I cannot believe the final day in China is already here! This trip, full of adventures, as absolutely flown by. It seems like it was just yesterday I was traveling on the bus from the airport into the city of Beijing! We started off the day by meeting up with our Shanghai tour guide and heading over to the Yu Garden. The Yu Garden is located in Old Shanghai and is an extensive garden that was built in 1559 during the Ming dynasty which took 18 years in total to build. At the time, the garden was the largest and most extensive in Shanghai and after seeing it, I would assume it is also the most beautiful. We also learned that Yu meant to make someone comfortable in Chinese. The owner of the garden was a wealthy business person who built it for his parents’ comfort. As we made our way through the garden I was shocked by how large the garden was. In total, it took just under an hour for us to make our way through the garden’s numerous bridges, houses, and ponds. The garden had separate buildings designated for family, dinner, games, as well as one specifically meant for the use of opium – one of the major drugs at the time. The garden also had its’ 3 staples – water, bridges, and the pointed roofs on the houses in every single section of the garden. Additionally, all the bridges were zig zagging as it was believed that ghosts could only walk straight and that if you walked in a zig zag that you would be safe. At one of the entrances to another section of the garden we also came across two lion statues made out of pure iron that were 800 years old. I was shocked to know that they had not been moved even after the Japanese invasion in 1942 because they were just too heavy to lift! Finally, one of the most beautiful parts of the garden was the one massive stone which had holes all throughout which were all connected so that if you poured water down the top it would fill every single hole!
Following the gorgeous tour of the garden we then exited into the Yuyuan tourist mart which was filled with local shops and food places. Luckily on the hot day like today they even had ice cream! While there I was able to purchase some t-shirts as well as a sign that had my name hand written on it in Chinese. Although the aggressive selling techniques had been a little bothersome to me in the past, I have grown to accept them and be willing to bargain for the price more and more.
Later on, we traveled to a nearby hotel in order to give our final presentations for trip on our group’s business start-up in China. It was awesome hearing all the ideas on the trip ranging from our one demand skin care and cosmetic recommendation service to the bike sharing food delivery service. After the presentations, we headed over to the Silk Road restaurant which was, in my opinion, the best food we have had so far in China. We had some delicious lamb which we were able to dip in some spicy seasoning as well as lamb that was served on a sword that literally melted in your mouth. We even got amazing freshly squeezed fruit drinks! Following the completion of the meal Dr. Li, Gabi, Young, Jane, as well as everyone of the trip gave a short speech regarding their time in China. It was awesome to see how close to group had gotten over the past two weeks.
Following the dinner, the whole entire group went out to enjoy and celebrate for the last night! China, thanks for one of the best experiences of my life!