Firstly, to Eileen, here's a note from Judith:
Dear Eileen;Not sure if we can get back to you because servers are occasionally blocked-but, thank you for e-mailing.
Please tell Rosalind Happy Birthday.
We have taken so many pictures that I overlooked the one from LAX before our departure and here it is. Next we see the weary travelers checking into our hotel upon arriving at Shanghai.
CHINA YESTERDAY AND TODAY
This country has thrust itself into the 21st century so rapidly that it's truly staggering. You see the juxtapositioning of the new (and so much of it) alongside old China. Vendors with poles on their shoulders, bearing mostly fruit for sale, cyclists with huge loads of whatever and bycycle's everywhere.
There are also motorized bikes galore as well as motorcycles and all fearless in traffic with nary an accident. Everwhere you look you see the bikes coming at you and you best get out of the way. No one seems to stop for anything except traffic lights. It's quite a sight to see a young man on his bike with his lady friend riding side saddle behind. Many times you see father, mother & baby (or child) on one bike! Better yet, young girls wearing high heels and biking along.
WHAT WE DID TODAY IN SUZHOU (2 hrs.away from Shanghai by coach...
Breakfast today was the best (remember I told you yesterday how great our hotel is). We even had our laundry done overnight and it came back so beautiful I told Charles we should ship all our laundry here! Fortified we were off to 'The Master of the Nets Garden'. This is a much smaller garden that belonged to a most fortunate individual. You get a true sense of the 'Literati' lifestyle here. Serene and elegant, the age of the buildings transport you back to the days of contemplation and connection with the life that surrounds us.
Even though it was MAY DAY/LABOR DAY and the garden was more crowded, you still had a sense of being in another time and place. Once outside, we passed through the gauntlet that I call one of China's 'Olivera Steets'... narrow and packed with vendors who, although willing to take you money for the stated price, would come down drastically if you bargained well and hard. It was actually quite entertaining to say 'no, no, too much' and walk away as they chased you to come back for a better price.
Lunch was the best so far and a tour through the Silk Embroidery Museum had us all totally amazed. We saw young women doing the painstaking embroidery and then shopping in the breathtaking showroom.
Dinner was the best and we were serenaded by two beautiful young women from the Suzhou Opera!