Tuesday, May 19, 2009

5 years ago today, May 19

May 19, 2004 saw:

My Chinese Kitty!  That cat lived at the theater academy, and would hang out with us whenever we were outside of our building.  I miss that kitty...we bonded.

This was a free day in our schedule, and (l-r) Laura, Kir, Phil, Andrea and I (not pictured) decided to make the most of it.  We set off on a grand adventure with lots of plans.


This might be my favorite picture from the trip.  It's just so incredibly gleeful...we just happened upon these kids feeding the birds...I love that no adult heads made it into the shot, leaving it to be purely a kid's world.  :-)  (they weren't posing for anything, either, that's just genuine enjoyment.)

Phil, Andrea, Kir, and Laura 

In the subway-mall...they were going to pose with the crazy mannequin in the background, but we were told no photos.

Laura and Kir at the Longhua Temple,  an age old (I believe it was first constructed in the 200's, ad)

This wooden pagoda has a frighteningly impressive age, this particular structure was built in something like 950ad, or thereabouts, I don't remember specifically. 

Longhua Temple.  The next several pics were taken inside the temple.

Laura and I in the Longhua Temple.  Again, wearing the same color.

This jovial buddah was lounging outside.  I definitely recommend clicking on that one to get a full size image, so that you can see the unique mischief each of those kids is getting into.  It's really cool.

After the temple, we had planned to walk what seemed on the map like a very short distance from there to a cathedral.  Of course, we got lost.  We found ourselves wandering around in a very not-meant-for-tourists area of shanghai, (which was actually really cool to see, and we found some really interesting food in a convenience-type store we stopped in to boot) and things were looking iffy for a bit there.  We had a map, but we needed the help of a local.  Folks in that area spoke the dialect native to Shanghai, I only spoke a very base amount of mandarin, and Andrea spoke cantonese, which also didn't help.  We had an "Ah-ha!" moment when we realized that Andrea could read and write in chinese (the written language is the same, though the spoken languages are different)...until we tried asking several people and realized that, in the area we were in, most folks were illiterate.  We were deep in our "ok-now-we're-exhausted-lost-and-no-longer-amused-by-it" phase, huddled over the map, when the woman pictured above walked over to laura, tapped her on the shoulder, and said "Hello."
"Hi," said Laura, almost automatically, before turning back to the map.  There was a beat, and then laura jumped up, turned around and shouted, "oh! Hi! you speak english!!"
Laura dubbed the woman our guardian angel, and she did end up being able to help us figure out where we were, though not before speaking to a few other people and berating the map.  Turned out we weren't too far from the Olympic Park, and once there we were able to get ourselves back on track.
We made it to the cathedral, which was lovely, and made me feel very connected to my Grandma Johnson, despite the unlikely location, and that made the trip worth it for me.

The door of the Foreign Expert Building (notice the black lettering below the red stripe.)...I think this one must actually be from the next day or something...based mostly on the fact that I'm wearing a different shirt.  And, it's the last pic on my camera labeled as the 19th. We rounded out the day with some taxi rides to a club that didn't exist, and we made up a very long, complicated story to tell everyone about how it was actually totally awesome until a series of unfortunate events involving fancy cigars and top shelf cocktails resulted in the club burning down, so no one else could go there.  Classy.

Phil had some nice shots from this day, too:
The pagoda and Longhua
Longhua Temple

In the courtyard of the Longhua temple
The Catholic church

A rose, I believe in the garden at the church.

UPDATE: As an addendum, I am adding a short clip I found, which I took at the longhua temple...I'm confused because I know I had a video, and I thought it was this one, where a gentleman tried (and missed) getting the coin in several times before succeeding.  But here, he's got a perfect shot.  maybe it was a separate one and I deleted it?  Who knows.  In any case, here is what I've got: