We arrived in Shanghai yesterday. After another 6 hour bullet train ride, we checked into the hotel which is incredibly nice. It’s so fancy that the blinds have their own remote and there’s a bowling alley in the hotel. The beds are also super comfy so I’m super excited to be staying here. They told us that in each city the hotels get progressively better and they did not disappoint. We the had pizza for dinner, which was amazing. It’s kind of crazy but after a week out of the country I was really missing our greasy American food. It was also nice to break up the monotony of Chinese food for practically every meal. After dinner, we went on a river cruise of the Huangpu River which bisects Shanghai. Since it way dark outside, all of the buildings were lit up and the skyline was breathtaking. The view was absolutely phenomenal and actually reminded me a lot of New York with modern architecture and skyscrapers. It was incredible to see the city from that perspective and I think I took about a hundred pictures.
Today was our first full day in Shanghai. We started the day with a visit to the East China University of Science and Technology. When we got there some of the local students took us on a tour of the campus and then we attended a lecture by one of the University’s professors who talked to us about starting businesses in China. He told us that China is actually ranked pretty high as one of the easiest places to start a business. He also taught us about the different kinds of trade restrictions in the cities and that Shanghai I had free trade. He also told us about how companies settle disputes whether it be with litigation of arbitration. After that we had lunch in the school cafeteria and then we listened to another speaker, a man who moved to China with his family so they could learn Chinese and attends the university. We also got to talk to some of the students about Chinese traditions such as the upcoming dragon boat festival and we played a game where you pass a water bottle as music is playing and, whenever it stops, whoever is holding it has to do a little performance for the group.
When we had finished at the University, we made our way to the Shanghai Urban planning museum. It was very interactive so there were a bunch of little activities as well as bunch of dioramas of architecture. There was also a full model of the city of Shanghai and it was incredible. There was so much detail in every building, and it was awesome to see the city as a whole so we could get a better idea of the size and where exactly we were. There were a bunch of different exhibits there and one of them had a bunch of pictures of Shanghai throughout the years to show how the city has grown, so that was also really interesting.
After the museum we stopped at the hotel and then went to dinner at a Cantonese restaurant. The food was so good! I think it was one of my favorite meals because usually there are a few dishes I’m not fond of, but I really liked everything we ordered. We tried a really good noodle dish that is very popular in China as well as chicken, pork, fried rice, and green beans.
When we finished dinner, we went to Chinese acrobatics show. The show was really good, it started off with acrobats doing flips and there was a woman doing cartwheel type things in what was basically a giant hula hoop. Then there was kind of comedy act where the performer was trying to throw darts to pop balloons his assistant was holding but the assistant was acting scared, so they were going to call up an audience assistant. We knew this ahead of time because they did a similar thing at the show last year so we all planned that when the asked for an assistant that we would chant Matt’s name to get back at him for being late. Well Matt raised his hand before we even had a chance to start chanting his name, so the assistant started walking over. From that point on though, it did not go according to plan. I was sitting right next to Matt and he started to get up and then the assistant said he didn’t want Matt and he pointed at me! I hesitated for a second, but I went up with him on stage. He made me hold a balloon in each hand and put a hat on my head with another balloon attached. He had me turn around and then the balloons popped. I only later found out that he didn’t actually throw the darts and he just had his assistant pop them. In those few seconds I saw my life flash before my eyes! I thought I was actually letting a random Chinese man throw darts at me. Needless to say, I think Matt owes me one. Despite what I felt was a near death experience, the show was pretty good. After the show, a group of us walked around Shanghai because the area we were in was super nice and had a bunch of designer stores and then we walked back to the hotel. By the time we got back I had fully recovered from the traumatic experience and overall I’d say it was an eventful day.