Last June I graduated high school. I am probably one of the few out there that actually loved high school. Yes you saw that, LOVED! Despite having to leave my friends and amazing teachers, and my longing to stay in high school forever, with graduating came an exciting graduation gift. My grandparents gave me the opportunity to go anywhere in the world I wanted to go. ANYWHERE! And I chose China. Why China - I'm not exactly sure. But that's what I decided.
I'm a girl who wishes to travel the world, so picking anywhere in the world was hard as there is so many places I want to go. It was hard deciding where first. Growing up, I watched a lot of Chinese and Taiwanese TV dramas, listened to Chinese music, and even studied Mandarin for about a year or two - learning the language and Chinese culture. So it only seemed fitting to give China a go! We decided to stay in Shanghai for a week and Beijing for 3 days. We had the trip planned for last year after graduating but plans changed and was postponed for my spring break in college.
There's so much to say I don't even know where to start! Well, Friday, March 21, my grandparents and I headed off to the airport at around 5am. We flew out of LAX, which is about 2 hours away from us, so we had to get an early start with our plane leaving at 9:35am. We had a flight change in Seattle and from there to Shanghai it was about a 14 hour flight. I thought I would get so bored but the plane had TV's on the back of everyone's seat so I was able to watch movies, TV, listen to music, play games, etc. We landed in Shanghai at the Pudong airport around 6pm on March 22 and our journey began.
We stayed at the Sun Island Resort and Spa while in Shanghai, and I'm glad we got a taxi to drive us from the airport to the resort because we would've gotten so lost! It was practically off into the middle of nowhere, but at the same time I guess it was nice because it was peaceful and quiet at the resort. We stayed in what looked like European cottages and it was a really beautiful atmosphere - the birds sang almost non-stop, vibrant colors, beautiful trees and architecture, and the staff was so so so nice and always willing to help us if we had any trouble. It was amazing everywhere we went we found English-speaking people...almost.
Every morning I would wake up at 4am and walk around the resort. The resort was outlined with the Mao River so I would walk by the water for about an hour every morning. Every morning we would eat breakfast in a buffet at the resort, where I would always have muffins - topped with either sliced almonds or pine nuts, fried vermicelli - with steamed carrots and cabbage, a side of steamed vegetables, dumplings, and eggrolls. Unfortunately, my grandpa HATES Chinese food so we never ate at any Chinese restaurants.
The resort had so much, like a farm, spa, restaurants, golf course, etc. There was a fashion show going on one evening but we couldn't stay as we were exploring then. We became friends with the chef, Calvin, at an Italian restaurant at the resort. Unfortunately I never got a picture with him, but I should have. He was lovely.
While in Shanghai, we went to an ancient water town called Zhujiajiao about 3 times. There we would shop, go to the bank, and just wander around enjoying the ambiance of the place. We spent all day there once just walking around what was called Shanghai Civilized Park. I took pictures with a lot of little lion statues that I fell in love with (luckily they were everywhere).
City God Temple
China was surreal, captivating, and memorable. I already want to go back!
Sorry this was such a lengthy post - and I didn't even cover half of the material - but I hope you enjoyed the post and pictures and see you soon in another post about the last part of our trip in Beijing!