I’m entering my last month in China. At the behest of my colleague Anna, four of us (myself, Anna, Kat, and Andrew) hopped on a high speed train bound for the world’s most populated city.
Shanghai’s population is a staggering 24 million and then some. My time in Shanghai was short, enjoyable, but was pinched with a dash of sickness I attribute to an incredibly weak stomach.
The first day was marked by an accidental stumble into Sun Yat-Sen’s residence museum, and is the founder of the Republic of China. He was a revolutionary leader during a time when China was between Imperial rule and Communist rule. From what I’ve read so far, he genuinely wanted and tried to unify a broken country into an honest-to-goodness democratic nation. As a historical figure and founder of modern China, both Taiwan and the mainland lay claim to Sun as one their founding fathers. His residence was nice, and the people who work there keep it in good condition.
Then we biked, got lost, and made our way to Yuyuan Gardens. Well, we tried. I ended up buying stuff for people back home in the market there. We made our way to the Bund, which is on the Huangpu River. We sat there for a while and fought crowds for pictures of and with the famous Shanghai skyline. We crossed the river on a croweded ferry to get pictures with the lit up Pearl Tower.
Our second and last full day in Shanghai was much smoother. We went to the Shanghai Museum, and I could have spent all day in there. I mostly exploded the traditional clothing hall, the coin exhibition, the furniture wing, and the painting exhibitions. After that we had lunch, and wandered into the M50 Creative Park.
Modern art isn’t exactly my favorite thing, and I have no photographs because they didn’t allow any. What I did find there that interested me was furniture from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s during Shanghai’s heyday as an early modern city in a transitioning China. The furniture was a fusion of traditional Chinese furniture and art deco. I also met a young Chinese woman who went to art school in Chicago and I think she flirted with me during our short five minute conversation. Oh, of all the times when I wish I would be over my fear of girls…
I ate dinner after that with Andrew and a woman who has lived and worked in Shanghai for thirteen years. I spent some time talking to some people from Australia, a young woman from Scotland, and an awesome beard dude from Finland. I spent the third morning telling a couple of exchange students about modern Chinese history, which they were grateful for because it “demystified” things they might not otherwise have learned about.
Overall, it was a short and pleasant trip in spite of some “Delhi Belly.” I brought back plenty of photos, a few good memories, and some little souvenirs. Overall, I’d give the trip an 8 out of 10. And hey! Look at some more of these sweet photos I took in Shanghai while you’re at it!