Last Few Days in Shanghai
Hands down, this was my favorite day in China. Wuzhen was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life (aside from sitting on my dock at sunset on a warm July evening haha). Wuzhen is a scenic town, which is said to have had people living it for over 7,000 years. This is also the birthplace of Mao Dun, a famous writer/novelist in modern China.
Upon entering part 1 of the city there were a lot of vendors and gift stands set up for tourists (Chinese people are rarely, if ever, asked to come and look at the items they are selling). After getting past the gauntlet of vendors though it was smooth sailing the rest of the day there. The rest of the town was mostly residential and side museums, such as wood carvings, world currency, and silk weaving. That evening we lodged in what they called a "guest house" but it was more of a hotel. Not a hotel you might think of like a Super 8, but this one was much more charming and simple (although it did have internet access). This was one of the best nights of sleep I had during the whole trip. I think it was due to the fact that we didn't hear one single car horn honk the entire night.
I am incredibly happy I had the Shanghai experience. It was great being able to be in the 2nd most populated city proper in the world. Thursday night our tour guide, Joe, took us to a club in Shanghai called Club Sky which was a higher class club. He even got us two VIP tables for free! Everyone seemed to enjoy their night there. We found it a bit difficult to find a taxi that would take us back to the hotel afterwards though. Joe told us ahead of time that taxi drivers in Shanghai sometimes won't drive you if your destination is relatively close to the starting point. We found this to be true, but after about asking 10 cab drivers we finally found one who was willing to drive us back to the hotel. We made sure to give him a nice tip afterwards which surprised him quite a bit.
The following day we walked around another market and visited the Shanghai World Financial Center. Professor Li, Cord, Jeff, and I ended up going for a walk because I think all four of us were quite sick of markets and shopping by the end of the trip. We walked down the street close to the river hoping to be able to actually walk along the river bank. We had no luck but did get to see some streets and side-sights thats we otherwise would not have been able to see had we stayed at the market. As for the SWFC, I'm usually not afraid of heights but being at the top of the building at the observatory gave me sweaty palms and a bit of vertigo. I'm glad I made it through it though and now I can say I've been to the tallest completed building and used the worlds highest toilet. Shanghai was a great end to an excellent trip.
Coming Home (6/13/2009)
Today is our last day in China. I don't know how to feel about going home. I am excited to see my family and friends. I am excited to get back to American living. But I am not so excited about leaving the country and culture we've learned so much about in the last month. It's been a blessing being able to travel half way around the world to visit this nation that is so rich in culture and history. This morning on the way to the airport the hotel took the time to prepare all of us bagged breakfasts (sandwich, fruit, and water) since we would be leaving the hotel before the breakfast there would be served. This was a nice gesture on the hotels part. Well I hope everyone's travels today go safely and without children kicking the back of their seats on the airplane. Even though all of us will go our separate ways now, I hope we stay in touch. It's been a great month! Take care everyone!