DoDW – Lantern Festival & Shanghai Day 1

Lantern Festival – 3/05/2015

Refer to  A 元宵节 UPDATE: here 

Shangai Day 1 – 3/06/2015

Today, we took the bullet train to Shanghai. It was a really interesting experience and didn’t even feel like we were moving that fast, though Jason (a guy in my program) told me we were going a mile every 20 seconds.

When we got to the train station in Shanghai, we had to take a cab to the hotel. I had forgotten how reckless cab drivers are here. There were a few times I was unsure of whether or not we would hit a person or the car in front of us. It was just slightly terrifying and a definite bonding experience for those in my cab.

We set our belongings down in our respective hotel rooms and went to lunch, which was right next door. 福老师 (Fu laoshi), our program director, knows how to order food well! Our meal was probably one of the best I’ve had here so far. My favorite dish was a northern holiday specialty — sweet potato covered in syrup and sprinkles!

Current Dumpling Count: 9

We then took the subway to the urban planning museum. It wasn’t my favorite, but the giant model of the city was very impressive. It was also interesting to hear how much fungshui influenced the city’s development.

Even more impressive than the model was when we went to see the actual Shanghai city skyline (the bund). It was gorgeous even on a cloudy day. The last time I was there was with my friends on a high school tour of China. I remember going in the Shanghai World Financial Center otherwise known as the Bottle Opener building, but today we only looked from afar.

We took the subway to our dinner location right at peak rush hour. Steven, Rachel, and I linked arms and did our best to shove our way into the subway car. It was so so so incredibly crowded, I ended up smushed in a circle of men from our group. We were all pressed together so tightly it didn’t even matter that I wasn’t able to hold onto a loop or railing in the train car.

The elevator to the restaurant for dinner was almost as crowded as the subway! Steven and I ended up on the last elevator, and by the time we found our group most of the seats were taken. The waiters tried to direct us towards already reserved rooms and then, misunderstanding our menial attempts at Mandarin, they pointed us in the direction of a dingy bathroom. We finally just sat at a table and enjoyed the meal.

After dinner, we all went to an acrobatics show. It was so exciting, but also kind of scary when one guy with fire almost fell off of his 30 foot tall rolling wheel. Watching all of the flexible, super fit people inspired me to want to work out for a fleeting moment, but I am too tired, busy, and bogged down with school work.

Unfortunately, after the show, I was so wiped out from our packed day that I almost fell asleep on the subway ride back. Steven went out to a techno club show that his friend was attending, but I think the rest of the group is planning on going out tomorrow night after some rest.

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Shanghai Urban Planning Museum

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Street Scene

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The Bund

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The other side of the Bund

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