Today was so tiring! SO MUCH WALKING!! Here’s how it went – After finally figuring out how to use the showers (you turn the taps the other way). My roommate and I got ready so we watched some TV, basically all of the channels are Chinese, we ended up watching the American news. We finally went down for some breakfast, there was all kinds of things, there was toast, eggs, bacon, little eclair things and even sushi! There was lots more but they were the tastiest! We walked to the Peoples Square Train Station and we hopped on the train and headed to the well known Pearl Tower, it was so tall! There was even pink tiles on it! once we made it to the elevator, we went up and up and up! We reached the top and we looked out the windows, the view was incredible! You could see so far! There was skyscrapers for 100’s of kilometres! Then, we headed down one floor and found the glass floor in the Pearl Tower, I walked on there, it was scary at first but I started to get less scared, so I jumped, only a couple of times though. Sadly, we left that floor and went to the VR (virtual reality) roller coaster! It was so fun! The VR goggles made it look like we were going around the pearl tower and over Shanghai, but we were only going around a small indoor track. Then we headed to the Science and Tech markets, I bought a fidget spinner (I couldn’t help myself), a fidget spinner for my brother, and some chopsticks for my grade. We finally came back from the hotel, my legs were nearly dead! I was so sore! We sat down for a while, I called my mum. Then we out for dinner, before we got to the restaurant we danced with a group dancing to Chinese songs, it was so funny! The spring rolls that we had for dinner were delicious (there was no shortage of them), then we headed back to the hotel and we washed our clothes and went to bed.
After waking up to a cold Bendigo morning, we arrived at the QEO at 5.30am to get on the bus and depart for the Melbourne Airport by 6am. We waved goodbye to all parents and eagerly set off excited for our trip. We arrived at the airport and quickly checked in with plenty of time to look around the airport before our flight. On entering the plane Louise and I were excited to see how many movies we could watch to keep ourselves entertained on our 10 hour flight. We got fed, watched movies, tried to sleep (unsuccessfully) and did anything else to keep ourselves entertained. We touched down to Shanghai at around 7.30pm local time, got off the plane and were quickly whisked away to a waiting bus to take the 1hr bus ride to our hotel. Our hotel is very nice and on a main tourist street called West Nanjing Rd. All were given there keys to their rooms and off to sleep.
Today we are off to visit the Pearl Tower, Yu Yuan Gardens and to see some other sights in Shanghai.
Well we are now in Suzhou. Today we are under the guidance of a tour guide that will be with us for the duration of our time in Suzhou. Hey were very informative on the trip.. We all learnt something new..
Did you know that not all people in China eat an abundance of rice on a daily basis??
The residents in the south of China eat rice frequently, as it is the perfect climate to grow the grain. The climate is hot and humid, with a lot of rainfall.
In the north of China it is too dry to grow rice. They grow wheat instead. The wheat is then used for noodles (similar to ourl spaghetti pasta and hokkien noodles) and steamed bread (most of their bread is quite sweet, unlike our savoury bread).
Rice is very expensive to purchase in northern China.
The population of Suzhou is 12 million, but land is much bigger than Shanghai, with it being over 8000 square kilometres
Shanghai is one of the oldest cities in China being built in 514bc. It is the only city not to change its original site.
After a 1.5 hour bus trip we arrived at our motel. We had one hour to rest before we had Burger King for lunch..
After indulging in burgers and fries we a boarded a bus to the sacred sight of ‘Tiger Hill’. It was absolutely amazing.
We spent time walking with our tour guide who was able to stop and tell us interesting information along the way. The tiger hill got its name as there is a tomb that buried the king 2500 years ago. To ensure no one went to find this grave site, his son, who was the king at the time, would tell everyone there was a tiger at the top of the hill and that if you went there, he would kill you. The tomb was found just over 30 years ago and under the direction of the government, it has still never been opened as they are worried it will ruin the foundations.
Very informative afternoon.
The humidity was stifling today.. We were all hot and sweaty by the end.
Well dinner tonight was definitely traditional Chinese cuisine. We were all out on tables with a lazy Susan in the middle and they brought the food out to us. We didn’t even have to order. It started very well with steamed rice, a couple of vegetables dishes androgen there were all the meat dishes. There was beef and vegetables, sweet and sour pork, a really yummy prawn dish and then there was a chicken soup type dish. It looked really nice, until we spotted the portions of chicken that were included. There were chicken feel and a whole chicken head. Yuk!! There was one adventurous sole amongst our group and that was the one and only James ‘iron gut’ Toomey.. See photo on blog.
Overall it was a delicious meal and we were all full at the end.
Our first early night tonight as we are getting picked up at 8 to attend our sister school tomorrow.
Day 7 – revisit to school, boat cruise of the Grand Canal, sight seeing of the Old Suzhou Streets and farmers market.
We got picked up at 8:30 again by our lovely host Jane. She teaches English at our sister school.
Our first class today was music. We played a string instrument that they called a ‘plucking instrument’. We tried really hard for the 40 minute lesson and were able to play a short tune by the end. There were only 12 students in the lesson as it is called an elective club.
Next lesson was art, where we tried our hand at tie die. We created some beautiful masterpieces. Of course Miss Gallagher was the only one capable of getting a couple of splatters of blue die on her clean white top..
Our next lesson was cooking where we made pork dumplings for our lunch.. They were sensational!!!
Once we were back with our team china peers, we hopped on a bus a travelled towards water.. We then boarded a smallish boat and jetted along the Grand Canal. The sights were spectacular..
After our cruise we walked along the old streets of Suzhou and went I tot eh farmers market. The market had a very distinctive smell that we were happy to leave behind. We spent an hour walking through the streets at the many beautiful sights and were even able to but some small gifts and an ice cream.
Dinner was at another nice Chinese restaurant. The pork appeared to be a hit and Miss Gallagher loved the fish.
Another day done and dusted and we are closer to coming home..
Another busy day! It’s hard to comprehend it’s Sunday.
We woke early to walk to people square where we found so many activities.. The Chinese love their fitness. We first came across dancing. A person simply takes music and random people arrive at 7 to dance. It was amazing. We all got involved at first with silly freestyle dancing, until Mrs Saddlier organised two lines for the heel and toe polka. Weren’t we glad Mr J did bush dancing last week.
Many Chinese got involved. Even an 80 year old lady, that we found out goes every morning and has done so for years.
The further we walked the more amazing sights we saw. First up was Tai Chi. They were all in their silks and soo in rhythm with each other. Next we came across sword fighting/dancing (they were only plastic swords luckily) and people dancing with fans. There were even people off to the side playing badminton. Picture all of this in a heaps bigger Hargreaves Mall and that’s what it was like.
Next on our daily agenda was the planning museum. This was really cool. They have a full scale model of Shanghai that you can walk around.
Some facts for those that care;
* Shanghai has a population of approx 24 million people on land that is 6340 squared kilometres.
* in 1949 the population was 4.14 million with residents having 3.9 squared metres living space. But in2010 with the population over 20 million, the living space grew to 16.7 square metres. So heaps more people, same amount of land, yet quadruple the living space. The Chinese are well planned!
After expanding our knowledge of Shanghai it was time for lunch. We snuck off from our home group as Miss Gallagher wouldn’t let us have ‘any American take away’ again. We found a place where no staff spoke English, but somehow we managed to order pork dumplings and a noodle dish with Shrimps, chives, soya bean paste and some broth. Traditional Chinese and it was delicious. We even nailed the chopsticks. After full bellies we went to see another one at the temple.
It was absolutely breathtaking.
We visited the sights and took heaps of photos and even tested our good luck by throwing coins into a big temple. It took quite a few turns for us to be ‘lucky’.
After the temple we had an hour spare and after an unanimous vote we revisited the markets. More presents were purchased with Fras very happy with beats for 25 yuan and Miss G extremely happy with her tea set.
The night activity involved a river cruise on the Bund. As it was dark the lights of the buildings were amazing. The cruise took 45 minutes and we were in awe of the breathtaking views.
We also had our paparazzi again. All the Chinese love us ‘aussies’!!
We are off to bed as its late and we have to be up early to Skype the school. We can’t wait to talk to you all.
Tomorrow we leave for Suzhou.
On a lasting comment we thought we would share our biggest highlight so far.
Kurt – the metro system. I love getting on the trains, they go really fast and it’s cool to train surf
Fras – pearl tower. The views were awesome and I loved laying face first on the glass looking nearly 300 metres down at the ground.
James- Pearl tower and the circus. Actually I wish the Circus was in the Pearl tower. The fact that the Pearltower was 273 metres tall and Layed on the glass. I loved everything about the circus!!!
Talk to you all tomorrow