Monday, April 03, 2006

Back home now

We are back home safe and sound. We took the overnight train from Shanghai.. left at 7 pm and arrived in Beijing at 6:58 AM. We had a “soft sleeper” which is the top of the line accommodations. It cost about $50/per (anna free) and was really fun. The kids had a blast. The cabin was pretty tight, with two bunks (one upper and one lower) on each side and a table in the middle. Everyone slept well.

Other big news was we finally and spontaneously and rather surprisingly broke down and bought the kids a Game Boy. We have always refused all such gizmos. Jacob has become pretty skilled anyhow, by playing computer games and gaming at his friends’ houses constantly. They were thrilled and so far have been pretty under control. We bought it and a few games at big outdoor market in Shanghai.. I think the Game Boy is actually real though who knows.

Shanghai was really nice.. ag reat walking city.. very pretty, lots of trees planted byt the French during their lengthy occupation. Nice parks nicely maintained,.. not as dusty as Beijing and not as many old buildings being ripped down and replaced by skyscrapers.

We were in a cab and I said to the kids, “I have to say I think Shanghai is a little more pretty than Beijing.” And Jacob said, “Actually, Beijing isn’t pretty at all.” And he had a point.

We did mostly kids’ activities in Shanghai… science and tech museum (which was really good), aquarium (very nice), up to the top of the Space Needle building, which is supposedly the third highest in the world (lobby made me sad.. reminded me of WTC).. We also rode the world’s fastest train.. the mag lev from Pu Dong to the airport.. it goes 431 km/hour. Incredible. I took the kids out there just to ride it, while Becky was working. Jacob and I loved it. Anna and Eli were wrestling.. just another subway to them. It’s very smooth and you don’t quite realize how fast you are going until you look down at the highway and fly by all the cars.

We also went out one night, using an ayi from someone in Becky’s office.. we put the kids to bed and went out around 9 pm on the Bund with some WSJ folks.. had a nice time and surprised ourselves by staying out until 2 am… on the way out of a trendy expensive bar with a great rooftop deck and onto a grimy local watering hole, I bumped into Beijing friend Colin Pine on his way in. That was funny.

Only letdown was I didn’t get any of Shanghai’s famous soup dumplings.