So it has been awhile since I have posted! Since I finally have somewhat reliable Wifi, I will catch you up on China! We rolled up on January 31st and were practically in the middle of the city.
View of Shanghai from the Ship!
My first adventure was to the water village of Zhujiajiao. After a short bus ride, we walked to the entrance of the water village and got right back in the water on wooden boats. We then rode through the middle of the village.
As you float down the town, you catch glimpses of what life might have been like in ancient China. Fish and meat hung on string between trees sit next to someone’s wet laundry. Shops line the streets and the sounds of Chinese music and chattering remind you that this is home to many people- and yet there you are floating through the middle of someone’s daily routine.
We made a couple stops to walk around and shop. Our final stop was at the oldest street in Shanghai, according to the tour guide. The narrow street was lined with endless vendors selling food. Sit down restaurants with aquariums by the front door mingled with leaf-wrapped street food and coffee shops. There was no shortage of smells either. One minute you would smell something seemingly delicious, and the next you would smell something that smelled like a mixture of sweat and urine.
Fish hanging in Zhujiajiao Water Village
I did eat something that was pretty good- it was rice and pork wrapped in a leaf (although they take that off for you after you buy it). We were also followed around by a little old lady who stole my water bottle and cursed at us when we refused to give her money. Oh well, Adventure!
After my field program ended, I went exploring with my friend Noble (you may remember her from my Japan post) and my friend Andrea (Same name as mine but pronounced differently. She is from Chile and in a couple of my classes). We went to the history museum in Shanghai, got some delicious dumplings, went to the top of a tall hotel just to see the view, and attempted to go to a temple (but failed- it was closed and it was raining outside!). Still got a picture in front of it though:
The next day was the start of my Great Wall trip! We just traveled the first day. We took a bus, to a plane, to a bus to a bus…. And then we finally reached our hotel. It was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed at. It was completely lit up, with string lights hanging down on all sides. Part of the Wall was lit up and visible from the entrance.
The next day we hiked on the Wall! No postcards or pictures will ever do it justice. It was beautiful! Meals included in the field program, and apparently McDonald’s was the easiest thing to get in China. So there we were, eating Big Macs in a tower on the Great Wall of China! We hiked back down and had dinner at a family style restaurant- where the table has a rotating piece of glass in the middle and everyone shares the dishes.
Picture on the Great Wall!
We had one more day of hiking on the Wall, and then we ventured to Tian’men Square and the Forbidden City. While both were really interesting and cool, my main thought was Why did I not wear more layers?!” It was freezing. Besides that it was really interesting!
The last day we were in Hong Kong. In case you don’t know, Hong Kong is very different from mainland China. I didn’t have any plans and ended up going to a lady’s market there (which is just a chaotic marketplace) Also stocked up on snacks and got Starbucks. Not a bad day, but I will have to come back to Hong Kong for sure! (and just China in general!)
Also see my article for The Pine Log about eating Big Macs on the Great Wall of China: