April 4th, 2016 - Day 2 -Shanghai, China depart at 1:10 pm

We woke up rather early and got up and went upstairs to the Terrace Café where they serve a buffet breakfast and had juice and Jim had coffee and Pat had tea.

Our tour to the Watertown of Zhujiajiao was canceled due to the Chinese holiday Tomb Sweeping. They said traffic would take 3 to 4 hours to get there and the ship sails at 1 PM today so it had to be canceled.  We were disappointed because everyone says it is beautiful and is the Venice of China.  Everyone has to be back on board for a mandatory life boat drill at Noon.  We did the drill and found our life boat so we are ready for any disaster and with our luck you never know what might happen.

We had lunch in the Terrace Café. We had some Greek specialties like spanakopita and salad. 

At 1:10 PM we left Singapore, China on our way to Jeju, South Korea. We went outside to enjoy the view of Singapore and could not believe how long it took us to get out to the open sea. We were on the Huangpu River for over an hour.  High-rises were all around.  It was a great view.  We sat upstairs and lounged on the highest level and just watched as we headed out to sea.

We had dinner in the Grand Dining Room.  Jim had Maine lobster soufflé with bisque of tomato, lime and coriander for his appetizer and steak au Poivre with cognac sauce and  french fries for his main dish.  For dessert Jim had banana ice cream without sugar and decaf coffee. Pat had white bean salad with cauliflower, and dives and marinated feta for her appetizer and Buffalo mozzarella and baked eggplant rolls with tomato sauce for her main dish. 

April 3rd, 2016 - Ritz Carlton & Insignia - Day 1

We spent time walking around the ifc Mall and then across the street at the SuperBrand Mall but we did not find anything to buy.  After having lunch on the club floor we went back to our room to pack up.

We checked out of the hotel.  On the ride down from the 52nd floor where you check in and out there was a girl who was crying really hard and got on the elevator with us.  One of the girls from the hotel rode down with her and found out she had just heard from the doctor that she had cancer and she was fairly young.  She apologized to us for her crying.  We felt sad for her.  She went outside and sat on the curb crying.

The hotel had a van for us to take us to the cruise ship. The driver did not speak very much English and we asked him if he knew where he was going and he said yes. We started out and then he would turn right on a street then stop and go back and go left and was having difficulty finding where he needed to go to drop us off.  At one street he was driving and a girl on a moped in a pink coat collided with him. I screamed as she ran into my side and we could see her and thought for sure she must be dead as she had no helmet on.  When I looked out the window she was getting up off the ground. The driver had gotten out of the car and was helping her up and picking up her things that had scattered in the street. The driver had left us in the van in the middle of the street and cars were coming in both directions and the cars were just going around the accident not stopping.  Finally, the girl we could see was smiling.  The driver and the girl never exchanged information about the accident.  The driver picked up a piece of her moped that had broken off and gave it to her.  She then got on her moped and drove off.  The driver pulled out in front of her and she swerved to miss him but didn't make it.  When we were walking across the crosswalks earlier we noticed that no one stops for pedestrians so I think cars must be the ones in charge and we noticed people just dodging in and out trying to get across. It was a little scary.

After the driver stopped and asked someone he finally found where to drop us off.  It was the strangest way we have ever boarded a cruise ship.  We were dropped off at the gate and our luggage taken out of the car.  No terminal to check in. Two guys loaded our luggage onto a carrier and walked with us to the ship.  Luggage was tagged and put on the ship. Then we had to walk to a little trailer with a window and they made copies of our passport.  Then we boarded the ship and went through security and they told us to go down the hall.  We walked to the end of the hall but there was nothing there so we found someone and they told us we had to go up a level.  Not sure why they didn't tell us that in the first place.  Finally got checked in and things went smoother.

We went to our room, 7096, and unpacked. Luckily we were able to exchange the big nice wooden hangers for wire hangers and we were able to fit all our clothes in the closet.  Everything is unpacked and put away in little nooks and crannies around the room.

We were able to get a reservation at Toscano restaurant for dinner at 7:30pm.  Pat had spinach salad and pasta of the day puttanesca style.  Jim had caesar salad and Dover sole.  Not many people in the restaurant tonight.

End of our day one on the Insignia!

Things we have learned

This is a three day holiday called "Tombs Sweeping". People pay  their  respect to the dead.   All the parks and museums are very busy because of the holiday and they are off on Monday, April 4th as well.  

They do not have cemeteries in Shanghai because land is scarce so they cremate the remains and store in a box in your home.  Young people are going more for the Neptune Society because of the green factor.  

In China because of the population the law was that you could only have one child but since 2014 the law has hanged to permit 2 children now.  The penalty if you have more than two kids is one year of your salary to the government you have to pay. 

In China their Facebook is called We Chat. We are not able to log onto Facebook as they have it blocked.  This is the error that we get and it is monitored by the government.  

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Their Twitter is called Sila and it is monitored by the government as well.  

The search engine in China is called Baidu and Google is not available.  China wants the Google servers to reside in China but Google would not allow that so Google was thrown out of China.   

There is a lot of horn honking on the roads, we are not sure for what reason, but everybody seems to honk. 

It is a little hard to communicate here in Shanghai because not as many people have an understanding of the English language but they all try very hard and are very helpful.  

We have not come across any special deals as we have everything at home made in China as well.  

The currency in China is CNB and $10 equals 63 CNB.  We can get CNB currency but the hotel will not change their currency back to American dollars.  The money changer at the hotel told us she  was sorry for the delay but she was not good at math. Ha!

Jim saw no Chinese wine on the wine list or he would've ordered it.  They have a lot of Australian, French and Italian and Napa Valley.  

They have a lot of pollution so it is usually hazy that is why I am told people wear masks to protect themselves from the air pollution.

We noticed when we were walking across the crosswalks no one stops for pedestrians.  I think cars must be the ones in charge.  We saw people just dodging in and out trying to get across the road. It was a little scary as the cars don't seem to slow down so we didn't want to take any chances of getting hit by a car.

 

FaceTime with the family

We have been lucky and have been able to face time with Kent, Rachel and Thatcher.  Thatcher is always so lively and showing off on the phone but I hear he get sad when we hang up.   We love getting to see their faces it feels like they are nearby.   

 Upside down fun! 

Upside down fun! 

 Squeezing Daddy's neck.  

Squeezing Daddy's neck.  

 I don't know if Kent knows Thatcher is licking his hair  Ha!

I don't know if Kent knows Thatcher is licking his hair  Ha!

Dinner at Scena Restaurant

Fabbio, the restaurant manager, made the reservation for us at 6:30 PM but because of the room disaster we had to change it as we had to move the time to 7 PM so we could get there in time. We were given a beautiful window table and the chef came over and told us about a lobster and avocado salad he had prepared for us.  We were told that our drinks would be complimentary so we had wine.   Jim had a white wine from South Africa and Pat had a French red wine.   For dinner Pat had a special pasta that was black and white spaghetti noodles with tomatoes and shrimp and scallops and half the noodles were black and dyed with squid.  Jim had a rocket salad with balsamic dressing that we split it was so large.  For his entrée Jim had a ravioli pasta with ham and truffles.  We ended the evening with a raspberry sherbet.  It was a lovely evening.  We felt like VIP's.  

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 Lobster Salad

Lobster Salad

 Rocket Salad

Rocket Salad

 Jim's entree

Jim's entree

 Pat's entree

Pat's entree

 Johnny, our waiter, came by and said we had to have another picture since the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower was visible now.  The people of Shanghai consider this their Eiffel Tower.

Johnny, our waiter, came by and said we had to have another picture since the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower was visible now.  The people of Shanghai consider this their Eiffel Tower.

Back to the Hotel

We came back to the hotel and it was raining pretty hard. We went to our room and walked in and Pat noticed that we had a really pretty window that looked like crackle glass.  Pat thought that the hotel had a way to make the glass look like crinkle glass.  After a closer look I noticed that it was cracked glass. Jim went over and saw a couple of holes where it had made contact with something. We called for the manager and they responded quickly.  Since it was very unsafe we had to move. We had to pack up our suitcases and they help move us to a new suite next door.   This room was unbelievable as it was an actual suite with a living room, bedroom, lounge area, huge bathroom and wall to wall windows.  It is a corner room so we have views on all sides it was a pain to have to move but well worth it for this beautiful new room and view. 

 Center pane is cracked.   

Center pane is cracked.   

 Cracked window

Cracked window

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All Day City Tour

We began the day at 8:30 AM with our guide, Joy, picking us up at our hotel. We got on the bus and met Judy  from Fort Worth, who works at the corporate office, in Fort Worth and she had two friends from Chicago she travels with whom they met in 2012 and became friends. We went to another hotel and picked up Alastair from London Who was a math teacher.   We met a mom and dad and their son and daughter-in-law from st. Louis, Missouri..  At the last hotel we picked up a young couple from Atlanta, Georgia.  In the afternoon we picked up another couple who had just gotten off and Oceania cruise for 19 days and live in Atlanta, Georgia.  

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Our first stop was the Jade Buddha Temple. It is the oldest temple in Shanghai 400 years old.  The temple was completed in 1918. It is known for the 6 foot one and a half meter tall seated Buddha made of white jade. We were able to see the Jade Buddha but we were asked to not take any pictures of it.    It look like a woman statue but it was a man it was a thin Buddha.  The temple has bright yellow walls and is built with symmetrical halls  and courtyards. It was beautiful..

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 Library area.   There were pictures of Nancy Reagan visiting the Jade Buddha in the 1980s. 

Library area.   There were pictures of Nancy Reagan visiting the Jade Buddha in the 1980s. 

We went to the Jiangnansilk Factory and saw how silk was made from silk cocoons

 

 

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Shanghai's main square was built for the people and has become one of the most important social and cultural centers. It was built in the mid 19th century by the British as a race track for the cities elite, today is home to the Shanghai museum.  

 People's Square with the Shanghai Museum in the background. 

People's Square with the Shanghai Museum in the background. 

 People's Square and Shanghai Museum

People's Square and Shanghai Museum

 Sign at the People's Square

Sign at the People's Square

 People's Square

People's Square

Shanghai Museum holds mainland China's best artifacts and relics. There are paintings, sculptures, ceramics, calligraphy, Jade, Ming and Qing dynasty furniture, and coins. The collection of bronzes is among the best in the world and that was the floor that we visited.  

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 Outside the museum

Outside the museum

 Wine Vessel

Wine Vessel

 Bronze Urn

Bronze Urn

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 Family wash bowl

Family wash bowl

 Bells

Bells

Cherry Blossom Tree

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We had a typical Chinese lunch at Z-Dragon Restaurant.  Everything was served on a turntable.  It was sort of like food from a Panda Express meal. Our guide said it is a good location on The Bund as well as fast service but she said the food is not as good as some other restaurants but  we enjoyed the meal.

 

 

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 After lunch we walked up near the Bund and got some great shots as it started to rain.  

After lunch we walked up near the Bund and got some great shots as it started to rain.  

 Rainy view

Rainy view

 Jim and Pat getting to use the umbrellas that we had brought. 

Jim and Pat getting to use the umbrellas that we had brought. 

Yu Garden is a traditional Chinese meditative garden and was built in 1559-77 by the Pan family, who were officials in the Ming Dynasty. The garden was destroyed during the first Opium War in (1839 -42) but later rebuilt.   There are bridges, winding walkways, carp field ponds, dragon lined walls and pavilions.  

 Yu Garden

Yu Garden

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 Their dragons shoot water out of their mouths

Their dragons shoot water out of their mouths

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Our last stop was to the French Quarter Concession that had a baroque feel.  

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Huangpu River Cruise and Bund City Lights Evening Tour of Shanghai

We had a evening tour of the waterfront by our guide, Frank. We saw beautiful architecture along the river accentuated with colored lights and some flashing.  The view was beautiful.  The night air on the river was chilly.    Afterwords we toured the historic Peace hotel which is very historical and was once owned by the Fairmont but now owned by the Government of Chinatown . Then we took a trolley to enjoy the spectacular views of the Nanjing Road which we had done in the afternoon so then we saw it at night   We ended up eating candy nuts, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon while looking at the lights along the river on the 49th floor. 

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 Lobby of Peace Hotel

Lobby of Peace Hotel

 Peace Hotel

Peace Hotel

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 Trolley  

Trolley  

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Afternoon walk on Nanjing Street

We took a taxi to Nanjing Street which is a  pedestrian street with lots of shops and people. Here are some pictures of things that caught our eye.  

 

Our observations:  We noticed there is a lot of honking going on as if it could change something.  We noticed a lot of girls wear black tights and black shoes.  We didn't see anyone wear sunglasses except for foreigners.  Not many wear baseball caps. 

 Mopeds

Mopeds

 Shopping Mall

Shopping Mall

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 Lots of mopeds/bikes

Lots of mopeds/bikes

 People's Square

People's Square

 People's Square

People's Square

 At People's Square

At People's Square

 Cool sign

Cool sign

 These statues caught our eye

These statues caught our eye

 On Nanjing Street

On Nanjing Street

Breakfast at Scena Restaurant

We had a wonderful breakfast buffet at the hotel in the Scena Restaurant.   The room was beautiful with a magnificent view which was covered in fog. There were so many stations:  pastry, fruit, cereal, eggs and meat, and traditional Chinese with noodles, dumplings and congee.    Jim had 2 breakfasts, American with fresh made scrambled eggs, fruit and their version of a donut and a Chinese breakfast with congee.  Jim enjoyed his breakfasts.  Pat tried the local fruit of dragon fruit as well as lychee nut which she had never had either of those before and enjoyed both of them along with various other fruits, over medium egg and a donut that  was kind of a flakey pastry donut shape.   

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Good morning Shanghai!

It is April Fools' Day and I felt I like I was in the twilight zone and having a joke played on me as I couldn't figure out the correct time in Shanghai with all these electronic devices around.  I thought it was 6 PM when I woke up but it was really 6 AM and I had only slept six hours instead of 18 as the world clock was showing it was night time.  I know I've never slept 18 hours in one stretch so I was pretty sure that couldn't happen.  Ha!  Kent came to the rescue and showed me where to change my settings and now all my devices have the correct local time Yeah!

We woke up to this view this morning out our window. We are on the 51st floor and there is a severe fog alert this morning.  

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Outside our hotel

We walked out the hotel door and we are surrounded by buildings.

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Connected to the hotel is a beautiful designer mall. We always talk about these trips as using monopoly money because we always don't know the exchange rate so I said let's go use our monopoly money and shop in the Cartier store. Ha! Ha!   The mall was 4 levels and very unique.

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 Bottega Veneta larger than life display of purses. You can walk between them. .  

Bottega Veneta larger than life display of purses. You can walk between them. .  

 We walked out a different door and came across this view which was so beautiful. I loved the little lights on the trees that looked like pastel Easter eggs. 

We walked out a different door and came across this view which was so beautiful. I loved the little lights on the trees that looked like pastel Easter eggs. 

The Ritz Carlton Shanghai, Pudong

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 Our room

Our room

 We walked in and the curtains parted and the sheers opened to this beautiful view!

We walked in and the curtains parted and the sheers opened to this beautiful view!

 Another view from the room

Another view from the room

We explored the hotel and went for a drink at the Roof Top Bar on the 58th floor.  It had a magnificent view.  We had a cute little 22-year-old waitress named Cindy who was very sweet.  Jim told her about our grandson, Thatcher, and she said she loved her grandma so much and wanted to take her with her on trips when she makes more money so she can see the world. 

 Cindy recommend a favorite Chinese beer so we had to try it.  Tsingtao which has been in business since 1903. 

Cindy recommend a favorite Chinese beer so we had to try it.  Tsingtao which has been in business since 1903. 

 Pat enjoying her China beer  

Pat enjoying her China beer  

 View from the Roof Top Bar

View from the Roof Top Bar

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Our Guide Tom

We were met in the greeting area of the airport with a guide named Tom holding a sign with our names, although, our first pass through the line he was not there so it took a while to find him but we finally met up.    We took the High-Speed Maglev Train from The Shanghai Pudong international airport to the hotel area to pick up a taxi to take us to our hotel. Train can go up to 500 miles an hour but Tom said it was probably going about 400 mph on this trip.  It only took us seven minutes.  Once we were out of the train station the car ride took longer to get to the hotel.  Tom had a great knowledge of the city and said that there were 24 million people in Shanghai.  

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 Waiting for our driver

Waiting for our driver

 We saw this on the way to the hotel

We saw this on the way to the hotel

 I like the lights on the building.  

I like the lights on the building.