April 10, 2011
We were scheduled to arrive at 5 PM yesterday in Shanghai. Well, at 10 AM the captain came on the intercom to tell us that the port in Shanghai was closed due to dense fog. No surprise, we couldn’t even see out the windows! He had to drop anchor and wait for the port agent to notify him that the port was open again. Fog lifted a little, we could see other cargo ships all waiting too. Then, more fog. Our ship is small enough to get up the Huangpu river to the very convenient port in the city, and it is a long trip (50 miles), so we pretty much knew we were not going to get in anytime before the morning. Leslie and the staff put together a new Currents newsletter with all new activities for the day and evening.
For me it was an issue because I was scheduled to do a program in Shanghai for China Enrichment at 7:30 PM. So, we were communicating via email all afternoon about what to do. We agreed to move the program to tomorrow night. So they needed to call each one of the participants to make that change and we had our fingers crossed that we would make it in. About 100 people were off the ship for an overland tour in Beijing and Xian, so Oceania had to find hotels for them as they were scheduled to get back on.
Amy did a cabaret in Horizons (normally the “room with a view”, Leslie called it “the room with no view” tonight! And my contact had let me know that our ship would be in the next morning. Shortly after that, the captain made the same announcement, and we did get in early today.
Here is Amy doing her show…
and some of our fine dining room staff.
Our first glimpse of the city (we spent time here 7 years ago, so it wasn’t new to us, but we love it here.
In colonial days, Shanghai was called the Paris of the East. There are still some colonial buildings but much of the city is huge high rise buildings. The flowers are beautiful and yes, there are blossoms here too.
The Pudon New Area has developed in just 5 years so it wasn’t even created when we were last here. Shanghai has the most modern stock exchange in the world and is the symbol of China’s rise to economic powerhouse status. I am not sure if I mentioned that all of China is on the same time zone!
The city population is 8 million. It is China’s largest city, its largest port and its largest industrial base. It has the best shops and restaurants in the country and the most fashionable people. It is called the “dragon head” of East China, the leading force driving the economy forward.
Due to the rescheduling of my program, I had to cancel the tour we had scheduled for the afternoon. Norm went by himself, and I met a colleague, Connie, for some shopping and lunch and Marilyn joined us. We had a great time and here we are with our shopping bags. Connie helped us to find the shops and treated us to lunch at a restaurant she was familiar with. Marilyn and I shopped at the jade and pearl factory before Connie met us. We didn’t buy anything in these pictures, but they had some wonderful jade pieces. Marilyn bought one and I got a necklace from the pearl side and bracelet from the jade side.
Norm’s tour took him to the Shanghai Museum, which we both loved on our last visit. He said it didn’t disappoint this time either. This museum is 5 stories high and has a round top and a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as “round sky, square earth.” Here are some of the beautiful items in the museum.
Mickey in the museum shop. Very expensive.
His second stop was the Yu yuan Garden located in the center of the Old City. It is the largest of Shanghai’s ancient gardens. The gardens were commissioned in 1559 , built over the course of 19 years, destroyed by the French during the first Opium War and later rebuilt. The Grand Rockery in the center of the garden is the most renowned sight. The gardens are surrounded by the dragon wall.
His last stop was the silk shop – and he bought me a beautiful scarf there.
In the meantime, Marilyn and I returned from our outing with Connie and I showered and dressed for my presentation. Sarah picked me up and we had a delicious dinner with many of the people from the company.
I have to say, they were very organized – and I was amazed that the attendees all came (about 75 people) even with the change in date. They also live streamed the program and more than 100 attended. They did a professional photo shoot, a live streamed interview and had Eric (who is a trainer with Nestle) do translation after each segment of the program. They had copies of my book, which I signed, and many of the participants wanted pictures with me. I felt like a rock star! A really fun experience.
I got back to the ship by midnight, and will need to leave the ship at 4:30 AM to go to the airport for our trip to Nepal and Bhutan – the ship leaves Shanghai at 6 AM.
Norm got these great shots of Shanghai by night.
Next – Nepal!