Sunday, September 25, 2011

Open the gates

In case you weren't sure... I'm in China

Slight head cold (it's going around),
The giant OJ I drank while writing this and the giant water I hope to finish before bed.
but that's not going to stop me! This afternoon I went to the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, housed in the former Ohel Moishe synagogue. It has 3 parts: the synagogue/art center, the building depicting the life of Jews in Shanghai during WWII, and the building full of stories of Jewish people who lived in, or were born from people who lived in, Shanghai during WWII. Pretty neat. The 2nd building had a video about how Jews came to Shanghai after Krystallnacht, when other countries wouldn't let them in. It was in English with Hebrew subtitles. I wonder if they have a Chinese version. 
Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum

I couldn't find the other Jewish tourist things to see (I think they're all mostly residential housing now anyway), so I took the train to YuYuan Gardens. Beautiful. I stopped by the City God Temple; people were burning incense and praying for protection and wealth (I think that's what the gods were for). I spent almost 2 hours wandering aimlessly through the gardens, looking at the fish, the pagoda shaped buildings, saw 2 cats, the rock statues, the water. It's funny because right outside the gardens is a huge tourist area, "Yuyuan Classic Street" with tons of shopping. I think there's a shopping festival going on. The contrast of the noise of the shopping area (Dairy Queen next to Ningbo Dumplings) and the quiet of the gardens and temple, not to mention the contrast of the pagoda buildings in the garden and the other sky-scraper buildings of Shanghai, is quite overwhelming and mind-blowing. There's nothing like that, that I can think of, in the States. 

YuYuan Classic Street
Entrance to YuYuan Gardens
Other thoughts: I have clean laundry! And I never thought I'd say it, but I can't wait to go grocery shopping and have a fridge to keep water cold.

Tomorrow is back to training before a week off for the National holiday. My Chinese is coming along incredibly slowly - I am going to live off a phrase book, hand gestures and guessing for the next year. But it's more entertaining that way.  

Lotus on Bridge to Gardens
Tea House

Dragon Wall (lines the gardens)
Big Rockery
A floor design


  1. Don't underestimate the importance of body language.