Monday, September 27, 2010

Roger's China Adventures

My hubby Roger spent most of the month of August in Shanghai China.  His company sends him over there on business quite often.  August is not exactly an ideal time to travel in China.  The weather is quite toasty (or "damn hot" as Roger put it).   Usually when he's over in China, Roger's company works him like a dog, and he doesn't see much outside of his office or hotel room.  But this time, Roger was able to see a little more of the sights around Shanghai.

Roger in front of the Shanghai World Financial Center

One day Roger's Chinese co-workers took him to visit the Shanghai World Financial Center, which is the tallest building in the City and the second tallest in the world.  It is 100 stories tall.  The building is the one with the hole through the top in the photo above.  Some people have nicknamed this building "the razor" because its top looks like the head of a razor blade.

View from 100 stories up!

Here's the view from the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center.  See how clean the air is in Shanghai!  Roger says this is as clean as the air gets here.  This day was actually a good day for visibility - you could see the ground from the top of this building, which doesn't always happen.  Shanghai is a very polluted city, and is notorious for its bad air quality.

More city views

Here is another view of Shanghai from the top of the building.  The colors of the building roofs indicate certain sectors for utilities.  This is how Shanghai determines power usage, and who to "black out" during high usage periods.

The viewing area

The public viewing area on the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center has glass floor.  It was very unnerving for some people to look so far down while standing on a see-through floor.  Roger saw some kids jumping on the floor, while other people were walking gingerly on the metal strips between the glass panes.  Roger said he was hoping that the glass used on the floor wasn't manufactured in China! 

Peoples Square at night

Shanghai is a hopping city at night.  While looking for a place to eat one night, Roger's group walked through Peoples Square, which is a 6-block shopping center in downtown Shanghai.  It was packed full of shoppers and sightseers .  Roger estimated there was probably half a million people in this small area.  Along with shopping and restaurants, the square also featured giant illuminated billboards and laser light shows.  It was quite a spectacle! 

Chicken soup - Chinese style

One day, Roger's Chinese co-workers took him to lunch.  They ordered chicken soup, which sounded safe.  However, when the soup arrived, it had an entire chicken floating in the broth - from beak to feet!  Roger said at least this chicken had real meat - not just the backs and necks, which is what you usually get when you order chicken in China.

The Chinese do actually eat chicken feet!

Roger had heard that the Chinese like to eat chicken feet.  He didn't believe it until he saw his co-worker Sunny eat the entire foot - everything except for the toenails!  He said it was not pleasant to watch, and he had nightmares about it later.

Roger's Chinese sun hat

Since Roger likes fishing, his co-workers thought he would enjoy a boat ride on one of the local lakes.  The temperature that day was 105 degrees and the humidity 98 percent plus - and they were out on a lake baking in the sun.  The boat guide felt sorry for his passengers, and found some large leaves from a nearby water plant to use as shade hats.  Roger made a bold fashion statement!

Chinese lakeside condos

The guide motored around the lake, and drove his boat through lots of weeds and things Roger said he'd never drive his boat though.  The weeds got tangled up in the boat's prop, but the guide just hit reverse, knocked the weeds off, and kept going.

Shanghai water town

This is a photo of Shanghai Water Town, a community on a canal somewhere in Shanghai.  There were shops along the waterfront, and water taxis to take customers back and forth across the canal.

Of course Roger had to get a photo of someone fishing!

Roger watched a man trying to fish in the canal.  He was using nets, and appeared to be very skilled casting and pulling them in.  Roger watched him for awhile, but didn't see the man catch anything but a turtle.  Roger said he couldn't believe anyone would eat any fish caught out of the dirty water in the canal.  He decided that chicken soup didn't look so bad after all!

Water taxi boat

Roger's group spent about four hours walking around the canals.  They observed lots of water taxi boats, skimming back and forth across the canal.  The people operating the boats were so skillful they could maneuver the boats up to the wall without touching the wall itself.  Roger said it looked so easy.

Typical row of shops along the canal

This is a picture of a typical marketplace in China.  The shops are very small, one after another, for blocks upon blocks.  And Roger said they all appeared to be selling the same stuff.

Roger tries his hand at steering a boat

After watching them all afternoon, Roger's group decided to take a ride in one of the water taxis.  Roger said he opened his big mouth and told his companions that anyone could steer one of these boats.  Upon hearing this, the boat operator invited Roger to give it a try.   After ten minutes of trying his hardest, and going nowhere, Roger realized he was wrong.  He said it was really tough!
Baby Buddha emerges

The last weekend Roger was in China, his Chinese co-workers took him to the town of Wuxi to visit the "Buddhist Scenic Spot." (that's really the English translation)  This attraction was a large park, built within the last five years.  There were fountains, palaces, artwork, and two large Buddha statues.  Roger also said the place had good ice cream!

Baby Buddha fountain

This is one of the many beautiful fountains in the park.  Roger and his fellow travelers were lucky enough to arrive just as the baby Buddha was emerging from inside of a large brass "flower."  None of the Chinese co-workers had ever seen this baby Buddha come out before.  It was good timing!

The fountain underneath the baby Buddha only flows when the baby is displayed.  There are smaller fountains at the base that release special filtered water that is supposed to be safe to drink.  Roger saw lots of Chinese tourists filling their bottles with this water.  He said he didn't want to risk drinking it - it was a long plane ride home!

Roger strikes a Buddha pose

One of the Buddha statues was up high on the hillside.  Visitors had to traverse 600 steps to get to the base of the statue.  It was 107 degrees that day, and Roger said it was a very, very hot trek to the top of the stairs.  Roger and Rong Wei, one of his co-workers, decided to try and run up the stairs.  They made it all the way up, but didn't feel very good once they reached the top!

View from the top of the first set of stairs

Once Roger arrived at the base of the Buddha, he was amazed by the size of the statue.  Roger said you had to reach up as high as you could just to touch the top of its toe.  The Buddha was 88 meters tall, made totally out of brass.  Quite an impressive sight!

Twin Buddhas

There was a second smaller Buddha statue located next to one of the palaces.  Roger thought that this particular figure was used as a model for construction of the larger Buddha.

The only completed palace open to the public

Roger and his group went into one of the finished palaces. It was amazing inside!  The palace was full of interesting artwork.  Also inside, visitors could watch a live show on the walls around the building. There was something happening 360 degrees around the room. It was hard to take it all in. Roger wasn't sure what exactly the show was about, but it was entertaining.  He took photos until his camera battery died. 

Intricate ceiling of one of the palaces

This is the inside of the center spire of the palace. The ceiling was over 250 tall and was very intricately decorated.   Roger said this place was impressive and he'd like to visit it again on his next trip.  Roger said it was by far the most amazing thing he's seen in China. 

Of his nine trips to China, Roger was happy that he finally got the chance to do some sightseeing.  Although it was entertaining, after three weeks, Roger was more than ready to come home to the US.  And I was glad to have him back too!

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