Our China Tour in 2006

Gene and Norma Maas

Wednesday, April 26 Shanghai

In the morning we visited the Jade Buddha Temple, a relatively new (built in 1918) but elegant structure. The Temple is famous for its two Buddha statues made of white jade that were brought to China from Burma. One depicts the Sleeping Buddha, the other a Seated Buddha which is two meters tall, weighs 2,205 pounds, and is encrusted with jewels. No pictures were allowed of the Seated Buddha.

Next we were taken to a Senior Citizen Center where we were treated to singing, dancing, and a fashion show performance by a number of retired and elderly women who averaged 63 years in age. There were no men among the group. The women were particularly interested in one member of our group, Charlie Popell, who will be 100 years old in July. Longevity is much revered in Chinese culture and he was given much attention. Charlie was a most amazing guy Ė he could easily pass for 85 and managed very well through most of our rather exhausting trip.

Later we were taken to a huge local market where people buy their produce, fruit and meat from many vendors in stall after stall. The place looked as a big as a football field. Amazingly, bicycles and scooters were maneuvering among the patrons in the crowded aisles. We bought a small carton of cherries as a gift to give to our host who would be serving us lunch in their home. Our tour group was split into small groups of 6 or 8 and each group was taken to a different home where we were guests of a local family for an hour or so to enjoy a home-cooked meal and see their apartments first hand. The local couple who prepared and served our dinner were retired but only about 50 years old. They lived in a 3 BR, 2 bath condo on the 17th floor of a large apartment building. They had a nice apartment with 4 TVís and a computer. They must have served us at least 12 dishes Ė very good food but we didnít eat any of the fresh vegetables.

After lunch we took the bus to the airport for our flight to Wuhan. At Wuhan we boarded the Princess Sheena, a China Regal Cruise ship. Our ship was one of three designed and built in Germany in 1993. It was 425 feet long, 52 ft wide, and had five decks.  

A total of 278 passengers can be accommodated in 146 cabins but we only had about 140 passengers onboard our cruise up the Yangtze River. The cabins were small with 2 single bunk beds. A compact lavatory served as a toilet and shower combined.  Meals onboard the ship were also served buffet style and there were always about 9 or 10 hot dishes to choose from plus side tables of soup, salads, and deserts.

Gene Maas
5 Jun 2006



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