Well, after having friends visit for a couple of weeks, we are back to our routine. Mary-Anne and Boyd Stinson joined us here in Shanghai for a whirlwind of activities and sight-seeing. It was a very sad day for me to say good-bye to both of them, because we really had so much fun with them. I miss my girly time with Mary-Anne already! We became tourists in our own town again, showing them around the city. We were also lucky enough to go to Beijing for the weekend with them and share the experiences there – the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square. Although we only had the weekend there, we packed a lot into our sight seeing! The Great Wall was so much more amazing than I thought it would be, and we met so many friendly people from all over the world. We easily could have spent the whole day there, we enjoyed it that much! However, 5 hours was pretty good for us, and one of the highlights was taking the luge or toboggan run down the mountain! They yelled at me to slow down, but it was too much fun to go fast! Mary-Anne let out a huge scream on her way down that got the whole crowd going in the line up! At the bottom, we had to go through the mandatory souvenir alleys. Think of every gift shop at the end of a ride, just like Disneyland! We picked up some dried fruit, and a few gifts for friends, but held off on most of the things. Surprising for me, I know!
That afternoon, we walked down to Tian’anmen Square to see the lowering of the flag with the guards at sunset. We became instant celebrities, as everyone wanted a picture with the white people! It was pretty funny, and we got a taste of what it would be like to be famous, since once one picture was taken, a whole bunch of people wanted one done with them too! We couldn’t actually see much of the flag ceremony (especially me, the short one), but Bruce was able to hold his camera up and record some of the soldiers marching by. They were incredibly precise and in time with each other – they must practice marching for hours! After all that walking and climbing on the Great Wall, we were too tired to walk home so we grabbed two tuk-tuks to take back to the hotel. These guys were great, even though they took us home through all the back alleys. I got a bit nervous at one point as they showed us a camera mounted on a building, pointing right at us, and managed to tell us to be very quiet. We then went a different way, but it was kind of scary! Mary-Anne and I laughed about it later….we are such trusting Canadians!
The next day we went to the Forbidden City. I don’t think I have ever seen so many people in one area at a time! Yet, when we went inside, it was so huge that the crowds were not really that bad. I know that Bruce talked about this on the last blog and posted pictures as well, so I will not bore you with the same stories! However, it was a beautiful, amazing place to see! It’s incredible to think of how long those buildings have been standing, and although some were covered with restoration equipment, it was still easy to see the grandeur of them all. Unfortunately, duty called us, and we had to make our way back to Shanghai to get back to work the next day. Mary-Anne and Boyd stayed an extra night and then went on to Xian the next day to see the Terracotta Warriors and the rest of that beautiful city. They absolutely loved it and said it was worth the trip to get there!
When they returned to us, we were just finishing a seven day work week (which nearly killed us, but we survived!). On one of the days we were still working, our wonderful friend Wen Juan took Mary-Anne and Boyd to Hangzhou for the day. She was the best tour guide and translator and they had a great time with her! We then had three days off to show them around our favourite places, like the French Concession area, the Bund and Pudong. We had great weather for the most part, and Mary-Anne and I took our chances and went and got a haircut together. Luckily, Wen Juan translated for us over the phone for the price, but they spoke no English at all……I showed them a picture of what I wanted, and he nodded that he understood. However, both guys cut our hair so incredibly short! I have never had my hair this short in my life! I look like a boy!! Mary-Anne and I laughed the whole way home, thinking that if we were on the Bund together, we would definitely get propositioned! Good thing our hair grows fast! Mary-Anne and Boyd are now in Thailand, spending a couple of days in Bangkok before they go to Koh Samui for some r’n’r. After spending time with us, they may need it!
We are starting the countdown to come home – only 8 weeks left before we are back! I will definitely miss many things here, but am looking forward to being home. That’s all for now, but more pictures will come as our weather is getting warmer and warmer each day.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”(Dr Seuss). Miss you Mary-Anne and Boyd!