Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day 1: Seeing Shanghai

With this adoption trip, we talked our adoption agency into letting us opt out of their traditional trip itinerary (which typically starts in Beijing) in order to cut costs.  So we flew directly to Shanghai and shaved two days off the beginning of our trip, which is saving us quite a bit of money.  While I've been sad to miss out on the adoption travel group experience (it is so great to have other families going through the same process together) it's also nice to have more of a say in what we do and see.  When I was living in China as an English teacher, the first place I visited was Shanghai, and honestly, it was probably my least favorite place I visited.  But I attribute that to the fact that I was taken straight from the airport, completely dizzy with jet lag, to museums and other touristy areas.  Although I do enjoy a good museum, and can appreciate some good touristy areas, there is something to be said for just diving in to some good old people watching.  This time I wanted to see Shanghai, Hallie's birth city, in a different way... an "everyday" kind of way to better see and understand where Hallie is actually coming from.  When I heard about these motorbike/sidecar tours that take you off the beaten path, to the places where people are going about their daily life, I knew it was how I wanted to see Shanghai and I set to work convincing Ryan that's what we needed to do.  Luckily he was persuaded.

We arrived at our pickup place early, so we spent some time roaming the area.

Impressively big bags of produce strapped to a scooter.

I love the streets lined with Sycamore trees.  And apparently Kaitlyn does too.

Some group dancing going on in front of Dunkin Donuts.

Can you spot the little boy in green?

Shanghai is known for being such a modern city but it's still China, where anything goes.  I love all of the contrast of the old and the new.

And the tour begins...

Just a few safety hazards.

This place was incredible.  Apparently it's a mix of speed dating and arranged marriages.  Parents come together and put up profiles for their child while others walk around browsing the profiles in an attempt to try to select a spouse for their child.  Each of these umbrellas have profiles on them. 

And all of these are profiles...

And here are some people discussing the possibilities.

We walked through winding paths packed with parents and lined with marriage profiles.

I was kind of surprised at how few of them had pictures attached...

But we did find a few nice ones...

We also stopped at a temple that is less touristy than most.

Luka, our guide, was great.

Feeding the Koi.

The neighborhood just outside the temple peeking in.

Next we visited this building that was once a slaughter house.  It's amazing that so much architectural work was put into a building for slaughtering/processing/packaging meat.  It is surprisingly beautiful and is now a trendy place to take wedding photos.

We visited an "old town" market, where we didn't see any other foreigners.  

You could buy anything there... including some pretty sweet teeth.

From the market, we wandered into these narrow streets/alleyway/housing area.

This is what Enoch looks like after having been petted by an adorable Chinese Granny.  She was fascinated by Enoch and Kaitlyn's blond hair.

Saying goodbye to their new friend.

Out in the alley is where these families do all of their washing and preparing of food.

Back in the market...

This turtle is advertising for a product, made from turtles, that can heal any of the ailments pictured below.

Unfortunately it started to rain.  At first we just threw on some rain gear, and the rain just seemed to add to the adventure, but when it really started pouring, we had to cut the tour a little short and head back to our hotel.

Of course it stopped raining when by the time we got back to our hotel.  This was such a fun way to see a different side of Shanghai.  We completely loved it!

Enoch showing off his guns because Kaitlyn was showing off her scooter shirt.

These funny beans are just across the street from our hotel.

Enoch and Kaitlyn playing nicely while we meet out agency guide and discuss plans for our "Gotcha Day" with Hallie.  I am so glad we were able to bring Kaitlyn along, she's really helped Enoch relax and enjoy himself.  And I'm sure that will help Hallie's adjustment too.

We made a quick trip to the hotel swimming pool before bed.  Enoch is looking super sporty in his required swim cap.

Here's the cool view from our hotel room.

Only one more day until we meet Hallie!

No comments:

Post a Comment