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
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
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.
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.