Tea in Jiading, China

A repost from July 2016:

Last year we spent two weeks in and around Jiading, China – a ‘suburb’ of Shanghai.  Our oldest son, Joshua, was living there with his wife, Emma, and we were fortunate enough to visit.  A rainy day had given us a break from sightseeing and when it stopped we ventured out.  What we stumbled onto ended up being one of my most satisfying and favorite memories.

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When the rain tapered off we ventured out for lunch and ended up exploring the streets and shops in the surrounding area.  Our group split up which left my son, Patrick, and I hanging out together.  JIading shoppingWe were wandering around, ambling in and out of the little shops when I spied a sign with a teapot.  Loving all things tea, and especially drinking tea in Asia, we went into the shop to see what was what. The shopkeeper seemed excited to see us and began talking.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what he was saying.  We wanted to ask him questions but were not able to communicate effectively with him.

Between using hand gestures – and speaking super slow (as if that would help) – we found no success asking if his teapots were for sale or just display.  We left the shop to find Joshua – who speaks fluent Mandarin-and, upon our return, discovered this gentleman was completely delightful and wanted nothing more than to share his tea while working on his painting and flute-playing.

One of the things I love about staying in less touristy areas is stumbling upon these amazing experiences that you can’t buy with money.  It had been a lazy, rainy day calling for a ponytail and no make-up.  No matter that I was ultra-casual, our host could have cared less.  Discovering this hidden gem and being treated to an absolutely wonderful encounter completely made my day and ended up being a highlight of the trip.

Jiading Tea

If you would like to see other posts from our China adventures check out these pieces:

Eyes of Asia

What’s In A Shanghai Name

Mass in Mandarin

Confucius Temple and Huilongtan Park

Looking Up

Life Around Jiading

 

 

 

 

 

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Eyes of Asia

Linking up with a travel blogger who chose the theme ‘eyes‘ for this week I am sharing pictures from China.

I love to watch people.  I love to take pictures of people.  Our stay in Jiading – a ‘suburb’ of Shanghai – offered me ample opportunities to sit and soak up the local atmosphere.

The plaza just on the other side of the canal from our hotel was a perfect spot to sit.  During the day the children ran and jumped and played and roller skated.  They loved that I was taking pictures and would come right up to me and pose.  Their eyes shone with curiosity about the blonde-haired, fair-skinned lady with the camera.

jiading dancing

When the work day ended the adults would gather, the music would start and an impromptu dance would begin.  They danced and they laughed and they left the stress of the day behind.  It was absolutely delightful and the happiness in their eyes was contagious.

jiading baby

Several times I was approached by those who wondered who I was, where I came from and why I looked so different.  They were not shy about asking gesturing for me to take pictures with or of them. Like this mom – you can see the excitement in her eyes.  She was so eager to have her baby ‘meet’ me that she took out her Iphone and asked gestured for me to pose with her little girl.  I reciprocated and asked gestured for her to pose, too.  I think the baby was just confused – that’s what I see in her eyes.

Jiading eyes1

This man was taking a break from his street sweeping as I made my way back to the hotel.  His eyes look a little tired – maybe because his day had been long and he wasn’t quite finished yet.

p b j j p b

These guys.  My three boys.  Walking across the plaza they did not see me.  I had to yell out a couple of times before they figured out who was making a racket.  Their eyes were covered but, I promise you, they are the most beautiful shades of brown, green and hazel.

01-jan-dfr

And, finally, these beautiful eyes.  They belong to my new grandson.   Babies are wonderful.  Just wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

WPC – What’s In A Shanghai Name?

A trip to Shanghai provided many opportunities to see names in English and the character equivalents in Mandarin.

Shanghai hotelOur hotel in the Shanghai ‘suburb’ of Jiading

Ikea and Amway

Grocery items at the local Auchan (equivalent to Wal-Mart)

A wealth of western shopping opportunities in downtown Shanghai

Shanghai street sign

A street sign on a side street

McDonald’s quarterpounder and KFC/Pizza Hut

A wonderful trip!

 

Stormy Day in Jiading

The rain came fast and, because I hadn’t been watching weather reports, unexpectedly.  Thunder followed and a stormy day set in.  It was a good time to relax the schedule as the heat and humidity, while sightseeing the day before, had tired all of us.

When the rain tapered off we ventured out for lunch and ended up exploring the streets and shops in the surrounding area.  Our group split up which left my son, Patrick, and I hanging out together.  JIading shoppingWe were wandering around, ambling in and out of the little shops when I spied a sign with a teapot.  Loving all things tea, and especially drinking tea in Asia, we went into the shop to see what was what. The shopkeeper seemed excited to see us and began talking to us.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what he was saying.  We wanted to ask him questions but were not able to communicate effectively with him.

Note….Patrick has had two years of high school Mandarin and both my fluent-speaking Mandarin son, Joshua, and me, his mom, (speaking absolutely no Mandarin) are highly impressed with how well he has been able to communicate.  However, this chatting was above his capabilities.

Finding no success in asking him if his teapots were for sale or display we left the shop to find Joshua and, upon our return, discovered this gentleman was completely delightful and wanted nothing more than to share his tea while working on his painting and flute-playing.

One of the things I love about staying in the less touristy areas is stumbling upon these amazing experiences that you can’t buy with money.  It had been a lazy, rainy day calling for a ponytail and no make-up.  No matter that I was ultra-casual though, our host could have cared less.  Discovering this hidden gem and being treated to an absolutely wonderful encounter completely made my day.

Jiading Tea

Life Around Jiading, Shanghai

No desert to be found anywhere near here as we are smack dab in the middle of a very large city.  In other words – We made it to Shanghai!  Despite a setback on our original travel day we did finally arrive, without further incident, on the next flight to China.  Shanghai, being on the southeastern coast of China, is hot and sticky but we are having a good time.

My son, Joshua, who lives here, met us at the airport and got us to our respective accommodations before we crashed for the evening. After all, jet lag does take a toll. For this trip we are staying north of Shanghai in the Jiading district.  It’s kind of like a suburb of Shanghai. My teenage boys – Patrick and Ben are staying at the apartment with Joshua and his Japanese wife, Ema, while my mom (Granny) and I are tucked away in a quaint little hotel in a historic part of the city.   We have been keeping it low key since we arrived – soaking up the local culture and becoming familiar with our surroundings.  It’s been lovely.

Jiading Villa Garden Hotel
Our boutique hotel
Jiading Villa Garden Hotel
The view from our room
Granny waving from the window in our room
Granny waving from the window in our room
Our private patio
Our private patio

Scooters are a way of life and it is amazing how creative people can get with transporting things and extra people.

These children were so cute – following me and practicing their English “hellos”.  I couldn’t resist taking their picture and they couldn’t resist hamming it up.

Shanghai McDonaldsMcDonalds

 

 

Adventures in Traveling

07 July 5 (3)

The sun is rising while I sit, looking out my hotel window, with a view of San Francisco Bay, watching as planes land and take-off.  It’s peaceful and I am relaxed and rested after a good night’s sleep. A far cry from the forbidden stress of a crazy travel day yesterday.

Ever heard that saying, “red in the morning, sailors take warning. Red at night, sailors delight.” For us yesterday it was fitting  except I would change ‘sailors’ to ‘travelers’.  When we left the house promptly at 6:00 am I commented on how intensely red the sky was and hoped it wasn’t a sign of the day to come.

It was.

Long story short – for the first leg of our travel we took two separate flights from Dallas to San Francisco.  Don’t ask – it’s just the way it was.  For me and my sixteen year old, Patrick, it was a breeze.  For my mom, aka Granny, and my fourteen year old, Ben, it wasn’t. While our flights were only 30 minutes apart for a variety of reasons we left right on time but they left 2 hours late.

Emma & PatrickIn the end, Patrick got to have a little adventure – taking an international flight all on his own while navigating security on this end and customs and immigration in China.  I can’t wait to hear the details when we finally catch up.

I stayed behind for Granny and Ben and the adrenaline flowed as we attempted to get them off quickly, claim their bags, run from the domestic terminal to the international and get bags rechecked for our next flight.

No such luck and we had to rebook to try again today.

While the day brought it’s fair share of stress we encountered a multitude of angels.  San Francisco peeps rock and we have met several wonderful people who did what they could to help us. It made the stress of the situation a little more bearable.

Ben and Teresa

Today is a new day and it will be a good one.  And, hopefully the next time I write it will be from our final destination in China!

安全旅行 和这一伟大的日子 safe travels and make it a great day in Mandarin (I think.) 🙂

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Small Roads

This challenge took me much longer than I had planned or anticipated.  It’s always fun, though, looking through my archives and taking that inevitable trip down memory lane.

My roads stretch from Texas and Tennessee to Europe, China and Japan.  I’m fond of saying, “Have passport – will travel” and I’m always ready for a new adventure!

St. Joe, TX 2001Visiting friends on their 100 acres in Texas.  So much land they had their own dirt roads.

Tennessee 2003Spending time in Tennessee when my baby was still a baby and my niece was still a little girl.(now she’s in college in Scotland!)

Small road and well-traveled alleyway off the beaten path in Beijing, China.

Great Wall, Beijing 2008

While the Great Wall may not qualify as a small street, alleyway, parking lot or driveway now, let’s face it – at one time or another it probably served each of those functions.

Co Cork 2008This small street in Co Cork, Ireland is similar to many streets found across the Atlantic pond. 

Brugge Belgium 2008The cobbled alleys in Bruge, Belgium took quaint to new heights.

Finally, Taiki-chō, Hokkaido, Japan.  Absolutely stunning country roads with the Hidaka Mountain Range in the background.

Thanks for joining me on my roads-less-traveled adventure today!