外文标题：Homeward Bound..............Part 4
The shipyard wanted me to change my departure time for they were having some difficulty in arranging the conveyance at the said time but I couldn’t do that because, neither I had the caretaker’s number nor it would have been of any use because like most of the Chinese he knew no other language except Chinese. In spite a great initiative by the government to encourage learning of English there are not many Chinese showing much interest in learning it. Most of them are comfortable with the Chinese and proud of it. Even their Prime Ministers and the Presidents speak the Chinese proudly at international summits. Can our Indian Prime Minister or the President do that? Most of the Indians who have attained high stations because of merit or money or have inherited it consider speaking their mother tongue below their status.
The caretaker came dot on time and pulled out a wad of notes and gave those to me. I counted those and counted again. By mistake he had given me two thousand bucks in place of one. I returned him the extra amount. He was surprised at my uprightness. He had come with his wife. They were very old. His wife chided him for his carelessness. All husbands are alike I thought..well Ok, most of them and all wives are alike, I think. I touched my heart and looked up gesturing my contentment for what He has given me and my commitment against covetousness. Their beady eyes shone with gratitude. For a common man in China one thousand yuan is quite some money. They tried to help me in taking my baggage down the stairs but I dissuaded them gesturing that I was younger to them.
It was cold and cloudy with the temperature hovering around zero. There was a prediction of rain and snow and one could feel it in the air. Unlike Indian weather forecast the Chinese forecast is very correct.
We didn’t have much to do in Shanghai but I knew everyday we will go to Yuyuan Garden market which has hundreds of old traditional Chinese shops and my wife spends most of her time when in Shanghai there. We are quite confident of moving around in Shanghai and our way of seeing it is by boarding any bus from terminus to terminus and if the bus goes towards far off isolated localities we get down soon as the bus passes by a metro station. We then take a metro and come back to a familiar part of the town. Metro links are very efficient. There are thirteen metro routes in Shanghai and a ride on a metro from end to end is about six RMB which is about forty eight rupees. But the best part is the frequency of service. Almost on every route the maximum time gap between the trains is not more than 3-4 minutes. Shanghai transportation system and network is excellent. You can use the same smart card in the bus, the metro and the taxi so you don’t need to carry loose change.
Every year Yuyuan Garden is bedecked with marvelous lanterns, buntings, baubles and decorations. As such the whole country wears a festive look but the festival season adds an extra colour to it. It is customary to light up the facades of the buildings in China and at night you can see enchanting display of dazzle, spangles and aesthetics. It may draw a lot of flak from the advocates of environmentalism but the Chinese don’t seem to care. They generate power and like to flaunt it too or is it a celebration of elevation of the nation to that high position of power on international stage? I will post tge pictures of Lantern Festival in the next post.
It was freezing cold in Shanghai and it snowed on 8th and 9th February. As my wife headed for the shops in the YuYuan (Garden of Happiness, Garden of Peace) Garden market, I headed for catching some pictures in my camera. The garden has a history of some four hundred years. It was first conceived during Ming dynasty in 1559. I had shifted to Shanghai in October 2009 and the days became short and my work kept me so busy that until the New Year break of 2010, I had not seen anything besides my apartment and the shipyard. One day I took courage and set out to see the town on my own. On a bright sunny day, I spread Shanghai’s map before me and put my finger on a ‘garden’. I hired a cab and asked the driver to take me to YuYuan Garden and was surprised to find him unable to understand me.
The places have different names in the Chinese and forget about English, frankly the Chinese have to strain to understand the Chinese spoken by the foreigners. I first called a Chinese friend and told him about where I wanted to go. It took him a lot of time to understand. I then called our translator May whose name is ZiXin Wang, I never knew when I worked with her but have learnt from her Facebook ID. That’s how I move around in China, though over the time I have become more bold and independent but whenever I am stuck somewhere, I call up my friend and let him/her speak for me. YuYuan garden was the first place that I saw in Shanghai on my own. I took many pictures and wrote a blog on it but didn’t post it.
The entry to the garden as is customary of all the places of tourists attraction in China is on payment. Except for it’s historical importance there isn’t much to see inside the garden to justify an expenditure of forty RMB per person which for a tourist from India who is used to free entries, complimentary passes, gate crashes and such schemes of dodging payments of even paltry sum of ten rupees is a lot of money. There’s a lot to see outside the YuYuan Garden which with it’s laybrinth of criss-crossing streets looks like a Chinese version of Chandani Chowk.
Lovely pictures. Was almost like seeing it in real.
Glad to see you younger and smarter.
Hello Sreekumar Jee- Hahaha Well but I can't take it as a compliment. I am still young :). This picture is only two years old ( About six months before we met) and my profile picture is only six years old. It seems that I am aging fast or is it that the pictures lie. As they say Distance lends charms to the views :))
哈哈，实在不敢恭维。我还年轻 :) 照片是两年前的（大约是我们见面前的6个月），我的资料照片是6年前的。似乎是我老得快还是照片给人一种假象。距离产生美嘛 :)
Wow... Beautiful pictures. Feel like visiting the place now...
Thanks for your appreciation and nice to see you here Ritu. China is more beautiful than what my pictures depict as I am not a professional photographer.
You have showcased the beauty of China so well, as always done by you through your blogs.
The Dept of tourism of China must give your blog links in their brochures and I am sure the tourist traffic to China will increase exponentially.
Fabulous photographs and very vivid description- made me feel I was there
How do you get such large size photos into your blog- yes I have seen Suresh Raos blog on this, but your photo size is really big- appreciate if you could guide me- thanks
Sailor Uncle, Your post is nice with beautiful pictures, this time the comparison with the Indian counterpart was missing though
Yes Ashu, I have intentionally skipped that. I have done a lot of comparison in the past without skepticism. It has never been my intention to hurt people's pride. Now I leave it for the people to judge for their selves.
Stunning photographs of China. Amazing Shanghai pictures. No different from US. Thanks for sharing. Are you still in China or back home?...Lovely .Lot to learn from rising China.How did the development happened so fast? Amazing.
Thanks Sivaram- Comparing their progress with America will tantamount to belittling their achievements. There is no comparison and considering that they have attained it in the last fifteen- twenty years make it all the more remarkable. One reason for this is stable government and strict authoritative control complimented with a fired up national pride. You are welcome to read my all other blogs on China.
nice blogs i am sure u r going to miss the scenes and lifestyle a lot
I am already missing it all Sunkan and I look forward to going back there.
Navneetji, an excellent travelogue with excellent pictures !
Thanks Prasad Ji- Such encouragements keep me going.
Haven't been to here for some time, hope everything is fine with you.
IC card in fact is not so smart as we required. Almost each city has it's own IC card system, there is a project of conneting different city's system.
Shanghai some how is considered the most developed city of China, a bit like the model to show the achivement of new China. Personally I don't like Shanghai, coz' it's too crowded with a population of over 23million. And the livinig expense in this city is too pricy. You have to pay more than 90,000 rmb to get a car license.
As to the light up of some buildings, well, there are just used to attract more customers. And the flyovers, I do believe they will be replaced by tunnels. The city where I live destructed 3 and forbid to build anymore in the downtown due to the problem of noise.
Yes I know the IC cards are not so smart but they are smart enough and easy to use for a common man. If in India these be introduced, the problems of using cash and corruption arising due to it will get tackled to some extent. Shanghai may be a showcase city but it is a grand showcase. I know living is very expensive and because of this and pollution, crowds and long distances for commuting, housing problem etc. people don't like it but still it is quite organized, well planned and an excellent show piece of the development and history.
Good narrative on tourist places in China. Impressive and story-telling pictures.
Thanks Neelam. I do not write selectively about tourist places. I click pictures on the go.
Navneetji, reading your blogs on China is always enjoyable and this is also no exception. Photos are great and your narration made it greater. :))) Will we ever learn anything from that country? Hillol
Navneet，看你写的中国文章真是一种享受，这次也不例外。照片很棒，你的叙述更棒 :) 我们是否会从那个国家学到东西？
Thanks Hillol for a lovely comment. I try to do justice to what I see and still feel that I don't live up to it.
Navneetji I have almost seen Some part of China through your lovely pictures and detailed narration.Perhaps now the Indian weather bureau too has become little more precise.
Yes- this time after I came back from China- I found their predictions on certain days were dead right.