May 18th- I eat something other than Chinese food!

After one of the first nights where I had gone to bed at a reasonable time, I woke up feeling well-rested and ready for the Yu Garden, the last cultural site of our trip. In addition, I knew today that I would have a few hours to hang out before I needed to be back and give my group presentation for the Plus 3 project. We headed out in the morning, and I was amazed by what I saw at the Yu Garden.

Now, if you have been following my blogs you will know that there was a small garden in the Forbidden Palace. While we were there, Professor Li mentioned how the Yu Garden was much prettier, and that we should save out pictures for there. He was right! The garden was magnificent, particularly the pool and the bridge going over it. I learned that all Chinese gardens have a crisscrossed bridge over water to keep out evil spirits and foliage to show their connection with nature. It was a pretty sight, and close by was also a set of shops where you could bargain and haggle down the price a fair amount. I was able to purchase gifts for my family and purchase a mahjong set.

After the trip to the Yu garden, we were given a few hours of leisure time. We could spend it at the hotel, spend it at the Yu garden, or travel around Shanghai. David, Jacob, and I all went to Pearl Market, the nearest haggling market in Shanghai. It was pretty big, with all of the stores offering exorbitant prices to us knowing that we were tourists. However, we had prepared for this and heard about these outrageous prices form Liliana and professor Li. I ended up purchasing some fans for a third of their markup price, and bought a pair of real Ray Bans Sunglasses (they most definitely were not real).

Heading back, I prepared a little for our product pitch presentation before heading to the hotel with everyone else. The presentation itself had to be about a potential product that could appeal to the Chinese market. We decided to create a scanner that can tell what allergens are present in food by reading the proteins in the food. I consider myself to be a proficient public speaker, and together, our group gave a concise presentation answering questions confidently. After the presentation, we went to dinner at the Silk Road restaurant. One of my favorite meals of the entire trip, it was a Western Chinese restaurant that had foods reminiscent of Middle Eastern culture (because western China borders countries like Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan). During dinner, professor Li announced the winners for the presentation. My group placed second, along with another group.

Later that night, our whole group decided to head out and look for karaoke. We convinced Jane, Yangyang and Gabi to come out, but instead ended up going to a night club in which Yangyang knew one of the administrators. It was a long night, but a fun way to end the trip.

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