Subject: RE: Shanghai Clip joint warning
Coincidentally, I just got back from a quick weekend trip to Shanghai & Suzhou. Saturday I wandered along Nanjing Lu and the alleys and streets between there and Yuyuan Garden for about 6 hours. The new pedestrian mall is a popular family place on the weekend and the big department stores along the mall were teaming with people. I love the backstreets of Old Shanghai most - the tiny little stores selling specialty goods (from stationery to ball gowns) with the clothes hanging from wires over the shopfront that you have to push aside to make your way down the crowded sidewalk. The people I encountered were friendly and very interested in trying out their English.

The trip to Suzhou was, I confess, a little disappointing because we were escorted by a business colleague who was so concerned about our comfort, etc. that we were not able to see all of the sites that we would have, had we been on our own. But, we did see some wonderful temples in what appears to be a beautiful city and ... we built relationships (something very important in this part of the world). We'll go back again on our own to walk the streets and find the canal scene that hangs in our living room.

It's good that stories such as Ray has re-posted help travellers be more wary of the scams that are found throughout Asia (not specific to Shanghai) - but I hope that it doesn't stop Ziners from coming to China. There is a point when, regretably, all travellers (whereever in the world) should question the motives of new-found friends and not go blindly into circumstances from which it may be difficult to escape.

China, however, for the most part, is full of warm and gentle people who are fascinated by the west and genuinely want to chat with you to learn, not only the language, but more about other cultures and societies.

Cheers from Hong Kong, Judy