Stephen was really tired last night after they got a doughnut and did Breakfast Stream, so he fell asleep and never ended the vlog. He mentions that Mark and Rhonda were on the stream for a few minutes. Stephen says that his parents got power back which is amazing since the storm hasn't completely passed through yet. He talks about how there are a lot of line workers all over the state and neighboring states who have been waiting in Florence, South Carolina for a chance to get in there and fix the power. Stephen was blown away at how quickly they fixed it. He says that there is chance that the power might go out again and they have flood waters to worry about. But, the line workers are doing their best to keep the power on.
It is still raining in Shanghai, but they are leaving Shanghai today. They put their luggage outside their door because some people will take it to the airport for them. After breakfast, they are going straight to Shanghai Pudong Airport to fly domestically to Yichang. Then, they will be taking a Yangtze river cruise. Stephen says that it will be interesting flying domestically in China compared to flying to China internationally.
He talks about how the bag weight limit for flying domestically in China is 44 pounds while the U.S. bag limit is 50 pounds. So, he and Mallory had to make sure their bags weighed 44 pounds or less before flying to China. Stephen is curious about how breakfast is going to be at the other places they are staying at since he has really liked the large breakfast buffet at the Marriott Hotel. If the other places don't have breakfast to this extent, then he will really miss this hotel's breakfast buffet.
Before going to the airport, they are visiting 2 more places. First, they visit a Silk Art Gallery to see the art of silk embroidery which China is known for. This art dates back to thousands of years ago. Stephen says that even though Shanghai has become more modern, this is an art that is still practiced today. They were able to see some people doing silk embroidery at the art gallery. He says that it was incredible seeing the craftsmanship in person. Stephen says that it's basically painting...but with a needle and thread. He talks about how the thickness of the material changes based on how fine a line they need in the image. Stephen has never been to a gallery with this many silk embroidery art pieces. Some of the pieces even have plaques that tell visitors how many days it took to embroider that specific piece of artwork. Each of the pieces took an astounding amount of time to make. Stephen says that some things like this have to be done by hand and not by machine.
Afterwards, they stop by Yu Garden which was beautiful. Stephen predicts that they will probably see a lot of gardens during this trip. He says that this garden was built in 1559 by a builder as a gift for his father. However, due to financial hardships it took him 29 years to build it and by the time he finished his father had already passed away. The builder's financial hardships continued after finishing the garden, so he had to eventually sell this place. One of the focal points of this garden is that there is a giant 1,000 year old piece of limestone which originally belonged to a prior emperor. The study room is also facing the piece of limestone, so whenever the owner was studying they could look out and see the beautiful piece of limestone. Stephen then talks about how this garden lies in the heart of the city which is the complete opposite of the garden they went to yesterday which was kind of in the countryside. This several hundred year old garden is surrounded by a huge bazaar area and a bunch of shops. Stephen says that the contrast between the historic sites and modern structures being built around them is really interesting. They can be surrounded by modern shops and then suddenly enter a back door into this beautiful ancient garden.
Stephen says that there were a lot of dragon imagery in the garden. The tour guide told them that dragons were a symbol of the emperor. In imperial China, people would be sentenced to death if they had representations of dragons in their houses. Some people got away with having dragon representations by depicting their dragons with less than 5 claws. This is because a real dragon was thought to have 5 claws, so any dragon that didn't have 5 claws wasn't real. So, people with a high social status would have dragon representations, but with less than 5 claws. The garden had a lot of dragons with 3 claws, so this garden must have belonged to a fairly high ranking person at some point. Then, they had a family-style lunch. Stephen says that most of their meals during this trip have been family-style because it's the traditional Chinese way of eating meals. He says that this is great because they get a chance to try many different dishes. Stephen talks about how when travelling you want to try new foods, so family-style meals is a way to be able to try multiple things in a single meal.
They are now at the Shanghai Pudong Airport. There are still 90 minutes before boarding time, so they are having some snacks at the airport. Mal got melon pan which is popular in Japan and can also be found in Mitsuwa Marketplace in Chicago which they have visited while travelling. Stephen decided to buy a bag of Lay's chips with an interesting flavor that he saw the other day. It was a Lay's Italian Red Meat SPotato Chips which he thought was such a bizarre flavor and that would never be sold in the states. There were also eel and fried crab flavored Lay's chips, but Stephen thought those flavors made more sense compared to Italian Red Meat flavor. Mal says that it smells like Bolognese sauce. They both tried it and agreed that it tastes like a weaker BBQ chip. There flight ended up being delayed for an hour.
They flew from Shanghai to Yichang and had over an hour long bus ride. Then, they took a noisy elevator down to where the boasts Victoria Cruises ship was. They get to their rooms on the ship and Stephen says that he and Mal won't be able to sleep in the same bed because the room has 2 small twin beds. Then, he talks about how everything on this ship is too low for him because he's so tall. He dealt with this issue when they went to Greece and when they went on a ship with Alex and Hayley. His hair touches the ceiling while walking around the boat. The shower is also elevated, so he will have to crouch down in order to take a shower. The doorbell suddenly rings and ut's someone delivering Mal's luggage. They don't know if the boat is immediately leaving tomorrow, but Mal heard that it's supposed to stay here for most of the day.
- Yichang is a prefecture-level city located in western Hubei province, China.
- Silk embroidery is the art of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply threads of silk in order to create an image
- A melon pan is a type of sweet bun from Japan, that is also popular in Taiwan and China. They are made from an enriched dough covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie dough. The names comes from it's resemblance to a melon. In recent years, it has become popular to add melon to it.