Saturday, March 2, 2013 – Shanghai, China
Today we took the fast train on a day trip to Shanghai – a 70 minute trip travelling at speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour. We were accompanied by Stellar and Maggie, and met by Ron’s friend Joan upon arrival in Shanghai. Shanghai is the largest city in China with a population of over 23 million people – almost like the whole of Canada stuffed into one city! The city is bisected by the Huangpu River. The Bund, the historic centre of the city is on the western bank of the river, with the newer financial and commercial centre of the city on the eastern bank. This provides an eclectic mixture of modern and older architecture and an impressive skyline.
We walked along the river walkway on the eastern bank of the city. The weather was brisk and cold and our cheeks turned apple rosy in the wind off the river. There are beautiful views along the river walk, and the area was bustling with people. our stroll took us past wedding parties getting their photos taken, street vendors, families playing and hawkers selling cricket cages and kites high in the sky.
I watched the seabirds flying out over the river, pushing against the wind with strong and powerful flaps of wing, making progress by inches, hesitating, then turning and riding the wind like a surfer catching the perfect wave, or someone flying along a zip line. You could almost see their smiles of delight and exhilaration as they rode the wind, then they turned and pushed into the wind once more to build up for another exciting ride.
Again we enjoyed another fabulous meal, a feast of flavours from South China, a little heat and spice built in, clearing the sinuses, and bringing warmth to a cold day.
Later, as we rode across the city in a taxi back to the train station, I noticed the many tall skinny apartment buildings with air conditioning units climbing up the walls like barnacles, and laundry hanging out windows and hung over balconies, flapping in the wind from 20 and 30 stories up. I wondered about the stories that laundry could tell about the people living behind those windows.