributes and memorabilia.
We have seen several resettlement programs. If the state requires land for more apartments they will take your house, level it and build a high rise. We are told that people are given new apartments for free. Each time it was apparently “very good improvement” for those moved. The only one that seemed positive from my point of view was the farmers who found the Terra Cotta Warriors. They lost their farmers but have become national heroes and millionaires. They get a small cut from every book they autograph in the gift shop.
The last stop for the day was the Shanghai museum. There is a collection that spans 5000 years of history, however, Chiang Kai-shek “stole” millions of pieces and took them to Taiwan.
Calligraphy, jade, minority costumes, bronze, pottery and chops all are part of the collection. Chops were the ink signature stamps that officials used to stamp on documents. If a document had one chop it was important. If it was signed with two chops,- chop chop, it was very important and was to be delivered quickly.