Anyway, we arrived at Shanghai around 10 pm. It was pretty late and we had not had dinner yet. We didn't even arrive at the hotel until 11 pm, at the earliest. On top of that, it was raining outside.
FYI, always have an umbrella with you in China, especially during the summer. You will need to either shield yourself from the sunlight or from the rain.
So, It was still raining the next morning. After having a decent breakfast, off we went to this museum place in Shanghai.
I really don't know the name of it, but it was an awesome place. They had tons of models of places of China, ancient times as well as current times. The sculptures of the people looked so real. Some of it scared me. When the Chinese do something, do they it all the way. That's what I've learned.
Anyway, after the Shanghai museum place, off we went on a 2 hour bus ride to another city, Suzhou. Then, we ate some lunch. I was actually surprised at how normal the meals were for the tour. I had expected worse, but they were actually pretty good quality meals, at more modernized restaurants. I've had family members who signed up for a different tour (a much cheaper, local paid one) where the meals were terrible. I had that experience in Guangzhou, but I'll talk about that later.
Anyway, we went on a boat ride after lunch while it was still raining. I think it might have been through Wuzhen, but I'm not quite sure. Anyway, the weather made my hair frizzy, which I did not like. Then we walked through this busy shopping street, where the ground was gross. Some of my friends hit a brick and water splattered onto their feet. We also went to this Garden place, which would have been much nicer if it weren't for the rain. We took tons of pictures.
After that, we went to a temple place. It was pretty neat, actually. My mom bought this grape seed thing that you're suppose to rub everyday for good health. It's suppose to change color after some time. My mom bought one for me and my siblings. I hope it works. That reminds me of the jade my mom bought me too. It starts out as a light color bought it turns green if you're healthy. I've been wearing mines for about 2 weeks and it's really green now. Sorry I keep getting off track, but anyway.
The hotel we stayed at was so nice. It was so beautiful. It was quite a shock, since I had expected it to be worse by looking at the places we had visited.
However, their breakfast didn't compare to the hotel at Shanghai. The breakfast buffet was only okay, compared to the other ones. The day was actually really hot, and not rainy. That surprised me. We went to a silk factory to see how they make silk and make silk bedding and that stuff. The tour guide lady even tried to get everyone to buy one. She showed everyone how "strong" the silk bedding was by grabbing it, scratching it and that stuff. But, when my friend tried it, he heard a rip. So, I don't think it's "that" strong. The lady's talking also annoyed me quite a bit, but I dealt with it.
After that, we went to the factory's silk clothing store. The clothes were so beautiful, but so expensive. Who knew that it would be so expensive (sarcasm). But, yea. We got free complimentary silk glasses cloth to clean glasses. For me, that's actually useful since I wear glasses. And silk? That's great.
I remember going to Nanjing to see the 中山陵 that day, which is Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum in English. According to the tour guide, there are suppose to be around 200 steps leading up to the tomb. It would have been a great workout, if it wasn't so hot that day. But even with the humidity in the air, we made it up, with all the sweat and everything. It wasn't tiring at all, compared to the Great Wall. The Great Wall was even more tiring, but the weather wasn't as hot. Anyway, I got a red bean Popsicle after coming back down the stairs. Yum. I love red bean.
I actually don't remember much about the rest of that day. I remember going out to eat and then going to the Chang Jiang, well, the building near it, at least. We went up the tower place and took pictures. It was a beautiful view. I forgot the name of the building though, but Mao Zedong did visit that building before and sat in a middle seat in this one room. Everyone guy wanted to take a picture there, with his signature hand gesture. It was quite amusing. That's all I really remember from that day. The only other thing I remember was that the dinner that day was delicious.
I'm actually surprised I survived being a vegetarian in China, even though it annoyed my parents. I ate the tofu, eggs, veggies and rice.
So, anyway, the next day, off we went to another city, Wuxi.All I remember was that we saw the Lingshan Great Buddha. It was great. The show of the Buddha being born was quite interesting. I liked it. They ever sprayed water on the Buddha while it was rising and slowly spinning around. It was really hot that day though. The sun was shining really bright too. That's all I really remember. I also remember climbing up to go to up to the big Buddha, which was really sweaty work. There were many stairs too, going up to it. There were actually stairs to get to the entrance and then stairs to get to the actual Buddha statue. On a hot, humid day, it gets pretty
I seriously forgot which cities we went to for night shopping. There were so many. But, I do know that we did go to a famous shopping street at night and that the tour guide told us to be careful. There are many people that pickpocket and told us to keep our bags safe, right in front of you. The sad thing was that, after a minute of walking through the street, I saw a lady get pickpocketed and I felt so bad that I couldn't do anything. They were right next to stairs. My friend wanted to see someone get pickpocketed, but he didn't get to. I've gotten into the habit of carrying my purse right in front of me and I still do it now when I go out. Also, in China, it's not required of you to wear a seat belt. Just saying. Anyway, I also remember going to McDonald's that night.
Anyway, the next day, we went to Hangzhou. It was raining that day. Well, part of that day anyway. That's where I actually got my mosquito bites. Or, it may have been a little earlier but I know I had mosquito bites the last day of tour, which was the next day. My friends had gotten at least 10 mosquito bites, starting earlier in the tour, and yet, they sprayed bug repellent. Those that didn't spray it didn't receive the bites. They got bites on the forehead, hands, knuckles, feet, and other body parts. Anyway, before, I continue on about Hangzhou, I know we went to other places too in the other cities I've already mentioned, including a teapot place, where we bought teapots and they showed us how good they were, and a jade place, where my friend's family bought jades shaped like bamboo. I just don't recall what cities we visited those places in.
Anyway, in Hangzhou, even though it was raining, we went on a boat ride on the river. The river is the river on one of the bills the Chinese use for money. It was a nice boat ride.
Then, we went to this tea place where there were tons of mosquitoes. We got tons of mosquito bites there, but apparently, the tea was good and has many health benefits. My mom bought some. The whole tour group had this hilarious conversation with the guy who was telling us about the tea and one of the people in the group recorded it. He has yet to send the recording to us.
Anyway, we had to walk a long distance to go back to the tour bus, in the rain. I do not like rain, but we had to walk through it. Once on the bus, we went to other places, ate and that stuff. I do remember going to this amazing show/performance. The best I've ever seen. The technology was amazing. With the screens, moving stages and the acrobatics involved was great. There was this once part where these girls poured tea and 2 lucky people (guys) get to drink it. My friend was chosen (we sat in the front row) and I would have been chosen too, if I was the guy. Instead, the guy next to me got it.
Anyway, the next day, we went back to Shanghai. That took up at least half the day. We went to this jade place, where I fell asleep on accident while the lady was explaining the jades. Whoops. We all sat around a table and she talked for at least half an hour.
That day, I had a huge mosquito bite on the inside of my feet and my sandals kept scratching it. It irritated me so badly. We even got foot massages that day. The guy that massaged my feet asked what had happened and, guess what. Mosquito bite. He didn't say much, except that he was the manager of the place, at the age of 21, and that I have a nice smile. Do I have a nice smile?
Anyway, for the foot massage, we had to place our feet in hot tea first. It felt so good, especially on my mosquito bite that was really irritating me.
I also remember going to this famous shopping area in Shanghai, where we ate our dinner. We had to buy our own dinner instead of going to a restaurant where they had prepaid and pre-ordered everything. It was actually a good idea, since we got to experience more of the local food. My parents bought some buns that Shanghai is famous for. We also bought some other stuff to eat as well. My parents bought chicken feet, fried noodles, and some sort of bird. It was creepy. There were other stuff too. I didn't eat much of it though, since they mainly bought meat items. But, yea, while eating, I found two more mosquito bites. One was on my neck and the other on my other leg.
After eating, we walked around and then we saw this place where they sold some vegetarian steamed buns. Street food. Oh yea. It was actually quite delicious. They only bought one for me since I didn't eat much when they ate. Tofu, veggies, it was delicious. Then, they bought some ice cream. Yummy. My dad even bought me a red bean drink after. It was delicious as well.
After walking around the area, we had to go back to our meeting spot so that we can go on a boat ride to see Shanghai at night. It was so beautiful. The boat ride took about an hour. We took a lot of pictures.At first, we sat inside and we took seats by the window. But then, these older ladies came in and sat next to us because the table was by the window and there were open seats. They talked so loud, and did things like lean over, picking their noses, not fun. So, we decided to go outside and leave them there, since we didn't even know them. But, the outside was really fun, even though the sky was hazy.
We went back to the hotel after. Then, we walked around Shanghai, along the place where the boat was too. Me, my family, my friends and my friend's family all walked around and took pictures. It was a great night. Great view and everything. The person that got cut off was my friend, who loves taking random pictures. He got in my way while we were walking around. It was a nice way to end the tour. We would all go to Guangzhou, but at different times and different places in Guangzhou. It's ironic how we all somehow are all from California and ended up on the same tour. We even live kind of close by. There were people from China and from Maryland (the state). So weird.
Anyway, the tour of the cities was amazing. Even with the weather, I had a great time, especially with the friends I made. I was lucky since most of the time, the tours don't have people my age. They're so much fun to hang out with. We even had a get together after coming back to the states.
Anyway, we even took some pictures of the foods they had during the tour. People (the waiters/waitresses) stared at us like we were crazy, but hey, we never seen food that was prepared like that. Here are some pictures:
Anyway, the last thing I want to say is that, during one of those tour days, the hotel was right next to Wal-Mart. I guess Wal-Mart is taking over too, as well as McDonald's, KFC and other American chain fast food restaurants. The sad thing is that, the Chinese ones are better and the food is better quality. Even the items at Wal-Mart are better. The Wal-Mart store is huge! There's 3 stories and there are moving stairs or whatever you call it. But, you just had to stand there and it'll take you up or down a floor.They have Chinese and American products, their stuff is cheaper and my friend bought some Green bean or green tea popsicles from there and they were amazing. Asian frozen ice crea m stuff is amazing. The taro, chocolate, melon, red bean, yam,everything. It's delicious.
Anyway, that concludes the northern China tour. After that we went to Guangzhou, Taishan (my hometown!), Macau and Hong Kong. I will post about that in another post. I hope this one wasn't too long. Enjoy. :)