Huangpu River night cruise
Our first stop on the last sightseeing day
of the trip was the Shanghai High School. This is where Angela
(Angel) Anderson, a former student of Dr. Tai, taught English
to international students. She took us on a tour of the campus
and talked about daily life at school and life as an American
in Shanghai. Unfortunately, we were not able to see students in
class because school had ended for the year already. We said thank
you and goodbye and proceeded to have lunch at a Thai restaurant
that featured dancers on stage. One of my most favorite culinary
memories of the trip was the bamboo chicken at that restaurant.
The waitress came to our table with a big bamboo shoot and dumped
chicken out of it onto a plate. The chicken was extremely tasty
and I think it was cooked inside the bamboo shoot for more flavor.
During the end part of the meal, dancers came up on stage and
performed traditional Chinese and Thai dances.
Inside the cathedral
After lunch, we stopped at a cathedral to look
around. I walked inside to take a break and then came back out
to wait by the bus. While I was inside, I noticed that every five
or six pews back, there was a big screen TV so that churchgoers
in the back could see the Father as he spoke. This is another
example of one of the "ups" of China, though it may
be a little overdone. From the church, we went to a really big
flea market, even bigger than Silk Road. This market was divided
into sections and each section had its own pathways. The shop
owners were aggressive here; some even came out to ask you if
you wanted to shop their warehouse for hard-to-find items. We
were cautioned against this because the warehouses were usually
located in back alleys and nobody could guarantee our safety while
shopping there. I picked up a pair of shoes and got on the bus
to go to dinner.
Dinner was situated on a boat that was in the shape of a dragon,
with a head, body, and tail. Though it did not move, it was still
neat to see and eat on. Before leaving the States, parents could
choose to sign a form that said their son was allowed to have
a single glass of Chinese beer (my parents signed it). The main
attraction of this evening's dinner was that single glass of beer.
I thought everyone got soda or tea along with a glass of beer
so I went ahead and ordered soda and saved the beer for after
dinner. It turns out that it was either soda or beer so I missed
out on the one thing I had been holding out for. Fortunately,
I was able to legally buy a can (not bottle) of authentic, straight
from the source Tsingtao beer for my dad since I knew he enjoyed
quality Chinese beer and not other beers or hard liquors. I bought
it back in Xian and kept it safe all throughout the trip.
After dinner, we went from the dragon boat to a small ferry that
was to be our "cruise ship" on the Huangpu River. We
left from the Pudong side and traveled along the coast, turned
back, docked on the Pushee side for a few minutes, and then returned
to the Pudong side. Cruising at night is very exciting because
the Oriental Pearl lights up and flashing neon signs litter both
the Pudong and Pushee sides.
Check-in was especially early tonight because of our early flight
the next morning. The usual check-in routine started with Dr.
Tai knocking on your door and making sure both residents of the
room were safely inside. Then she would close the door and place
a piece of tape connecting the door to the doorjamb. This way,
she could easily tell if anyone came out of the rooms at night
because it was hard to retape the doors from the inside. On our
last night, everyone opened their doors and placed their tape
on her door as a small practical joke.
the morning, everyone hustled out to the bus and tried their best
to get to the airport on time. We found out our plane was scheduled
to leave 50 minutes early so we were just a bit rushed. The flight
from Shanghai to Tokyo only took an hour so it wasn't too bad.
We were allowed to cut through the security line at Narita Airport
and boarded the plane for Detroit not long after arriving in Tokyo.
At Detroit, we passed through customs and boarded the plane for
St. Louis. As I walked down the exit hallway to meet my parents
at Lambert International, I thought about walking the other way
16 days ago and how much I had learned since then.