This was the day we were suppose to leave China, but it ended up being the longest day of my life. We took two taxi’s to the airport going at speeds well over 100 KM/h getting us there in less than an hour. As we checked ourselves in I paid the fees for extending my stay and prepared to head back to Beijing to transfer back to Vancouver. I ate my last meal at Shanghai airport while Madoka waited to board her flight. After Madoka boarded it was just Angela and I left and we waited at the boarding gate and checked out the bookstore. I bought a car magazine with help from Angela and boarded. After our arrival at Beijing airport (the memories of our first day.) Then we learned our flight was delayed 8 hours. In that time I decided it would be great to go back into Beijing, and Angela agreeded therefore she quickly found out there was a shuttle bus into Xidan. I checked in my ultra heavy bag and we prepared to enter Beijing for the very last time. When we arrived in Xidan we easily maneuvered our way back into the subway and into the station near our hotel. We then walked to the Planetarium and caught the very last show about a train in space. Before we watched it we explored the Planetarium and Angela bought a planetarium coin and gave it to me. I almost lost the tickets when I was pulling out my money, but found them lying on the floor. After the show we took the bus back to our old hotel (Angela was sleeping on the bus) and re-entered the convience store, inside we were easily recognized by the clerk and we bought drinks for the last time. We then went back to have Noodles for the last time before checking our watches and realizing that a lot of time has passed by. We then headed back to Xidan and shopped for the last time before catching the bus back to the airport. We bought goods for our friends at the Alcohol and Tobacco store, while Angela also got a HuanHuan Beijing Olympic mascot toy. As we boarded we left behind a lot of great memories, and we felt like it has been a long time on our own. The plane we boarded had paralympic players and many seats were available, but we stayed put and slept most of the way back. When we returned we easily maneuvered customs and Angela’s parents picked her up and my parents picked me up. I went home unpacked and took a long shower and realized that I could smell everything again. Everything was soft especially my bed and as I watched the sunset on Vancouvers hottest day I was still in China mode and wanted everything cheaper cheaper!
This morning we awoke early… It was less rainy and humid, but none the less humid. We took a taxi to the subway station, which was not very far away. We learned how to use this new subway (different from the other one) to find our way to the stadium station where we went in search for the bus station afraid we may be too late for the earliest 8-9 a.m. bus. We asked around and eventually found it behind the stadium and we went in and quickly bought our tickets which actually left a little later than we thought. We waited and had snacks for breakfast and I was slightly disappointed the DVD store in the bus depot had shut down. We got onto the bus (which had only 4 passengers not including us) and we sat in the back. I sat with Angela as Madoka and Nikki sat alone in front of and beside us. I listened to Angela’s variety of music as she slept most of the way there. It was really dark and stormy and we were worried it might ruin our fun. Eventually we arrived and the bus would wait for us to return before leaving. We walked a little bit before entering and apparently our bus ticket included our entry ticket. We walked around these old looking building which had roads too small for vehicles or bikes. They used water transportation to get around and there were many restaurants and giant shells from shellfish everywhere. We walked around before entering a more quiet park area where we played around on a carriage which was closed. We did a small titanic gag before moving on across a small path and bridge and around some quiet building wondering if we could actually enter a tower which laid far in the horizon. We could see the Lake which was huge and locked by a gate. As we crossed back we decided to take the boat tour but did not want to pay extra to hear her sing. The boat ride was incredible and relaxing and the views were beautiful as we saw other boats ahead and behind us and a small vessel which looked like it was meant for a child looked like it was sinking. After the ride we got off and bought Chinese style shirts and looked into an art gallery. In the middle of our tour we went into a art gallery and enjoyed the works. The rain had stopped a while back, and a wave of tourist start to enter. It was beautiful in the rain when it had less people around it felt really traditional and fun. When the time came we walked around the outside and asked a local to take a picture for us. We then coasted along the outside back to the bus realizing our last day in Shanghai was coming to an end. When we were deciding on dinner we decided that we wanted xiaolongbao. This was something we were going to miss incredibly. So this time we decided to dine in and we accidently went into the wrong restaurant before switching to the one which was slightly cheaper but more popular. We ordered over 10 longs of xiaolongbao which had about 6 or 7 in each. We enjoyed stuffing ourselves and afterwards walked around and Angela bought a tea set as everything began to close and there was nothing left to shop for. We decided we were exhausted and it was time to head home and pack up because we were going to leave this beautiful land of fun.
Everyone got up early and moved their stuff to the bottom of the hotel and those of us staying helped them out. We said our goodbyes as they got on the bus. Dongya and Grace left their baggage in the room Nikki and I now shared and we went to breakfast then to sleep. When we woke up it was already too late to go to the watercity park. So we went to the famous gardens in Shanghai and visited the xiaolongbao restaurant and teahouse to buy tea. Inside the park we paid to go into the gardens. In the gardens we saw flowing water and very nice sitting areas where many tourist and ourselves took pictures from opposite sides of the water. We saw many coy fishes and we had bought packages to feed them, it was very crazy how they fought for their food pellets and climbed over each other. Japanese buisnessmen and other tourists walked around in suits in such warm weather and Madoka expressed displeasure with them. We went into an art museum to see nice water scrolls done by artists renowned to China. As we left we glanced at some goods before walking through a park where we saw wild kittens and a very sick dog which people tried to play with and help. As we caught a taxi we learned more about Angela and her being frauded on her fair by a Shanghai taxi which overcharged them. We decided to head to the shopping center in Shanghai again (where the giant coke bottle is) and Nikki and Madoka went to get money as Angela and I went to look for anime toys witht he directions my cousin provided me. We found one store but alas we ran out of time and had to subway back to meet Nikki and Madoka. We walked a bit and arrived at a very modern looking restaurant where we had jellyfish, rice dishes and some dim sum. Afterwards, we went to a DVD/CD store and I bought Lord of War before we decided to head home, but catching a taxi took a very long time. When we got home we did a little packing and a little preparing for tommorows day to the waterpark garden which lies outside of the general Shangahi special administration zone. We would need to catch a bus, but finding the time schedual and the station would be our goal!
On our last full day we woke up really early so Jenn, yin yin and Stephanie could go to H&R. I went CD shopping then afterwards we went back to Nanjing road. They had a few things left to pick up before we left to go to Walmart. There wasn’t much for us to buy there except the girls saw their favourite shoe store so after I had sushi I met up with them and went there to watch them choose shoes. We returned later that day to make it back for our final group dinner. We ate well and had a final discussion about how everything was and then we went out for a walk and caught the taxi. We headed back but since it was everybodies last day we all decided to go to the Bend. Since everyone was going we did not have to cover our taxi costs. We saw the peal of asia and the beach night life. It was a beautiful site and we enjoyed our last group photo with myself being the photographer. Angela became our leader that day and looked over us and she did a fantastic job of it. We headed back satisfied and most people had to pack because they were off at 6:30 A.M the next morning. We said our goodbyes and then headed back to bed.
Shanghai Museum was like the other museum except it was well organized and had many large objects from each of its many sections. After the museum we had a free day to go shopping and we went to the open market underground near the museum. When we came out to shop outside the rain just downpoured and I became soaked from head to toe in 5 seconds. We still continued to shop through the largest shopping district until we found a DVD/CD store and then headed home. Tommorow is the last full day for half the students and they will head home after that.
July 6 we left at 11 am and i extended my stay in shanghai or two days a few of us went to the south gate mall before heading to shop a litte more before leaving to the airport. Along the way we could see Shanghai was like no other city in China because the buildings were vast and concentrated which gave a sense of overwhelming economic strength. Because of traffic (only a year ago this area apparently had little traffic) We got to our hotel in Shangahi at about 8pm and had dinner and rested.
July 5 south gate, drawn bridge to get in and out, office and archer tower. outter city to shoot arrows. banpo yangshao culture in henan yangshao city. banpo is matriarchical but name is modern given. 3 highlihts in xian; terracotta, danqing banquet with cinese dmplinggs that look like ears. best wheat in country belt noodle some men can eat long and wide 4-5. xian dumpling banquet w/ variety. [slurping, rice end] differt colors and flavors. xian dancing w/ folk tang instrument and concubine tang beauty. matriach society women statue ,pottery found, polished grinding stone feature of neolithic, site has site museum with best objectsx and site reconstruction they had cemetary and pottery area. this area has been fully excavated. house and statues provide evidence of life. stone tools and millet dominate and considered fully developed agricultural society w/o argument. pig and dog domesticated. the foundations are found well preserved and traces of thir buildings can be found. they had a fire pit for cooking, teepee styled homes with an entrance way. skeletons were excavated below. children were found in earthan containers and adults burried facing west with earthan ware. this may symbolize the facing towards their ancestors origins. burnt structures help reveal what the buildings were made of. only one 3-4 year old girl was uniquely buried in a wooden coffin. there is also a moat most likely important for defense. we then saw a replica of the site and bought a banpo man flute. we then learned group dinner was cancelled. so we went shopping at the muslim market and then had pizza hut and prepared to leave to shanghai.
July 4 terracotta army day. there was a panormic movie and autograph from the person who found the site if you bought the book. pit 1 was largest pit with soldiers and horses. pit 2 was destroyed mostly by rebels but most intact ones required little renovation. mostly archers kneeling and standing were found w/ 1 of 7 generals. we then went to see bronze objects including mini bronze chariots. other objects were the weapons and umbrella made of bronze for use on chariots. pit 4 had nothing, pit 3 was deepest almost like 2 floors and inside were headless soldiers and horses. the shu ceremonial weapon was found. here. afterwards we got to see the kneeling archer up close at a lab before leaving to lunch and free day to taxi 4 km to shop. first km 6 kuai 2 80 then 1.50 for next kms.
July 3 we went to the provincial museum which was really big and divided by dynasty. we saw a nonspilling tea kettle and bought replica sets for 100 kuai. only 10 per cent are made w/o cracks. we had all wesrern buffet. afterwards we went to a smaller museum with han terracotta soldiers. after that we went to an institute and saw pottery, bronze shield and a unopened coffin, mural of a dragon that was shaved off a wall then we had dinner saw a dog and a anthill.
We spent 4 hours riding on the bus to Xi’an in Shaanxi. After arriving we checked in we went out to go shopping and instead ended up at the arcade for several hours playing ticket games. It was raining, but the city was nice at night and there were a lot of westerners here.