I just arrived back at the hotel from an amazing afternoon of walking and exploring the streets of Shanghai. This is another enormous city with a population of 22 million!!! There is not a skyline; rather, skyscrapers and high-rises stretch in every direction. The Bund River splits the city in half. After first seeing the river and then proceeding to the top of the Shanghai TV Tower, I have concluded that Sydney and Shanghai are the two most fascinating cities I have ever seen. We went up the tower at dusk so we got to see the city in the daylight, at dusk and at night. Amazing.
I have two favorite buildings – the Jim Mao Tower, which is the 3rd tallest building in the world and is also home to the world’s tallest bar (which we explored on the 87th floor). Its shape somewhat resembles an ancient Pagoda. My second favorite building is the 2nd tallest in the world, and it looks like a bottle opener because it has a large cut-out square near the top. I wish I could show you pictures, but unfortunately my camera has malfunctioned and will not work any longer. Therefore, if you are really interested, google Shanghai, and I’m sure you’ll find what I’m talking about : )
Shanghai has a much more Western influence. All the sign have English subtitles, many more people speak English, and we run into many more Westerners. The city also appears to be quite affluent – though there is never any shortage of people trying to sell fake Rolex watches.
Friday we travelled to ASC Fine Wines, which is a foreign wine importer and distributor in China. One of their employees gave an hour presentation about the wine industry in China and about their company. We were then able to ask more questions related to our individual group projects. This session was probably the most informative thus far.
We then had Brazilian BBQ for lunch, and this was our first non-Chinese food meal in quite some time. Later in the afternoon we stopped by the Australian consulate for another briefing before going up the TV Tower. The weather has been biting cold at near freezing temperatures with a sharp wind. We have been quite cold!
Trip to temple
Saturday the 6th we left to go see the Jade Buddha temple. We saw many people bowing down to statues and lighting sticks on fire so that the smoke would carry their prayers to Buddha. I did not particularly enjoy this experience; especially with the suffocating smoke enveloping the whole place. Next, we went to the Shanghai museum. Here we viewed ceramics, paintings, bonze things, and old coins. I probably could’ve lived without ever seeing this museum, but I guess it was interesting enough – maybe …
Later in the day we stopped at some more markets before going back to the hotel for a two-hour nap before dinner at the hotel. My awesome group and I spent the whole rest of the evening working on our project and putting our PowerPoint presentation together. We made good headway, which enabled us to explore the city today.
After sleeping in, we worked on our project a little more and then took the subway downtown. This was our first Chinese subway experience, and it didn’t disappoint us. Even though it was a Sunday, all the train cars were completely packed, but we were still able to wiggle our way in. After we surfaced, we pulled out our map to see where we were, and three young Chinese people asked us, in near perfect English, if we needed help.
Long story short, we ended up making friends and walked around with them awhile before going to a little teahouse with them. The y were very friendly and kept on saying, ‘more people, more fun.” I was highly impressed with their English, and they asked many questions about the US. They also said that we didn’t look like Americans because we were so skinny 🙁
After trading email addresses and parting ways, we went to Pizza Hut for lunch (they’re actually nicer sit-down restaurants here.) Then Stewart and I walked up and down the waterfront and took in the sights while discussing all that we have seen. This time next week we’ll be home. That point is almost unfathomable to us! However, most all of us are very excited to be home and see our families for the Christmas season.
Tomorrow (Monday) we give our presentations and then have a celebration dinner that will conclude our time in China. We fly out on Tuesday to spend a few days in Kuala Lumpur.
Take care and God Bless,