2010 K-12 Study Trip to China
Day 3 (8?2?, ???)
It was nice to sleep in this morning, especially with the day we had ahead of us. After another Western style breakfast in the café of our hotel, the group followed Jack and walked to the nearest orange line subway station.The day was already hot, and by the time we reached the station, we were already tired and sweaty. The subway stop was near the Jing An Temple, which is a famous ancient temple Shanghai. I’m actually really glad that we took the subway because it showed us a new mode of transportation that I a lot of Shanghai-ers use. Jack told us that this line was newly constructed, but I was still so surprised to find the station and the subway cars very clean. In fact, there are a lot of differences between the Shanghai metro and the subway systems of Boston or New York. After we purchased our subway tickets, we actually put our bags through a security check. While we waited for our train, I noticed that the tiles on the ground were so clean and shining, and the train was noiseless when it pulled up. Inside the train, it was crowded like most subway cars, but once again, it was very clean. We were on the subway for about 20 minutes until we reached the stop that would bring us near the World Expo.
When we got off the train, we were given our Expo tickets and Expo passports. The Expo passports had blank “visa” pages that were for where each country’s pavilion could put a stamp on it to show where the passport’s owner had visited. The 15-minute walk from the subway to the Expo was once again tiring and hot. I was surprised to see that there were no immediate lines of people entering the Expo or going through security, although Jack had earlier explained that Chinese people are morning people and would wait for hours just to get in when it opened, which was why we got there in the late morning.
Before we went to our first stop, the Morocco Pavilion, the group purchased water bottles or refilled them in the public water fountain. While we waited for everybody to rehydrate, we took refuge from the sun under a bridge where there were benches and fans on the ceiling that sprayed mist onto the sweating guests below. We went to the Morocco Pavilion first partly because its line was the shortest and partly because we needed a quick way to kill time before our 12:30 reservation at the UAE Pavilion. Even though the Morocco Pavilion had a mere 15-minute wait time, the heat was almost unbearable. I felt like I was in Disney World on a particularly hot day. One of the best things I noticed about the Moroccan Pavilion was the welcoming air-conditioning. Other great things about it as its leasing aesthetic appearance. The outside of it made it look like a Moroccan palace, while there was really nice feng shui on the inside of it, as well. Some of the tour guides were dressed up in traditional Moroccan clothes. I wish that I had taken a picture of the girls in beautiful Moroccan dresses, but I was unable to. Anyway, the first floor showcased clothing, ancient to modern pottery, jewelry, art, weapons, etc. The second floor resembled a bazaar with booths of which showed an item or items that would be sold in a marketplace, and it occasionally showed a video of how these items were made. These items included shoes, pots, and tapestries. The third floor was a continuing, panoramic screen with images from Morocco, and showed the public visually on how beautiful this country was. Before we exited the Pavilion, we got our passports stamped.
Morocco Pavilion Brazil Pavilion
The next Pavilion we went to was the United Arab Emirates’. The building itself was very interesting – it resembled shining, gold sand dunes. Luckily, Christina Ho, a Bryant 2009 alumnus who worked in the USA Pavilion for the past 3 months made reservations for us, and we did not have to wait in the two-hour line. Before we were ushered into the cool, air-conditioned building, we took some time to take pictures with the ambassadors from the Pavilion who were wearing clothes typically worn in the UAE. The first exhibit was a brief video about the history of the United Arab Emirates. Although that topic may sound bland, it was actually a very interesting video and it really wanted me to go to Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city. The next exhibit was a modern room with square columns and walls covered in TV monitors. Invisible projectors shone lights and images onto the columns, while the screens matched the images. Everybody who entered the room and sat down surrounding the various columns and watched a short presentation of different people who were projected onto each column. These people were citizens of the UAE who held different occupations ranging from that of a chef to a doctor to a race car driver. Even though this presentation was also informative, I think I enjoyed it so much because, like the first presentation, it was visually pleasing and the way it was presented seemed so modern and creative. Finally, the last exhibit was another short film on the different sights in the UAE. This film made me want to go there even more! After we exited the last theater, we lined up to get our passports
stamped, and then prepared to brave outside’s heat.
Before we went to lunch, we decided to visit one more pavilion. The group pushed through the crowd to get to the Chinese Provinces Partition, which was part of the China Pavilion. Once again, Christina had amazing connections inside the Shanghai Pavilion, so we were able to sneak in there, bypassing any lines. The Shanghai Pavilion reminded me of the ride Soarin’ in Disney World’s Epcot. We were taken into a dome-shaped room that was like one of those star-gazing theaters in museums, and we all stood on a circular platform. On this platform, we were put into rows and told to hold onto the handrails in front of us. As the ride/presentation began, the whole platform began moving, mimicking the motion of a boat, a horse-and-carriage, a bicycle, and a car. The walls around us showed us a film as we traveled through the history of Shanghai and into a possible future where everything was practically underwater. It was really neat. Everyone walked out of that pavilion excitedly talking about it even as we stepped out into the hot, muggy air.
Waving outside the Chinese Provinces Pavilion
Since the heat made us feel disgusting, many of us did not want to eat lunch. However, we needed to keep up our energy, so we split into four groups and went our separate ways for lunch. There were many food joints ranging from KFC to McDonalds to Chinese Fast Food to Starbucks. The heads of my group, Jon Lu and Jack, decided to introduce me, Crystal, Mia, Tim, and Hillary to Chinese fast food. Chris’s group – Luke, Nick, Carol, and Selene – joined us during lunch, as well. Chinese fast food was very reminiscent of airplane food because it was in an aluminum container and it was not as appetizing as it seemed. After lunch, we met up again to head to the USA Pavilion.
Because the USA Pavilion was on the opposite side of where we were, we took a bus there. Along the way, we passed most of South and Central America including Venezuela, Cuba, and Mexico. Before we entered the USA Pavilion, we watched a 4-minute dance performance by Dance USA, which was very good and very…American. The inside of the Pavilion itself were 3 movie presentations. The first was introduced by Christina, who also introduced our group to the rest of the audience present. Anyway, the first movie showed different representatives of the US Pavilion sponsors trying to speak Mandarin. What I found the most entertaining was the way that it had product placement and that I could tell exactly which company each representative was from. The film also featured Kobe Bryant, the Laker Cheerleaders, Michelle Kwan, and Tony Hawk. The next movie was introduced by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (in the film, not in real life), and was mainly an inspiring presentation about the future generation and how to make the world a greener and better place. It was concluded by remarks from President Obama (again, in the film). Finally, the last film also had a similar going green theme. It featured a young girl trying and trying to turn a run-down, empty lot into a colorful garden, and in the end, succeeding (of course!). It was a more creative presentation than the last, but I was still a little bit disappointed with the USA Pavilion simply because I didn’t think that going green or conserving the future well represented American values or our way of life. Sure, it represents America as the land of opportunity, and the presentations were inspiring, but I think it was also a little corrupted with sponsors like GE, who are really promoting the green movement (for more evidence, watch 30 Rock).
Earlier, Christina mentioned that we couldn’t get stamps for our Expo passports for the US Pavilion because they got rid of it (seems like they couldn’t handle the crowds); however, Christina came through for us again and covertly took our passports to have them stamped. We left the USA Pavilion satisfied that we had proof that we went to our own country. By that time, it was already 4PM. Even though many of us wanted to visit the UK Pavilion, which resembled a giant puff ball, we did not have any more time to stay in the Expo, so we hopped on a bus that took us to the exit and to our bus that would take us back to the
hotel. We made it onto the second bus just as it started to rain.
Although most of us were all dead tired from today’s heat and long walk, we were not yet done with the day’s events. As it was our last night in Shanghai, the group was given the option of going to the Bund to see the famous night view of Shanghai. The Bund is actually a large elevated walkway along the river. Across the river is the Pudong side – the side of the river where all of the tall buildings and skyscrapers are. The famous city view that I am talking about includes the TV Tower with its flashing lights, the Jin Mao Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Center, and the Aurora building that was showing ads on the building itself like the big screens in Times Square. The side of the river where the Bund was also very beautiful with the old AIG building which had a classical-style design, very expensive restaurants, the AIA building, and the Western Hotel with a lotus-crown shaped rooftop. The group took a lot of pictures and the amazing city site was the perfect end to our stay in Shanghai, the modern city of lights.
Night view along the Bund
Sleep will be a relief, especially after all of that walking today. Although it was tiring, I think all of the sites that we visited was totally worth it, and it felt good to get some exercise done. Tomorrow is going to be a long day because we will be woken up at 6AM to go to Suzhou for the day, and then continue onto Hanzhou. Quite a bit of time will be spent on a bus, so that should be fun, fun, fun!
by Emily Yang, NYU '14
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