After my exhausting experience in Beijing, I never thought I would enjoy spending a day walking through another Chinese city. And then I met Shanghai in May.
Taylor and I took off to explore. We had to start somewhere, why not begin by wandering and exploring? Getting dropped right into the middle of a humid Chinese summer was brutal, but this year I'm hoping to be the frog in boiling water, and be well adapted by July. This day of exploring to gloriously beautiful.
We wandered to our first destination, Jing'an temple. I feel like I've seen about a million of these already, but one was different. I loved the way it was set right in the middle of the modern city. It is still used for worshiping and praying to ancestors.
We mosied and wandered along, loving loving the parks, streets, and sights. The city, so clean, so green, so different than Beijing. Flowers are everywhere, even lining the freeways- almost feeling like the California of China. It was just so...refreshing to have such a positive start to my time in the city. It is also a very nice feeling to be free from the pressure of cramming every second of the day with all that must be seen, because there is time to come back.
Hunger struck and we were in the perfect spot. Delicious food for the day: the famous Shanghainese noodles! And definitely not enough of them.
It's impossible to not look into each shop as you pass, looking for something interesting. What a surprise when we came upon a cricket shop. First we had to peek at the bowls full of turtles next door- I wasn't sure I wanted to ask what they were to be purchased for.
There was a long strand of small wicker type balls hanging from roof, and each had a small cricket inside. This little shop was full of small boxes and cages, much like the one you might remember from Mulan:There was a woman sitting in the back twisting and bending the wooden sticks, creating the beautiful tiny homes, and an old man cheerfully talking to us. Taylor, trying to ask what they use the crickets for but not quite having the right words, asked something more like:
For what meaning are these animals?
Whatever gets the point across right?
The man excitedly grabs a plastic jar with a huge cricket inside, he gives it a little shake and holds it to my ear. He excitedly says (after translation):
To hear them sing! The music is so beautiful!
The cricket jumped from his hand and landed near my foot and of course I jumped and gave a little shout. The woman in the back with her twigs and tools laughed with us as the old man scurried to scoop the creature back into it's singing chamber.