Day 11: A Pilgrimage for Coffee

Today was our visit to the Shanghai Deep Sea Port, one of the biggest ports in China and a hub for trade in the country. The drive was about two hours, so a Pitt alum who lived in China was invited to come and speak with us on the ride there. Her name was Sarah, and she had studied at Pitt about 10 years ago for business. She was very interesting and had a conversation with us about how she learned Chinese and what her life has been like the past 10 years in China, as well as how she has seen China change over those 10 years. I went up and talked to her for the rest of the trip, and she hooked me up with a lot of the Chinese language programs that she took advantage of when she was learning Chinese herself, without actually majoring or minoring in it at Pitt. She stayed with us the rest of the day, and we got to chat a lot more and get her perspective on a lot of the stuff we had been learning. We got to the port and saw the beautiful view and the mass amount of shipping containers there.

We all took some pictures and then headed over to the Lingang Group for our last company visit of the trip. Now I’m gonna be honest I’m still not quite sure what the company does, but from what I can understand they manage the removal of goods from the incoming ships. However, they aren’t the actually the company that is in charge of shipping. They just work with the logistics of efficiently loading and unloading things coming into China and the ports they own. However, they are a government owned group, so they don’t really have any competition. I’m still a bit confused about the whole thing. They took us out to one of their docks and we saw a ship unloading BMWs to be sent all over China for purchase. Apparently, BMW is one of the most popular car brands here. After we saw a bit of the dock, we went back and had lunch and then headed back to central Shanghai. We had the rest of the evening free and it was our last night in Shanghai. I got to do what I had been dreaming of doing since before I even knew I was coming to China, I went to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, the largest Starbucks in the world.

First some of us headed to dinner at an amazing place that specialized in dumplings and ate our fill. Then I headed to the destination of my pilgrimage. I have been a lover of coffee since late middle school, it is a bit of a special thing for me and my dad, to have coffee in the morning together or go to a shop together. So to go to the Roastery has been a dream of mine since I found out about it. Not just for the fact it is Starbucks, but rather for the experimentation and love of coffee roasting that goes on there. I got mugs for my dad and I to use in the mornings and got some delicious specialized drinks from the baristas, It was a great experience.

We then spent the rest of the night ambling around Shanghai and taking in the city at night one last time before we had to go and pack our bags for the next day heading home.

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