Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Fun in Shanghai

Francie and I made it to Shanghai last week (we leave for Beijing tomorrow) and we are staying at James Jen’s place (a former colleague from the Xbox days). James is doing well and his apartment is bigger than all of the hotel and hostel rooms Francie and I have stayed at for the last six months.

The French and British that were in Shanghai have long since left. Francie and I are planning to take a walk down to the Bund tonight to see the colonial architecture. Fifteen million people live in Shanghai and it is a strange combination of skyscrapers and small neighborhoods.

Skyscraper behind the cool Shanghai Grand Theater building

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A sidestreet in the French Concession

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A few days ago we went to the People’s Square and Renmin Park (a huge park in downtown Shanghai). Francie tried to take a nap there but I would have none of that.

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So as we wandered through the park we came across a bunch of people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. They were standing around and talking to each like you might do at a class or family reunion. Then we noticed that most of the people had a piece of paper with information and occasionally pictures on it.

We finally figured out that these Chinese parents were doing a little…ok, a lot, of ‘matchmaking’ for their kids. I had always heard about this but never seen it in action.

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Thanks Mom and Dad! I do somewhat wonder if they are really trying to fix up their kids or just complaining to each how they can’t believe their kids aren’t married yet. 😉

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Also in Renmin Park is the Shanghai Museum—which I really enjoyed. Here are a few pictures from the museum.
I would probably be able to tell you more about this piece if I had gotten the audio tour ticket—we did see these pieces at Ol Ling in Hong Kong for 20000 dollars.

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Some cool samples of calligraphy
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A dragon embroidered on a robe.

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And the stuffed Totoro exhibit!
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Francie and I also went to the Propoganda Poster Art Center. This was a very, very cool museum that has collected the Communist party poster art from the last 50-60 years. It is well curated and you learn a lot about east-west propoganda (the US is often the villian being thrown down and, strangely, we are often linked to Pirates as well—Argh!) and how this was the only outlet for many artists during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

About 20 years ago the Chinese government decided that it was time for all of these posters to be ‘deleted’ and started destroying them—this museum has stored all of the posters it could find. Francie and I bought this one for $60 dollars.

Steel will make our country strong!
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Finally, Francie and I went to see an Acrobat troupe at the Shanghai Center Theater (the Theater and ticket office is right by the Ritz-Carlton). This was my birthday present and it was surprisingly awesome. We got to sit on the fourth row dead center for $25. A lot less than you will pay for cirque du solei.

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It ended up a lot higher!

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July 3, 2007 - Posted by | China, Travel

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