Thursday, November 02, 2006

last day in Shanghai.

Well, this will be my last posting from China, since I leave tomorrow for Beijing to catch my plane to L.A. via Seoul. Don't know how long the total trip will take, but as I have to get up tomorrow, Friday, at 5:30 am Chinese time, and later on will have a 6-hour stop-over in Seoul before boarding the trans-Pacific flight, which arrives at 1:30 PM L.A. time (all this on Friday), it promises to be a VERY long day.

I could tear up the page of the Lonely Planet China guide that suggested the outing I took today! I was going to go to the town of Tongli but missed the "excursion" bus , so I decided to do a "half-day trip" to Jiading since I was already at the Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Station near the Shanghai Stadium. Unfortunately, however, I misunderstood the time involved. I'd understood that "Sightseeing Bus No. 6A" took 30 minutes to get to Jiading. In fact, it took an HOUR and 30 minutes one way and made numerous stops over what turned out to be the most depressing bus-ride I have taken in a long time. I thought I was going on an excursion outside of town to see a picturesque place. In fact, the bus drove through dirty, polluted streets with overhead highways, pot-holes, lined with dingy looking buildings. I wanted to get off after 30 minutes but had no idea where I was, so decided to make the best of it and go on, but this half-day excursion turned out taking all day.

Jiading is, in fact, a satellite town of Shanghai with a Confucian temple, gardens, etc. and 800 years of history behind it. But visiting these sites in Jiading reminded me a bit of a similar experience I had while visiting Kyoto. The Japanese temples and shrines were indeed gorgeous , but you had to go through so much CITY in order to find them. Similarly, I had to hunt down the lovely gardens, etc. of Jiading. They certainly don't equal those of Kyoto and I wouldn't suggest making a detour to see them, but there was one nice thing about the day. I was the only tourist in the town and had all the sites to myself! Imagine, no postcard vendors, no hassling, no crowds (at least not within the historical sites).

I returned to central Shanghai completely exhausted after the return bus trip. I forgot to mention that vehicles here HONK all the time. Imagine the journey on a pot-holed road, merky polluted atmosphere, with buses, cars and trucks honking for an hour a half. It was a bit of a wasted day, but no matter.

'Can't believe I'll be in L.A. as of tomorrow! As the song goes, "What a difference a day makes" (or, in this case, "will make").

I'll be staying in the L.A. area for just a few days and then going up to San Francisco, where I've rented an apartment from a friend. I should be arriving there around November 8 and staying until December 15. I will have a land line phone there, so if any of you would like to call me, PLEASE DO! (Of course, I'll also have my French cell-phone with me, too.). You can also write me there. (It'll be nice to have a fixed address for awhile).

Here are the "coordinates", as we say in French:

Hilary Kaiser c/o Jane Zirpoli
1140 Greenwich St., Apt. 100
San Francisco, California 94109
Tel. + 1-415-563-5393

Promise to post some photos once I'm able to.



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At November 03, 2006 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary. Enjoyed reading about your experiences in China. Sounds like you will be happy to have some American comfort in San Francisco!

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