The third quarter of 2009 was dominated by our summer holidays in France, and principally the Celebration of Prayer and Blessing at the end of August for our marriage: more about all this in the next article.
Up until our departure for France, we stayed in China, and we were mostly in and around Shanghai. In late June, we did drive ourselves out of Shanghai, but only about 30 km or so, to Sheshan. Shanghai is situated at the mouth of the Yangtze delta and the whole of the region is table-top flat, rather like Holland. There is only one small hill anywhere near, and Sheshan is it. Expats from Shanghai like to go there at weekends and there are some very nice hotels with very reasonable rates in the region. We spent a night at the Sofitel in a palatial sized suite at the end of June. Unfortunately, however, it poured down all weekend, so we could not make the best of our trip. Too bad; we will just have to go back.
We also found time in July to spend a full Sunday in one of the watertown’s close to Shanghai, Wuzhen. The Yangtze delta is covered by a network of canals and some of the old towns, which have been preserved, can be quite pretty. The downside is, though, that at weekends they can be invaded by local tourists arriving in coaches on their beloved group tours.
Wuzhen, in Zhejiang province, though is definitely worth a visit. It is divided into two parts, Dongzha and Xizha, and the latter, less visited, in particular is very impressive with wonderful old Chinese houses and lovely little bridges arching over the canals Venice-style (neither of us, by the way, have ever been to Venice). As we were there quite early, we avoided the masses of local day tripping tourists. Here are some photographs.
July 2010 saw the beginning of our flat hunting in Hong Kong. We hope/intend to buy. We are still far from finding what we would like to have, but you need to start somewhere. We are, for now, limiting ourselves to Hong Kong Island, but who knows where we will end up … We will be shuttling up and down over the coming months as we pursue our search. In order to maximize the time available to go flat-hunting, we paid for our ayi to come with us in order that she could take care of the two little ones during the day.
During our stay, we discovered a magnificent bar in The Upper House (a hotel), The Sky Lounge. The views over Victoria Harbour and Kowloon from the 49th floor are magnificent
Back in China after our holidays in France – we arrived in Shanghai on 8 September – the weather was still hot and sticky but ten or so days later, the temperature descended to a much more bearable and relatively humidity-free 25C. A great relief, as the temperature went up as far as 42C in July. At 90% humidity, it is quite something to experience.