Our trip to China was truly fascinating. As you all know, the country is huge, both geographically and in terms of its population. Beijing has 22 million people; Shanghai has 25 million. We saw so many amazing things—even a week after our return it is difficult to remember them all:
In Beijing, of course, we climbed The Great Wall. Our guide took us to a part of the wall not visited by many tourists so it was relatively free of the hordes. And in order to come down, we took individual toboggans—which was really thrilling. Being there was incredibly exciting.
We also visited The Forbidden City which is very beautiful and The Temple of Heaven which is both lovely and interesting. We had lunch in one of the old neighborhoods called Narrow Alley where our guide had grown up, and we rode on a pedicab. We drove around Tiananmen Square with the huge picture of MAO still overlooking it. I felt like I had taken a step back in history.
Then we flew to Xian—a city of nine million—where the huge number of high rises going up is simply astounding. It was there that we viewed the army of Terracotta Warriors, a stunning archeological discovery made in 1974.
Among other things, we also had a lesson in Chinese Calligraphy which was great fun. And we saw the Wild Goose Pagodas which overlooks Xian and is simply beautiful.
Then on to Shanghai. This city, whose modern section is no more than 25 years old epitomizes modern China—rushing headlong towards the future. There are incredible innovations in fashion, finance, technology and transport which have helped make this a global hub with one of the world’s busiest ports. We walked The Bund—a famous waterfront area in central Shanghai—several times and visited both the historical buildings along the way as well as the towering skyscrapers (many over 100 stories high) just across the Huangpu River near the mouth of the Yangtze. We explored the old British and French quarters, the Yu Garden, which is beautiful, and shopped (or tried to at least) on the famous Nanjing Road. One of the highlights was seeing a thrilling extravaganza featuring innovative acrobatics, death defying stunts and the latest in high tech special effects. (It was like the Big Apple Circus on steroids!)
This is an adventure we will never forget. It was challenging in that there is a twelve-hour time difference and the language barrier prevented us from doing certain things we would have liked to do. But we agreed that this was probably the most fantastic trip we have ever taken.
And, of course, I am thinking of some book ideas inspired by China, and hope to be able to move ahead with them in the weeks and months to come.