We weren’t reunited with our group until the late day of the 13th, so it was technically still sick season. By now most of us were back to feeling normal again, so we began our continuation of the trip. The day before, we took a high speed train to Shanghai, or as I like to call it, the New York of China. Shanghai is a much more modern city compared to Beijing.
We began our morning with a trip to a market place where they had all sorts of shops selling everything from cellphones to tea. While I didn’t end up buying much, it was very fun to just walk around and see all the things these people were selling.
The 7 of us continued throughout Shanghai and decided to take a day trip to the Shanghai Center, a 600+ meter building that rotates 120 degrees. It is another amazing feat of Chinese engineering. There was a long description of all the innovative parts of this building from electrical grids that are more efficient to rain collection basin that filters the water on the way down the building. We took an elevator to the top at 18 meters per second and reached the top in about 50 seconds. The view at the top was amazing except for the excess of smog in the air. You could see all parts of Shanghai on both sides of the river.
One thing that is especially amazing is how new a lot of Shanghai is. Before 30 years ago, there were almost no sky scrapers. Now, due to the increasingly fast growth of the economy in China, buildings are every which way. This amazes me how fast a society can adapt to an entirely new environment, but also it makes me a little sad to think about places like the Hutong in Beijing. The traditional areas of China are disappearing faster than they realize it, and will be completely gone in no time.
Later we were reunited with our group that went to Xi’an without us. We briefly visited a museum about the history and culture of Shanghai and had dinner together. We traded stories of being sick for stories about Xi’an. Unfortunately we did miss the terra-cotta warriors in Xi’an, which I was looking forward to a lot, but I made up for it with the visit to the top of the Shanghai Center.
The final event of the day was a cruise through the center of Shanghai. The views were amazing. At night, all the lights go on, as does the sun. All the buildings are so bright you can see them from a mile away. Buildings like the Shanghai center and the radio tower especially stood out because of their height and color.
On the cruise we experienced a very aggressive woman who wanted very badly to take pictures of us, and after she got the answer of no from several people she began to curse out our guide in mandarin. I find it interesting how fascinating people of foreign cultures are to some Chinese locals.