The bullet train experience to Shanghai was just like the last one: 6 hours taken up by a nap and a desperate attempt to catch up on blog posts.
The first night in Shanghai definitely helped explain why it is called the magic city. Our first meal in Shanghai was Chinese “Italian” food, it was alright but I was excited to try more Chinese food while I am still here. Afterwards we took a boat tour on the Bond. As we had been driving around Shanghai the skyline was dominated by massive buildings that stretched up into the clouds. Driving through these was cool but seeing them all lit up at night was magic. The boat did a loop of a stretch of the Bond and as it circled we marveled at the bright skyline. There were buildings with all different gimmicks: huge readouts, a flapping butterfly done in lights, shooting stars out of lights flying up the side of one. They were all amazing.
First ideas of the city: a lot smoother than the other two. The entire city is very New York but more so and cleaner. The local roads are below a canopy of trees and the highways rose above them. When driving on the highways you could see cars on the local roads through the trees below.
The breakfast was even more hotel-esqe and American than the last two which was disappointing but the hotel itself made up for it. This place was fantastic, great views of the urban sprawl and very comfortable beds.
We were off to our second university visit: East China University of Science and Technology. The school and tour were disappointing. For a high-ranking school in Shanghai of all places it kind of sucked. We started with a business lecture. I am very tired of mediocre business lectures, if I wanted that I would have taken business.
Next was the tour. The entire campus was fairly dirty, even the dining halls. The tour was slow and circular, showing off all the campus had to offer: a bunch of bleak white buildings. The meal was pretty good. I was the first one through to get food and had three Chinese grad students take the rest on the seats. It was cool to talk to students but overwhelming to do it one on three. At one point I had to go to the bathroom and one of the students had to walk me to the third floor of another building because there was no bathroom in the dining hall.
After the meal the ECUST students and us headed into a school room for another lecture. This time it was from a forty-ish year old American expat who moved his wife and kids to China to learn Chinese. It was a pretty good talk and an interesting take on Chinese life from a tadeonal American.
After the visit we bussed to the
Shanghai Urban Planning Museum. The museum was pretty cool, especially the
scale model of the city. Fairly quick time and then back to the hotel.