ShangHai, my home city. When someone ask me what is your favorite place in China, I would always answer Shanghai. ShangHai is a international city, very well developed, we visited the World Financial Center on the East side of the Huang Pu river, even though I am from Shanghai, I have never been inside before. It was really impressive, it is now the second tallest building in China, where the tallest one is right by it. The bund is also a signature place in ShangHai. At the bund, you can see the west side of the Huang Pu river, which is full of classic european buildings, and on the east side are all the tall modern buildings. I also went to Xin Tian DI, which is a western bar street with some high-end shopping. At the night, when all the lights are on, ShangHai is really beautiful. With all the easy transportations such as subways, , being able to get around easily was awesome. Although I got lost like twenty times
After the Cruise, we arrived in ChongQing. I have never been to ChongQing before, It is a really nice city, very similar to HongKong. The city is built on the mountain. In Chong Qing, we went to a zoo, in the zoo we saw Pandas!! Well, its actually not that exciting to see panda, but the ChongQing Hotpot dinner was great! Although it was really spicy. Then we visited Changan Ford on the next day, and we were able to see the whole process of how every single car is made. It was really awesome, I was really impressed.
The Yangtze River Cruise was the more relaxing days in China. Along with the beautiful views, the ship includes entertainments such as karaoke, cinema room, MaJiang room, Ping Pong table and a bar. The main focus of the cruise was the Three Gorges Dam, which generates a tons of electricity. In order to get pass the dam, it can take a few hours to do so. We also went off the boat and visited places, although the fog was really bad, but it was still good time. One more thing is that, the speaker in my room can be turned off, so when there was announcement in the early morning, I was able to keep sleeping
XiAn was also a place I have been to, but no matter how many time you go the Terra-Cotta Warriors are still amazing. These Warriors were built more than 2000 years ago to guard the tomb of the first emperor of China, Qing Shi Huang. When I visited there with my parents, the tour guide told us a story, there was once a white guy clayed himself and went inside stand by all the Terra-Cotta Warriors to pretend he is also one.
That sounds fun.
BeiJing was our first stop, and perhaps the hardest days for me. Climbing up the Great Wall almost killed me there, for someone that haven’t done any sports after highschool, that was toooooooooo much. I was climbing with my roomate michael the whole time, we never made to the top though.I have been to the forbidden city, great wall, and Tiananmen Square with my parents before, but it was still fun because this time it was with friends. Although the burning sun was horrible, I hate sunlight, and that was just way too much sunlight that week. We also visited the Birds Nest, a stadium built for 2008 Olympics.A pretty interesting event happened after we leave there, you know. We then went to some kind of snack street, and someone on the bus ate scorpions, I forgot who sorry.
On our first day in China we went to Tiananmen Square. The place was so packed with people that we had a hard time moving around. There were various monuments to the communist revolution all over, but the thing that surprised me the most was that they actually keep Mao Zedong’s taxidermied body on display in a glass case for the public, though you’re not allowed to take any pictures. I found myself totally baffled, not only by the fact that people are able to revere someone as horrible as Mao, but also by how they commemorated him. I tried to imagine what it would be like in America if we decided to honor an important leader like MLK Jr. by preserving his corpse and putting it on display in a glass box, and I just can’t fathom it. It was a powerful thing to see, because it demonstrates that not all of the habits, behaviors, and traditions that we have in America are universal.
While in Huangshan we got to visit the Huashan Mystery Caves. They’re called this because no one knows why or how they were built. China is a much older country than America and has a long and rich history with no lack of knowledge about their early history, but there is no record or reference of these caves in any of the ancient texts. There are 36 caves that have been discovered so far and they have existed for around 1,700 years. They were man made by hand chiseling the stone and you realize how incredible this is once you’re inside the cave as it is pretty spacious. I really liked how the cave was lit up with different colored lights and even had lights in some of the pools of water that would change color. It was really interesting to see how precisely chiseled the stone was which goes to show how skilled these people were that made it. Maybe one day we will figure out the purpose of these caves and how they were constructed, but until then it will have to remain a mystery.
There is a lot more history in Shanghai than you would think. Shanghai is a very fast developing city. About thirty years ago, the east side was just farmland, but now it is home to one of the most internationalized cities today. We visited the Bund which is on the west side of the city and where the picture below was taken. The Bund was once owned by many European countries, Russia, and Japan, and they would actually segregate Chinese people from everyone else there. These businesses were gradually moved out and any colonial figures were taken down. Going to the Bund is one of the most popular tourist sights because of the view of the east side and because of the history. Another site we visited was the World Financial Center. It has the highest observation deck in the world and is the third tallest building in the world. We got to see all of Shanghai from the top and since it was at night all of the towers were lit up. One thing though about Shanghai is that all of the city lights go off at 11:00 p.m. But overall every night in Shanghai was a new experience and it was cool that we got to end the program in such a magnificent city.
The third city that we went to was Xi’an. A long time ago it used to be the capital of China and one of the emperors ruling during that time, Qin Shi Huang, decided that he needed to make a bunch of Terracotta Warriors to protect his tomb when he died. These guys were buried underground and were discovered in 1974 by local farmers. They have been excavating this site since, and still have a lot of warriors to unearth even after 42 years. I was impressed by how many warriors were there. Each one of them that had a head had its own unique face, which is pretty incredible considering how many there are. There were three pits, each one was smaller than the last and had different kinds of warriors in them. The final one we visited had the generals and horses in it which was pretty cool. Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum has yet to be uncovered because it is feared that the artifacts inside would be ruined if the archaeologists messed up and there is a lot of mercury in there as well which is hazardous. It was a really awesome experience seeing all those warriors, learning about them, and knowing that there are still a lot more that have yet to be uncovered.
Slowly the days wound down until we found ourselves at our last night in Shanghai. Just one thing about Shanghai, it’s one of the most amazing cities in the world. I’d done a lot of wandering throughout the city and everyday I’d find something amazing. From Nanjing Road to the East Side of the city, to the nightlife and everything in between, Shanghai was definitely not lacking in beauty and wonders. On our last night there, we had our farewell dinner with many of Xinli’s friends and it was a great time. Afterwards when we got back to the hotel, we decided to go out to the Bund River one last time and take pictures to remember. That’s what we did and it was fantastic. On the walk back to our hotel, I got to ride a moped. I was super hype because it was on my bucket list and I got to check it off my last night. It was like a taxi service but a moped instead of a car. The owner tried to offer us rides but I told him I wanted to actually ride it and eventually he let me. It was truly a night to remember.