Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Last Post:Day 10-12

Free day in Shanghai, and also last full day of fun. Our guide today was Tasha, my awesome sister!
And it was a full day of amazing stuff!
 Jade Buddha
So our first stop on the agenda was a Buddha completely made out of Jade. Very pretty, well they didn't let us get close to it or even take pictures.... well we didn't get close. There were also a lot of the avatar statues all around, and that was fun but really I think the most fun we had there was going to the koi pond was watching them get fed:

It was awesome!

The weather wasn't exactly agreeing with us today, we were really lucky most of the time it was beautiful and cold weather but today it caught up to us and yeah normally I would be 'whatever' but our next activity was the Pearl TV tower.

 That tower has two ball like platforms, the top is in clouds.
 The top ball is also the cheapest one to go to so, we thought it might be above the cloud cover...

 Yep, the top platform was in cloud cover... all the way around it.
 They did have some pretty cool observation decks

 Also, after walking around looking at a wall of white we talked the elevator guys to be nice and let us go down a floor. Thankfully they did and we were able to see some of the city.
At the base of the tower was a cool museum of the old Shanghai, full of wax people and some pretty interesting exhibits:

There were a ton more exhibits but thats a lot of picures and all of them were this detailed.

We were excited for our next activity, which was described to us as a tourist's tunnel under the channel ending up in the Bond. What we thought that meant was a tunnel we walked down with some kind of cool display about the city.... nope. It was an unmanned trolley that took you through a tunnel that did go under the channel but also giving you a show of lights and strange noises with the occasional balloon person popping out to say hi. The thing reminded me of Willie Wonka's tunnel of horror on the old movie. I freaked when those balloon people popped out. 

creepy, right?

Our next destination was the Yu gardens. This was another traditional chinese garden. And we got lost a couple time trying to get to it but we did finally get to it and it has to be my favorite of the two garden we went to. It turns out the gardens were right next to the bazaar we went to yesterday and the unique thing about this one is the top of the wall is a dragon. Oh yeah, that awesome.
 All the doors were shaped like pots!

 See Dragon! Also some of the other parts of the wall were wavy like it was flying!!

This was the daring group under the leadership of Tasha!

 After the garden we went back to the Bazar and ate the most delicious dumplings!
They were filled with crab soup and they were amazing!
 We went around shopping, getting the last minute gifts and souvenirs that we had been holding off for the trip and that was fun. I didn't get anything but Mom found a great deal on a China Doll and Dad found himself another chess set and Tasha was able to find some dolls to be her china Nativity. Everyone was very happy and got what they were looking for and for the deal they wanted.

So, by this time we were thoroughly wet (raining, all day) and tired but we had one more adventure on our list and that was the maglev bullet train.
 That's right we got tickets for a seven minute ride to the airport and another seven minute ride back just so we could go on it. It was nice to sit down and fun to watch the counter to move up to 300km per hour. Super fast!!!

We headed home after the train, and got in the hot tub to try to warm up a bit. Despite the cold it was a serious adventure today!

So, I am not going to post about the next two days because all we did was go to the supermarket, got candy, I had a bunch of chinese money left so I bought myself a purse and my very first pair of skinny jeans. Then we got on a plane and 15 hours later we were home.
It was an amazing trip, I hope you guys enjoyed hearing about it.

Adventure is still out there!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 9: 1st day in Shang Hai!!!

We were in Shanghai!!! We started off the day at the Shanghai museum. The building was four stories and each level had about two exhibits, there was Jade carvings, seals, calligraphy, sculpture, pottery, ink paintings, furniture, and clothing from the different regions of China. I wasn't impressed with the ink paintings than I thought I would but the other exhibits were interesting. I found the traditional clothing the most interesting, there was even one suit made out of salmon skin. Also, the furniture was extremely ornate, like one piece would have taken half a lifetime to carve. Craziness!
 Sadly, I've seen better. but still cool
I have no idea how they did this but this has salmon skin all over it!

We left the museum to head to one of the trips sponsors and here is a good story for all of you. So our ttrip was extremely cheap and part of that reason was because of the sponsers and that is exactly what our guide explained to us as we went to this Jade factory. Yes, we already been to a jade factory but again they are a sponsor. Also our guide wasn't allowed to come up with us. yeah, already sketchy.
It started out innocent enough, in the lobby they had a big statue of a baby dragon called a pichu. If you put your money in its mouth it will protect it and give you good fortune.
That was fun, and we all had the chance to do it. Then they brought us upstairs and they had another jade presentation talking about the quality of jade and such then they started selling to us. They were not nice about it though, kinda stuck up to some of us and the others in our group they were very pushy. I offhandedly glanced at a bangle and a salesgirl saw that and tried to get me interested in them more. She did this by trying to get one on my arm, well I have larger hands than their used to but that didn't deter the girl one bit. She slathered my hand in lotion and tried to force it on, multiple times. Well, it started to hurt so I told her no. She kept coming back and trying again and I kept telling her no, but she wouldn't listen. Finally, my sister got angry and yelled at her to stop. I gratefully escaped after that and went out to the bus. It turned out okay though cause they had a good bathroom :)

The next area we went to was the Bund. This was the area where the foreigners took over for their buiness, before they all moved to HongKong. All the buildings are very European style and the whole strip was filled with very expensive shops. But a very fun area and you could see the center island that had all the skyscrapers that had been built over the past ten years.
 This was fun, mainly cause people would stop us and take pictures of us.
None of those skyscrapers existed about ten years ago.

We then went to the Bazaar, and it was cool. It felt very traditional Chinese; the shops were all in these big beautiful buildings and there were shops everywhere!

It was also super fun just to go shopping! We could bargain here and it was fun just to see how low you could get them to go, even though it was basically cheap junk. But there were a few treasures we found and the experience was worth it all. We had dinner here too, dumplings filled with soup that was sooo delicious!

We had to get to our last activity so we didn't get that much time at the Bazaar, but during our free day tomorrow we are coming back so no worries.

The last major activity we did was go to Era. It is an acrobatic show much like cirque de Soliel. It was amazing to see. There were multiple acts and many I am not sure how they did what they did. There was hoop jumping, porcelain bowl juggling, contortionists and other amazing acts. The contortionists were four girls and I don't think they had spines cause they bent double on top of each other. They would make pyramids while bending in half! Then the finally was a gigantic metal ball, where they drove eight motorcycles inside it without dying.
We weren't allowed to take pictures, but my Dad doesn't listen to rules like that:

They stuck eight moving motorcycles in that ball behind the performers!

Oh it was crazy, but crazy good, I'm really happy we got to see it, we were a little late getting there and I wasn't sure if we were going to make it in. No worries though.

That's all for today, till next time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 8: Hangzhou

We arrived so late the night before and we left so early in the morning as well we barely had the time to see the resort that we stayed in. While eating breakfast we could see black swans swimming across the lake. Tasha was able to see a little of the resort because she woke up early enough to go running. She said that the swans tried to attack her while she ran. Sounds like a normal swan.

Yeah, Tasha took the pic.

So the first thing we did was leave early from our hotel so we could get down to the lake in the center of Hangzhou. There we got on a boat to cross the lake and see the three famous pagodas that are on all their money.

 This was the boat that we took across the causeway.

 Those are the three famous pagodas
After we got off the boat we walked around the causeway for a bit and found so awesome structures and bridges!
After, the Causeway activity, we headed out to the country and visited a green tea 'factory'. The drive up to it was very beautiful, the green tea fields were everywhere and lined every hill.

 When we arrived they took us into a little room and where we were served green tea, or in our case we were given herbal tea. Basically, water with pieces of dried oranges and chamomile. They had a pretty good presentation about the qualities of green tea and all then they again tried to sell us stuff...
I don't think they were too happy with us when we refused to buy anything. But whatever.

So we finished at the Green tea place and jumped back on the bus. This time we were headed to Shanghai! It only took four hours to get there, mainly because of Sunday traffic. But a couple of us were able to get some sleep. 
 Aren't they adorable!
 Say hello to Shanghai!
So we finally arrived in Shanghai, and our new hotel is amazing! The beds are soft and they have a pool and hot tub!

We arrived pretty late so that's all for now. Till next time.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 7:Suzhou and the silk trade

So we were at Suzhou today which is considered the Venice of the east because everything is connected by waterways. You'll see in the pictures; but first we visited a traditional Chinese garden.
In China, a garden is a very private thing. So, it is often surrounded by a wall, completely cut off from the world and it also has more water than open space. Good funk shwai!
They had a ton of Bonsai trees in one area!
This tall stone was the center piece of the garden. very tall and had a unique shape.

 This garden was called the Lingering Garden, cause all you wanted to do is linger longer.
 One thing to mention, the water looked quite shallow but because of the mud it would be very dangerous to step in cause the mud conceals how deep the pool is.
The garden was owned by a very rich government official's family so even the house was huge and very ornate! The place was like a labyrinth. Many times our guide told us not to wander cause we could easily get lost.

When we finished at the garden we went to an actual silk factory, this was a real factory cause they showed us the whole process of how they made the silk fabric and quilts.

 It was a cool process! They first went through the cocoons to see which are double or single worms inside then they string eight singles together and unwind them to make raw silk string.
 With the double worms they pull them open like above then stretch it over a handle thing. Once they have at least eight layers. They hang them to dry.

Then they stretch it out into a quilt-like form.

It was super fun and they even let us give it a try! Afterward there was a shop which is to be expected. But I think it was worth it to get a little something. So I ended up getting a pillow and a light quilt. :)

After the silk factory, we took a cruise in the canal. So awesome! We truly got to experience the city.

We even were able to visit a small market along the way!

 It was fairly common to see people hanging out their meat to dry along with their laundry!

After our little boat ride, we jumped back on the bus and after two and a half hours we arrived at our resort hotel in Hangzhou.  By the time we arrived it was dark and it was time for bed. We were able to go get some food but it wasn't that great, but its alright cause it was a full and fun day!

Adventure is out there!