Why no blog from day eight? You guessed it! yesterday was another travel day, this time from Xi’an to Shanghai. We spent roughly the same time on the bullet train as our last trip, and saw many of the same sights. The first thing I noticed when I got off the train in Shanghai was how humid it was outside, especially compared to the relatively dry climates of Beijing and Xi’an. After a bus ride to the hotel, I stepped into what was probably the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in in my life. After a brief rest, we got our first “American” meal of pizza and French fries. I ate French fries on pizza for the first time (I know, it’s surprising I didn’t try that in Pittsburgh with their obsession with French fries on everything). After dinner, we took a boat on the river to see Shanghai’s skyline. I initially doubted Nancy when she said it was very New York City like, but after the cruise I was fully sold. This city’s skyline is insane! After the cruise I went to bed, excited for the week ahead in Shanghai.
I woke up this morning, got ready, and headed down for another hotel breakfast. This hotel had a slightly different buffet from the previous two we had stayed in, but it was no less delicious. My favorite item was the mini sugar doughnuts they had, which were some of the best doughnuts I had ever had. At nine it was off to the East China University of Science and Technology. After a tour of campus, we went to a classroom for a lecture. This lecture was the most business-student oriented lecture I had ever been in, which was not fun as an engineer. Nonetheless, I learned about Chinese business which was cool. After that we went to their dining hall for lunch, which was unsurprisingly better than market. An American student attending the school spoke with us a bit about his experiences living in China, then we wrapped up our time at the school playing a game and speaking with chinese students about culture in small groups.
After the university visit, we went to the City Planning Museum. Finally some engineering related activities! In the museum, there was a three-dimensional model of what looked to be the entire city. It really put into perspective how massive Shanghai is! The museum also contained information on street signs, the subway and other public transport, and other civil engineering related topics. One fact I read that stuck out to me is Shanghai has added twelve new subways lines since 1995. Twelve! Compare that to New York City, which recently finished their first new subway line in years at a cost way over initial budget and behind schedule. I don’t tend to believe communisim works in most instances, but I will say when it comes to public infrastructure projects like the subway it is much more effective than capitalism. The City Planning museum really put the majesty of Shanghai into perspective for me.
Tonight, we are going to see an acrobatics show. It is not my first time at a show like this, although it is my first time going to one in China, where the art of acrobatics originated. I have high hopes and I’m sure I won’t be let down.
Day 1 in Shanghai was incredible! The trip may be coming to a close but I am looking forward to the remainder in this great city.