After a five week Rotary Group Study Exchange Trip to Japan — it was a pleasure to meet my Japanese friends — and go off with them for three days in Shanghai and into the surrounding Countryside.
The international organization known as Rotary promotes yearly travel that all people between the ages of 26 and 40, male and female, and of all backgrounds – should know about – because it is a Rotary-funded six week study aboard and anyone can apply to be a part of this significant life experience. If you are this age group – you could enjoy the kind of experience that is described in my notes in this article. To find out more about the program go to the international Rotary website and search for GSE – Group Study Exchange – and contact your local Rotary Club for more information. After being the GSE team leader to Japan for our Rotary District, the following travels were an invitation from Japanese friends to go with them to China.
And more adventures come from Rotary GSE.
November 12th – Monday in Shanghai:
Lilly explained that many industries in China are still government owned and people are used to working for the government. Until only fifteen years ago all were paid the same wages, no matter what job that they did. There is much labor in China – and we headed out this morning early over one of the six suspension bridges connecting the older west side of the city to the newer east side of the City – and all have been built since 1990 — thanks to the Chinese labor force. This time in history marks a major change for the City as many new buildings and public projects were completed – and we noticed that construction activity seems to never stop here. We drove in the company van – the Jin Bei, a Toyota product – and we commented on others, a Buick, and Volkswagen has a join project with a Chinese venture here. Lilly’s parents were penalized twenty years ago for having two children – instead of the “one child restriction imposed by the government” – and lost half of their salary for several years. Today her husband works for the water company – which was half acquired by the French several years ago. Jeans are everywhere – with “bling” – and the dress on women here looks like American women in designed jeans.
Today we are going to Tia Xing – where Kobayashi San’s Knitting Factory is located, in a town of about 130 million people – and it’s a three hour drive from Shanghai through the countryside. Lilly told us that washing machines are popular in China but not dryers – so people hang their clothes out to try – and thus, these are called the “national flag” – but the government has since said that in the City people can not hang their underwear out in this fashion. We enjoyed the countryside along the way – the houses that surprised us with their grandeur and spaciousness – the neatly tended farms and water ponds and carefully trimmed bushes framing the highway. We were surprised by the large sky-rising frames for the bridge that spanned the mile of the Yangtze River (the Chang Chang Jing River) – and as we looked down we witnessed the highly trafficked commercial river that runs west to east, emptying in the East China Sea – connecting five major rivers – and many many cities. Shanghai is located at the eastern end of the Yangtze River (the “long river”).
We arrived at the factory and were ホームページ制作 福岡 greeted, Chinese style, by the staff outside – and Tanaka San and Shidan Xia. Lunch was a grand feast in the company management dining room – so many foods – and we ate heartily. After coffee in the sitting room – Shidan Xia, Lilly, Dennis, Kobayashi San and I returned to the van – to go to Yang Zchou, about an hour away, which is the home of Jiang Ze Min, the former President of China and the home of the Shou Xi Hu (Slim West Lake). Pulling up to the water, we boarded the dragon boats, sitting with the long table, enjoying tea and sesame candy – and beginning our float down the scenic beauty of the lake – past the pagoda style structures, the willow trees gently descending to the water, and the classic beauty of this very Chinese setting. We made our way under the arched bridges, and the bridge with five pavilions, and the 24-step bridge. I really liked the sesame candy and soon Xia brought back six packages to take home. This setting on the Slim Lake would also be very beautiful in the springtime when the peach blossoms and other color enhanced the scenic picture – and we enjoyed today, also, wrapped in a foggy hue.
Leaving the Lake, we stopped at the Da Ming Temple, where the Buddhist monk Jian Chen (who went seven times to Japan to take Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty) – became a monk. We entered the first structure and saw a big statue of Jian in gold with his disciples who were also gold statues on either side. On our way out, we waved at the monks who now live in this Temple – and learned that monks have good wealth in China.