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Saturday - May 19 - Up at 0500 - sunrise at 0505 - another huge buffet breakfast - especially great fresh pineapple - Bus departs at 0815 to the Shanghai Qi Cai Silk Store at # 410-440 Cao Bao Road. The factory official gives a very interesting lecture and demonstration of how silk is taken from the cocoons then spun on multiple spindle machines into thread. Then we watch ladies weaving silk. But this is a store, not a factory and the productions are only for demonstration. The store has many large scale factories in other cities. One demonstrator shows how rugs are sculptured with an electric knife. Another demostrates who silk is formed into thin nets, then these nets are combined in large numbers to serve as the filling for comforters and pillows. The silk sheets are beautiful as are the bed covers, rugs, table clothes and more. A full room is devoted to silk garmets. The store will take measurements and produce tailored silk suits in a trice. Here we buy some silk scarves and a lady's jacket.
Then we go by bus along another super highway out of Shanghai to the Zhu Jia Jiao Water Town about 30 kilometers west of the city. This is an ancient town oriented around a canal system. Now of course it is a major tourist attraction. I must note again that by far the majority of the tourists are Chinese, not foreigners. Vantage has paid the entrance fee. The parking lot adjacent to the old town is packed with buses and vans. Again I note that the express super highways are already built far into the country ahead of the urban expansion that is coming. Of course this is another marked contrast with the transportation non-planning we are used to in the US. In Shanghai, the highways pass many nice homes and apartment complexes. The elevated highways are built over major ground-level streets below. There are access ramps at intervals and elaborate intersection clover leafs, some of which have four levels. Even so city traffic is terrible. The city demands a tax of $5,000 just to purchase a auto liscence. Over half the vehicles one sees on the road are buses or taxis. The water town has many canals and bridges. We embark in a group of narrow boats propelled by a man at the stern using a long sweep oar. The tourists board these boats at one landing and then are taken by several canals to a landing in another part of town. We pass several Buddhist temples Then the boats return empty for another group. The canals pass under various bridges and we use them to cross back through the narrow streets to the original square. It is lunch time and it seems the whole town is composed of restaurants, mostly located in the second story area looking out onto the canals. But street level has its typical sales shops as well. The shops are selling everything imaginable. The Chinese tourists are photographing everything. We drive back to the hotel arrving at 1320. With a free afternoon, we hire a taxi to takeus to the Jade Buddha Temple well north of city center. Cost 20 Y. It is a very busy place, with much praying and incense stick burning taking place. In the Jade Buddha temple room the people are buying small bottles of something, which attendants then pour into an offering place in front of the statue. Then we take another taxi to the Jing An Buddhist Temple in the center of town. It is nessled between modern high rise buildings at the Shanghai Center and Plaza 66 buildings. Here we find Buddhist monks performing various rituals. Along the way we sustain ourselves with Cokes and cookies. We reach the hotel at 1630 and prepare for the evening excursion. At 1830 we depart for a night cruise across the river. The city is really amazing, the most modern of buildings are next to old quarters. The levels of income within a block or two must have huge variation. There are hundreds of stores full of international designer named goods. On this Saturday everyone is out shopping. And we buy more braclets at the Buddhist temple. We again travel by bus on the same elevated super highway to the Bund but this time continue right through a tunnel under the Huangpu river to the new Pudong side. Here we enter the 457 meter tall Oriental Pearl TV Tower and join the throngs taking an elevator to a top floor for a view over the city. Descending, we go to a ferry boat pier just as a firework display begins over the river. We all use the upper deck to get the best views of everything as we ride back across the Huangpu. Everyone is out taking photos all along the embankment. A KFC restaurant supplies a Chocolate sundae. Then it is back to the hotel at 2130.


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