Before we proceed to Shanghai, our next city on the tour, let me state a few things I have observed.
Stan and Lorraine in Tiananmen Square.
1) Jade carvings - The ancient Chinese believed that jade was a link between human beings and God and jade could get rid of evils. There are so many varieties and qualities it would take an expert to lecture on jade. Rings, bracelets and pendants started a "buying frenzy."
2) Silk - We witnessed the worms chewing on mulberry leaves in the intricate process of producing silk. The silk is of such fine quality and is light and feathery to the touch. Silk ties, bedspreads, kimonos and blouses were the order of the day. Another "buying frenzy." I bought a striped tie and Lorraine got a beautiful pink kimono.
3) Pearls - From the oyster to the necklace. The pearls were beautifully set but no one knew what was a reasonable price. To me even the cheap ones looked great.
We flew into the port city of Shanghai. It is China's largest city and its center of commerce. For over 100 years it was dominated by foreigners. The Bund is a section along the river with buildings that have a European flavor. Later we go to the Ming Dynasty Yu Garden and for a boat ride on a lake. The boat is in the shape of a dragon. The dragon snake, with its fiery breath and sharp claws, plays a large role in Chinese mythology. An evening performance of highly skilled Chinese acrobats performing outrageous feats was breathtaking. Five roaring motorcycles in a huge metal cage was almost not to be believed - not one fender-bender.
Next morning the Shanghai Museum was a place to see the wonders of China and buy a few gifts. I bought Lorraine a string of pearls with a jade clasp. We board a plane and fly south to Guilin.
In Guilin we stay at a Sheraton Hotel alongside the Li River. On the boardwalk we see couples doing ballroom dancing and retired people exercising with Tai-Chi. The meandering river cruise down the Li River is a delightful way to view the fairy tale scenery of saw-toothed green-treed limestone mountains. Most Chinese paintings and scrolls show the beauty of the Li River and its gorgeous pointed mountains.
Hong Kong is a metropolitan jewel set in South China. If you love New York, you will love this city. Huge condos rise to the skies (all occupied). The cable car ride to Victoria Peak affords a view that is mesmerizing. A small boat tour of Aberdeen Fishing Village and the floating restaurants is wonderful. Actually, I must admit, I went to a Hong Kong tailor and in a day and a half I was fitted with a dark blue sport jacket. Hong Kong by night is a neon dream.
All great vacation trips have a beginning and an ending. We traveled with two dozen Americans all over China and there was not one bad word in all that time. In fact they helped my brother-in-law and sister-in-law on many occasions when they needed assistance. The tour guide, Simon, was an extraordinary human being, Chinese or not. When my wife, Lorraine, misplaced her red bag he made sure the plane did not leave without her.
The Chinese people are extremely hard working. They seem serious but they are ready to laugh at an instant. Communism seems to be fading as condominiums rise all over China. In theory the two are mutually exclusive but they go side by side in modern China.
The 15-hour return trip on Cathay Pacific Airlines was long and hard, but the crew and the food were excellent. I had that terrible disease called "jet lag" for about three days after I returned, but I think I am better now.
Thank you, my readers, for joining me on this wonderful trip to China.