31 May 2011

Day three afternoon, more Shanghai Exploration

This is my Sweet Husband on the bridge to the Huxinting Tea House.
This is where we went for lunch.
The Huxinting Tea House is supposed to be the inspiration for the Blue Willow China pattern.
 Go to Blue Willow Story for a quick version of the story.
The Huxingting Tea House is just outside the Yu gardens that we visited on our first day in Shanghai.
It sits in the middle of an artificial lake with statues and koy.
It was part of the original garden, it has been a tea house since 1855.

A proper tea. Huxinting style.
The little eggs are boiled in tea leaves.
I'm not sure what the other things were, but it was all good.
Jasmin Fairy Tea.
A quiet moment.
Huxinting Tea House interior.
Look at all that wood!
Tea House Staff.
Uniforms are quite popular in China.
View from the Tea House window.
The artificial lake.
After we restored our energy at the tea house, we went exploring in the old town.
This is a familiar sign.
My Sweet Husband at the Yu Bazaar.
He is great at barganing.
We bought several gifts for friends and family.
After several hours of walking and shopping, we worked up an appetite.
This is the line for dumplings at Nan Xiang. Very few people speak English in China, even the young ones. While we were waiting in line, my Sweet Husband saw someone walking by eating what looked like Tofu. He asked "is that Tofu"? Apparently that sounded like something quite funny in Chinese.
This is for the take out window. They only serve meat dumplings as take out so we went up stairs to the restraunt. The dumplings were worth waiting for.
All lit up at night.
The old town is well lit.
Lots of neon.
Back on the bund.
Modern Shanghai.
China's Red flag flies from the top of The Peace Hotel on the bund. 
What a day!
More from our China trip soon.
Cheers,
Kat

29 May 2011

quick note.

Blogger is acting up this morning.
I have tried to comment on some of my favorite blogs but it won't let me.
Even though I am signed in, it insists I am anonymous and repeatedly sends me back to the sign in screen.
I will try again, and post a real post tomorrow.
I'm heading for work now.
Have a great Sunday.
Kat

27 May 2011

Day Three, Shanghai exploration.

Thursday, May 5th, My Sweet Husband and I went exploring on our own. 
There was a lot to explore!
So much that this day will be two posts. 
Remember the tall white pointed structure in the view from our hotel?
The "Monument to the Peoples Heroes".
We started our exploration with a walk over the river to see it. 
Wish I could read this, no English translation provided here.
There is a large circular wall around the base of the structure,
it is carved in relief with historical figures, I assume they are from The Revolution. 
They are intriguing in more than one way.
Remember, I spent 21 years in the U.S. military,
I never expected there would come a time when I would be able to wander freely, and take such photographs, in the heart of China. Maybe there is hope for the world after all.
I also really liked the monument from an artistic standpoint.
It is moving, even without knowing the story behind it.
Can't you just hear the stirring music?
My Sweet Husband on The Bund.
We rode this capsule through the "Bund Sightseeing Tunnel".
It was unique.
Here is the video, lots of flashing lights.

video

The tunnel goes under the river to the other side.
Next stop, Pearl tower.
This photo was taken from one of the observation decks on the "Pearl Tower".
The tall pointy white structure with the circular base is the monument we visited earlier.
Across the river and to the left is a tall brick structure, that is our hotel.
My Sweet Husband sitting on the glass floor.
I did go out on it, but I could not look straight down!
Cool refreshing drink anyone?
There is an arcade level in the pearl tower.
I have no idea who these two characters are,
sure wish I could read that sign.
Still in the arcade.
I have no idea what this thing does, but it looks fascinating.
The gentleman next to it, is wearing the uniform of the male Pearl Tower Employees.
I did not get a picture of the ladies version.
View from the lower observation deck.
Now that is a traffic circle.
All this and it is barely lunch time.
Next post, I'll show you where we went for lunch.
Our hotel in Singapore had Wi-fi access, but it was very expensive.
We meant to stop in at a McDonalds with my Ipod so I could post to the blog, but we never quite managed it. Later on in the vacation we discovered that you can not reach the blogger page from China.
I tried several different times and finally resorted to asking the lady in the hotel's business center.
She could not access it either. Apparently it is blocked.
hmmmmm.
Meanwhile back in the Carolinas,
It is nice to be back home. I am back at work and back in school. Sigh, it was great while it lasted.
It will probably take most of the month of June for me to post all I want to share from our visit.
Cheers,
Kat

21 May 2011

Day two arrival.

I'll answer the question of where we went in just a minute, first let me explain that because of the distance and direction traveled, we lost one day going so Day 1 (that was in Los Angelas at the LA International Airport) was Monday, but Day 2 was Wednesday.
 This is Sam. He was our National Tour Guide. We went on a Friendly Planet Tour, "Taste of China".
We flew into Beijing, where Sam rounded us up and put us on a flight to Shanghai.
 Air China Beijing to Shanghai.
This is one of the first signs that you are in another world. The coffee was great, but look at the packaging. I don't know if you can see it, but they put a lot of sugar in those packs too. By this time, we needed the coffee. 
Me, enjoying that coffee. 
This is Alan, he was our city guide for Shanghai. He took us to the Yu Yuan Gardens near the Yu Bazzar after lunch. His hand is on one of the many Imperial Lions that we saw on the trip. This one is male, he has a ball in his paw. Females have cubs.  
 Yu Yuan or Yu Gardens
 Chinese Kitty high on the roof.
 The Chinese gardens that we saw all feature interesting rock formations as well as graceful trees and water.
This one also included a couple of cute locals.
This is one of my favorite things in the garden, the dragon wall. 
Garden here, includes the buildings where the family who owned it all lived.  
My Sweet Husband takes the crooked bridge across the pond.
The bridge was built crooked to confuse ghosts.
After we toured the gardens, we checked into our hotel, then set out to explore a little on our own.
Sweet indulgences. This is probably the fanciest ice cream I have ever had.
It is from Hagen Daz on Nanjing Lu. Quite the place.
We had a great view from our table and the ice cream really was delicious.
Nanjing Lu is the traditional big road of commerce in Shanghai. This is a great place to wander in the evening. It is all lit up.
Nanjing Lu at night. 
 More Shanghai at night.
This is the area known as the bund. See the building with the two round spheres? That is the Pearl Tower.
I went up there to take pictures. The brightly lit triangular structure is a communist memorial. I will show you pictures of that too.
This is all an easy walk across from our hotel.
This was our hotel in Shanghai.
Broadway Mansions Hotel.
The hotel was part of the Friendly Planet package and it is quite a nice one. The breakfast buffet is huge!
I was introduced to, among other things, "Festival Fruit". One of the ladies who was on the tour with us told me it was called Lychee fruit. They are tasty. They had a selection of American, British and Chinese breakfast items and very good coffee.
The best part of the breakfast was the view, we looked out over the Huangpu River and the bund.
Day two was great!
Cheers,
Kat

18 May 2011

Now what has she been up to?

We went on vacation.
I had two posts set up so that I could publish them periodically while we were gone (I do not want to advertise that I am not at home) however, due to unforeseen circumstances that I will explain later on, I could not access the blogger.com site. Once we returned, I published them.
This was quite a trip we were gone 12 days.
I plan on doing one post for each day in order so here goes with day one.
 This landmark is the first hint (of course you will have to guess where we went).
It is not our final destination, but it did several hours to get there.
Isn't it pretty in the evening light?
We had a very long layover here, if you know where this is, it will give you a hint as to our final destination.
This airport is home to the Bob Hope USO .
Are you familiar with the USO? USO stands for United Service Organizations. It was originally a combination of different volunteer organizations who wanted to do something for our troops at the beginning of World War II. It is still a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to serving our troops, even the retired ones like me. 
The picture is from a poster hanging on their wall. It is titled "Willie Gillis goes to the USO" and it is by Norman Rockwell. Did I mention it took awhile to get there? We had to leave for Augusta airport at 4:00 am and we were tired. 
Modern USO volunteers with sandwiches and goodies. They even made cheese enchiladas with chili for my Sweet Husband. The Bob Hope USO has showers, a nap room, blankets and pillows, snacks, wi-fi and computers. Some USO's are simpler, I remember the USO at Charleston as being one room. I flew from there while I was still on active duty, they did have sandwiches and coffee for us while we waited for a late flight. I also used the USO at Philadelphia as a young Airman on my way to my first overseas assignment. They provided a safe place for me to rest in between long flights.  
This picture shows a framed collection of military insignia donated by military members in thanks for the USO's support (as well as more goodies).
They have video games, including "Guitar Hero". 
Magazines, Newspapers, Nice TV, and the coke in the machine is free. 
 Framed patch collection. Some of these bring back memories.
 My traveling companion on one of their big comfy couches. He is the best!
This is your final hint as to our destination. Remember the Bob Hope USO is on the way.
The journey was day one. Day two started in the air around 2:15 am. When we arrived we were introduced to the other members of our group and taken to lunch (Time changes were involved).
Does this feast give you any clues?
More on day two soon.
Today is the third anniversary of my first post. Some of you have been my friends for almost that long.
Life is good.
Kat

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