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4 April

Today was intended to be a day of rest and relaxation and it started that way. I stayed in bed until after 9 AM. I then read my email and found that my lovely wife wanted me to talk with her and she wanted to be able to call me. This was more of a problem that expected. It took a visit to my room from the person at the front desk to figure out how to make a long distance call to Canada. Once I called my wife I insisted that she call back immediately so that I could find out if her call was reaching the front desk. It didn't so I talked with the man there and found out the number on the card I had been given was the wrong one. I called my wife and gave her the correct one and when she tried it she got through directly. Now all is well.

I then went out for brunch and followed that with the purchase of a map of Shanghai that includes bus route numbers. It is only in Chinese but the numbers should help me use the busses as I have wanted to do.

I then decided that it would be a good time to look around Peoples Park. I wandered through the lesser travelled paths as is my wont for some while before I entered the area where larger numbers gather. I loitered in an area where quite a few mostly young men and women were socializing. Eventually a few took note of my presence and made friendly remarks. We exchanged a few words and took pictures. I mentioned my visit to the Oriental Pearl Tower and my dissatisfaction with the price. Many of them immediately agreed and suggested lower prices that they felt would be more fair. It would likely appear to be acceptable to this group if it were 10 RMB. However, the Tower is likely getting as many people as they want at the current price so don't expect it to go down.

I then wandered on and met others and opened conversation with a few people of all ages. Some of those that I spoke with were very well educated and enjoyed the opportunity to converse with me. Eventually a boy of about 11 years of age bravely and in good English began to question me. It was a fine conversation we had. He then requested that I accompany him to meet a man who spoke English at the English Corner. Since he was so polite I decided it would be a good thing to do. He refered to the man as Mr. Fat. This is a name I had previously been informed of so I was interested to follow. When I saw Mr. Fat (I hope this name is correct - if not this entry will be corrected) he created a very strong impression with me indeed. He felt like a bold and forceful character, much in control of the situation. He welcomed me with great vigor and it appeared that I met with his approval. He then gave me a fine introduction to others in the gathering and suggested that I converse with them. It was the beginning of my experience with this wonderful tradition; exchanging views and opinions in English. For the rest of the afternoon I was addressed by numerous people, both male and female from the age of young childhood to almost 90. Most were well educated including to the level of a university professor. All were polite and deeply considerate. Sensitive political questions arose and were discussed in a very friendly and satisfying manner. Philosophy, religion, culture and most of all language were placed under consideration and discussed with great respect. As the final moments of the day approached Mr. Fat returned to inform me that he would be leaving as he had been there since morning. He wanted me to know that he would welcome me to return next week and requested the particulars required so that he could contact me. I gave him the full details of where I stay and we parted on the most agreeable of terms. I must say that I found him to have a deep and enjoyable sense of humor that compliments his strength of character very well.

On my way home I stopped for supper and then found something I had been looking for since my arrival. A supermarket for groceries and the like. When I got back to the hotel I discovered I had another blister on my foot. For Lesah's sake I won't describe exactly where it is on my anatomy. But I will say it is right under the skin where the first one was.

More Musings

  • Almost every occidental person I pass in public averts his or her eyes as I approach. I can't imagine why. It is a mystery to me. I enjoy showing a friendly face to all that I meet.

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