February 14, 2014
Okay, so now on to China.
I decided to stay with the ship. I could have planned a very rushed and expensive trip to Beijing to see The Great Wall, but I did not really have the money or want the hassle. I will need to return specifically for this unseen sight (I still do not regret my decision).
Upon arriving to Shanghai, our pilot boat was supposed to lead us through the river to shore. They did not show up, so we got what everyone called, Semester at Sea’s first RIVER DAY! It was so relaxing. There were no classes.We watched a movie in the large auditorium, ate, played games, and just enjoyed each others company.
We arrived into Shanghai around 8pm. We all quickly disembarked to experience the night life. Unfortunately, it was cool and rainy again, but none the less, memories were made.At one point, B (a friend) and I were completely lost, trying to communicate with this cab driver who spoke almost no English, and kept insisting that B, was in fact Chinese. She’s Hispanic (Haha)! It was hilarious.
Anyway, on day two, myself and two of my friends ventured out on yet another rainy day. Eventually, after trying to get money converted and finding a warm place to get food, we set out to find a market/town that was reminiscent of ancient China. WE FAILED!
We were cold, wet, and staring at a drenched map. Simultaneously, we agreed to go into Forever 21 to warm up and regroup. It was much needed. We got our second wind to search for the old market city. Not too long after, we ran into SASer’s who had been to the ancient city, and guess what?!?!? WE FOUND IT! There were people everywhere, food, and knickknacks. It was so nice. I felt as if I were walking through China’s streets of old. It was here, that I saw the extent of my bargaining skills. That in and of itself was a memory made.
After visiting small shops and eating street food we wandered back to the ship. On the way back to the ship, we discovered a peaceful Bamboo garden. What a great way to end our long day.
I learned from this day, and the beginning portion of my trip, that things don’t always turn out how you hope, but if you stick with it, you still make memories.In travel, you must be flexible and roll with the punches.
I spent two days in transit with the ship, catching up on movies, sleep, and emails. It was welcomed! Between school and travel, I was exhausted.
When we arrived in Hong Kong, I made plans to go to a place called Lama Island. It was a quaint fishing village with beautiful sites, and stray dogs. We took time to hike up this mountain/hill thing, and just enjoy nature.
Oh, I almost forgot, in Shanghai I got my first experience with being noticed as different/exotic in a new place. I had two women ask to touch my hair, and another two women who asked me to take a picture with this toddler.
Back to Lamma Island… we hiked, and the view was spectacular! I felt as if I were on top of the world.
The temperature made me feel like a little kid, cold enough to have a runny nose and cold hands, but not cold enough to stop playing and go get a jacket.
After climbing to the top, we made our way down and set out to another fishing village on the other side of the Island. We had lunch, then took a ferry back to Hong Kong.
The hike across he Island took two hours and was worth every step. Lunch was yummy, the shops were adorable, and we just made our boat by a few minutes. Cold, wet, and tired we still decided to walk around and explore Hong Kong. I felt I was truly living.
The next day in Hong Kong I had a Field Lab. It wasn’t the best or most exciting experience, but what I did take away was about the people of Hong Kong. They view themselves as separate from the rest of China, a result of British colonization.
And so, that was China.
Until Next Time,