My favorite garden "shot" -
During the Cultural Revolution, many of these old mansions and gardens
were destroyed or allowed to go to ruin. Now, however, they are being
redone for the benefit of the people and tourists.
In Shanghai, there is the famous Bund overlooking the harbor. We did
the required "romp along the Bund" but spent more time at the
"Children's Palace." This is a private school for children where they
learn English, violin, art, typing (not keyboarding), ballet and
various other skills. The school building is an old school edifice that
used to belong to the Brits. Over each classroom door, the old signs in
English still stand. Children are valued in China, as everywhere.
However, since women can only have one child, they are especially
The teachers showed off their students' accomplishments very proudly.
In the English class, one child selected to demonstrate her command of
the language was asked, "What do your parents do?" She answered, "My
mother is a doctor and my father is a cooker." Was this a subtle way to
suggest there was equality among the Chinese regardless of
The parents and grandparents are encouraged to come and sit in the
classes. They are not there to help the teachers enforce discipline,
but as a subtle way to educate the older generation that suffered
without education under the dictates of the Cultural Revolution.
Then, we went to see a Buddhist temple. Like every other Buddhist or
Taoist temple, this one was very, very busy. We arrived on the day when
a new head monk was being installed. The people in this picture are
burning Hell money for their dead relatives. There is a story that the
huge gold Buddha was saved from destruction by the Red Guards by a
quick thinking monk. He knew the guards wouldn't bother with Mao, so he
unfurled a banner with Mao's picture on it in front of the Buddha. Is
this true? Who knows? But it makes a great story!