Friday 28 October 2016
Sylvia’s work had organised a short cultural induction as in her new role as Regional President for Royal Canin in Asia Pacific she will be spending a bit of time in this part of the world.
First we headed to the Yu Gardens, situated in the centre of town and with the entry through a shopping centre. From there we made our way across a bridge with lots of corners in it to stop evil spirits coming across.
Originally built in the1559 by Pan Yunduan, who later became the governor of the Sichuan province, it has been partially destroyed or let go to ruins and rebuilt several times. As we meandered through the gardens Jamie gave us a rundown on the various buildings from different dynasties. Ponds are full of fish. A fourteen meter high hill has been built at the back and is the only hill in the surrounding area.
We watched a porcelain orchestra play – apparently a rare event.
As we wandered out through the shops silversmiths hammered away carving out jewellery.
During the 1840’s the local governor had a British ship that was bringing opium from India set on fire. He was concerned about the affect this shit was having on his people. The Brits got a bit pissed off and had a big punch up with the Chinese. The Chinese lost and this part of the world including Hong Kong and Taiwan was then colonized by Britain and France for a while. We spent time exploring the old French Quarter, which has been fully restored and now houses numerous cafés, restaurants and high-end shops. During out last visit friends Jim and Liz, who were living here then, brought us here for dinner.
Not far away were a group of stand-alone and semi-detached houses, some now shops and others hotel rooms. Apparently you rent the whole house for 3 to 5 k a night.
It was in this area that we saw a really bright idea. I will see if the picture can tell the story.
Our last stop was the Bund to look at the various towers on old buildings. Last time we were here was at night so it was great to see the contrast.
The Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower stands out but is now dwarfed by other newer and taller buildings. The balls on the tower represent pearls, which are a big thing in this area.
The Shanghai Tower at 632m tall is now the second tallest building in the world and was shrouded in fog. The Shanghai World Financial Centre standing next to it at 492m was apparently originally to have a round hole in the top but the government would not allow it as it looked too much like the Japanese flag – hence it has a rectangular hole instead.
We strolled across the road to look at the inside of the Peace Hotel, a glorious building with wonderful art deco interiors before heading to the airport to catch our flight to Kyoto.