Day 9: Hello Shanghai

Today was another goodbye, but also an interesting hello. We woke up early to ride the amazing bullet train once again to Shanghai. I had really enjoyed Xi’an but from all that I’ve heard about Shanghai, I was excited to move on. I knew Shanghai culture incorporated a little bit more Western culture compared to our previous locations, Beijing and Xi’an. Although, I’ve really been enjoying Chinese culture I was excited to maybe experience a little bit of home in any way possible. I also heard that Shanghai is China’s largest city. For some reason, going to the largest city in the most populated country in the world seemed interesting to me. Another thing I was told is that the closest U.S. city that one could compare Shanghai to was New York, and I love New York. I was excited to experience the nightlife in Shanghai, China’s own city that doesn’t sleep.

We arrived in Shanghai at around 2pm, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time to check in and settle into the hotel. Instead, straight from the station we went to the first thing on our schedule which was the Shanghai History Museum. The museum is located under the famous Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower. In the museum there were various exhibits about different industries and time periods in Shanghai history. The museum was like a wax museum which helped bring to life the history of the last century in Shanghai. Some of the exhibits had sound effects and even smells that helped create that real effect. I thought that was cool, because it is a very effective way to teach me about history, that I wouldn’t be able to truly relate to or understand by just reading and looking at artifacts. Going around looking at the many exhibits, I remembered what our tour guide had explained how Shanghai’s culture is heavily influenced by French culture because of France’s concession in Shanghai. The French influence in Shanghai was clear to see in some of the exhibits depicting Shanghai’s older buildings that were constructed in the style of French architecture. One display I enjoyed a lot was the Bund at night in the 1930’s. The Bund is the waterfront in central Shanghai that lines the Huangpu river. The display was so colorful and beautiful.

After the museum visit our group waited in the center of the tv tower. It looked like a mini mall. While we were sitting there something kind of strange happened. A group of us girls were sitting on some steps taking pictures and all of a sudden, a group of monks came up to us smiling and laughing and motioning for a picture. Now, local people seeing a group of us and wanting to take a picture wasn’t a new experience at this point, but this was different. At first one of the monks came up to me and took a picture with me. That was fine of course. After her, however, another one of them came to take a picture. I started to realize that I’d be taking a lot of pictures in the next few minutes. After one monk took her picture, another would take her place beside us. After the long morning of traveling I was kind of tired, but this was amusing and becoming quite funny. Dr. Li noticed and came over to see what was going on. He explained to us that the monks were from a very rural area in China and that they don’t even speak Mandarin but a different language and the other lady with them was their translator.

Later after we had dinner we headed to the Bund where we got on the Huangpu Cruise Tour. The view as we cruised along the river, was breathtaking. The city shined very bright at night and I loved how the lit-up skyscrapers stood in their beauty along the night sky. Many many pictures later the cruise was over, and we headed to the hotel for the first time all day. Today was amazing but I was ready to get in bed and end this long day.

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