Friday, October 17, 2008

Shanghai: Jade Buddha Temple and French Concession

17 October: Since Reenie’s foot was swollen and sore, I headed out for the day on my own. I took a taxi to see the Jade Buddha Temple, which was packed with people. Incense burned everywhere. The temple was quite a popular place to visit and very colorful as fodorite friend Stu said it would be. Of course all the smoke didn’t help my lungs. On the second floor of the Jade Buddha Chamber, I tried to discretely photograph a Monk, who was with (apparently) his mother. Just after snapping the photo, he looked over to me and smiled. It’s hard to point a camera towards someone that might be offended, so I smiled back.

Next I taxied over to the Yu Yuan Gardens, which was another colorful area with a large shopping bazaar. I bought my chop, my name in Chinese characters, as well as the meaning of my name: "Advisor." I paid 100RMB, or about $15. It came with a box and large container of red ink. The chop itself is larger than average, so I think I got a good price for it. I also bought a large paintbrush with a blue and white ceramic handle to hang in my house.

The Gardens were lovely and I spent some time just wandering and taking pictures. It was certainly night and day between the gardens and the bazaar area. I had a quick lunch of a steamed dumpling filled with pork and soup and served with a straw. It was so good!

I taxied back to the hotel where Reenie was ready to go out. She had iced up her foot a few times and the swelling seem to have gone down. We headed over to the French Concession and walked around before dinner at the Ruijin guesthouse with some fodorite friends. We checked out an old Russian Church that was being worked on, as well as another former residence of Soong (it was closed when we arrived). Reenie and I stopped at a bar and had a couple of watered down drinks before dinner. At least they were cheap.

For dinner, we met up with Jackie and her friend Tako, from Japan. Dinner was very good. Reenie and I shared some dumplings that were filled with vegetables and we all shared a bean curd dish with crabmeat; and fried chicken pieces with red chilies. The chicken pieces were pretty small and bony. We were all surprised the chicken wasn’t spicy hot with all the chilies in the dish. Service was a little slow but we enjoyed each other’s company.

No comments: