Yup, except without the beach and 90F degree weather. Instead -5C (23 Fahrenheit) weather complemented with wind that a Miami guy like myself is not used to experiencing. A group of us decided to travel and stay in Shanghai for one week of the two week break. And I finally got to experience my first bullet train ride to Shanghai for 5 hours from Tianjin. Let me tell you, those trains go up to 350 km/h (217 mph), passing thru rough mountain paths until stopping in the few train stations between our destination, which is crazy in my book. I loved it for the one hour I stayed awake until I knocked out.
Arriving at Shanghai I was so excited to explore one of China’s renown cities. We found our Airbnb in 15 mins by subway train from the main city area and ate dinner at a restaurant by the corner. The picture above shows us devouring every plate after a long train ride. I would also like to mention that it’s common to share dishes in the middle of the table. We got to try at least 8 different types of dishes. My favorite was the one in the middle with green pepper. Don’t let it fool you; spicccy…
We walked and took the subway to most of our locations; ironically most places were to eat at different restaurants, but we kept in shape. We visited the Shanghai Museum which was super interesting, maybe because I love history (think about it, this moment right now, history; cheesy but true). And to learn about another country’s history is fascinating, especially one that is thousands of years old. The last Dynasty (Republic Period) ended in 1949, WW2 (World War 2) ended in 1945, which makes it unbelievable their history. The picture above is the uniform of soldiers in the Han dynasty period. My goal was to find out where Mulan was born from but unfortunately was unsuccessful. I only found a kid’s book in the gift shop stating “Mulan was a great warrior from the Northern part of China,” and blah, blah that she took her father’s place in the army. Disappointed, I wanted to know what city she was born in and just got played. Overall, I still like the museum, they even had a section explaining the recent short history of the Shanghai Disney that opened in 2016.
“The Bund” of Shanghai is a sight to see for sure. Seeing it up in such a modern city atmosphere is simply breathtaking. I got the opportunity to explore more giant malls in the area with some restaurants in the French district. Then, after searching endlessly, I found my favorite (Ceviche) which is a seafood dish from Peru. I reserved a night (ranks 50 of 16,558 restaurants in Shanghai on TripAdvisor), took a DiDi (like Uber), and enjoyed the most elegantly styled ceviche in my life. (see picture below)
Disney! Being the year of the pig, Disney has the pig from Toy Story displayed by the front gate, which I found hilarious. One of the sole reasons why I traveled to Shanghai had arrived. Ohh it hit me right in the feelz when I entered that gate. I was like, I’m going to try it all and see it all (inner child emerged at times randomly). The parade was by far my favorite experience, I finally got to see Mulan and other movie characters not really broadcasted in the states like Toy Story and the Seven Dwarfs. I also got to see a Tarzan live show. Afterwards we headed to try out the rides like TRON (roller-coaster), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Rex’s Racer and Pirates of the Caribbean (story-line ride but in Chinese). It was truly magical that day; not only did I get to experience first hand a theme park internationally but also their service. The Chinese Disney cast members did not disappoint, they were very welcoming and helpful. (see picture below)
Visiting for one day, Hangzhou, a city near Shanghai, was a more slower, peaceful, and less crowded experience. We walked a fair amount to get these two pictures (below) – I hope you enjoy them.
After Hangzhou, we traveled back to Shanghai and soon after back to Tianjin (campus). It was a unique and unforgettable opportunity to visit those two incredible cities in China. Lastly, Valentine’s Day over here 7,793 miles away from home was special as well. I wanted to make sure everyone felt appreciated so I left a little surprise to wake up to at their doorstep: a flower and a handwritten note uniquely describing for each one of them experiences, inside humor, and appreciation to be on this journey with them.
Keep walking with me thru this journey, until next time!