A Day in the Park


I love a day in the park in Shanghai.  My trip to Fuxing Park was probably the most enjoyable.  Fuxing Park is hailed as one of the top ten spots to visit if you are in Shanghai.  It is located in the French concession area and the park is filled with sycamore trees and beautiful flowers of all colors, shapes and sizes.

A fun day in Fuxing Park

If you get up early enough on a weekend morning and head to the park, you are sure to spend hours there just walking around enjoying the sights, the culture, and the elderly Chinese folks who spend time together playing  one of the most popular games at the park, Mahjong.  It is a card game of skill, strategy and played with a certain degree of chance.  It can be played in a fun gambling style too. Tables of 3-5 men are seen slamming cards down on the table and chatting about something.  I am not sure whether they discuss the card game, their lives, or maybe even talk about the Americans who are standing over their shoulder watching and trying to understand the game.  It doesn’t matter,  it is still fun to see them enjoying the day.

A friendly game of Mahjong on a Saturday morning in the park.

More often than not, there will be a group of 10-20 ladies dancing with swords or ribbons to the music they have wheeled in.  Possibly even some folks singing Chinese opera.  Elderly couples may be dancing to a waltz or trying to dance to some country music song.

Older folks may be practicing Tai Chi, or people of all ages may be getting in a popular game of badminton, without the net.  All of them seemingly having a great time in the park.

Matt giving the Chinese Yoyo a try.

A further stroll might lead you to an open grassy area with many Chinese playing with their Chinese yoyos. The yoyos are disks played on a string between two sticks.  If you can get it spinning fast enough it makes an amazing whistling sound.  If you stand around long enough someone is sure to let you give it a go.  The simplest way to get the yoyo going is to move both sticks up and down.  However, I found nothing simple about it.  I could not get the yoyo to do much of anything, but It was fun trying.

Many elderly men take their birds for a walk in the park, but always in a cage.  When I hear chirping, I immediately start looking for elderly men swinging their bird cages because most often that is where the chirping is coming from, not just random birds sitting in the trees or flying around. The beautiful sounds of chirping birds is a rare experience in Shanghai.

Keep on walking and you may stumble upon a guy writing beautiful Chinese calligraphy on the sidewalk with a liter bottle filled with water and a sponge on the end for writing.  And again, if you stand there long enough, he will happily let you enjoy the experience as well.

I may have written my name but I am not really quite sure.

Most often you will see many elderly people exercising in the park, among other things.  You may see them walking backwards, reaching back and slapping their backs, and the most curious sight to me was seeing them rub up against the trees.  That one I did not understand.  You might even catch an interesting pose on a park bench.

Striking a pose on the bench...

A crowd usually gathers round when a fair skinned person stops and talks to a Chinese person in the park.  Then, of course the photos start right after that.  That is fine because I will usually take some pics as well.  What goes around comes around, right?

If you want a day away from the so-called fast paced Shanghai lifestyle, or simply come to visit a friend in Shanghai, Fuxing Park would be a great place to spend the morning.

About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

One response to “A Day in the Park

  • Doreen M McFarlane, Ph.D.

    I’m a new blogger to WordPress and just came upon this delightful story about the park in Shanghai. My husband and I lived and worked in Nanjing and Shanghai for four years (2006-10) and only discovered the great activities of Sunday Morning in the Park when we visited Chengdu and wandered into a park there by chance! We are still glowing with the sheer joy of what we saw and felt that day. So glad you had that experience too!

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