Not much interesting today. We flew from Shanghai to Guangzhou, the third largest city in China (4th largest in the world with about 24 million people), a major trading center, and a place I knew almost nothing about before doing research for this trip. But the flight was delayed three hours for weather so instead of Guangzhou we got to experience a waiting room in the Shanghai airport for a while. Not much different from many U.S. terminals.
After finally arriving we did have a little time to walk through the area around our hotel and came across this dance exercise group in a large downtown park. Lots of other people were out for an evening walk in the high heat and humidity, a big change from Shanghai which was pleasantly mild during our stay. This part of China is in a tropical region, at about the same latitude as Havana, Cuba.
I took so many pictures today in Shanghai, it's difficult to pick just two to represent our experiences. The top is a view many people have seen (at least in photos), a cluster of skyscrapers, each taller than the next and brightly lit at night. The bottom is a band we happened across while visiting the beautiful Fuxing Park in the former French area of the city. An example of a quiet, human moment in an incredibly large and chaotic city. And they were pretty good.
Another trip on a Chinese bullet train, this time between Beijing and Shanghai. We covered a distance greater than that between Washington DC and Chicago in 4 hours 48 minutes, with a top speed of 305 kilometers per hour (about 190 miles per hour). People in the U.S. should be be screaming “we gotta get one of those”!
Throughout this trip we've seen a lot of this: high rise buildings under construction, even in areas like this that appear to be a long way from major cities. Most appear to be apartments and I can't imagine living in them.
Too bad we were not able to spend much time enjoying it. Just one downside of traveling with a large group (maybe a rant about that later), plus poor planning combined with horrendous Beijing traffic, even on a Saturday.
Anyway, we visited the Mutianyu section of the Wall which is farther from the city but supposed to be better preserved than other parts of this massive structure. You can access the top of the Wall by hiking up a rather steep trail but we elected to take the ski lift. Unfortunately, the line for the taboggan down the mountain was too long, but that looked like a fun trip.
Next, off to Shanghai.
We spent the morning in the Forbidden City, a massive space reflecting almost 500 years of Chinese history. Three hours can’t possibly do it justice. All the stories of the emperors and their concubines our guide told probably offers some insight into modern Chinese culture.
After lunch we went to see where the rulers spent their summers, in a much smaller but still elaborate palace on a beautiful lake. This is only one of the structures.
Tomorrow the Great Wall.