So after meeting our new roommates it was pretty much time to go to bed. The train ride was going to be about 15 hours which would have us getting in to Shanghai around 12:30 PM . The beds were surprisingly comfortable and spacious and before long we were off to sleep. Apparently at some point I was sleeping a little too good and snoring. Lyn was trying to get me to be quiet and the two ladies were telling her to let me sleep. Anyway at least I slept great and did not wake up until around 9 AM. Lyn and I went and checked out the train and went and sat in the dining car for a bit. When we arrived back to our room our roommates were having breakfast and offered us some. They insisted and we accepted and everything was very good. We keep meeting such great kindness from so many people on this trip. Finally we pulled in to the Shanghai station right on time and our roommates made sure we were off the train and heading in the right direction before they said their goodbyes.
The next thing we knew we were through arrivals and giving big overdue hugs to Jiawen! Jiawen lived with us for her junior and senior year at Greensboro Day school. She is now getting ready to go into her senior year at Emory. She is actually from Nanjing which is a couple hours away from Shanghai. She had been living in Shanghai for the summer doing an internship. As luck would have it her internship ended the day before we arrived so she decided to stay over a few days and hang out with us. We will also be meeting Coco who lived with us for her senior year and attends Berkeley now. (Coco is from Chengdu but was taking summer classes in Shanghai.) We will also meet Sabrina who lived with us last year and will be coming back to us this fall for her senior year at GDS. At some point during our visit we will also meet Anchi who will be a new freshman at GDS and staying with us this school year. Wow this is going to be fun.
We only get to see Jiawen about once a year but every time we do we all feel an instant connection. Jiawen’s hotel was just one stop from our hotel. She handed us three day subway passes and we were off. In about 20 minutes we were checking in to our hotel. This hotel was really nice and in a great location. It was also just about 5 minutes walkaway from the subway stop. After getting showers we headed out. We had to find a place to wash our clothes and luckily for us Jiawen’s place had washers and dryers so we went there and loaded up the washer and headed out for lunch. We went a couple of stops away to the Yu Garden. It has a long history and is beautiful in every way. Jiawen suggested a place called Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant for lunch that had been operating there for over 100 years. Jiawen ordered us a great selection including a dumpling type thing that you drank the soup out with a straw before you ate it. Delicious! After that we headed back and dried the clothes and then we went back out to tour a few things. We decided to head to a Starbucks Reserve. It happened to be the largest one in Asia and let me tell you it did not disappoint! Then we went to the top of the Shanghai Tower which is the tallest building in China. The night views were spectacular and it was so awesome seeing all of the lights of the city lit up. It was especially great having such a great view of the Oriental Pearl Tower. It is really such an icon of the Shanghai skyline. By now it was late and time to head back home for the night. What a great first day in this awesome city!
After a good nights sleep we met Jiawen mid-morning for brunch. The place we went was really cool and everything we had was delicious as usual. After brunch we headed out to see some sights. We decided to walk down one of the famous streets called Nanjing street that was definitely in the rich section of Shanghai. After passing numerous high end car dealers like Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini. We arrived at a famous temple that was there called Jing’an Temple. After that the plan was to meet Sabrina. We ended up at a huge mall and met at a famous Bubble Tea place. The place did not look crowded at all but the people behind the counter where super busy making bubble tea after bubble tea. In-fact we had a 20 minute wait for our order. The reason they were so busy is they had hundreds of online orders. We sat there and watched delivery driver after delivery driver show up to pick up drink after drink and take it to their customers. Now that Sabrina had joined us we were off to see some more sights. We worked our way down to a famous Catholic church called the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shanghai and it had all the trappings of a European cathedral. It was actually built in the early 1900’s. It was beautiful in just about every way. Strangely enough I was the only one dressed appropriately enough to go in. I went in and took pictures and shared them with everyone else. Next we went to a Hutong area that had been converted to restaurants and shops. Lyn and I loved the feel of this area and really enjoyed walking through it and seeing all of the unusual things there. Lyn even bought a few souvenirs to take home. Once we were done it was time for Jiawen to head home but Sabrina stayed with us as we found our way back to our hotel. The plan was to let Lyn and I shower, change clothes so we could be ready for dinner. Tonight we would be having dinner with Sabrina and her Mom and also meeting our new student Anchi and her parents.
After about 30 minutes of subways and walking we arrived at a mall and found the restaurant where we would have dinner. It was really nice and as usual we all sat around a big round table and watched all the food come out. It was so nice meeting Sabrina’s Mom, our new student Anchi and her parents as well. We had an really good dinner complete with really cool dessert at the end. It continues to feel surreal to meet everyone in China when we are use to seeing them only in Greensboro. After a few pictures and goodbyes we told Sabrina that we wanted to go back to the Hutong area that we had been to earlier in the day. She offered to come with us and was so patient while Lyn did some shopping in all of the stores there. After that we finally headed back to our hotel and called it a night.
The next Morning Coco (Coco was our student from Chengdu that is currently taking classes over the summer in Shanghai.) came to our hotel to pick us up. The plan was to take us meet Sabrina and tour the China Art Museum then grab some lunch. It was so good to see Coco again and we all headed out to mail a few postcards and then meet Sabrina at the museum. After mailing our postcards we walked a little further and met Sabrina before going in the China Art Museum. This museum had everything from Ancient art to cartoon shows from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. While we were all admiring a cool picture I made a comment that this picture was extra special because it was painted in 1962 which was my birth year. Coco was quick to say “Yes and look it is already old enough to be in a museum.” Ha ha well at least she learned my humor while she stayed with us!!!
After spending a few hours we headed to lunch and ate at a really cool place that served many great foods including pigeon and even had robots bringing customers food and taking away dishes. As usual it was all really good. It has been so fun to try all of the different dishes here. We headed out to the mall where Sabrina has a part time job at a sporting goods store. We wanted to see where she worked and along the way we passed a bubble tea place and had some bubble tea. Then after visiting Sabrina’s workplace we took ride on the subway to go to our next destination. Sabrina had suggested we should go and have some tea at Luna Tea House. It was on this beautiful street with trees hanging over the streets.. It had started to rain a bit but Coco let us borrow her umbrella so we were all good. Finally we arrived at Luna Tea House. It was a really cool place. Sabrina had booked a private room for us and Jiawen rejoined the group here. We went in the room and sat around a table. It was very relaxing. You could control the temperature of the room and there was music playing as well. Once we got settled in they brought in snacks and finally they brought in the tea. It was so relaxing and the perfect way to regroup and get our energy back after running around all day.
After having a relaxing tea experience we headed to the Huangpu river in the Bund area. When we were touring the tallest building we had noticed all of the boats on the river. Sabrina suggested we ride one of them and take in all the sights. By now it was starting to become night time and we were really looking forward to taking in all of the sights. We arrived at the cruise area and Coco had to leave but Jiawen and Sabrina came along with us. We got our tickets and got on the boat. We really enjoyed the cruise and the sights were unbelievable. I really cannot describe how beautiful it was. All the lights on the buildings and all of the other boats were just stunning. Lyn and I both really were feeling blessed to experience this and feeling really lucky to have all of our “International” daughters show us around each of their cities. Anyway after about an hour we headed out to dinner. Jiawen had made reservations and actually changed the reservation three times due to our ever changing plans. When we arrived at the restaurant called Canton Table there was a Bentley parked outside……..hmmm I may just be a tad under-dressed ha ha…I am wearing shorts and and have been walking around sweating in the Shanghai heat all day. Oh well at least the waiters all had ties on to make up for my lack of attire. Jiawen had a reserved us a table by the window and it was down right beautiful. The food came out and it was all delicious. We even tried delicious bowl of Jellyfish! After a dinner they brought out a Money Tree made out of a sugary syrup called 糖人. You can see more about how they do it here. After that we caught a cab back to the hotel and called it a night. What a great day!
The next morning the plan was to meet Jiawen for lunch. Lyn and I rode the Subway from our hotel and met Jiawen at her apartment. Jiawen was actually checking out today as well. So after she checked out we left all of luggage at the front desk and headed out for lunch. We walked about a mile to a Korean Barbecue place called Kanghodong Baekjeong. It was located on the second floor of this old building. There is no way we would known it was there if we did not have our expert guide with us. Anyway after a very filling lunch we headed back and retrieved our luggage. It was time to go to Jiawen’s hometown of Nanjing! We headed to the train station, hopped on a high speed train and arrived in Nanjing in just a few hours. Continued on the next blog post……..