To recap, in May, 2012 I did the “Three-Kids-Three-Weeks-Three-Countries” tour. It was spectacular!
I first visited my daughter in Shanghai. My first full day there I toured the grounds of the school where she teaches, and then we went off sightseeing.
I don’t really try to be a stereotypical, middle-aged, American tourist. Really, I don’t! But I also figured that I wasn’t going to blend in no matter what I looked like, so I went for practical and comfortable. It was warm, so shorts – cargo shorts are a bonus with lots of pockets. We were doing a lot of walking, so sneakers. I always have at least a couple of cameras plus accessories plus water, snacks, and junk (it’s a Boy Scout thing, “Be Prepared!” and all of that), so I usually carry a backpack. If I’m wearing a baseball cap (and I usually am while being touristy) it’s probably my Angels hat. Okay, so the shirt is a bit on the garish side.
On the other hand, the look on the gentleman’s face behind me is priceless. You just know he went home and said to his family, “You are not going to believe what I saw today waiting for the bus!”
Day One of tourism took us to “Oldtown”, which is supposed to be historical, but on closer inspection appears to be more tourist trap than history. But it’s very nice looking and you obviously aren’t in Kansas anymore.
Lots of buildings there that look like this. I’m told that they’re more or less original-ish, but with everything made of wood and the buildings being hundreds of years old, everything’s been replaced piece by piece as it wore out, rotted away, or was damaged or destroyed in one war or the other. The locations and styles may be original, but there’s little if anything left of the original structures.
I did really like the sweeping points on the tile roofs everywhere, as well as the wonderful wood lattice shutters. Incredible detail work.
Off of the main streets it’s a warren of shops, mainly filled with knick-knacks and souvenirs for tourists. There were things like jewelry, glass, and art shops, but given the other stores in the neighborhood, I wasn’t expecting to see anything similar to something you might find on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Just when you thought that it might not be all that much of a tourist trap… We also saw Starbucks Coffee and McDonalds. I’m willing to bet that if we had gone looking, we could have found a Carls Jr, a Pizza Hut, a Dunkin Doughnuts, and a Taco Bell.
I’m pretty sure that I did not eat at a single western fast-food place the entire three weeks. I can (and do) eat that crap at home. If I’m halfway around the world, I’ll eat something I can only get “for real” halfway around the world, even if it’s just their version of fast food. (But not their version of our version of fast food.)
Lots of shops and restaurants and stores. There is a bit of a Disneyland-esque feel to it after a bit.
There’s a huge monument and display left over from the most recent New Year celebration. Every place that wanted to be festive had dragon flags, toys, kites, and costumes.
More amazing detailed artwork, along with stone dragons. And a honkin’ big security camera ball hanging down from the awning. Very much an “I was in China!” photo-op place.
The perfect section of town to be a gawking American tourist with a backpack full of cameras. Fortunately, I had dressed for the part!
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