We were excited for today because we got to visit the other campus of Shanghai Normal. It was much larger than the last. Jack told us this campus was their under classman campus - freshman and sophomore. He showed us around for a little while before lunch. This time we got to see a dorm room. They have four people in one room. It's basically four lofted beds with each persons' desk underneath, and that's it. I couldn't help but to think how spoiled we are compared to their way of living.
We grabbed some lunch and headed to a calligraphy class where some students demonstrated painting and writing. They let us do our own with their help. Those students where so talented!
Shortly after, we headed to the gym to watch some kungfu. Three groups of students performed and then taught us some of their performances. We didn't compare to them but we sure did try. It was a lot of fun, especially the second performance with the fans.
For dinner they had a western-style meal planned for us at a restaurant called Sarah's. We were skeptical about the pizza we were told about but to my surprise it was better than the pizza in the US. It wasn't loaded with grease and smothered in cheese. It had just the right amount of everything. We got to choose some desert, so naturally I chose some raspberry cheesecake. Sarah's was a tasty little western-sytle restaurant.
After returning back to our guest house Vivian and Cindy came and gave each of us a scarf. They are so kind. We enjoyed our last night at Shanghai Normal by walking down the near by street, talking about American lifestyle, shopping and enjoying their company.
They had a full day planned for us. We got on the bus and met Emily, a tour guide who was actually a tour guide for the city. As we drove down the road she pointed out different buildings telling us facts about each. Emily told us all about the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower, the landmark of Shanghai, as we passed it. Now, more than ever I wanted to go up in the tower.
We arrived at Yu Garden and Emily lead us around telling us the meaning of different aspects of each part of the garden. It was nice to have someone with us to tell us everything. After a couple hours at the garden and shopping area we grabbed some lunch on the bund. The bund is really close to the Oriental Pearl Tower so I was hoping we could work something out. Thankfully, we had an hour and a half of free time after lunch in the bund, so Jack told us we could tour the tower but we would have to pay for ourselves and get our own taxi there. After finding out the price, only Jeff, Kiera and myself went. It was a bit pricy but I doubt I will have the opportunity to go again, so I had to go. Emily went with us to guide us and help us with the taxi since our Chinese is slim to none. Taking a taxi is very common in Shanghai because many people often do not have a car. Jack told us its almost the same price to get a license plate as it is to buy a car. That's crazy, I know.
I didn't know until we were in the taxi but in order to get to the other side of the Huang Pu river, the Pudong area, we had to go through the under ground tunnel. The Huang Pu river, the same river we enjoyed a river boat cruise on several nights before, we were now under it. We finally got to the tower and I think the three of us were in ah. It was mind blowing looking up at such a beautiful monument. We barely made it out of the taxi before we started snapping pictures. I couldn't wait to go up. The elevator lasted literally all of 45 seconds until we were 863 feet above the city. Reality sat in when we stepped out onto the sight seeing floor of the tower. I couldn't believe the view I was seeing. Looking out onto the city of Shanghai gave me chills. I think it was then that it hit me I was really in China, looking out onto a city that has such a huge impact on the world. The view was magnificent! Getting to tour the tower was such a great experience I am so thankful we were able to.
Only half of the day was over for us. We still had a trip to People's Square, Shanghai Museum, dinner and a music concert back at Shanghai Normal. The students who performed were so talented!
Over all it was an exciting, busy, and worth-wild day.
Right after breakfast we had a quick campus tour. It was lightly drizzling but Jack and Alice got us all umbrellas. The people of Shanghai Normal are incredibly nice and willing to help us in anyway we need. I truly do appreciate their hospitality. As I mentioned before, the campus is gorgeous. I love that they have a building just for Business.
We headed over to the conference room where we met the dean, exchanged gifts, and took a few pictures. We presented our presentations and answered questions about Lander for the two students, Cindy and Chang Shin, and Alice, the visiting scholar who will all come to Lander in the Fall. Lunch was in the same building but in the conference room of the dinning area. It was extremely fancy and so good! We ate some kind of shrimp that I could have ate so much more of.
After lunch we met a new lady who presented some Chinese history and culture to us. It was so interesting to learn some unique Chinese customs and even dinner etiquette. I am so intrigued by the little detail and meaning in each thing that the Chinese do. Everything has a meaning. Although the customs and traditions of the Chinese are unique in many aspects, over the past week, I have noticed so much that is similar to the US. I honestly think an english speaking person could easily survive living in Shanghai. Most Chinese people we come in contact with, even while shopping or at restaurants, knows English and knows it fairly well. And, the majority of time, on almost everything, there is Chinese and English. Oh, and, every Chinese person has an American name.
We got a little break and then had dinner. This night we got to go to KTV for Karaoke. Jack told me Karaoke is very popular in China - a lot of people go for fun. I can't sing but thankfully the eco was turned all the way up on the mic. I got the courage to sign a few songs, but only with other delegation members. I know I couldn't sign by myself. We stayed about two hours and headed back to the guest house. KTV was so nice! All of the rooms were private rooms with glowing lights. It was nothing like I have been to before. It was so much fun.
On the way to Karaoke we spotted a McDonalds several blocks down, so we had to try it out. Surprisingly, it taste the exact same! I got a small cheeseburger and chocolate sundae. That will be my only American food for this trip.. maybe. Oh, and I was shocked to see that both McDonalds and KFC deliver, and deliver on bikes, none the less. That would definitely be a useful service in America!
Shanghai normal university has a gorgeous campus. It's large and has an upscale essence about it. I could tell more students attended by the size of it. Jack, one of the staff members who will be with us the rest of the time we are in China, said their is about 20,000 students who attend this campus. They have another campus that we will visit on Wednesday, that another 20,000 students attend. We had a quick lunch in the teacher's restaurant. It was upscale, as well. The food was so good, and we got a lot smaller portion this time. We were thankfully for that because we have feasted every other meal. They had a day of shopping planed for us after lunch. When arriving we were told to bargain with every seller. It's definitely different than the US. Bargaining is not common, especially in the South, unless you're at a yard sale. I bought a few times and had a Chinese student, Cindy, who will attend Lander in the Fall, help me out. After several hours of shopping we went back to the guest house for dinner and a early night. We did walk to a near by super market to grab some snacks. I had to get some ice cream and water. I love the supper markets here. It's kind of like a small grocery store/convenience store. I love going in there because everything is in Chinese, even the imported items like Quaker oatmeal and nestle water and tea.
With a small change to the plans, canceling the visit to the farm, we headed to the East China Sea. It wasn't what I had in mind for a sea, but it was nice to go out on the rocks for a few pictures. In the afternoon we headed to the Flower Garden. It was an extremely large garden consisting of acres and acres. It had a pond that four of us were able to rent a paddle boat and go out on. That was a lot of fun, and we definitely got some exercise as my legs were tired! We could only stay on it for thirty minutes but that was enough time. A group of us then went climbing on these big rocks, similar to a cliff, by the pond. It was our little hiking experience for the trip. We met back up at 4pm and headed back to the school for a free evening. We all decided to go back to "the pink tablecloth" restaurant because we loved the beef fajitas, fried green beens, and french fries from the night before. They were not American French fries, of course. They were fried but had seasoning, peppers, onions, and so much goodness I couldn't get enough of! As if I wasn't full enough, after dinner I bought tons of candy in a near by store. I couldn't pass it up because its so cheap and nothing like in American. The flavor actually taste like the flavor it is suppose to. I hope I can manage to make some of it last until I get home.
Arriving at Shanghai University of Electric Power we saw kids pouring from the building and into the road. A change from the last school, we were glad to see some of the students. Driving in we were greeted with a large red sign that read “Welcome teachers and students from Lander University”. We could already feel the warm and welcoming people of Shanghai University.
We checked into the hotel/guest house on campus that the foreigners stay (professors and other visiting groups). I haven’t got use to being called a “Foreigner”. Shortly after we came down to the multi-purpose type room and met several students. For lunch, the students showed us how to make our own dumplings, jiaozi, a traditional Chinese dish. After making them, they boiled them and we were able to eat. We then played several games, and I even won a Chinese painting that says “Chinese Dream”.
Next, three of the students took us for a quick campus tour. The basketball and soccer field quickly caught our attention. By the end of the tour, several of us had already decided we were playing basketball. We changed, headed to court and with seven of us and one Chinese student we played a game of four-on-four. After seeing the turf soccer field I was dying to play, and so was Pedro. One of the Chinese students who gave us a tour contacted some of the soccer players who were playing on the field already and asked if we could play. They let us, but insisted it be Americans verses Chinese. We thought they were going to cream us but I think they went a little easy on us because we managed to score several goals. It was such a good experience. I kept thinking to myself “I am playing basketball in Shanghai, China” “I can’t believe I am playing soccer in Shanghai, China”. It seemed so surreal. If anyone would have asked me a year ago what I thought I would be doing today, never would I have even began to say “Playing basketball and soccer in Shanghai”. Even being here for almost a week, I can’t fathom the fact that I am actually here, in China. Playing with the students, and getting a little exercise, was definitely a highlight of my trip.
We meet Jeremy, an English professor, and his wife, earlier in the day and they asked us to dinner at a place they call “The Pink Tablecloths” a short walk from the school. At 6:30 we gathered to meet them and head to the restaurant. They invited two of the students we meet earlier in the day, who are also Jeremy's students, to go to dinner with us. Jeremy's wife order fifteen dishes for both of our tables to eat. So, dish after dish after dish, oh yeah, and another dish, we were stuffed! We had been wanting something with a little more spice, and we sure did get that. I love peppers and onions, but almost every dish had spicy red peppers. Those are too spicy for me. I got to try some frog and chinese fries (very similar to french fries). If only I had a little bit of ketchup I would have been set! Our meal at “The Pink Tablecloths” was by far my favorite in taste. It was so delicious. And, the restaurant did in fact have pink tablecloths.
*Prior to the trip I was told that an American citizen who works in China could only send a small portion of their income back to the US so that the money stays in China’s economy. Out of curiosity, when we ran into another English professor on the elevator I asked him. He said he can’t send more than thirty-thousand back without penalty.
After breakfast we loaded up and headed to this cute little water village shopping area called Zhao Jia Lou. It was similar to a flea market. The water village had tons of locals selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and an array of clothing and small items. All the locals spoke to us, attempting to persuade us to purchase their food even though all that we could understand was their hand motions. It's amazing no matter what language we speak, almost anything can be figured out through some nonverbal language. Most of the food items, manly the meats, we didn't think twice to purchase, but I did stop and buy some dried fruit. It was so good; I wish I would have bought even more. We then had another big lunch at a restaurant in the village. Lunch seems to be the largest meal verses American culture where as dinner is the largest meal. It's still so hard to contain myself from over eating the delicious food. Just when we think we're done, they bring another dish. We typically have about 10-15 dishes of food to eat. Even with a group of ten plus our tour guide, we can never manage to eat nearly all of it. At this lunch, we got the normal hot tea and sodas, and Cynthia let us try some beer. She said it was a Japanese style beer.
Afterwards we headed to the Palace of Culture which was an art museum that had five floors. It was huge! Level by level we managed to make our way through. It was neat to see painting, sculptures, and Chinese writing on scrolls. Of the three museums this one was my favorite. We then made our way down town to met Hua Hua of Sanda University to one of the malls to have our Farewell dinner at really fancy restaurant on the seventh floor that over looked the city of Shanghai.
After returning back to the school, a few of us decided to go walking down the nearby street again. Wang and Vivian, former Chinese students at Lander, met us to go too. They are really good at translating and helping us out. Vivian goes to Shanghai Normal University, the last Chinese school we will visit. She assured us she would treat us well while we are visiting. We didn't stay out too long; we just walked and talked and enjoyed being out.