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Exploring culture and shopping in Shanghai - Part 1 of 2

October 19, 2006

Today was designated as our cultural day in Shanghai and was the final full day of our China tour. Our bus trips in Shanghai often took us along the famous Bund area, with dozens of historical buildings that once housed foreign consulates, banks and trading houses. This area is also known as Shanghai Tan, meaning “muddy embankment”, in other words, waterfront. Today, we would be visiting Old Town which is near the Bund area. Old town has not changed much, unlike other parts of town affected by European and other influences. Even here, western influence was seen in the form of franchises such as Starbucks and KFC, along with traditional style markets and shops.

We would have a chance to shop, but before we did that, we would walk through Old Town to the Yu Garden. Before we got to Old Town, we found ourselves along a walkway going through a park like area with a view of some of the city buildings. We stopped and paused for a bit as we encountered quite a number of cheerful people dancing in the streets, or rather the walkway, through this park like area, to some type of waltz or swing music. I suppose that made some of us want to stop and dance, but we had a bit to do yet, so we moved on.

Photo Shanghai

Photo Shanghai


Photo Shanghai

Lei told us that in her opinion, the Yu Yuan Garden, filled with things such as stone dragons, pavilions and goldfish ponds, is the best of all the gardens in China, because it is a combination of all the types of gardens in China. Yu Yuan in Chinese means Garden of Peace and Comfort. The garden has been in existence in one form or another for over 400 years. A government officer of the Ming Dynasty completed the garden in 1577. He built the garden for the benefit of his parents in their old age. Since then, the garden has had a bit of a tumultuous history due to influence and occupation by other countries, but it is now a national monument. The serenity of the garden gave us time to pause and reflect and also for photo opportunities. What a privilege it must be to work in this garden.

Photo Shanghai

Photo Shanghai

Photo Shanghai

Photo Shanghai


Photo Shanghai

Then out of the garden we went, back to the Old Town shops....

Photo Shanghai


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