Almost Famous in China

We’re surrounded. Dozens of Chinese people have swarmed us like bees. A crowd grows. More curiosity. A few heads peak in between elbows and shoulders – tip toes, and all. They are trying to get a glimpse. Just a little closer. Still wondering what is going on, still curious – the dozens feel like hundreds.

Then the shutters, the flashes, the clicks go off. It looks like fire flies in the middle of the night. People are snapping pictures of us.


It didn’t take a whole lot to get this much attention. My fiancé and I were at the popular tourist attraction known as The Bund (Wai Tan in Chinese). The reason: to have our engagement photos taken.


Just a few of the people surrounding us – across from them a massive crowd formed

Two Chinese men with a telephoto camera and a massive photographic reflector took photos of my fiancé, Adam and I. Two Americans, two Chinese and a huge crowd. It was unbelievable.

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Our photographer,   Gangfeng Wang of Gang of One Photography


You would have thought we were mega-celebs. It felt like the Chinese paparazzi were after us. I am sure if we started signing autographs – people would have thought they won the lottery.


I do not know if Adam and I are framed in homes across China, but we can only hope we have been put nicely on the mantle. Otherwise…


Adam rode this bike and I held a red umbrella for nothing.


The Foot Membrane


I’m not really sure what happens when you get a foot membrane at this nail salon. I’m 100% sure I do not want it.

I saw this sign on the way to the grocery store. Clearly, there are a lot of spelling errors: the “scrub peclicure” and the “acylic nail”.

Obviously, English is a second language in this part of the world (I can’t say my Mandarin is great), but when you see something like this – you have to scratch your head and say – what?

Godzilla vs. Buddha

It was a temple before the city, but now – the city (and Claudia Schiffer) has swallowed it.Image

Jing’An Temple – It was built in 247 AD, approximately 1,000 years before the city of Shanghai.

Jing’An Temple is a Buddhist place of worship.


According to a 2011 China Daily article it states, “In 1912, the country’s first Buddhism organization was established at the site. During the Cultural Revolution, the temple was converted into a plastics factory. It was converted back to a temple following reconstruction in 1983.”

I wonder if Buddha would be happy that his temple was once a plastics factory, or that his temple has views like this one. (At least he’ll have a place to sleep nearby – Hilton Hotel in the distance).


Buddha may not like that a van is parked in the middle of his sanctuary (on the far right).

It’s unbelievable that this place, known to be of “peace and tranquility,” is now surrounded by busy streets, noisy horns and massive skyscrapers.


Looking over the balcony of Jing’An Temple

But in Shanghai the “new” is taking over the old and ancient.


Near Yu Garden

It’s something that isn’t going over well with many Chinese. So it begs the question – is Shanghai losing some of its cultural charm?


By the looks of it – it seems like Godzilla has taken over and has littered the city with Monopoly pieces.


Scale model of Shanghai – the centerpiece to the city’s Urban & Planning Museum. *Note – the entire city could not fit in this picture.

With a city that already has a population of 23 million – it looks like there’s always room to build another skyscraper, or two or three.

Fortunately, Buddha is still smiling.


The Moped Booster Seat


This is a common site in Shanghai. Children sitting on the laps of their parents on a moped. I cannot tell you how many people do this every day. It seems as if this culture has no knowledge of child safety.

I have seen babies, toddlers and kids, as old as 12 – on mopeds.

I understand that cars are expensive in China. It is also extremely pricey to have a driver’s license, although – to ride a moped, you must have a license.

In my previous posts, I have mentioned that the drivers here are on the “defense.” Swerving in and out of traffic to the point of getting nauseous. I just cannot believe a parent would put their “one-child” in this situation. (China still has the one-child policy. The policy only allows Chinese couples to have a single child – some can have more, but are usually given a hefty tax. It’s part of population control. Shanghai’s population is 23 million.)

I’m not a mother. I’m not one to criticize someone on how to raise a child. I have no idea. One thing is certain – I would never put my child on my lap, on a scooter.