Full Speed Ahead

19th September 2017

XintiandiWe head out with a long schedule of places to see and so catch the metro to start with the place furthest from our hotel and then the intention is to wend our way back as we tick off the sights. First was Xintiandi, a trendy part of town, to see the pedestrianised shops built in traditional shikumen houses with a modern twist. Having arrived in an ultra modern shopping mall with all the usual trendy shops we knew this was not our scene. We were a few blocks too far south, so thanks to the phone maps we soon found the right place. Well it was OK and we did clock the restaurants as a possible eating place for tonight, even the Chinese equivalent of Pizza Express was tempting after all the rice and noodles.

The end of the water display by the museumThe musical fountains in the People’s Park were in full flow so circumnavigating the water I lined up my shot, waited for the ever present selfie taking locals to move on, then pressed the shutter – as the waters die away and finished their display. Bother! Still, as we sat and admired the outside of the Shanghai museum this gave us a moment to rest, but with time precious, we had to give the museum itself a miss on head onwards, if we have any chance of seeing all the must see sights that Shanghai has to offer.

Jing'an Temple with shiny roofsAs if we had not seen enough temples, I wanted to see the Green Buddha Temple but unfortunately I misread the book and navigated us to the Jing’an Temple instead. Oops! Luckily, the shiny golden roofs distracted Dave and as this was worthy of a photo or two we went in anyway. Looking on Wikipedia later I find out that the sitting Buddha here is the largest in the country at 3.8m high. That must make this stop worthwhile then.

How to move a templeHaving softened Dave with a detour to a Starbucks, he was swayed into heading to the correct temple, even though it was not that close to any metro station. As we walked, I mentioned that the BBC website had an article on how to move a temple, as one was being moved a few metres and it was somewhere in Shanghai. Well it turned out to be the Green Buddha Temple and the cranes were in action when we arrived.

Offerings on displayAlthough the main temple was closed, there was still plenty to see. The Green Buddha Hall, which gave the temple its name is tucked away at the back of the complex and the 1.9m high Buddha is quite impressive, but no photos allowed. This was a busy temple with many smaller rooms where we could enter and admire the ornate statues. The symmetry of the bright red lanterns lining the walkway roof caught our eye.

Hanging lanternsOnce the restoration work and moving of the central hall is complete, there will be a larger courtyard in front of the hall, which will allow more worshipers at festivals and holy days. As it is an active temple with up to 20,000 worshipers cramming in for the Lunar New Year, the extra space is much needed. I do not expect we will get back to visit when it is all finished but we can always relay the story of the moving temple!

The Bund at nightBy this time we had done 15,000 steps – 50% more than our target. However, there is no rest for the wicked as they say. Being in a buzzing place like Shanghai we just had to head out for the evening to take in all the illuminations, which we had a brief glimpse of when we arrived yesterday. The grey dreary skies are less noticeable at night time. There is quite a contrast between the new buildings in Pudong District across the water and the colonial style of the Bund but more of that tomorrow as we explore there in daylight.

Pudong across the water

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