To say farewell to Taiwan, there is no better way than to do something totally unorthodox. For instance, Drew, Jack, and I went out and ate snake. We also took shots of their blood, bile, and venom. I felt sorry for the snakes who had to sacrifice themselves for my badassery, but I think they would have realized it was for a just cause.
Shanghai has been a great trip. After Trenton arrived safely in China, we have been having a fun time exploring this city. For our first “outing” we visited a nearby Mausoleum and cemetery. It was situated in a scenic park so we took a walk around the paths and viewed people partaking in Tai Chi or praying to their ancestors or staring at Trenton’s being a white man. Afterwards we wandered into Japan Town (awesome, right? China has Japan Towns because China Town would just be redundant…) and discovered the most delicious sushi restaurant I’ve found in China thus far. We walked around some more and after slipping into a back-alley market we came upon what Americans might call “strange” or “interesting” (whereas I would just say, “Oh yeah, this is China” at this point) – live frogs, turtles, fish, and birds were caged and ready for the cookin’! Pig hooves, giant fish hanging from rusty hooks, and whole squids displayed themselves gallantly as we wondered through our new regular shopping area. Just kidding, but we did end up getting some fruit while we were there. Afterwards, we took the subway into a different area of Shanghai and Milly took us out to some exquisite Hong Kong cuisine for Chinese New Years, since she is leaving for Beijing to see her husband. We had a wonderful visit with her, and will miss her!
The next day, we spent most of our time at the Shanghai zoo! Fortunately, in comparison to the last Chinese zoo I visited (five years ago) this one was kept up quite nicely and the animals were comfortable and cared for, for the most part. The most entertaining exhibits proved to be not only the cute Red Pandas and Giant Pandas (of course) but also the outdoor aquariums, GIANT rhinoceros, and tropical birds with their colorful plumage. Unfortunately, by the end of our day the rain was getting to us so we headed back in to relax at the hotel for a bit and have some tea and coffee before venturing out once more. This time, we just went to a local restaurant for dinner and had some Shanghai food! Hand-made noodles with braised mutton, and delicious boiled dumplings with beef. (This was under four dollars.) Today we are leaving Shanghai and heading into Zhenjiang and hopefully making it all the way to Yangzhou, if I can find the way back. And don’t worry, no more unmarked vans… I think I’ve had enough of THAT kind of adventure for a lifetime!