May 14th- I finally see what I missed in Xi’an

May 14th was our last day where the seven sick students were alone. We met up with the big group today, and resumed the rest of our trip the next day.

We were given another late morning to recover from the train ride the day before. It was the first day where we ate breakfast at the Regal hotel. They have the best breakfast of the trip; I had yogurt, cereal, and donuts. It was an awesome meal, and I was ready for the day.

We left for the Shanghai Center building at around 11. I didn’t know going in, but it is the second tallest building in the world behind the Burj Khalifa (which is in Dubai where I visited last year), meaning I have been to the top of the two tallest buildings in the world! The way up was a good trip; we went to a museum for the building related to the construction of the tower, and saw the other tallest buildings in the world. New York had 5 or 6 in the top 10 or 15, which I found very impressive. Getting into the elevator itself was also interesting. There was a total of 128 or so floors to go up, and we went up at a speed of 8 meters per second, which is quite fast.

Upon making it to the top, there wasn’t too much to do. We had a great view of the river that runs through Shanghai, and could see the Bund as well as some of the bigger buildings. We took some pictures, and there was a restaurant located at the top which was not part of our schedule, though it looked like a great place. After walking around on the top, we headed down to the Museum of Shanghai to meet up with the rest of the group.

The Museum of Shanghai was super close to the Shanghai center building, but we had some time to kill before the rest of the group met up with us from Xi’an. We went into a mall, but it was so like all the other malls in China. By most other malls, I mean one with four or so floors and a lot of shops where I can’t bargain or argue. The same goods that would take up space in my suitcase I could by in the states for a similar price, we could buy in these malls. Instead, we hung out in a Starbucks and waited to leave. We then went to the Museum, and walked around the stores outside of the Museum while we waited for the others and the tickets to enter.

Finally, after 4 days of illness and separate activities (mostly sleeping), we met up with the rest of our group. It was awesome to do a full number count for the first time in a while, and stories were compared. They had a great time in Xi’an, and we told them how we had a better time in Beijing (which was false).

After catching up, we all went into the museum to see how Shanghai came to be. It was fascinating; it walked through the opium epidemic and the subsequent arrival of westerners, and covered the Japanese occupation during World War Two. Lastly, the Museum ended with a summary of how Shanghai has become the international hub that it is today.

After the Museum, we went to a fantastic dinner in Shanghai. It was the first meal to have a salad, and I was relieved as it had been a long time since I had fresh vegetables. After dinner, we all went on a river boat tour of Shanghai. It was at night, the prettiest time to see Shanghai because the smog becomes almost a non-factor. After the tour of the city, we went back to the hotel and prepared for the next three days of professional visits.

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