I’m writing this and hope to get it posted on Monday, Oct. 13th, as we sail for the port of Da Nang, Vietnam, in northeast Vietnam. Da Nang is tomorrow, then one day at sea, then Pu My, Vietnam, (which is one hour from Saigon) in the southeast of Vietnam. Since we are hitting ports every other day I ‘m going to get way behind in posting, so stay with me, I’ll get caught up when we get out into the open Pacific for some sailing.
First I want to return to Shanghai – Day 1 for a minute because I forgot to mention that Susy and I took an evening tour to a theater where a national acrobat troop performed. I couldn’t take pictures, but these young Chinese were terrific. It is one of the events that Susy and I agree we will never forget. The lighting, music and ballet like performance was outstanding.
Now I’ll start Shanghai Day 2 with a story about Susy. Promise you won’t mention it when you see her!!. We started off our second day taking a shuttle bus into the old part of the city. As soon as we got off Susy made a beeline for the information table outside the shopping center and befriended a girl who told her where she could get designer purses (Susy’s objective for the day). Now you must understand that high end designer copies are illegal in China as in the U.S.. We got directions from Susy’s friend to go to a shop that sold the purses she wanted, a secret shopping store. A taxi took us to an old theater, and on the second floor (no signs or any indication of a store), they had everything from fake Rolex watches to rooms full of designer purses. Well, Susy went to work, and from the beginning she didn’t like the system because she wanted to have a few pricing samples to see if she could get a bargain. They, on the other hand, refused to give her prices until she picked out everything she wanted because they dealt only on a bulk price basis. Not to be out done, but already unhappy, Susy picked out 3 purses and I picked out a large watch (Nadel style, after my favorite tennis player’s watch) and she started bargaining. It was great to watch because since Susy didn’t like the system to begin with I knew she wasn’t going to buy anything. They went back and forth, they quoted $400.00 for one purse, and Susy said she could get it at home for $60.00. She got them down to $100.00 and said that was not $60.00 so she walked out without buying anything.
Sorry to get diverted but I though you would enjoy that story. Moving on and getting to the photo album, Shanghai – Day 2, above, I want to backtrack to the bus ride over to the old city because on the way I took a picture (photo 2) of one of the old residence buildings which are being torn down by the thousands and one of the construction sites (photo 3) of where the new "Condos" are being built. The sites were everywhere. Oh, by the way, riding a bus or taxi was a thrilling experience. Not only do cars and buses not respect the red lights in China, but bicycles and pedestrians don’t . You would gasp when the bus would head straight for a bunch of people crossing the street against the red light, and just keep going because the bus had the green, and people had to scatter. In the next photo you see "Nanjing" street. We took a taxi there after the "secret store" incident as Susy was not going to give up on shopping. This was an incredible experience as the street for walking was solid shops on both sides for miles and we walked and went in to most. The next photo shows the inside of one of those shops and if you look closely on the left back corner, the panel is open, which leads to a "secret back room" with, you guessed it, fake high end purses. Well folks, we all know Susy and she always succeeds and here she got her designer purse because she liked the lady and she paid $50.00 instead of $100.00. The next photos show a gold faced shop, a little tram which will freely take you up and down this long shopping street (no vehicles allowed), and a shot of one of the block corners with all the scooters parked. My next to the last photo is a shot, again, of the new city skyline, remembering that all this was built in the last 20 years. That ended the day and two days of Shanghai which, again, forgive me if I repeat myself, but we will never forget.
I thought I would conclude this series of pictures with a shot of Susy and I at dinner just to show you how we’re holding up.
On to Hong Kong, Love to you all,
Gary (alias Gagu)