The trip has flown by and it feels crazy that this is already our last day in China. We have one more site visit and everyone has their projects ready for the big presentation night.
When the group met in the lobby in the morning, everyone seemed exhausted from the busy trip, but also seemed ready to give it their all on the last day so that they can fit in everything they want to do in the short time that we have left. We all piled on the bus eager to get to Yu Garden, our last stop as a group. When we arrived, it seemed like we were just walking around a run down part of Shanghai, but then we walked through an opening and there was a sudden change of scenery as we arrived in the garden. There were dozens of small buildings that had beautiful or old, preserved insides. There were also symbols of turtles and coins on the ground that apparently represented a long life and good fortune if you were to step on them. One part of the garden that I really liked was that they had a couple of koi ponds around that were full of neat and colorful fish and even a few turtles. The final thing that I liked about Yu Garden was that all of the bridges across the ponds were zig-zag shaped. Apparently they used to do this so that spirits could not follow people around because they supposedly could only move in straight lines.
After we walked through the garden, we went to a market place with regular retail stores and small shops where you could haggle prices for items. I was able to get some great souvenirs for my friends and family at a great price because it was easy to talk the store owners down to the price that you wanted. Some sellers were very aggressive and took a while to talk down while others were more than happy to get you the price that you wanted.
We went back to the hotel after the market to relax and eat before we had to present our group projects to the staff and other students. The walk to where we were presenting was surprisingly long, but was worth it when we got there because the room was perfectly set up for our groups and just the right size so that we could present without microphones or needing to yell so everyone in the back would be able to hear you. All of the groups presentations went very well you could tell that everyone worked hard. We went to a well deserved dinner after the presentations where we had western Chinese food. The food was quite different and lamb seemed to be their meat of choice. The entree that I enjoyed the most was a lamb kabab that was served and an actual metal sword type object rather than the wooden stick that I am used to kebabs being served on.
I ended my night with some ping pong and snacks then finishing up my packing before I went to bed. This trip has been amazing, and while I am excited to get back home to see my friends and family, I will miss China and all the cool places that we got to visit and all the interesting people that we got to meet along the way.