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Saturday, November 12, 2016


Our day in Shanghai started at 10 am, as our guides graciously agreed to meet us a little later so we could get a smidgen of sleep after our delayed flight. Shanghai showed much more Western influence than the other places we went in China - which makes sense, given its history. Some restaurants had forks, there were both squat toilets and regular toilets in some restrooms, and more people spoke English. While we had a few places to visit, our main goal was to find our landlady's childhood home.
Our landlords are fascinating people: anthropologists who used to teach at Tulane University. While their area of expertise is Mayan astronomy, they have lived all over the world and are both multi-lingual. Our landlady was born in Shanghai while her father worked for the U.S. state department, and during World War II her family was detained in a Japanese concentration camp (years later, one of her students revealed that his father had been a guard in the same camp, and brought his father's old uniform to class, bringing closure to this period in our landlady's life). Armed with her address in the old French concession and a few photographs - some from the 1940s and others from the 1990s, when other neighbors on the street also visited Shanghai and made the pilgrimage - we talked our guide into bringing us to the house.

What a change! While the stucco and unique narrow windows allowed us to recognize the house, it was hidden behind bamboo and high walls, a lonely remnant of the residential area this street used to be. Now, the house is near a busy corner full of high-end stores. Like much of Shanghai, the neighborhood is booming with commercialism.

Also in Shanghai: some sight-seeing and some shopping, including buying some really lovely pearls and silk, two products Shanghai is known for, and both available at incredible prices.

And thus concluded our China trip. It was a whirlwind, with a lot of travel, but worth it: these sights are precious history, and at the rate that China is changing, may not be the same forever. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, your landlords are such interesting people. That's so cool that you were able to find her old home.

    Thanks for recapping your trip for us! I am not sure if I will ever make it to that region of the world so it was great to see the sights through your eyes!