19 October 2008

Shanghai 3

Cali has a list of things we should try to see while we're here. Yesterday we took a shot at clearing off some major items on the list.

I started the day with a hearty breakfast of pork dumplings, wok-fried peas with ham, and bacon. And a bowl of Trix.

First stop on Cali's list was the famous Shanghai Museum. We figured it would cost $10 or so, but it turns out it is free. We waited on queue for about 20 minutes but once inside it wasn't very crowded at all. Here's Cali outside the museum with the cityscape behind her.

After a while, Cali and I agreed that if you've seen one ancient Chinese artifact, you've seen them all. For those of you who never get a chance to stroll through this beautiful museum, here's a sampling of the more interesting fare.

An assortment of decorative and ceremonial masks...

Here's a sweet jade hunting blade with a decorative copper handle.

Here's a jolly old fellow playing horn while sitting on top of a dragon dog, it seems.

Here's a bronze wine vessel in the shape of a cow, I'd say. Could be a rabbit though. Hard to know for sure.

Here's a gnarly blade from a battle axe. It's made of jade and is about the size of a CD case. It would probably hurt a lot if you got skulled by an ancient Chinese warrior wielding this bad boy.

One interesting thing about the displays was that about 1 in 10 had this little character next to the item's descriptive placard. He appears to be the museum's mascot, maybe. We couldn't figure out why he appeared with some displays but not others. We also couldn't figure out why he was wearing only underpants and covering his privates with one hand.

After the museum, we came back to the hotel and took a 3 hour nap. Ahhh. Then we caught a taxi across town to the Dolomite Theater for a performance by the New Shanghai Acrobats performing company. Wow, it was awesome. It was a series of different performing acts ranging from dance to acrobatics to magic to stuntmaking. One routine involved about 12 girls who danced around for 10 minutes while spinning plates on the ends of sticks - four sticks and four plates in each hand (8 total sticks/plates per girl). In my view, this part was clearly rigged with special stick-plate attachments that kept the plates spinning and kept them from falling. But Cali insists that it was all real. This is now a sore debate and we have agreed not to talk about that particular feature of the show any more.
The finale involved a motorcyclist entering the large steel sphere to drive his motorcycle in loop-de-loops. It was pretty sweet. Then another cyclist entered, then another, then another, and then another. Holy Chinese moly. Five dudes on motorcylces circling around that sphere at breakneck speeds. I seriously thought there was going to be blood and carnage everywhere. But apparently it wasn't their first time trying it out because nobody crashed.

They didn't allow any photography during the show, but I did manage to get this blurry shot of the green cyclist while he was hawking show DVD's afterwards.

After the show we returned to the famous Nanjing Road for some nighttime shopping and sightseeing. The whole street is illuminated in lights at night, creating a scene that is akin to the Las Vegas Strip combined with downtown London. It was beautiful.

We popped into a few markets to view the local delicacies (ok, Cali had to leave this one and go outside because she said she was going to barf)...

then we saw this shaman playing his magical flute...

before heading to Pizza Hut to continue our tradition of having one normal meal during each trip to China. Although, I must say, we were sorely tempted to order some of the menu items with a heavy Chinese influence before ultimately settling for the large Pepperoni.
(Yes, that's cheese-filled crust pockets topped with raisins, with a set of toppings including green beans, corn, pineapple, ham, pepperoni, and shrimp. In other words, the contents of a baby's diaper).

(And not to be outdone, the classic sausage-balls crust with green beans, pineapple and ham.)

I opted for a delicious Black Angel drink with my pizza. It was a scoop of chocolate ice cream with whipping cream submerged in a glass of Pepsi. Kind of a chocolate-cola thing. Pretty good.

Now we're off for our last day of sightseeing and shopping. Gotta motor through the rest of the list...


mumovearls said...

When you get home you have to check Jared and Lindsay's Blog "Carson made a list of most Important things to him" Hint*** One of them was that his family was Asian except his dad*** Pretty Funny actually. Great to see pictures form this trip!Travel Safe!-Nena

Mandi said...

Looks amazing. Sounds like you guys are having fun!

Samantha said...

Joey I'm so glad you are documenting all of this. I've really enjoyed reading about your trip. I hope Kyle and I can travel around like you and cali do someday.

Gramyflys said...

We feel like we are right there with ya! Great pics and commentary. Wish we were....

Supercords said...

Loved the pictures and comments. Many times the comments are better than the actual pictures.

jared said...

Nice details and great pictures. That picture of the statue with the man sitting on the dragon playing a horn...are you sure that isn't a pipe he is smoking? I also loved the picture of the shaman playing his flute...I have a shaman on World of Warcraft. lol