Monday, November 3, 2008

Shanghai Trip Day 9 - A peek into the life of Old ShangHai

Life started early. Had a good sleep and so wake up on time. Freshened up and went for a Market Visit with one of office colleagues Wendy. We took the metro to most of the places as all the big markets of Shanghai are just outside metro stations. We were done at around 2 pm and I had the whole day left to explore more of Shanghai. Our last store visit happened at a place called Jing'An Temple, after the name of the temple that stands just outside the metro station.

Jing' an Temple

It is a temple of Sakyamuni Buddha has a pillar similar to the Ashoka Pillar of India with the four lions. But it wasn't exactly similar.
I take a 10 rmb entry ticket and check out the temple from within. It is not entirely different from a typical Hindu temple. There are huge idols, but of Buddha in different postures in different buildings.
The people were worshiping in the central lobby using incense sticks (similar to the way it is done in India and there was also a "hawan" kind of thing that was lit up.
I clicked a few pics for the sake fo the chinese looking architecture and a few of the Budhhist priests.
The priests looked quite charming to me, for some weird reason
Having spent 15 quick minutes at the temple and having saluted Buddha, I moved out. Said bye to Wendy and took a taxi to the Fuxing Park (pronounced as Fushing park)

Fuxing Park

The fuxing park is an old French park (details can be read the introduction of the park)
The park gives a good feel of the communist times of China, which have changed considerably in today's times. The most famous thing in the park is the smiling statue of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, the duo who came with the concept of Socialism and Communism
The park is more than just the memoir of communism. It is a place where the Shanghainese comes to take time off the busy life of the business minded Shanghai. You can spot beautiful flowers in the rose garden, and around it. I couldn't hold myself from clicking at the flowers. A few samples....
and this one is my favorite for the day - the bee sucking nectar from the flower
There are many others, but i guess it is better to put them up in the picasa album than here. The next eyecatching sight is of old couples dancing to music played by a local group
this one pair of oldies really attracted the crowd's attention with their candid moves.
I somehow started enjoying the music. There were other old people playing cards and chinese checkers sitting on the benches.
And then, there are people practicing some kind of aerobics also.
After clicking some more pics of the flowers and the crowd around, i rested for a while on a bench of thinking what to do next. i had two options - take a taxi and get back home or start walking and explore every other place mentioned in the travel guide book that is close to Fuxing park.

Obviously, I chose option 2 and started walking taking cues from the map in the book. I must say that Shanghai is one of the best organized city in the world with road signs at almost every nook and corner of the road, showing the name of the road with E,W,N,S mentioned to help you find directions. In India, I would never know on what road I was tanding, till i checked at the address of some shop nearby. Taking help from the nicely organized roadsigns, i reach a house that is the former residence of Dr. Sun Yat Sen when he lived in Shanghai.

Sun Yat Sen's Residence

The place is made out in a museum now.
I knew that the place closes at 4:30 pm and it was already 4:15 pm. I was told by the guards that the entry to the museum is already closed but I can take a few pictures of the building if I wish. I was glad at his gesture and hurriedly clicked a couple.
Dr. Sun's statue talked about what a man of determination and dignity he must have been.
I move on to find out the St. Ignalius Church, but can't find it. In the meantime, I manage to get a view of the old lane-type houses completely different from the new skycrapers. It represented a government quarter of bokaro or a mumbai chawl, may be.
Moving on I tried to locate the Ruijin Guesthouse. I had already walked around a kilometer now and was feeling a little tierd in those formal leather shoes. But finding the Ruijin guesthouse was like making the shoes suddenly very soft. I was delghted at my discovery.

Ruijin Guesthouse

The place is famous for its Sino-french architecture and it was made as a Mansion by some Ruijin who was some big shot in Shanghai lon long ago. I take a quick look at some of the buildings, click a couple....
I move out of the Ruijin hotel from the other end and then start walking back to my apartment. I am still about 1-1.25 kms away from my apartment, but thanks to the simplicity of the roads, I can easily walk down the lane and reach my apartment. The two and a half kms walk had made me a little tired... a little too much may be. I quickly devoured the Pizza left from yesterday and off to bed...

Oh god, the feet pains bad... i m too heavy a guy to walk 2.5 kms in leather shoes... Never do that again...

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