The Shanghai family also known as Da Pu Lu family (us) decided to go on vacation on vacation. The destination: Hangzhou. To our knowledge this is a cute little town only an hour away by train from Shanghai. We booked a hotel room, quite luxurious for 13 euros per person, we had a girls room and a boys room, and upon arrival we put on our tourist shoes and roamed around looking for sights. The lake in Hangzhou is beautiful, we saw many Buddhist temples and the nature surrounding the temples was stunning as well.
We had a bit of a shock during one lunch when I searched for the inhabitant amount of Hangzhou which turns out to be nearly 8 million people! We had realized that it was bigger than we had anticipated, but we were thinking this city could be about as large as Amsterdam, not half the size of our country!
The atmosphere in Hangzhou is way more relaxed and easy-going, the people are friendly and when you cross the street in a designated place; the cars actually stop to let pedestrians cross. We were amazed! Later we found out that Hangzhou is the happiest city in all of China. We completely understand and concur.
At times we compared certain areas to Amersfoort or Scheveningen. We Dutch tend to compare places to ones familiar to us, for example I call Shanghai: “the Chinese New York City”.
This whole tea ceremony thing is getting out of control. Yesterday it was a holiday in China; dragon-boat festival. We brought our friends to Pudong airport in the early am. We spent the rest of the day indoors upon returning after hitting up the market first for fresh fruits and vegetables which we devoured during the day.
During these nine hours we had a constant tea ceremony, I was the ceremony master for this entire time. We drank nine liters of tea, five different kinds of tea and had about 9 bathroom breaks each.
The teas we drank:
Besides this one crazy marathon of tea I have been performing constant tea ceremonies for me alone when at home. I might be doing other things during the ceremony, like writing this post; not very mindful, but the tea keeps flowing.
It makes me wonder that tea might be addictive.
Shanghai parks are just as much fun as Lilongs. The locals head out to the parks and spend their days there doing activities such as Tai Chi, Majong, dance, sing or just sit around drink tea with one another and chat.
Shanghai has many skyscrapers, everywhere you walk it seems that the little traditional Shanghainese blocks (with the before mentioned Lilongs) are being torn down and big ones pop up in their place. This is sad, but it’s also impressive to see
My brother Henjo took us to two Hyatt hotels in Pu Dong, which is the right side of the river from Henjo’s house, where we can check out the view without paying entrance fee and check out the two hotels while we are at it.
The second largest building in the world – besides the gigantic one in Dubai – is being built in Shanghai and this is what it looks like at the moment:
The Chinese seem to be able to pop buildings out of the ground like it means nothing.
Selma, our friend Mina and I were walking down the street on the way to the Bund at night to look at the view. On the way we passed a labrador puppy, I asked Mina if she could ask the owner if it would be ok for me to pet the puppy, since the Chinese generally don’t like strangers coming up to them and she asked for me and I played with the dog. Eventually the man asks me in Chinese if I would like to have the puppy which Mina translated for me. Have the puppy?! I replied that I don’t live here permanently, but Mina’s response was that she would want to have the puppy. The man said the puppy pees and poops inside, we think he didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he bought the puppy. So eventually it wasn’t the three of us walking to the Bund for the view, but the four of us. His temporary name is Bruno and he is the cutest thing ever.
Does anyone have an idea for a name?
For all of you worried if he has a safe home: Mina lives with her father and he is home 24/7 and he loves dogs. Mina is taking him to the vet today to see if he needs any shots, etc. Mina was already acting like a puppy mama from the get-go.
Only in China.
Our lovely friends Laura & Reinier are visiting for two weeks from the Netherlands! It has been amazing so far, we have been hitting up the town like no other. They are now in Beijing for a five days and we have some more days left together afterwards.
I will miss you kids!
It was a rainy day here in Shanghai yesterday and I didn’t bring an umbrella because I generally don’t mind the rain too much, but while I was crossing the road near the subway in Pudong a Chinese girl stood beside me to share her umbrella with me while we crossed the road. We couldn’t converse at all, but a simple xiexie (pronounce sje-sje, which means thank you) and a mutually genuine smile sufficed.
A couple of hours later I was walking to the Power Plant of Art where there is an Andy Warhol exhibit and a sweet gentleman could tell that I was confused as to which way to go after exiting the subway station. I still didn’t have an umbrella, so he walked me to the museum all the while sharing his umbrella with me while we chatted away in English, and when we arrived he eventually gave me his umbrella for me to keep.
The locals are generously kind towards us laowais.
I write this while soaking up some rays on a terrace near my Shanghai home. Granted, it is pretty hot, but I like this temperature and while I sit here I see passersby with umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun with fans to cool themselves while wearing mouth caps to protect themselves from the polluted air. The waitress just walked over to remind me that it’s hot and I should sit in the shade, I told her that I like the sun to which she replied with a giggle.