The Past and Present(ation) Day

May 18

The last day of the trip! And our shortest bus ride of the trip? Yep. Today we visited the Yu Garden with our tour guide Alex, who we had not seen since the first day we got to Shanghai. We parked in a parking lot in some random area of the city and walked through an alley between some apartments with people going about their daily lives (if you can’t tell, I was confused and a little weirded out). But after a few turns and the streets we walked on got a lot more crowded, we arrived at the gate of the Yu Garden. It is completely in the middle of the old city. If you look up from any of the ancient styled buildings, you see some of the sky scrapers in the new city on the other side of the river. The contrast of ancient and modern was shocking. The Garden was owned by a trader who used it as an escape from his busy life and a way to vacation in a calm location. There was a library, a main house, and guard stations among many other buildings and trees and flowers. There was also a river flowing through the property with a primary pond in the main garden. The Garden shows many traditional aspects of Chinese garden because it had water, fish, and a zigzag bridge (there are other aspects, but Alex said these are prominent in the Yu Garden). The zigzag bridge is funny because they are specifically designed that way because it is believed that ghosts could not cross them (there are also barriers to step over at every doorway because ghosts can’t cross them either, I mean don’t ghosts float?). One notable scene in the Garden was the Dragon wall. It is a wall that has a dragon head at the corner and the body extends out for the rest of the wall. There were three of these such walls in the Yu Garden, but we only saw the head of one of them.

After the group had walked through the Garden we had an opportunity to shop (I finished getting gifts for people here). We were also given the opportunity to go back on the bus or find our way back our selves. I decided to go back on the bus, so I could have a chance to do a little packing for the return home tomorrow.

Well, no packing actually took place. When we got back to the hotel, Jared and I decided that our last afternoon in China could be better used and took the subway into the new city to stand under some of the largest buildings in the world (figured it out all by ourselves!). That turned out to be a very good decision because from far away you can see that hey it’s a tall building, but when you stand next to it and have to arc your back to see the top, you realize how massive these things are. We grabbed a snack in the bottom of the Shanghai Tower and walked between it, the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Jinmao Tower (it was the shortest but had some obvious ties to ancient Chinese architecture, and I thought the cross between that and sky scrapper made a really cool building).

We also presented our business ideas and had the farewell dinner that night.

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