Friday, April 5, 2013

New Sights & Sounds in Shanghai

As I promised my girls, when I returned from the US in October, I brought back their grandparents.  Jamie’s mom made her first visit to China in August (read about it here), but this was Jamie’s dad’s first trip.

Someone lost a tooth!
Such pretty smiles!
Anyone who knows EBean should not be surprised
that she is eating chocolate.

We now have a favorite hotel in the French Concession that is within a few blocks of a city park.  China has a very interesting "park culture" and it is fun to walk around and take in all of the morning activities.  

Writing Chinese characters is an art form and
if you don't practice, you loose your art.  This
gentleman is practicing his characters on the
ground using water as his "paint".
Morning exercises and dancing with fans.
These ladies were dancing for exercise long
before Zumba was popular!
We took Jamie’s parents to one of our favorite spots, the Yuyuan Gardens. On our way to the gardens we saw this vender selling a Jack fruit, which is huge!

Yuyuan Gardens:

After fighting our ways through the crowds around the gardens the whole family piled into a single taxi and made our way across the Hungpu River (well, actually we went under the river) to the Oriental Pearl Tower.  As it was National Holiday week, there were a few extra thousand people out and about in the city, but we managed to make our way to the top of the tower.  

The Pearl Tower in a radio and television tower opposite The Bund in Shanghai.  It is an iconic symbol of the city and defines the skyline.  On a clear day, which doesn’t happen all that often, it is easy to see for miles.

Just a few people in line.
If only it was a bit clearer out.

The Pearl Tower
We took a cruise our first year here
 that sailed from The Bund at night.  It was amazing!
At dinner after a long day.
Another new adventure for us was visiting the Shikumen museum and exploring the restored and renovated area around it, which is near Xiantiandi.  This restored area of the French Concession has many shops and great restaurants.  The Shikumen Museum recreates what life in a Shikumen home would have been like.  

Shikumen, or 石库们, means stone gate. The architectural focus of these houses is a front door framed in sometimes elaborately carved stone. The houses themselves – interconnected row houses usually three stories high – are made of brick typical to Shanghai in red and gray.

The style was originally created to house refugees from the Taiping Rebellion who flooded Shanghai from the provinces. It gained in popularity and remained the preferred style for decades. The houses typically have courtyards behind the front stone gate opening into a parlor through which you journey into the kitchen and the back door. They have “tingzijian” rooms off of each floor’s landing creating small rooms off the main floor. Some of these were famously later rented out by families needing extra income and became home to some of Shanghai’s most esteemed literary figures.

(taken from

Exploring the alleys of Xintiandi.

Looking into the office from the center courtyard.

EBean testing out the "potty"
One of the bedrooms.
Lots of restaurants with outdoor seating.
The girls outside our favorite hotel.
Since last fall I have been back to the Xintiandi area of Shanghai many times.  It has a great atmosphere, wonderful restaurants, and it is close to a great shopping spot (Tianzifang) and the Fabric Market.  

1 comment:

  1. Kara, you write so beautifully that it makes us feel we were there with you! Such a wonderful treat to have the Grandparents visit. Fabulous memories that last forever.