City in Transition in the East -   - 1997

We crossed the International Date Line and arrived early in the evening after flying from Los Angeles with a one-hour stop over in Tokyo. The first image was nothing but buildings in the process of being constructed. Half of the world's cranes are in Shanghai along with approximately a thousand high rises going up! The third tallest building in the world was just completed and there are plans for perhaps the world's tallest building. Fantastic architecture but it seems most of the character of the old homes and businesses that are unique to the city are being scrapped at a mind-boggling rate called progress. I was surprised that the city was as clean as it is but smog is a problem and got progressively worse as we traveled west and north in China.

We drove downtown on the Nanjing Road where the old colonial buildings of England are located. This was the spot in the hay-day of English occupation where things happened. England used opium to accommodate the Chinese drug habit and saw nothing wrong in causing illness and death in the course of capitalism. Now it is only about four blocks long and needs to be refurbished. We visited the Yuyuan Gardens that consists of walls culminating with huge dragons winding around the tops. We also visited the jade Buddha Temple which set the tone for any other temples we saw, all pretty much the same.

The high light in Shanghai was visiting the new Museum of Art and History built around 1995 and in the shape of an old bronze pot! We spent half a day there and could have spent more time just looking at the pottery, from 2000 BCE to the 1800's.

Acrobatics show after our last dinner and off to the airport for Wuhan and our boat the "Beidou" at the junction of the Yangtze and the Han Rivers at approximately nine P.M.

P.S. One point of interest was the fact that at most of the stores we visited the young women would follow me around and giggle and then run to the back room. More girls would come out and giggle. We couldn't figure out why they were doing this until one pointed at my earring and they all laughed up a storm! I must have been the only man in China with an erring! I will have more to tell about my earring escapades, especially when in Beijing.


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