Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sensational Shanghai!

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Shanghai has got to be most of the most amazing cities on earth!  It makes New York look pretty old and pretty small....although it's still the funnest city on earth.  The skyscrapers but the ton would outstrip any city anywhere (Dubai might hold a close second)  It is so incredible what a communist society can do when they  are trying to compete with the world.  The infrastructure is just incredible!  They are having a world expo there in 2010 and have started a multi billion dollar project on the Bund to get ready.  The only problem is the pollution. Sure hope they figure out how to do something about that soon.  Just imagining what that city would look like without the smog is pretty incredible to think about!

Yesterday we went to the Urban Planning Museum of Shanghai. It was a
truly amazing panorama of the city of Shanghai which will be the site of
the world expo in 2010. It maybe even bigger than the Olympics. They
already started multi-billion dollar renovations of the city. Anyway
the museum and across the People's square, the Shanghai Museum was also
wonderful. Next we went to see the Laughing Buddha which is the oldest
temple village in China with the only Buddha in the world (we guess) who
is laughing. We went back in time a thousand years for a few minutes!
The evening brought a stimulating YPO group of people including a baron
from Holland, who they said was the richest person in Holland, and a
whole eclectric group of people from a huge short, plump down to earth
mom from California who had come from living in a palatial home in the
Philippines to Shanghai.... to a Mormon girl with six kids...three older
ones by a husband who had died and three younger ones (she had her last
one at 46) with a non-member but very supportive husband. She said the
branch is bursting at its seams in a home about an hour outside of
Shanghai (maybe this is where Shawni and Dave went). Anyway it was a
really terrific, interactive group...many of Chinese descent but who had
been raised or schooled in the US which added to the fun of meeting
people who are doing such interesting things!
I am loving learning about the traditions surrounding the Chinese New
Year, which is even bigger than Christmas is there! Exactly thirteen
days before the first day of the new year (it's different every year
according to the moon...this year it was February 7th) everyone begins
cleaning their houses. They throw out anything that isn't perfect or
isn't perfectly clean so they can start their new year with a "clean
slate". They also prepare special food for the 15 day holiday. On New
Year's Eve, it is a tradition to go to the home of the Father's parents
where they have a big dinner, watch and movie or play games. At exactly
midnight for good luck, they have eat dumplings (little flour balls
stuffed with good stuff that have been prepared in advance in boiling
water). There are coins in two of the dumplings and the ones who get
them will have an extra "lucky" year. On New Year's Day everyone has to
wear totally new clothes which must be good for clothing sales. One the
third day of the new year they go to the mother's family for festivities
and one of the days is reserved for the ancestors where they recall
their lives and leave feeling gratitude for them. I'm learning more
every day. Tomorrow is the last day of the New Year celebration and
there is supposed to be BIG fireworks and a lantern festival. We'll see
what happens!

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I must admit that the food is pretty darn weird!  The fruit is great BUT I just can't go for those goose claws!

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