Friday, April 21, 2006


We really wanted to see old Shanghai before it was completely absorbed by the 21st century so have just spent a week exploring the old parts which are getting harder and harder to find. My photos are not the traditional holiday snaps although a few might have snuck in.

We stayed at the Peace Hotel which is a landmark on the Bund by the river started in 1906 so it is celebrating 100 years old. The room was enormous - twice the size of mine at home and the view was wonderful. The fittings and fixtures throughout are original and numerous.

As most beads are made in China I thought they had to have some for sale in Shanghai. I really impressed myself by finding the bead wholesale market within 13 minutes of leaving the hotel. Naturally I bought too many - 10 kilos!!

These were topped up with another couple of kilos in Hong Kong on the way home. Some might call me obsessive!

We found a silk factory where they used the unspinnable double cocoons by stretching them over frames and then - with the help of four ladies - stretched them to wispy layers over a bed size table and made doonas or silk quilts. We just had to have one and now have a pure silk doona to sleep under for years. First they are sorted then they are soaked and stretched over wire frames and finally stretched over the tables - up to 50 layers per quilt but so light.

The food of course was wonderful. My favourite breakfast was a shallot pancake with chili and a bag full of the sweetest strawberries washed down with a cup of sugar cane juice - total for 2 of us - $2.

We sat eating on the grass near an art collage and only slightly put off by the man nearby with an inhaler sticking out of his nose.
Not sure what to do with the flattened pig face though!

This appeared to be a very popular dish but I passed on it. Wonder what a crad is?

The comparison between old and new is startling with glimpses of the past sometimes still appearing through the forests of modernisation

Even in a back alley in Shanghai you can't get away from MacDonalds!

Peace can always be found in the gardens and parks. I loved the baby's bottom peeking out from his pants.

We found an address for an indigo dyeing factory and were very excited to find it through a maze of old apartments and walked into this garden. Unfortunately they were only for decoration and there was no factory there - just a shop. Still managed a couple of purchases though. They did have one room of dusty stamps and photos but all in Chinese so we couldn't read them

There is a tunnel under the river from the Bund to the tower on the opposite side of the river. To make it more interesting they have a light show as you go through. Makes a boring trip in a tunnel a little more exciting. This is the same view of Pudong across the river from our hotel room.

There are inspirations for quilts everywhere and some of these textures will certainly find there way into future projects. Roof tiles, paving stones and bamboo created wonderful patterns.


Quiltmuse said...

Lovely photos. Lisa -- very inspirational. Thanks for the glimpse of what must have been a fascinating visit.


Vicky aka stichr said...

What a colorful city! At night at least. The tunnel is facinating, I took the liberty of making it my desktop photo for the week. I really enjoyed all your photos and want to thank you for sharing them. Now I have to do a Google to learn more about stretching silk!

Caitlin said...

Wow, what an inspiration-fest! WOOOOT!

Alison Schwabe said...

A silk doona sounds divine.... I hope the mens suit with diagonal stripe jacket feature doesn't catch on, though - a good example of things not quite gelling when vastly different cutlure meet and begin morphing each others' influences.

keryn said...

fabulous photos Lisa, just brilliant. As for the crad, that's best left to the imagination.

I've been in America for a week, and have seen nothing but airports and hotels. I want to go sightseeing and take interesting photos too. If only I didn't have to work.....

Keep up the travelogue!

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Oh what a wonderful vicarious trip! That one photo of the bamboo / grasses through the latice-work HAS to become a quilt! It is just PERFECT, and I can see it so easily translated into your hand-dyeds and piecing!

And ENVY on the bead stash.... personally, I have discovered that I love bugle beads and the larger size 8s....all the impact, a fraction of the number of beads.... heh heh...guess what I'm gonna buy in Houston?

Will write off-blog soon...head out in less than 24 hours, though so crazy busy to my Carol Soderlund class! Say..what did you wear? Did you get dye-messy?

Cheers, Sarah

deb said...

Fabulous guided tour. Thanks for the wonderful photos.

cfent said...

i;m green with envy! what a wonderful trip... i am droolin gover the beads....and the photos are incredible... what a lovely way to wake up this morning! thanks for posting these...