29. Sheshan Hills

Sunday morning, Shanghai. Shower rain and fog suggest me to stay home. The weather like this is the worst for doing outdoor activities. I checked a forecast in Shanghai whether the weather is going to get better or not. It went better. At least it was not raining…

Around 11 o’clock I left my apartment and after around two hours I achieved Sheshan Hills (佘山) which are placed in Western part of Songjiang District (松江区). It was some time ago I drove to Jinshan Beach through Jinshanbei – the memorable first trip to Jinshan. On the way to Songjiang South Railway Station, I noticed that there’s a hill area nearby Metro Line 9. I wanted to achieve the place since I missed any shapes of hill or mountainous landscapes. At least I’d climb a little bit.

So I did it. I achieved the top of Sheshan Hill where I found out are placed three or four (including Sheshan Forest Park itself) major attractions, these are: Sheshan Observatory Center, Sheshan Temple and the Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan! The last attraction made the greatest impression on me. Not because the building was enormous or beautiful. It’s normal, even I’d say this Basilica is much more humble with interior decoration and façade.

Just a fact that I’d found a Basilica here in China made a huge impression. As I read on information table, this is the only Basilica in China and in the Far East! Yet I felt the greater feeling reading the history of this church, this place. For me a for a Christian it was amazing experience to read and listen to the history told by the local guide.

The area of Sheshan Hills itself was foggy, I’ve seen barely building upon the hills. However, the green accent of trees and fresh smell of growing trees made a great vision of the place! Smell like in the jungle or in the garden where’s a lot of flowers and blossoms. After one hour of walking around the top of the hill, I went down the North Gate to exit the park/hill and to have a walk around. If you just could imagine how much intensive was the fragrance of flowers in the air…!

When I found myself on the bus station nearby the East Gate, I took one back to Sheshan Metro Station, from where I drove to Qibao Town (七宝镇) one of “Water Towns” in Shanghai. It was an evening time when I reached the town. I unlocked the MObike bicycle to cycle around the town. My climates: lights reflection in channels, old style houses, local smell and hubbub. Besides that it’s around 7 o’clock in the evening, still the Qibao streets were a little bit crowded. Most of people were of course the local one. I’d notice it because of Shanghainese (上海话), I heard all around.

I stopped for a while on the bridge from where I’d see both Qibao Garden and Qibao New Town, which is just in neighborhood (the Metro Station Qibaozhen is placed there). A moment of peace. Even the noise hadn’t broken that moment. Moreover, it even added a flavor of Chinese and China. However it sounds like, here I’d feel like in China town, in this case the origin one. In all China in cities where are found such a water towns you can experience a similar feeling. Real China, even if in cover of Shanghai “autonomy” – which makes Shanghai is called a Chinese New York – still I can feel this Chinese climate I know from other cities like Suzhou, Guilin, and so on.

After some time, I left Qibao and drove to Qixin Road Metro Station from where I drove back directly to my home area.

It was such an amazing day! I carried some flowers collected in Sheshan Garden. My very good friends are arriving soon in Shanghai and I thought to welcome them within freshness of flower fragrance. Why do I mention about flowers now?

Well, at midway to Jinhai Road Metro Station many people entranced the train. Among those people were a woman and small girl aged 5-6 years old. After few minutes, the girl started to talk with a woman that here’s a foreigner in the train. I noticed it was about me, since I haven’t seen neither European nor other nation people around me.

I said to girl: “你好,你叫什么名字?”; it means “Hey, what’s your name?”. I just wanted to make a surprise to a girl and give her a chance to talk with a foreigner. She replied in English: “Hey, my name is Katie”. Then I continued a talk in Chinese and she in English. When she couldn’t understand me, someone supported me and explained to girl what I meant…

I was amused! After a longer talk as with a girl so with a woman who carried her it came out she’s studying English in the International School – something like we have “International House” worldwide. I was nicely surprised. I never experienced it before, that a Chinese child so bravely talk to strangers even if she’s asked just hello – what’s common for many non-Chinese people just to make children happy.

But, this time that little girl made me happy! I really like those moments when small children try to speak English to me, regardless if it’s in China or Poland or somewhere else – where English is not a mothertongue. It memorize me myself, a boy who dared to speak English, Spanish and more when he was just 7-8 years old!

It was a quintessence of the day. I was so touched by the girl I gave her flowers I collected to my friends! I saw such a grant was a great pleasure to a woman. After they left the train – a few stations before me – I started to wonder about the all day and the recent experience, where I’d see a brave of a child, a girl to reply to the foreigner without SHYNESS! It gave me a thought, what’s the last time I was so brave to prove even a small knowledge? Where and how have I done it?

I know you may expected another impression to share after a suggestive title of this writing. Nevertheless I wanted and I want to include all experiences from the day in this one writing and to leave you – my dear reader – with a such question: when it was the last time you broke the ice somewhere you’d feel weak, however, you broke it and done something what seemed to be difficult or simply impossible to do? Have you got some skills you don’t improve just because you’re shy or you worry to fail?

At the end, I’ll leave you with a such hint: me myself, I worry sometimes, whether my writing skills are good or not. Even I wonder if I should continue to write writings here… Over all, I continue and share my impressions here with you. So, maybe you’ll do something you have queries, if you can do it?

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