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May 30, 2011

Seven six-layer days – Day Seven

We started our day in Shanghai with an abundant breakfast. As a group we decided that the hotels in Beijing and Xi’an had better breakfasts but I am not complaining. Who could complain when you could have chicken feet for breakfast? It is a once in a lifetime chance, I thought. They weren’t bad. Of course, I had other things as well. There weren’t as many choices as in the other hotels in the previous cities.

We met at the specified time and took off for the day of sightseeing and shopping. Our first stop was the silk factory. We saw the life cycle of silk worms as well as a demonstration of how silk is made and how silk comforters are made. Several in our group bought comforters. I will be eager to get back to mine. I remembered when Kay brought home silk worm eggs from school. We had a fruitless mulberry tree in our back yard so we had food for them and our kitchen was transformed into a silk worm nursery. The cycle was fascinating but we didn’t kill the worms, we let them eat their way out of the cocoons and begin another cycle. In order to make silk, the worms must be killed and the silk unwound from the cocoons in long threads.

Silk Worms – China 2010

After the cocoons are immersed in boiling water and then cold water, the thread is unwound and reeled in long 300 to 600 meters lengths.

Silk being reeled – China 2010

In this particular factory the silk was being stretched and made into silk comforters. Some of the people on the tour helped stretch the silk.

Silk being stretched – China 2010

Naturally, some of the group bought silk comforters. I already have one so I was not even tempted.

Silk Worms

Jim and Janis buying a silk comforter – China 2010

From the showroom we went to various sales rooms which were featuring clothing, souvenirs and rugs. We went to a showroom featuring cashmere article and also to a showroom featuring silk carpets. It was fascinating to watch the women weaving silk carpets. I only saw women weaving. Perhaps it is not something a man does in China. It was also very cold. The weavers were bundled up.

Silk Carpet weaving – China 2010

After we left the silk showrooms we went upstairs to a Mongolian barbecue. The food was good and it was nice to sit down and get a little warmer. From there we were taken to the Chinese street market. It is an area where there is an abundance of goods for sale. Note – in this picture, Rainbow is in the pink coat.

Chinese Street Market area– China 2010

Rainbow took us on a tour of the rock gardens built in the Ming dynasty. One particular rock has been there for over 1000 years. She warned us about pickpockets and then left us to shop on our own. We had about three hours.

Rock Garden – China 2010

I was amused by some of the signs, namely this one:

Toilet Sign– China 2010

Some of us were cold and we headed immediately for a tea house where we purchased a tea ceremony. The ceremony took a long time and we were glad because in spite of bundling up, we were cold. I was wearing a silk undershirt (thank you Terri), Cuddleduds, a long sleeved Tee shirt, a cashmere sweater, a jacket and a lined coat, gloves and a hat and I was still chilled. It even snowed a bit in the afternoon.

Shanghai tea ceremony – China 2010

After three hours we walked to the restaurant where we were having dinner. The six people that were with us earlier were sitting at the next table. We were so glad to see them. There were lots of hugs and visiting and grumbling about being separated. One of our group, George wasn’t feeling well so we were concerned about him. He is 73 (just a spring chicken) and has had a quad by-pass as well as being diabetic so he has some health issues. His wife assured us that he would be fine. Her sister and husband are part of the group and it is fun to see the four of them together. From the restaurant the group went to a show. I read the write-up and I knew that there would be flashing strobe lights and so forth so I opted out of the performance. Some, of course tried to persuade me to go but I did not want to fly home with a headache tomorrow. I thought I would be sent to the hotel in a taxi but I went back in solitary splendor in the bus. All of them waved at me as I left them at the theater.

I took a hot shower, put on pajamas and the snuggly robe the hotel provided and nestled into bed to read “Shanghai Girls”. This has been a wonderful trip but I am ready to go home now.

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