Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shanghai Brides

We are just back from wandering all day.  I wonder if you look on Flickr for Chinese wedding photos what you would find.  There are brides and grooms all dressed up, brides mostly in fancy red gowns, but some in white or blue, all made up and hair just so, posing for photos.  I am fascinated watching how the photographers pose them, but Kent is bored by it all.  Caren and Andy's wedding had a slide show of the two of them posed in various scenic spots all over Beijing. Here the waterfront and the metal bridge right by our hotel see to be prime spots, although this morning one couple was posing with a white veil in an old doorway. The couples all look like professional models, but I think they are just young couples about to get married.  We can't walk more than 25 feet or so without coming upon a bridal couple.  There were probably six on the bridge when we crossed just now, in the dark.  The photographer often has someone shine just a flashlight on the bride's face.

We had a slow morning yesterday, not getting out until after 10 a.m., walking along the Bund, then Nanjing Dong Lu pedestrian shopping street, where we searched in small streets to the side for somewhere for breakfast/lunch.  A little place cooking dumplings was busy, so in we went.  It turned out there was an English version of the menu, once we figured out to order at the counter.  But no food came, and a nice man seated opposite us took pity, and took our receipt, Kent following, to the window outside, where 4 fried dumplings awaited us.  They were a disappointingly gummy on the inside, but not bad.  Finally, with prompting to the waitress from our benefactor, a bowl of noodle soup, which we shared, appeared.  In China every meal is an adventure, from choosing a place, to figuring out the menu, to discovering just what kind of food arrives, to actually eating what we've gotten.  

We wandered through People's Park, with a sculpture exhibit, and many men playing cards around a lotus pond where there was a little restaurant that would have been fun for lunch.  We were in search of the Shanghai Museum, which turned out to be much farther away than we thought it would be.  I haven't mentioned how many times a day Kent and I have discussions and disagreements about where we are and which way to go now!  Or, which of us is almost always right!

In the tea shop at the museum a young man asked to talk to us.  We were wary at first, but he was genuinely interested in conversation, and our views of the differences between China and the U.S.  His concern was the same as that of another man Kent had spoken with in Pingyao, that China has had many centuries of peace, while the United States in its short history has, like Europe, fought many wars.  And is democracy the best way to insure peace and prosperity? Then he pulled our a huge book, a history of philosophy!  Kent told him he'd taught philosophy. They could have talked for hours or days, but the museum was closing soon, and we had a long walk ahead of us.  

We ended up eating dinner, one of the best meals we've had, at a little hole in the wall place that turned out to be Korean food: a rice bowl with eggplant, braised cabbage with red chile peppers, a bubbling hot pot of beef with vegetables, and two beers.  All cost only a little more than our tea, coffee, and one slice of cake at the museum -- a little over 100 RMB or $17 or a bit more for two of us.

We walked back to the hotel through the garish lights on Nanjing Lu, and past many more brides along the amazing, brightly lit Bund.

If you can make this photo bigger, you will see brides in red dresses on the bridge.

Linnea and Kent 

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