Shanghai, which means “Above the Sea” is China’s most populous city. with a population of 13 million. The Huangpu River is 68 miles in length and flows into the Yangzi River.
Our first stop was the Jinmao Dasha. The building houses the world’s fastest elevator. We shot up into the air 88 floors in about 40 seconds. It did not feel anything like the “Tower of Terror”, the view ride was very smooth. Once on the 88 floor we could see the Oriental Pearl Tower, the third largest TV and Radio tower in the world. It almost looks like a big onion and is 468 meters tall.
From there we went on to visit a Confucius Temple. The temple was built in 1988 to replace the original temple destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. There we saw for the first time “Wishing Trees”. People write their wishes on a card and tie them to the tree. Once that wish becomes a reality, they return to tie a red ribbon around the tree. We heard that especially students take advantage of this tradition before an important exam at school. We asked if we could make a wish in honor of all our students at SJEDS, so they would all do well in their exams this year, but the guide discouraged us, since we would not be able to return to the wishing tree to tie the red ribbon to it.
The next stop was the Silk Factory. This ended up being our favorite part of the day. We learned so much about silkworms and how they produce silk. It only takes 25 days for silkworms to reach maturity and start their cocoon. Each cocoon can produce up to 1000 meters (1 kilometer) of silk thread. Silk cocoons are only producing during spring, summer and fall, the seasons in which their food , mulberry leaves, is available.
We then were whisked off to go visit a Pearl Factory. We were able to see the difference between a River and an Ocean oyster and the pearls they produce.
Or guide also took us to the Jade Buddah Temple. It was built in 1882 to enshrine two Buddha Statues that were brought from Burma. We found out that Jade can be in at least three colors: green, white and almost black. We saw the reclining buddha, which you can see in the picture below, and also the sitting buddha, where we were not allowed to take photographs. The statues were carved from a single piece of white Jade. We saw many other visitors who were coming to leave offerings.
On five acres, in the middle of Shanghai, we then saw the Yuyuan Garden. The Dragon Wall was quiet impressive. It almost looked more like a humongous snake with a Dragon head. The garden is filled with rocks, hallways, little outdoor rooms, walls and windows and various plants and trees. The yellow tree below in the picture is called a “Ginko” tree.
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