Our second day in Shanghai. The kids slept well waking early, due at least in part to the two-hour time difference between China and the east coast of Australia, and in part due to excitement of being in China.
We had about four hours to kill in the morning before our guide and driver collected us for a full day tour of the city. Poppy and I wandered down to the market we had seen from the window of our apartment yesterday. A local man bought Poppy fried bread from a busy street stall. It is typical breakfast fare, a bit like a doughnut without the sweet sugary topping.
We visited the French quarter briefly, It was a lovely clean space with European influence in buildings and cuisine. I think this is one area I’d skip if I had my time again. We stopped at a silk market, where I’d expected I might buy some silk fabrics, only to find that they didn’t sell fabric. The markets are designed to attract the tourist dollar, they explain the silk making process then try to sell silk donnas, pillows, ties, scarfs at what I am sure were inflated prices.
Off to lunch where we met a lovely Spanish family with a young baby. They had adopted him a week prior in China after a nine year wait! I cried as they told me snippets of their story, they were to return home to Spain shortly where their three older boys were waiting eagerly to meet their little brother.
I’d happily spend more time in the Yu Garden, where there are amazing garden rooms, linked by windows or beautifully shaped openings drawing your interest to the next unique space. Textures, water, shadows, shapes, timber, tiles, dragons and other mythical creatures give a real sense of the traditional China, this is what I wanted to see.
The kids couldn’t sit still for the traditional tea ceremony, so they wandered around the tourist filled streets with Mark, while Gil and I enjoyed a tea tasting in the oldest tea house in Shanghai.
It was another long day, Poppy fell asleep at the dinner table but woke before we boarded the over night sleeper train for Beijing. Thank God for our guide Alex, without him navigating the train station would have been very difficult.