I arrived in Nanjing. My first attempted pictures were a failure:
After working 7 straight days, I took a break Tuesday and went to see a Confucian temple in Nanjing. I should have bought some souvenirs here:
Friday night the last day I was there, I wandered aroud Nanjing and was nearly hit by a bus - i.e., I didn't realize how close the bus was until I felt something hit my leg - a panel that was hanging off the bus. The bus stopped. All traffic kind of stopped as the bus driver went to collect the panel, and I dazedly wandered away... until I ended up in this park:
Then I took a train to Shanghai. After weight-lifting the night before (what a bright idea) and carrying my bag up and down the stairs at the Nanjing train station, I didn't feel too bad giving the random kid who helped carry my bag out of the Shanghai station 30 yuan, even though I'm sure he was thrilled to have made out so well. Then I took the double-price taxi ride to the hotel. The bellhop acted genuinely concerned as he told me that I should have paid about 30 yuan for the taxi ride, but I had to laugh. Those 'legitimately-priced' hotels take you for far more than the locals can even conceive of doing. And the Hilton in Shanghai didn't even have sealed bottled water! Every other hotel on my journey did. Coupled with express laundry service, and the 2nd most expensive meal I had the whole trip, the 1 night at the Hilton cost me almost as much as the six days I spent at a different hotel (with SEALED bottled water for 4 yuan, I might add). I don't recommend the Hilton in Shanghai.
Anways, the 2nd hotel in Shanghai was called the Nanying Fandian - literally Nanying Restaurant - but it had a hotel on the side. You can't get a 5-star hotel in Shanghai with a days notice, so I was at a middle tier one. It was more of a English-Chinese translation adventure, but everyone was pleasant. That's what I have a hard time imagining. I'd go up to someone in China and ask for help and try to mumble some Chinese, and they'd seem to understand. I can't imagine being able to help anyone mumbling Mandarin to me here in the States. I can't even imagine anyone trying to ask me for directions in a different language. It turned out that this hotel was conviently located - on the other side of Shanghai from the work site, so I didn't take a whole lot of pictures as my free time ended up being when it was night time, and my night-time pictures never turn out very well. But here's a street in Shanghai on my last night at the pictured Nanying Lidong Restaurant:
The second hotel I stayed in was much closer to the action, but far from the food. There is no good food around the Bund. So I should have taken taxis everywhere, but for some reason I had a lot of energy for walking in Shanghai.
Maybe it was the convient river walk - I walked along that 3 or 4 different days:
A park that's built by the river walk.
The history museum where I learned that
this is the first mayor of Shanghai:
This is the Peace Hotel. A famous hotel, but I'm not sure why.
This is the Garden bridge. A bridge that the Japanese blocaded during World War II.
On my last day in Shanghai, I went to the Yu Yuan Gardens:
I met some friendly Australians who took this picture of me in the restaurant with supposedly the best Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai, and hence, the world:
I sure do miss the food. I've always been indecisive, and now I'm much less enthused about the choices of food in the U.S. To me that's the truly wicked irony of the free market. We should have better food in the U.S. than in China. But we don't. (Well, obviously I'm not counting my Mom's food; I can't wait for Thanksgiving).
Anyways, had to go to Hong Kong to get my Visa renewed. So did Chris and Doug. So we converged at the Pudong International Airport and flew to Hong Kong.
Here I am:
On the way to Hong Kong Island and Wanchai.
We hung out at a rotating restaurant for a while:
Then my coworkers headed back to Nanjing, and I spent the day wandering around Wanchai:
Found some random park:
My coworkers missed out on the Hong Kong nightlife:
Course, I didn't have that much fun, and I was there! I don't know, somehow the people in Nanjing seemed much more laid back than the Hong Kong crowd.
Then I flew to Beijing. I was supposed to work Monday, but I wasn't approved, so I went to the Great Wall! I went to Badaling - a more tourist-oriented area of the Great Wall. I was a little concerned when I got here - this looked very new and I didn't believe it was part of the Great Wall:
But the day I went to the Great Wall was one of the most picturesque days there ever was:
Got a shot of Tianmen Square as I was heading to the Forbidden City:
It may not be forbidden anymore, but you can't get tickets after 3:30 PM. So don't try it ;)