Since this last weekend would be our last opportunity to visit our dear friends Renee and Barry in their Shanghai apartment before they return to Hawaii we were delighted that the weather was fine and we were finally able to see them.We arrived in Shanghai at 5pm and were met at the South Bus station which is a convenient short walk from the apartment given them by Shanghai Normal University. So it is different from the Lin’an setup as it is not a campus university. WE had a wonderful noodle supper lovingly prepared by Renee and then went out on the town. We went down to East Nanjing Road , the throbbing pedestrian street at the heart of the city and walked down to the famed Peace Hotel,where Barry assured us there would be live Jazz. Sure enough we were treated for the sum of 100 RMB including one drink to a marvellous band of old Chinese guys playing lots of smooth classic Jazz.Then at 10pm another younger band came on accompanied by a guest artist from New York, a sax player called Eric Wyatt, After Barry told him that he was from Brooklyn the guy game over to us and chatted, autographed a CD for us and also played a song about Brooklyn for Barry! It was a terrific evening,as the hotel is a sort of Colonial style luxury hotel looking like something lavish from the 1920s. IT was great fun.
Next day we got up and after a splendid Renee breakfast we went down on the metro to the old Jewish Quarter of Shanghai called Huangpu where Jews had been taken in during the Second World War. There was a reconstruction of the Ohel Moshe Synagogue now a Museum and we had a wonderful guided tour from a young Chinese woman volunteer called Lulu who was most knowledgeable.
WE then walked to the little park in the neighbourhood which had been where the Jewish children of the ghetto played, now full of the requisite Chinese doing their exercises, and old men playing cards etc. It was a charming place. IT is interesting to know that when most of the world turned its back the Shanghainese welcomed the Jewish refugees as best they could. We then stopped at a wonderful bakery next to Dalian Metro station for a coffee and a bun.
We took a metro to a place near the Pudong Tower where you can see a view over the whole city. But instead of going up that one we took the lift to the 85th floor of the Grand Hyatt Hotel where there is a bar. From there you can also see all the lights of the city,which is a truly amazing sight.
Then we took the metro again across town to eat at the famed Grandmother restaurant on Sichuan street which was wonderful and cheap. WE had planned to pop next door to the House of Blues but unfortunately it was too full and there was no room to sit, so we got a taxi home and fell into bed exhausted from our wonderful day.
The following day some other friends of Renee and Barry from Hawaii who are going to be staying in China for 5 weeks arrived and we all went off to take photos in the nearby park. This park was an oasis of green and calm in the city,full of Chinese doing whatever they like-exercises, cards, mahjong, singing folk songs,flying kites, walking dogs or just relaxing with their kids. IT was a wonderful finale to our weekend,as 3pm we had to get the bus back to Lin’an. We felt as always so close to Renee and Barry,happy to meet their friends Chuck and Meli and hope to see each other again really soon. It is great to meet people who share our love of China and the Chinese people who have always been so friendly and hospitable even if we can’t speak much Chinese.