I wish I could’ve had more time to explore Xi’an, but I’m impressed we managed to visit most of the famous sites in three days. Today, we traveled to Shanghai, the “City on the Sea.” Once again, we boarded the bullet train to Shanghai. It took roughly 5 hours to travel to Shanghai, but thankfully I slept most of the travel time away. When we finally arrived at the train station, we were greeted by Yang and Alex. I learned that Shanghai used to be a small fishing village until the British named Shanghai a treaty port after the first Opium War. Then the village started to grow into a city as the British, French, and Americans came and brought its culture and architecture. Shanghai was once called the Paris of the East.
Soon we were on a bus to the Shanghai History Museum. Immediately, I started to notice the differences between Shanghai and Xi’an. I was amazed by how many and how tall some of these skyscrapers are. It’s interesting transitioning from living in Xi’an to living in Shanghai, a more modern and developed city. To get to the museum from the train station, we had to cross the Huangpu River. The Huangpu River separates Shanghai into, Pudong and Puxi. What’s amazing to me is that Pudong used to be all rice patties until 1993, when the Chinese government set up Pudong to become the financial hub of modern China. In 25 years, Pudong has become very modernized and is continuing to grow. We headed to The Oriental Pearl Tower, a TV tower in Shanghai that used to be the tallest structure in China from 1994 to 2007. After reuniting with the group who traveled directly to Shanghai from China, we headed for the museum that showcased Shanghai’s history. The wax figures within the museum all looked very realistic. I enjoyed looking at all the small-scale models of old buildings in Shanghai. Afterwards, there were Taoist monks who spoke a language other than Chinese that took pictures with some of the girls.
I was very hungry after the museum visit, so thankfully we went to dinner afterward. I think my favorite dish was the shrimp. After dinner, we walked to the Huangpu River Cruise Port located on the Bund. Before we entered the station, we passed by a building that is said to create music due to its structure. I was initially surprised by how many people were lining up to go on the cruise so late at night, but I understood once I got on the top of the boat. All the lights from the Shanghai city line were sparkling; it was a beautiful sight to see. It was really cool to see all the light reflecting off the Huangpu River. Once the boat took us back to the port, we headed to our five-star hotel. After some exploring, I found out that the hotel had an expansive gym, bowling lanes, and even an indoor tennis court.
The cruise on the Huangpu definitely ended my first day in Shanghai on a high note. I can’t wait to see what else Shanghai has to show me.