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[travel] New friends become guides to China

来源:Des Moines Register 作者:MARY VAN HEUKELO 时间:2008-11-25 Tag:travel   China   guide   点击:


Bikes of Old Town Shanghai: In 1995 they estimated 60% of Shanghai's population commuted by bike, now it is a mere 5 million, or roughly 25% due to the explosion of the auto market. Reports now indicate 15,000 new vehicles hit the road daily.

Refusing to let rain stop her adventure, Mary Van Heukelom strolls through Fuxing Park in Shanghai's Old French Concession, a historic district known for its atmosphere, cafes and architecture.

Days Three Through Six: We flew to Shanghai, where the blue skies and sunny days of Beijing were replaced by gray, looming (隐约地出现) smog (烟雾), drizzle (细雨) and hundreds of high-rise buildings. Shanghai, a metropolitan (大城市的) home to more than 20 million, is evidence of a booming (急速发展的) economy.

By chance, I met another new friend, a French woman, and within minutes we committed to exploring together. In friendship, rainy days became bright. Together we discovered the famous Yu Garden in the Old City, Chen Xiang Ge Temple, the Bund and the Old French Concession.

Bravely wondering off the beaten path, I gained a taste of the local culture by stumbling (蹒跚而行) into open markets where live snakes and prawns (对虾,明虾) were sold, and where pigs and poultry were butchered. We witnessed everyday life of hanging clothes, playing games, repairing bikes and participating in morning kung fu exhibitions.

One day, I took a bus to the city of Suzhou, considered the Venice of the East. I explored Tiger Hill, the tomb of the first emperor of the province; a 450-year-old garden, considered one of the four most famous in China; a 1,400-year-old active Buddhist temple; and the biggest silk factory in China, which produces 60 percent of China's silk.

On our last evening, my husband and I attended an acrobatics (杂技) show and were amazed by the strength, balance and coordination of the athletes as they performed their routines and daredevil (大胆的,不怕死的) stunts (绝技).

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