Day 9: The City That Never Sleeps

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May 14, 2018

We woke up extra early this morning to head to the train station. I was extremely tired, but I knew we had another six hour ride until we got to Shanghai. So, I spent the majority of the ride asleep. This train ride seemed a lot quicker than the one to Xi’an for some reason though. Six hours later, we arrived in the final city of my study abroad trip in China: Shanghai.

As soon as we arrived, I could tell Shanghai was nothing like Beijing or Xi’an. Most people compare this city to New York City and call it the “city that never sleeps”. We bussed past the main commercial area in Shanghai and the architecture was amazing. This area is known as the Shanghai French Concession. This area is primarily a retail and residential spot and is very popular to tourists. Something interesting that we saw was that the architecture of the residential apartments was Russian and Scandinavian. Our tour guide, Alex, also told us that Shanghai’s population is equivalent to the population of seven Londons. I don’t know if I’d be able to live in Shanghai just because it is so large.

We made it to the center of the commercial area where we saw colossal skyscrapers and business buildings. Walking around the streets really did remind me of walking in the city back home in the states. Lots of people were on the streets and cars were zooming by: I missed this type of fast-paced environment. A big difference that I also noticed in the city area compared to New York was the shape of the business buildings. They were not your traditional skyscrapers: the architecture was more creative and some looked like wacky shapes. It was really interesting to see since we only have a couple of these types of buildings at home. We then walked into the local mall and had a tour explaining more of the history of Shanghai.

Afterwards, we walked to a restaurant in a building in the center of the city to have dinner. We had special Shanghai specific dishes such as the first soup dumplings of the trip and roasted pork. The meal was delicious. Out of the three places we visited, Shanghai’s food was the least spicy. But the spice didn’t stop me from eating the food in Beijing and Xi’an!

Once we finished dinner, we walked about a mile to the port for a cruise on the Huangpu River. When we arrived to the dock, this ship was gigantic. It had three levels and was filled with people just as excited for this ride as we were. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was night-time, and lights were lit up all across the city. It was beautiful; reds, blues, yellows, etc. flew into the air and reflected off of the river. This was the perfect spot to take pictures and the city looked amazing at night. When the cruise ended, we headed to our hotel which is called Regal International East Asia Hotel. This hotel tops both places we stayed at in Beijing and Xi’an just because of how large and fancy it is. I was pretty tired after this long day, so I went to bed. I turned off the lights in my room and closed the curtains because the city was still wide awake.

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