May 31, 2010 In Harbin
03.05.2010 - 31.05.2010 28 °C
Once I hit June, I will only have three more weeks left in China this year. I can say that this year abroad has brought me many new insights and has tested my ability to adapt in so many ways. Of course, you’re dying to see pictures from my trip to Shanghai. In addition, I have photos from spring in Harbin and Xi’an pictures. My travels have taken me to faraway places to study Chinese ancient culture and be a part of the modern city—even while the seasons change.
In Shanghai, I faced a new kind of weather—mornings were muggy, afternoons were hot, and evenings were a cool windy breeze. The Shanghai Expo was a large part of my trip, as it was the focus of my travels. Along the way, I had a few arguments with my friends. However, when it came to seeing the Yu Yuan garden on the last day of our travels, it was the best conclusion my Shanghai trip could had. I enjoyed the scenic sites, as well as seeing modern skyscrapers, like the Pearl TV Tower, shrouded in rainy clouds.
Despite the ever-changing weather in Shanghai, I would recommend all of you, if you have the opportunity, to visit Shanghai while the Expo is being hosted there. It was a great place to see the culture, but I will pre-warn you that the day will be spent mostly in lines for the most popular pavilions and less of it actually being inside. There are tons of people, and most are actually Chinese citizens because this event is something to be proud of, much like the Beijing Olympics. Shanghai presented a great show, but I truly felt the place was too large. It awed me that mankind could create objects on such a massive scale.
In my photos, you will find what I recommend you to see, and here, I will tell you what I wished to see. However, I revel in the fact that I waited three hours for Saudi Arabia, because not many people are up for that kind of challenge. Because of the SA pavilion, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the UK, Singapore, France, Republic of Korea, and India pavilion, nor any part of the Expo that was west of the Huangpu River. I have heard there are some great pavilions over there to visit. I wish you the best of travels.
My Xi’an trip happened two weeks after I had gotten back from Shanghai. It was a smooth journey with my friends, because we truly bonded over someone ridiculing Matt. Rain brings rainbows, as they say. Though the trip was shorter than the one I took in Yunnan, it was much better organized. Still, it irked me that one day, we traveled to the city Hanzhong （汉中）, which took 4 hours going one way just to see three sites. Like any other travel, I would recommend planning the trip yourself. Going with a travel agency means that you follow their schedule. The most time I could have exploring a place was 90 minutes. After dinner, the time was ours so we could do a little bit of exploring or some souvenir shopping.
In total, the Xi’an trip cost me 4350 Yuan for 5 days, including my plane fare. When I had planned my Shanghai trip, I spent a total of 3700 Yuan for 8 days, including Expo tickets, hotel and plane fare. In the future, I hope to visit Xi’an and drive to surrounding areas. There is so much more to discover about China’s ancient and traditional culture.
Besides my travels, I have recently found out my HSK score. To refresh your memory, HSK is the official Chinese proficiency test. I had taken the Intermediate Level and passed with a 7, which is second-highest score in the Intermediate level. To me, that is the greatest accomplishment I could have wished for. I have made this year a success, with help from all those around me, especially my teachers and host family. Of course, I have to thank my mom, my grandparents, my friends, my classmates, and especially Zach, for believing in me as well.
For the next three weeks, I plan to work on my online math class, help my sister as much as I can with her English, and see what I have missed this year in Harbin. And soon, I will be packing and making my way home!