Sadly, today was not only our last day in Shanghai but our last night in China. As I write this on the bus driving to the airport, I am a lot more upset then I thought I would be. I will save my emotions for my summary post after this, however, and focus on what we did today.
So, today we woke up at 8 am, ate a delicious buffet breakfast for the last time, and drove 30 minutes to the Yu Garden. This garden is pretty unique because it is right near the center of the city. While the majority of the city is new with large skyscrapers, the Yu Garden is one of the oldest and most green parts of the city. The actual garden is pretty gated off and definitely stands out.
This garden was built by a high-up government official in 1577. The official had this garden built for his family as a place for them to go and relax. The location has a large rock in the entrance with Chinese writing that serves a symbol to keep the evil spirits out. In the center of the garden, there is a large tree-like figure called a Magnolia Flower which serves as the city flower.
Right next to the garden is a street similar to the famous Muslim Street we visited in Xi’an. The street is made up of a variety of cheap consumer good shops. This was perfect for everybody to do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs. I personally bought t-shirts for my mom, two brothers, and sister. Unlike the Muslim street, some of these shops had no bargaining signs in them. However, these signs are lightly or not at all enforced. For example, I asked for a t-shirt and she responded with the price of 69RMB. I said that’s too high and she responded with the no bargaining sign. Then as I went to leave, the manager of the store came out of nowhere and said: “ok 60 RMB.” I found this encounter pretty amusing.
Also on the street was a variety of food shops with stereotypical meat on sticks such as fried crabs, spiders, pigs, etc. I laid off these options and I know my digestive system thanked me later for this.
After some shopping, we rode back to the hotel where we made our final preparations for our group presentation. Our business idea is an app that allows you to take pictures of foods, and then all the ingredients appear on the app shortly after. Throughout our two weeks in China, people would have no idea what most of the foods were that we were eating. Even natives who were our moderators did not know what certain foods are. This becomes an issue when you have dietary restrictions and you are not sure what is in each food. Or if you simply want to know what to order, this app can help.
Overall, our presentation went amazing. We performed far better than when we practiced by ourselves in a small hotel room. We even got asked an assortment of questions that we answered very adequately.
After the presentation, we went back to the hotel to finish packing. At 8:30 pm we returned our key cards and made the one-hour bus ride to the airport. It took about 2 hours to get through customs. After a Burger King Whopper sandwich, we boarded the plane and officially said goodbye to China at 12:30 am local time.
Right now, I am on the plane to San Francisco and I have one last comment, DO NOT EAT AIRPLANE food. After eating 3 of the 4 meals on the way to China and feeling terrible for a day, I (stupidly) decided to eat the first meal we were given on the flight back to the United States, even though I told myself I would not no matter what. The meal was chicken and rice and all I ate was the rice. Something had to be wrong with the rice though because my stomach has been gruesomely hurting since this meal. Regardless, I have 5 hours left to kill on this flight so wish me luck and I will speak more on my overall experience of this trip during my summary post.