So our trip to Shanghai was last week and it was an amazing city!! We took the bullet train on Monday morning, and it took around 5 hours to get there. The train travels around 300 km/hr which is about 200 mph, so 5 hours is fast! I found out that the regular train takes around 12 hours to make the same trip, so it was nice to get there so quickly. We went to our hotel first to drop off our luggage, and we had a really nice room at the Marriott. Thank you to Larissa! :) The room was big and had two beds, although the shower was a little strange. The wall was made of glass and looked into the main part of the hotel room. There was a shade that you could pull down, but it was definitely one of the more unusual hotel rooms that I have been in.
Most of the time we were in Shanghai, we were exploring and just seeing all that we could see! We spent our first night scoping out the city and taking a lot of pictures. We did take a sidetrip into an H & M that we found because they were having a sale (all of us ended up with new clothes, but they were so cheap!). It was fun, and a little taste of being back home. The city of Shanghai is really beautiful and fairly modern, but I love the fact that in the middle of skyscrapers and modern buildings, you can still come across really old temples or architecture that just gives the city a really awesome, unique feel. We were really tired Monday night though, so we didn't stay out super late.
Tuesday was more sightseeing and shopping. We made it to the edge of the river that runs though the city, and we could see the giant TV tower across the way. We took many pictures, and even were asked to be in a few with other people! Some people here like seeing "foreigners" (as they call us), and we are asked to stand in pictures with them. That day we were even included in a wedding picture for people that were using the skyline in their photos! It was exciting and fun :) Tuesday night we tried to go out and see some Shanghai nightlife, but when we went back to the same part of the city, many of the shops and places were closed which was surprising. We actually ended up at McDonald's because it was the only open place we could find! We just talked for a while and went back to the hotel, where we swam for a bit and looked around the hotel.
Wednesday was another day of shopping, but we also decided to cross the river and see the skyline up close! Melissa and I decided to go to the top of the Swfc tower, which is 100 stories high. We originally picked the 94th floor, but once we were there we paid a little extra and got to go to the top which was totally worth it because the city looked amazing! We took many pictures in the sky-walkway which was completely made of glass so you could see everything! Back on the 94th floor, we decided to visit the small bar they had curtained off and we were able to sit in a couch and look out the widow. We ordered some wine and a piece of cheesecake and just took in the view which was incredible. We met a man that night that was from Toronto who was there working for Frontline and taking pictures for a montage show they were going to create. He was really interesting to talk to and he is going to email us some pictures that he took with his great camera, so that should be pretty neat! Larissa and Linda joined us up on the 94th floor as well and it was fun just to chat and drink a glass of wine while looking at the city.
That night we finally found some Shanghai nightlife and it was fun to meet some fun people and see the bar area. We didn't stay out long because we knew we had to travel the next day, but it was fun to get dinner and explore a different side of the city.
On Thursday, Larissa and Melissa and I grabbed lunch and got back to the train station to head back to Beijing. It was sad to leave the amazing city, but it was really nice to get back to Beijing. On the way, we saw many fields that had small fires going, which I took pictures of, but it was really smoky outside! I plan on looking up the reason for doing that, and I am curious what they are for.
Back in Beijing we had a very lazy weekend before getting back to work on Monday. It was nice to just relax and hang out for a few days, especially after the busy vacation in Shanghai. Lots of moving watching (surprise, surprise I know) and just settling back into our apartment and city. Melissa and I did go out on Saturday night and actually met a few people that seemed really fun, so maybe we will have some new friends in China if we meet up with them again :)
It was back to school as usual on Monday morning, and it was hard to wake up to the alarm. The week went by fairly fast though, and it was great to see the kids again and hear all about their holidays! On Friday we had a field trip to the Train Museum in Beijing, which was a great way to end the week (although it was an exhausting day). Today (Saturday), we had our annual "Families Around the World" event which was held outside in the front of the school and many different countries had tables being run by parents or staff from the school. We had America, the UK, Australia, France, the Philippines, Germany & Belgium, Argentina and Mexico just to name some. It was great to see the kids and their families and there was a lot of great food to taste. I am still full!
Tonight is the MICHIGAN STATE VS MICHIGAN football game and I could not be more excited!! I have already listened to the Michigan State Fight song to get pumped up, and the game is not for 10 more hours! Some of the teachers are getting together tonight around 11 pm to go to an alumni party at a bar here in Beijing. It will be so fun to get together with other Spartans and cheer our team on! The game will start at midnight here, so it will be a late night but I am so excited and ready to watch some football!! I listened to the MSU alma mater earlier too, which actually brought a tear to my eye and had me really missing MSU, but I know that it will be so fun to see them play some football, and especially to BEAT MICHIGAN! :)
Other than that, life in Beijing has been fairly normal. Larissa's birthday is on Wednesday and next weekend I think a lot of teachers are going to be getting together to go to KTV (karaoke) together to celebrate which should be really fun! In China, I have been told that you actually rent a private room for your friends, and have food and drinks and your own KTV machine so it should be a really good night! I will write all about it when I can. As always, sending my love from Beijing... :)