Day 9: Shanghai? Shang-hellohello!

The day started early once again, since we had to catch the train to Shanghai. After what was probably the quietest (and also the earliest) breakfast on the trip so far, everyone met in the lobby to check out. I had to tape my luggage shut again, but I made a mistake thinking that I could get away with using less tape than I had used last time. So of course, after the bus ride, my luggage was basically open on the bottom again. I had to carefully maneuver between people and carefully avoid bumps to avoid ending up leaving a trail of clothes from my suitcase behind me. When I made it to the gate successfully, I re-taped the whole thing, to the point where my bag looked like it had been mummified.

It turns out, after much mention of matching hats and pointing out other tour groups, Dr. Li had bought hats from the market last night. See picture. So now our entire group has matching Communist Party hats. Well, according to Dr. Li, they’re “not quite real Communist Party hats, but they’re close enough.”

On the train, after my group met with Dr. Li to discuss our business idea, I tried some of the snacks I bought last night. The other pastry I had bought from the bakery was a bit like a Twinkie, if a Twinkie was an actual baked good and was fluffy instead of cakey. For lunch, I made the bowl of instant noodles with the hot water on the train. They far exceeded my expectations for instant noodles, and I wish that this kind was available back home.

The train station in Shanghai is right next to the airport, so now I know where we’ll be heading when we leave on Saturday. We met our Shanghai tour guide, Alex, when we were leaving the station.

An hour later we arrived in downtown Shanghai, where we finally met up with our other seven people. After the cheerful reunion, we perused the Shanghai History Museum, which had some interesting information on, you guessed it, Shanghai’s history. There were also wax figures in just about every room, which was a bit unnerving.

That evening we had our first dinner back as a full group, and the energy that was present indicated just how happy everyone was now that we were 24 again and not 17. Actually, we kind of gained a person; we started counting off as 25, since Liliana was still with us but was technically no longer on the clock.

After dinner we headed to the river for the Huangpu Cruise Tour. It actually didn’t end up being a tour at all, but the view from the river of Shanghai all lit up at night was fantastic. We took pictures for pretty much the whole hour we were on the boat, and some groups started getting all professional, with people using the flashlights on their phones to get the perfect lighting for pictures.

We explored the hotel a bit that night, and it was definitely the fanciest of the three that we stayed at. The beds were also the most comfortable. While the first two hotels’ mattresses were quite firm, the beds at the Regal International are like clouds.

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