Friday, October 06, 2006


Well, we're back. It was a grueling journey to get back. 27 hours in the world of the living before our flight from Chicago to St. Louis was cancelled. Luckily the people in our travel dept. reacted quickly by rebooking our flights for Tuesday and getting us rooms at a hotel near O'Hare. We did finally make it back to STL, where it was a shocking 95 degrees outside, but nonetheless it was nice to be home.

Friday night we went out to dinner at a German restaurant in the Pudong area called Paulaners. It was really good. I'm not sure what the deal is with all the german influence in Shanghai, but it's clearly there. Everyone is driving VWs and Audis, and there's the Bund, a German word, which is an old business district in Shanghai, and there seem to be a lot of German people around town. Anyway, I got a couple decent night pictures of the Jin Mao tower, which is really an absolute marvel of a building, in my personal opinion.

Golf on Saturday was really cool. It was the first time I've ever played with caddies. They were two girls who were very focused on our game, and really tried to stay in the background. They were just there to give yardages, keep score, and manage the clubs. All I had to do was walk up to my ball, reach out for a club, hit it, give her back the club, and walk on. It was a very nice course, albeit very short. I shot an 85, which sounds great, until you consider that there was only one or two holes over 300 yds. Mostly par 3s and 4s, but we probobly lost about two dozen balls to all the water, between the three of us. We had a great time though.

After golf, we went to a local dim sum joint, and that experience made me a new devotee to dim sum. They were awesome! We got two bamboo steamers filled with steamed dumplings, one kind with pork, and the other with a pork/crabmeat mixture. In the dumplings was also a portion of broth. They were fantastic. Apparently not many dim sum shops have the skill to get the broth in the dumpling. It was something special.

Sunday we got our shopping done. We went to a place called the Yuyuan Garden. Apparently there is actually a garden there, in fact a 400 year old classical garden that some consider the best in China, but unfortunately we never saw it, because we got hung up in the little shops leading up to it.

The Chinese National Holiday had officially started by Sunday, so there were people everywhere. Even more than usual in Shanghai. Let me tell you it was a very intense experience to be descended upon by all those shop keepers. They were hungry to sell, and the bargaining continued until money was exchanged.

I think I actually got some pretty good deals, because I was not really in the mood to spend money. I felt a little guilty after one exchange because I think I actually bargained too low. The lady had hit me in the chest in a friendly way saying "you no money!" It was like a wierd reverse buyer's guilt. Oh well, other deals were good for both sides I think. After about an hour of that shopping we had to step outside to get some air. We did go back in after a little mental preparation. It was a pretty fun, albeit frenetic, experience.

Thanks to everyone who posted comments to the blog while I was in China! Hope to see you all soon.