Flying High, in Shanghai

Wow. Just wow. We are now in Shanghai and China continues to take my breath away. Liliana said Shanghai is more New York than New York is and now I understand why. The buildings are skyscrapers and the designs are something of wonder. I said I could look at the mountains for hours but now I will add these buildings to the list. Unlike Xi’an, most of the buildings are not alike. As you move more towards the center of the city, the buildings become more intricate and unique. 

Yesterday was a travel day to Shanghai. We took the train again and although the train is impressive, it’s not meant for sleeping. But when we arrived, we went on a Huangpu river cruise. Similar to Huawei, pictures do not do it justice. 

The hotel in which we are staying is 5 stars. The rooms are insanely luxurious, and I feel like I’m not worthy. The hotel has a bowling alley on one of the floors! I see a plus3 China group bowling competition in our future! But for now, we’re all just marveling at the curtains and lights that can be controlled by a single remote. I’m thankful for this hotel because I had my first uninterrupted night sleep. I can get used to this. 

We visited the East China University of Science and Technology. Ashley was our student volunteer. We were given a campus tour and we saw the outside of the dorm rooms. The students have washers but they don’t have dryers. They hang their clothes on rods extended from their balcony. Four students share one room and they do not get to choose their roommates. 

Group photo at the East China University of Science and Technology
Students drying their clothes outside of their dorms

Dr. Peter Peng, an associate professor in the school of business, gave us a presentation on doing business in China. China ranks 46 (1-190) on the ease of doing business ranking. In the most recent 2-3 years, Shanghai specifically has improved. They previously ranked 90. The United States is at 8 and New Zealand holds the number 1 spot. He also talked about the requirements for creating a company in China and in his opinion it is very easy. Then, he discusses China’s relationship with other countries through the free trade agreement. China has signed 19 agreements with other countries with 13 under negotiation. The United States has 20 with other countries. However, no agreement exists between China and the US. This is because it’s hard to negotiate between these two large countries and reach a consensus. 

We then had lunch in their dining hall. They had a noodles option and they made the noodle by hand in front of us. After lunch, we heard from Tim, an international student, about his experiences on campus. He’s from Alabama and as far as he knows he’s the only American on campus. He lived in China for 2 years before starting school. He brought his family over here, his wife and 3 kids, because he wanted them to learn Chinese. I thought this was very interesting and I appreciate his dedication to education. 

We toured the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. It displays Shanghai’s urban planning and development. There were a couple interactive machines on the top floor. On the third floor there was a model of the city. The model was built in 2001 but is updated every year. I find this incredible. We also learned that Shanghai has 24 million residents and 50% live in the city center. 

Model of Shanghai

Our last stop for the night was to the Theatre and Chinese Acrobatics Show. There were many acts and they were a combination between gymnastics and cool talents. Unfortunately, photography isn’t allowed. But the memory will live on forever in my mind. 

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