Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Flying Over Santa's House!

Yesterday my daughter Melanie and I began a fantastic journey.  We have traveled over 14,000 miles on a Boeing 777 to arrive safely in Shanghai, China. We left Chicago, Illinois yesterday at about 11 AM and flew directly over the North Pole on our way here!  I had absolutely no idea that we would be traveling over the top of the world to the other side!  The flight was long, but very pleasant.

 We were picked up at Shanghai's beautiful new Pudong Airport by my son's assistant Jolin!    The airport is a beautiful shining example of the new China here in Shanghai which is the busiest port city in China.  There is commerce here of all types and people everywhere!  There are so many types of architecture and variations on the Chinese way of life here.  Jolin was extremely helpful, explaining many local customs and practices to us.  It seems that many of the Chinese also choose "American" names for everyday commerce because of ease of use.   Jolin made us laugh when we asked her about her name.  She told us that she loved Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt!  Soooo, she chose "Jolin" for her name and "Angelina" for her daughter! 

The area in East Shanghai where the new airport is located is also the location of the MagLev Train...we have vowed to take a ride on this 400 mile an hour train before leaving Shanghai!  East Shanghai is the area of greatest New development, with many, many new highways and high rise apartments springing up here.  Real Estate in Shanghai is extremely expensive, and most Chinese families are multi-family arrangements with grandparents, parents, adult children and grandchildren sharing the same space.  Housing here is the third highest in price in the world! 

My son, Charles, lives in what is called the "French Quarter" of Shanghai.  Long rows of what appear to be townhouse like buildings border alleys (which by the way, here in Shanghai are very safe).  This house Charles is living in is six stories piled like blocks one story on top of the other.  It is a very old building with stairs separating each floor.  Each floor consists of one or two rooms.  In most of the homes on the alley, each of these floors is occupied by a different family group, and they all share the bottom "kitchen and eating area" floor with all the families.  Once again, I realize just how spoiled we are as Americans! 

The people here are very gracious and we are really enjoying the culture in China so far.  We will be leaving Shanghai on Thursday to head to Thailand - Bangkok, Koh Sumai and PhuKet!  So much to do, so little time...this two weeks will fly by.  We shall be in Thailand for about 9 days before returning for a couple days to Shanghai.  I already know that this will not be my last trip to this fascinating City. 

Today, we shall go to the market district and see shopping at it's very best!  I will also be carrying a good camera to capture as much of this trip as possible. So, hang on, I plan to share a lot with you all over the next two weeks!  As they say in Shanghai "Nihao!"

GOD BLESS,  Peace, Love and Joy!


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