Sunday 7 January. Have breakfast and then by fast bus into town. We walk through the center and especially the Chinese part. All the way to the Jews Museum. Here a guide and the displays tell the story of Jews coming from Vienna and other places in Europe to Shanghai in 1938 and establish a community here. We have a coffee on the other side of the road and back on the road again. Walk through Shikumen, old Chinese style houses with narrow streets. Visit a friend of Laila, Mr Ping, and he shows his house and antiques. He sells them. Nice to have an idea of the home life. I get tea and dates, we are offered dinner, but have to go back to the apartment to pick up the owner and have dinner at again a very nice restaurant.
The next day around noon Laila and I go to the city center by metro. Luckily it’s not so crowded and we get out in the center near the Jing’an temple. Walk through shopping streets and a nice neighborhood. Have lunch with dim sum and take the taxi to Hu Xin Ting, the tea house, to visit the next door garden. The garden has a really big pond with lots of pavilions around it. Many stone sculptures and beautiful see-through views. This must be something in summer. After every corner a new view and it would be a great place to play hide and seek. So many corners and small places to get lost. Afterwards, we take the bus and visit Ping’s store. Quite an elegant antique shop with two floors. As always Ping is very kind and serves hot water. Next is a walk to a must-see shopping street or actual streets. Very fancy stores nicely lit at night and warm inside. A shikumen house in this hood is a small museum and they kept it like it was around 1920. Cool to see.
Tuesday the Jade Buddha Temple is on the program. The complex is renovated last year and it looks totally new. Lots of golden Buddha’s and wooden temples. Between the temples small gardens and look through. Quite a big complex in a modern city. More window shopping and enjoying the sun. The Shanghai Exhibition Centre, a Sowjet style building, is cool to see. With all the Sovjet details. A pity we can’t go inside. More modern highrise building and more old houses in Shikumen. Shanghai is a mixed city. To the food market to buy stuff for dinner and later on to the airport. The last few days flew away. I have to leave already. But it was an amazing experience thanks to my Chinese friends and Japanese “house lord” Nobuhisa.