Wandering around Shanghai

I think the general excitement and shock of our arrival in China caught up with us a bit this morning and we both struggled to wake and felt a little lethargic. Still we had so much more we wanted to see in Shanghai. We decided not to rush it too much and simply stay here another night so as not to miss out on anything.
Today was to be museum day to try and learn a bit about China, the history and the people. On our way to the museum we had a walk through People’s Park which was surprisingly relaxing considering it was pretty full, not exactly huge and right in the middle of a major city full of 24million people. There were plenty of people milling around and we noticed that there were umbrellas laid on the ground lining a few of the walkways. On these umbrellas were A4 sheets of paper with writing on them.
We couldn’t work out what on Earth was going on, there were literally hundreds of them. I asked a passer by and he laughed and told me that the people were parents trying to marry off their kids!! It’s truly amazing how this city can be so modern in one instance and so ancient the next. I think it is going to be a dichotomy we are going to have to get used to in China.
We wandered around for a while passing lakes full of lotus flowers and lots of lovely areas for people to sit in. All in all it was very nicely done. The other relief was that the pollution wasn’t as bad as we first thought it was going to be. On arrival it looked like an Apocalyptic haze was covering the city and I thought we were going to have to invest in some gas masks!! It must have something to do with the wind and the weather because it’s not here all the time. In fact apart from the first night we have actually been able to look up at blue skies!
Hopefully the G20 meeting currently going on “just down the road” will sort out a path for the future. 
Arriving at the museum was a bit like arriving at an airport, we had to pass through similar levels of security but there was the pleasant surprise of free entry once we had passed through all the rigmarole.
We were hoping for a “History of China” from the museum but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Never mind though we still enjoyed the visit as the place was full of artefacts dating back as far as 3800 BC!
I am not sure if I have seen any pottery dating back as far as that and if I have these Chinese ones had a detail and an intricacy to the artwork which would have surpassed any others. They were really quite beautiful.
The Bronze items dating back through the 21st century BC were the same. So well preserved and amazingly detailed in the artwork. We noticed that they were mostly wine related items so hopefully we are going to be able to discover some wonderful Chinese wines on our travels?!
We also got to see more modern potteries some of the best being from the Ming dynasty during the 1400s. These were more in the blue and white style I always associate with Chinese art. These were again incredibly detailed and beautiful which we noticed is a theme throughout all of the artefacts we saw in the museum.
The paintings and the jade carvings were no different. The paintings were mostly of Chinese mountains and we were quite excited to see that we are going to a couple of the places in the paintings. And the Jade turns out to be an import from Burma (carved in China). 
There was also a section devoted to the carvings of Buddha and most notably how his body shape has changed between regions and over time. Again something I am looking forward to analysing as we move around not only China but Asia too.
The final section was of the calligraphy which was spectacular and I am sure would have been even better if we could understand any of it! The most interesting thing I have seen though is the way texting has been done…I have seen people drawing the symbol on their screen and then selecting the option from some choices (I am guessing this is similar to our predictive texting). It all just looks very different.
Another fantastic Chines meal to end the day, full of flavour and an element of surprise in the ordering! We still have been using pictures so it’s fairly safe although we did glance at the family next to us and what they ordered and decided that we were being a bit boring!!  
Shanghai so far has been truly wonderful. It really is easy to get around and the people have all seemed really friendly. The place has really nice feel to it, ultra modern yet with the excitement of the orient. The pace walking around is not too fast and although it’s been stinking hot there hasn’t been too much humidity which is always nice!! I also would say that the places we have been to have been pretty clean too. Basically we have had a great time and I can’t wait to explore more of the country!! T

The rows of umbrellas advertising potential suitors.

The park, full of lotus flowers.

Everywhere in Shanghai there are fantastic modern skyscrapers looming in the background.

The People’s Park was really beautiful to walk around.

Bronze wine glasses dating back to 2100 BC.

A Buddha stone.

The facial expressions and outfits on the figurines are just brilliant.

Some more great artwork.

Now I know my Mandarin leaves a lot to be desired but some of the signs we have seen have been quite funny.  Still we are both a bit scared for when the English translations disappear!!

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