Day Thirteen: Yu Garden and One Last Hurrah

Twelve days are in the books, and in front of us lies one final day in China.  To start the day, we visited the Yu Garden.  Before getting there, I envisioned the Yu Garden to have lots of green space and lots of beautiful plants like how a typical garden is set up.  I was surely mistaken.  We walked through a residential area, a market, and continued to walk until all of the buildings around us looked like traditional Chinese buildings.  At this point, we were right by the front entrance of the garden.  The Yu Garden was built during the Ming Dynasty for a government official’s parents to live out the rest of their days in peace and tranquility.

The very first thing we saw was Sensui Hall, which is the largest structure in the entire garden.  It was used primarily to entertain guests.  Next, we moved on to the main pond.  Inside this massive pond were many white and orange koi fish as well as a few turtles.  Cool looking rock formations with plants were on the perimeter of the pond.  I found it particularly interesting that this garden has been rebuilt a few times over its 500+ year history.  It took 18 years to initially build, but was destroyed and eventually rebuilt during the Taiping Rebellion.  It also took some heavy damage during the Opium War, and was eventually rebuilt by the government in the late 1950s.  Because of the damages to it, not much of the Yu Garden is originally from the 1500s, but there are still parts that resemble the original closely and it is still quite a wonder to see.  After exploring most of the garden, we stumbled upon an area for musical performances and actually got to see a traditional Chinese performance for a few minutes!

We had some free time in the area, so a few friends and I took a walk and explored the bustling markets on some of the streets.  I went in to one shop and bought myself two small Buddha figures for 70 yuan.  Legend has it that if you rub a Buddha’s belly, you will find happiness, good luck, and prosperity.  I plan on giving these out to some of my close friends to hopefully pass on this positivity.  We left the area around noon, and began to prepare for our final business idea presentations, which was right before our farewell dinner.

At around 5 pm, all of the groups met up in the lobby of our hotel to walk over to another hotel where we would be presenting our ideas.  My group’s idea was a music equipment rental service; it would work by a user renting an instrument or piece of equipment from a music store or individual seller, then it would be brought from the store or individual seller to the user via drop-off delivery service, similar to how UberEats works.  After each group presented their idea, we went to dinner as a group one last time.  We ate at this Turkish place, and many of the dishes were excellent.  After everyone was finishing up eating, every single person gave a speech on how much fun they had on this trip and some unforgettable moments they experienced.  We had some great laughs and a great time reminiscing about some of the things that happened during our two weeks here.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and was certainly glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone to take part in such a once in a lifetime experience.

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