After a five week Rotary Group Study Exchange Trip to Japan — it was a pleasure to meet my Japanese friends — and go off with them for three days in Shanghai and into the surrounding Countryside.
The international organization known as Rotary promotes yearly travel that all people between the ages of 26 and 40, male and female, and of all backgrounds – should know about – because it is a Rotary-funded six week study aboard and anyone can apply to be a part of this significant life experience. If you are this age group – you could enjoy the kind of experience that is described in my notes in this article. To find out more about the program go to the international Rotary website and search for GSE – Group Study Exchange – and contact your local Rotary Club for more information. After being the GSE team leader to Japan for our Rotary District, the following travels were an invitation from Japanese friends to go with them to China 펄안마.
And more adventures come from Rotary GSE.
November 9th – Thursday, and 11th – Saturday in Shanghai:
Dennis and I left at midnight from LA on Asiana Airlines – on a fourteen hour flight through Seoul, Korea — Incheon Airport – and on to Shanghai – Pu Dong Airport. With a three hour layover in Seoul -we first got a glimpse of the Asian culture, and walked the long corridor of the Duty Free Shops and stopped in the Wendy Café for latte and tea. When we landed in Shanghai – Mr. Gao Mim met us – with a sign that Ai told me to see – with big letters saying “Dennis and Joan, Welcome to Shanghai”. Delightful to have Mr. Go – who works for Kobayashi San – and Lilly, who is Chinese – meet us and spirit us away. Our luggage went by car to the hotel – and Dennis, Lilly and I rode the Maglev from the airport to the west side of Shanghai – a train that cost 9 billions to build by the Chinese Government and flew to a maximum of 424 Kilometers over the seven minute ride. They said that it would take 45 minutes by car – with the traffic in the City – to cross from the river and reach our hotel. An Australian sat across from us – and we marveled at the whiz of the train – and the instantaneous zip of a train passing in the other direction. Off the train and into a cab to the hotel, the Ramada located in the western side, Pu Xi – the old part – between the People’s Square and the Bund – the waterfront at the Huangpu River. The four of us enjoyed a late lunch in the restaurant, Nan Xinya, on the fourth floor of the hotel – with the round serving in the middle of the table filled with Cantonese flavors – including a fried fish with a red sauce – delicious. Dennis and I napped – and went for a long walk down the Nanjing Rd – the pedestrian street behind the hotel – to the Bund – and enjoyed the array of colorful lighting down the street and on the waterfront – and the blue boat that sailed across our view. It was a beautiful night – and the long stroll back took us to the People’s Square – when we realized that we’d gone too far and retraced our steps. We slept like babies on the firm mattress with the coverlet – and were welcomed to China.
November 12th – Sunday in Shanghai:
We woke to a misty sky – and planned to meet Lilly at 9AM – and first enjoyed breakfast in the hotel. Lilly took us in the morning to City God Temple Bazaar – and the Yu Garden. The Garden was the home of Mr. Pan, built in 1559, in the Ming Dynasty. Garden in China includes the trees, plants, rock and buildings – and is the home where nature is brought in to be experienced in the living. We walked the path and through the Chinese structures – around the pools – through the gateways – and enjoyed the beauty of the growth, the many turning paths, the circular entry ways – the rocks from the bottom of the Taihu Lake (one of the five biggest fresh water lakes) with many fascinating shapes from the erosion of the water – piled high – and sometimes with a “tower of happiness” in the clouds (on the rocks) and Exquisite Jade Stone. Five dragon walls, dragons with three fingers (for normal people) – a pearl in the dragons mouth – and one with a frog in a sympiotic relationship – and tails that ripple the walls leading down the paths. Around the corner, we exited the Garden into the many shops – and entered the Silk Factory – to see how the silk work spins itself in silk thread within its cocoon – and is cooked and placed in water so that with a brush the women can stir the cocoons and find the silk threads. Then six or eight threads are spun together to make the beautiful silk thread – and we saw the bedding and clothes that are traditionally made from the fine silks of China. Earlier, before entering the Garden – we spotted the Nan Xiang Dumpling Restaurant with a long line, and Lilly told us about the yummy crab and pork dumplings. After some shopping in the department store – and looking at pearl, jade and precious stones in jewelry – we tried the dumplings, with a bit of ginger inside – and they were delicious. We returned to buy a silk blanket and cover in the Silk Factory – and they even had “California king”. We hurried by cab to return to the hotel – because Kobayashi San and Gao San were waiting for us for some lunch.
The company van – Fukuoka Knit Company, Kobayashi San’s company – took us across town – views of the streets of the City, the tall apartment buildings, the theater and office buildings for this City of 16 million people. We traveled to the Hong District, near the Embassies, including the Japanese Embassy. The restaurant was Chizhen in Hong Qiao – and we dined in a small room – and were amazed by the array of foods on the round glass serving piece in the center of the table – and including the shark fin soup (expensive and a delicacy in China). We changed the plans for the afternoon – good change – and from the hotel walked up the Nan Jing to Shu Ya Liang Zi – a traditional Chinese massage – on the eighth floor – and all five of us sat in the room each in our own reclining chair – with hot water at our feet – and then the foot massage, deeply baring into our feet – and ear cleaning, much to our surprise. We were well rested and massaged and returned to the hotel, happily – and Dennis and I stopped in Yong An – the department store – and I enjoyed buying “hair toys” to hold my hair in place – and the woman who showed me how to do this. Lilly taught us to say “Bu Ya Xie Xie” (no thanks) to all the vendors who were trying to sell us fakes, watches and purses. And also, Bu Xie (thank you). And “Ni Hao” (Mandarin for Hello). That night we dressed and went to the Ritz Carlton to the Acrobat Show and to the Grape’s Garden on Xinle Rd. for dinner – and had our first taste of the Chinese delicacy of “river crab”. Dennis and I needed some lessons on how to eat this, and that the part in the middle is considered the best. It is all interesting and a rare experience to be so generously hosted by people who know Shanghai and it life, and an addition to my Rotary GSE experience in Japan with many friends there.