Sadly, today was our last full day in China. I tried not to think about it too much because although I’m excited to go home I’m also sad to leave. The day started off nice and early with another great continental breakfast at the hotel. We then headed to the bus for the last time to travel to a site visit. Today we went to the Yu Garden and had a tour guide, Alex, for the visit too. When we arrived at the garden Alex told us that the man who he created it did so to please his parents. It was a beautiful place and extremely peaceful too. As we walked through the garden I found it more and more beautiful and I was surprised as to how big it actually was. Alex told us about 4 important elements/things for Chinese gardens. They are water (we learned that goldfish bring wealth), limestones, bridges, and pagodas. The bridges are always zig-zagged to prevent ghosts and walking in a zig-zag doesn’t allow them to follow. Pagodas are important elements because in the old days when large cities didn’t exist they allowed people to have a view of everything. Additionally, I learned that the bedrooms in the garden were built above for security reasons and to give a better view. In some parts of the garden, there were turtles made into the stone ground pathway and Alex told us that if you step on the turtles the Chinese say that you will have good health and wealth so of course, I had to step on every turtle along with everyone else. Lastly, Alex told us that the ground was made with small pebbles/stones because it was meant to be walked on with bare feet and the purpose was so that the pebbles/stones would massage the feet of whoever was walking in the garden. We were then able to shop at some of the stands of the vendors at the same complex as the garden. Some people bought sets of mahjong or chest sets of figures for themselves, but I got a few last minute gifts and a wooden mask for myself to hang up in my room at home.
Following our trip to the Yu Garden, we took the bus back to the hotel and had a few hours before we had to present our group presentations. I used this time to relax a little bit and then my group rehearsed our presentation together a few times. We met up with everyone when it was time to leave to go present and we walked to another hotel and went to our presentation room. I thought that my group did a great job presenting our business idea, along with the other 5 groups too. My group’s idea was a company that had the objective of providing a service that would mainly be used by up and coming musicians, but can be used by anyone interested in music and performing. It’s a service that is essentially a hybrid of Uber Eats and Air BnB. Musicians who would need equipment or instruments could rent what they need from our platform which would be an app on the WeChat app store, and musicians and companies can make any equipment or instruments they aren’t using available for rent. Our service provides pick up and delivery between destinations to ensure a timely and safe delivery, as well as avoiding traffic headaches for musicians. After our presentations, we had the farewell dinner and my group found out that we won the Most Innovative award for our business idea. At dinner, everyone gave a small speech about their time in China over the last two weeks and it was cool to hear what everyone had to say. I’m hoping there’s some way we can stay in touch with Liliana, Jane, and Young, that would be pretty cool. The farewell dinner was also easily the best meal in my opinion. There were so many meat dishes it was great. Following dinner, we all walked back to the hotel and spent some final time together before having to leave tomorrow.