China - Sadly, a bit underwhelming

Old Jan 4th, 2013, 10:38 AM
  #141  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you for your wonderful report. I am spending almost 4 weeks in China this April and I have been taking notes as I read. You've been extremely informative.
wendyshapirolevine is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2013, 12:24 PM
  #142  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Burger King was pretty much the same as in the USA - disappointing, but we wanted fast and simple. I wanted pure protein for my diet so I ate a chicken sandwich minus the bread. The KFC chain had grilled chicken sandwiches that were flavored differently than in the USA. We like to check out McDonald's which usually has items specific to the country or region one is in, but we found that in china the chain was identical to that found in the usa.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2013, 01:24 PM
  #143  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
wait a minute---KFC has a special christmas dinner often reserved in advance....???

next--- mcdonalds serves a filet mignon medium rare from aged prime beef
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2013, 03:01 PM
  #144  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,854
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I recalled the KFC in Shanghai had chicken fried rice and sweet and sour chicken, and served hot tea ...
Shanghainese is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2013, 09:53 AM
  #145  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 517
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
fascinating. My husband traveled to China in 2000 and agrees with your general assessment. Chinese were very loud and not too eager to please tourists. He saw kids defecating and urinating in public, not even in the slum areas.
I appreciate your thorough glimpse into your experience.
Kurosawa is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2013, 10:23 AM
  #146  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kurosawa - we did not consider the Chinese people to be rude. Rather their customs and behaviors are different from our own. We encountered mostly friendly and helpful people. As for the urinating and defecating children, that is also their culture. Instead of spending money on expensive diapers, the Chinese children often go el natural with a slit in their pants or shorts for easier management. We found this amusing, because of the difference in our own cultural experiences. That is what we like best about traveling - observing cultural differences, considering why there are those differences and accepting the people for the way they are. One must keep an open mind when traveling.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2013, 11:23 AM
  #147  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i bet this would eliminate diaper rash.
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2013, 11:32 AM
  #148  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,476
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Cuts down on laundry, too.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2013, 01:32 PM
  #149  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
October 31 – Thursday - Day 24 - Suzhou

After breakfast this morning, we walked across the street to the conveniently located Shanghai Train Station and purchased G-train tickets for Suzhou. Trains to Suzhou run frequently (approx every 20 minutes) and it was easy to find the train and to embark upon it. The trains again were modern, comfortable and there was no smoking throughout. Bathrooms were western style. We arrived in Suzhou at approximately 10:30 and were met by many touts selling package deals to visit Suzhou for the day. I believe the cost was 150 yuan for a full day tour which returned to the station at 5:00 pm. As my husband preferred to go off on our own, we declined and after some searching, found a bus parked just outside the railroad station, to take us to the Humble Administrators Garden for 1 yuan each. Outside the gardens was an area lined with vendors selling food and other touristy tchatkas. We were delighted to find mangosteens (a delightful fruit we had discovered first in Thailand) being sold and bought some to snack on. There were other unidentifiable fruits also for sale. We spent several hours wandering through this typically Chinese garden with its combination of water, rocks, trees and pavilions. It made for a pleasant walk, although we were not overly impressed as we had seen other garden areas in China that looked similar with the same elements.

We could have visited other gardens, but suspected that most were similar, so we tried to get information about taking a cruise on the Grand Canal, discovering though that the cruise boats only run at night (at least at this time of the year). We wandered some more, looking for “old town”, but ultimately lost our way and so, we hopped on a new version of transport that we had not seen before – a motorcycle with seats for two (a bit different than the tuk tuks we had ridden in the past). The old town area was very pleasant and we walked for some time along canals lined with houses, shops and restaurant/cafes. It was apparent that this area was in the process of being restored for tourism and the area was extremely picturesque with its old buildings, small boats, and weeping willow trees. The many interesting doorways and walls with peeling paint, made the area feel old and charming and in many ways we enjoyed our time wandering this street more than our time in the gardens.

From the old town, we walked to the center of town and found the main road where there is a typical pedestrian shopping district, as we found in all Chinese cities that we visited. Suzhou again was not the small town we had imagined, but rather a large city like many others we had been to. All cities had the familiar pedestrian shopping districts, food stalls, McDonalds, KFCs, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, etc. Again we grabbed chicken at McDonalds and a coffee at Costa Coffee, the proceeded to walk toward the train station.

After some time and realizing that the station was not as close as we had though, we decided to get a taxi to take us back to the station as it was already 6 pm. Unfortunately, we could not get a taxi to stop, so we had no alternative but to find a bus back to the station. This was no easy task as no one spoke English. After showing four bus drivers our map with our destination, we finally found the correct bus and the bus driver was helpful in advising us when to exit to the train station. We easily found a train back to Shanghai and were amazed that the trip back took only 30 minutes.

As an aside – you may wonder why we keep eating at McDonalds & KFCs. This is totally out of character for us, but my husband is not a big fan of the Chinese food in China. While I wished to experiment with various Chinese dishes, I had just lost a great deal of weight on a high protein diet and wished to avoid eating noodle dishes and other foods that were not on my weight loss plan. When eating in these chain restaurants, I discarded the bread and ate strictly protein. I should point out that I did find all the Chinese food that I ate quite enjoyable and even better than that in the USA. I especially enjoyed the noodle soups, which are like nothing we find in American restaurants(at least in the ones in Florida.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2013, 01:38 PM
  #150  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One thing I forgot to mention - I canceled my dental appointment which was scheduled on this day. Miraculously my toothache subsided and I felt no pain shortly after I broke down and made the dental appointment several days earlier. I suspected that the tooth ache may have been the result of sinus problems and I began taking antibiotics just in case I had another flare-up. Perhaps the dental problems disappeared at the mere thought of seeing a foreign dentist whose skills I had no way of knowing!
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2013, 10:30 AM
  #151  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,854
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Diaper free reduces landfill and no need for toilet training!
Shanghainese is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2013, 08:31 PM
  #152  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
November 1 - Friday - Day 25

After breakfast this day, we set out to visit the old Jewish quarter, no easy task to find. We were expecting to see some old European history but there was really very little remaining. We did find a synagogue done up as a museum which showed the mercy the Chinese offered Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, when over 20,000 European Jews seeking refuge from Nazi Germany found sanctuary in China. While at the museum, we were fortunate to come across Dvir Bar-Gal, an Israeli who has done extensive researched on this period of history, guiding a group of tourists at the museum. While we were not on his tour, we were fortunate to overhear much that he said and we found that his unique and insightful stories made the history come alive. I would suggest that anyone interested in learning about the Shanghai Ghetto and the Jewish history here, contact Dvir Bar-Gal in advance to reserve a spot in his tour groups.

After spending the morning at the museum and in the surrounding neighborhood, we walked to the Bund area again and headed North to where the ferry crosses to the Pudong section. Along the way we strolled through a very pleasant park area past very modern apartments and amazing new modern office buildings near completion. Across on the Pudong side, we wandered the waterfront looking back upon the historical buildings on the Bund.

We finished our day with an exceptional buffet dinner at the Shangrila Hotel. While expensive, the dinner was extensive with foods from around the world and we thought it was well worth the price (approx $50/pp). The buffet included foods from China, Thailand, Indian, Malaysia, Japan, Italy, etc.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2013, 08:35 PM
  #153  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
hamburgers??

in fl in april i want the best hamby you know of...
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2013, 03:57 AM
  #154  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When do you come in April? We may miss you as we have a wedding in Israel on April 9. However, if we are here, your wish is our command - hamburgers it will be. You've said mike's favorite word.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2013, 07:24 AM
  #155  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
we will be there apr 12-14... i suspect you will not be back
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2013, 08:15 AM
  #156  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Afraid we will miss you. Probably back the next week. We still need to get airline tickets.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2013, 08:04 PM
  #157  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,486
Received 79 Likes on 10 Posts
Still reading and enjoying all the commentary. I have to smile though with your references to Burger King & KFC, because I recall you seemed to recoil when i suggested meeting at an Italian restaurant in Shanghai!
barefootbeach is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2013, 12:19 AM
  #158  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,891
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
another lurker here and loving what I read so far...
5alive is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2013, 04:14 AM
  #159  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,767
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Glad someone's still put there. Barefoot - I really regret that we didnt meet up. As you will soon read, our last day didnt work out as we planned, but I didn't have your contact info on me at the time. I'd really love to hear about your own trip and your impressions about the areas we did not visit in comparison to what we saw.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2013, 05:44 PM
  #160  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,486
Received 79 Likes on 10 Posts
Been a slacker with continuing my trip report...first have to finalize some things for our next trip to Turkey....while reading Fodor's guidebook today, I saw some quotes and photos from you...so now I have to look up your Turkey trip report!
barefootbeach is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:24 AM.