We had a very early morning today because we needed to catch the train for Shanghai. I am sad to leave Xi’an, but I am also very excited to be going to Shanghai. We’ve been told it’s similar to New York with many skyscrapers and a great urban environment. I can’t wait to experience that.
I fell asleep on the bus ride to the train station, and then woke up once we got there. Once we were on the train for the next 6 hours, I fell asleep again and woke up once we got to Shanghai. From the train, we got on our bus to go downtown to go to a Shanghai history museum. It was here that we met up with the other group of students that stayed in Beijing. It was really great to meet up with them again, and it was nice having our entire group together again. We all went into the museum together and the museum was cool to walk around in. It was mostly wax figures with a few small-scale models of the city long ago and now. It was definitely very interesting to learn about the history of the city before we stayed there for the next few days.
A few of us finished walking through the museum before everyone else, so we were sitting outside waiting and people started taking our picture again. It’s still really strange to me for people to do that, but I’m getting more comfortable with it. Oddly enough, a group of monks came up to us and asked to take pictures with us. Dr. Lee told us they were from a very secluded province in China and had never really seen people that looked like us, so for them, it was fascinating. It was actually kind of cool to take pictures with the monks because they seemed very excited to see people like us.
From the museum, we went on the bus again to get dinner. On the bus, Dr. Lee gave us all a gift he bought for us in the Muslim Quarters in Xi’an. We had all talked about how the kids on the next Plus 3 trips should get matching hats since we’ve seen a lot of tour groups have them, so Dr. Lee did just that and bought us these amazing hats. They were army green with a big red star on top, and they were definitely a unique look. At dinner, we all sat at huge tables and dinner was really fun, especially because we had everyone together again. My favorite thing at dinner was probably the spicy pork, the pancake-looking eggs, and the scallops. We tried to steal the leftovers of the scallops from other tables, but everyone had already finished them.
From dinner, we went to the river that runs through Shanghai and went onto a small cruise ship. It was later in the evening, so all the buildings were lit up and the view was phenomenal. The pictures I took don’t really do it justice because there was just so much to take in all at once. The boat kept doing a few turns, so we were able to get different views of the skyline, and it was all incredible. We all tried taking pictures of one another, so we basically started a mini photo shoot with phone cameras acting as flashlights. We may have been a bit disruptive, but we tried our best to be respectful. We got some pretty good pictures though, so it was all worth it in the end. Unfortunately, we were only on the boat for about an hour, but I could have stared at that skyline all night.
We went to our hotel for the first time, and it did not disappoint. My roommate and I were on the 20th floor and had a spectacular view. The rooms were huge and all very posh. I know we are being very spoiled, and I am absolutely loving it.
I was only at the hotel for a little bit before a few of us decided to go out and explore the city. We didn’t get far because there was this park right in front of our hotel. We walked around for a while and there were a lot of people there which isn’t what I expected because in Beijing and Xi’an basically no one was out past 10, but here, there is definitely a night life. The park was really fun either way. There was a big pond that ran through it and if you laid on the grass and stared hard enough, you could actually see 2 stars. It was breathtaking, and I loved it. We continued walking past the park a bit to this walkway that was above a 12-lane highway which also had a great view. There was this little patch of greenery in the middle of the highway separating the two sides of the highway, and on that green space, there was both a palm tree and an evergreen. It was just strange seeing these two trees together despite their differences in climates they are usually in. I didn’t realize that Shanghai was southern enough to have palm trees. Anyway, the night was really pleasant and a great introduction to the city. We went back to the hotel and crashed for the night, and I couldn’t be happier with how my first day in Shanghai went.