After a few days on my own and hanging out with Miss M. in Guangzhou, I flew to join the guys in Shanghai so we could all go to the World Expo. It was pretty cool to see all the pavilions for the different countries and being there after school had started made the lines a lot shorter so we were able to see a lot more than many people who went during the summer did. My favorite pavilion was Spain’s. They had an awesome video clip about their country and part of it was the running of the bulls in Pamplona. When the bulls ran, the floor vibrated and you felt like you were right in the middle of it. They also had a live dancer who started dancing when the flamenco portion of the video came. Some of the smaller countries combined to share a pavilion and they had sections within for the different countries. These pavilions reminded me of the World’s Fair that the Jr. High does every year. They had displays of major exports and signs about their national flower, or and explanation of their flag. The similarities were striking to me and actually I became more impressed with what a great job the Jr. High students did at the school.
That night we went with Uncle S. to see “The Bund”. Its a bunch of historic buildings all lined up along the river in Shanghai, and at night they are gloriously lit up. It was beautiful.
I was surprised that Shanghai seemed to have fewer “Western-friendly” signs. In Beijing, for the Olympics and in Guangzhou for the Asia Games, most of the signs are in Chinese and English or Chinese and Pin Yin. This makes getting around a lot easier for visitors. In Shanghai an effort to upgrade some signs had been made, but the difference in number was significant and the lack of “Western-friendly” signs made quite an impact on the ease of getting around. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still doable, but you have to pay a lot more attention. Another observation that I had was that the manners of the people in Shanghai were much more coarse than in Beijing and Guangzhou. There was much more pushing and shoving and less willingness to wait patiently in line. Also, I think they are the loudest lip-smacking eaters I have ever encountered. It really made me appreciate how far ahead of the game they are here in Guangzhou; they’re a long way from perfect, but they are more conscious of being courteous to others.
We flew to Guangzhou and the guys met Miss M. at the Zoo one day and had a great time. Uncle S. got to ride an elephant, so he can cross that one off his bucket list. They also held baby tigers, and fed giraffes and elephants. They also went to the alligator farm and got to feed the alligators.
The next day Miss M. stayed here in GZ with Mr. J. and Grandpa, Uncle S. and Mr. Hot Stuff and I went to Hong Kong. The hotel we stayed at there had short beds and cramped bathrooms, but they were clean rooms and helpful staff so it worked out ok as long as we just accepted that this is how it is often in China. We headed straight to the LDS temple and made it just in time for the last session that day. I think this may have actually been the highlight of the trip for Grandpa. That night we went to the Ladies Market that night and Grandpa found some good gifts and I think Uncle S. did too. After shopping, we dropped Grandpa off at the hotel and went with Uncle S. down to see the Hong Kong Harbor lights. This is a spectacular view and it would be so cool to do a night harbor cruise someday. Still even from the shore it is pretty amazing. In Hong Kong they build UP. and the lights of the buildings are colorful and well-planned to create a stunning impression. We went to church the next day and stayed for the potluck social they happened to be having afterward. This was a nice way to have lunch and visit with people. We went back to the hotel and Mr. Hot Stuff and I checked out to return to Guangzhou and Grandpa and Uncle S. stayed one more night because they had an 8:30 a.m. flight to catch back to the U.S. They made it home ok and on time, so I assume that getting themselves to the airport worked out without too many adventures.