Written by Louisa Ho
Today was a very eventful day in Shanghai, where we had the chance to visit many of the main attractions and enjoy the shopping scene.
After several generous contributions to our newly instated ‘late pot’ in the morning’, we had the chance to walk through the Yu Garden (Yuyuan Garden), a 400 year old classical garden built in the Ming dynasty. Also known as the ‘Garden of Happiness’ or ‘Garden of Peace’, the garden was built as a gift from wealthy government official Pan Yu Dan to his father. The initial build took 14 years, and upon completion it was one of the most prestigious and highly esteemed gardens at that time. As the most complete classical garden in Shanghai, the garden was overflowing with tourists and not quite the pastoral haven it was intended to be. Nonetheless, we could still appreciate the beauty of the elaborate rookeries, arched bridges, and goldfish ponds.
Afterwards, we had some time to take a stroll through the old Bazaar next to the garden. There, many of us had the chance to sample some xiao long bao, a local specialty. We were particularly excited to try a large soup filled bao which comes with a straw to drink the soup with! My group came across quite a challenge in getting a table to consume our delicious snack, as rules and etiquette appeared to be non existent in the busy eatery. Nonetheless, the food was extremely delicious and definitely worth it!
After lunch, we visited the Bund, which for many is a symbol of Shanghai. Historical buildings in various architectural styles such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque line the Puxi side of Huangpu River, while an ever increasing number of skyscrapers light up the Pudong financial district on the other side of the river. It gives us a glimpse of Shanghai’s rich past, and a look into the bright future of the city and country in general, as China becomes a stronger and stronger global power.
We then went to Nanjing Lu, a walking street with many international brands. A number of us once again fed our obsession with Uniqlo, and then enjoyed a cold treat at Häagen-Dazs to celebrate our purchases. Next, we went to the market area surrounding the Science and Technology subway station and haggled our way into getting some good deals on everything from fake brand name sunglasses, purses, phone cases to shoes.
At night, some of us went for a cruise along the Bund to take in the beautiful view at night, while others sang the night away, enjoying our second last night in Shanghai. I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the Mon Sheong Foundation and the DiSCOVER organizing committee for making this trip possible, and also a big thank you to Cherry, our national tour guide whose last day was today. It has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to our final day together in Shanghai.