Our very last day in Shanghai. We returned to the Science and Technology market to see if we could pick up a few more bargains to squeeze into our bags! (they are almost bursting at the seems) Later we had lunch, more scrummy dumplings the last we will have while we are here. After lunch we caught the Met one last time, so that we could walk to the Bund and take some last photos of beautiful Shanghai. The Pearl Tower on the other side of the river was stunning made a great backdrop to our last few memories. It was then time to return to the hotel and put our bags on the bus so that they could meet us at the airport as we had one last thrill for our trip. We got to take the Shanghai Maglev – The World’s Fastest Commercially Operating Train to the airport, we sped along at 440km the trip that took over an hour by bus when we arrived took all of 4 minutes for the return journey.
11923 Steps today.
This morning after yet another huge breakfast we loaded our luggage back on the bus for the trip back to Shanghai. Along the way we visited Water town, Marco Pollo named Suhzou and Water Town the Asian Venice because of all the channels. We wandered through another amazing garden, and had a lot of fun while doing so. Our guide Rose had organised a treasure hunt for us. Boy was it difficult finding the last 2 things! Once we had finished in the garden we had free time shopping in the town. Many of the children and Kate bought a lucky pearl shell for 50 yuan, these were opened to reveal just a few or a lot of pearls. What ever was in your shell you got to keep! Lunch was a different fare in a local restaurant, we dined on pork knuckles and a strange biscuit that was flaky pastry covered in sesame seeds, we were expecting a savoury taste but it was surprisingly sweet. The meal included many other interesting dishes. This evening we were privileged to attend a show at Shanghai Circus World. The only way to describe the acrobatics and entertainment is WOW! Breath taking! The show took us travelling through time and space. Take a look if you get a chance http://www.era-shanghai.com/era/en/
13574 Steps today
Our sister school is so much bigger than Big Hill, it has four stories and in some of the classroom teachers use a microphone to ensure all the students can here the instruction as there are 40 students per grade. The students have two lessons a week of PE that are devoted to roller blading each lesson is an hour and a one hour swimming lesson each week. They also do eye exercises twice a day all at the same time the routine is announced on the school speaker system. Today we were treated to a lesson on how to fold paper for rice dumplings as well as making a lavender hanging triangle. (Not sure these will be able to come home through customs). For morning tea we were treated to rice dumplings and pork dumplings along with the biggest grapes you have ever seen!
Our students host families were extremely generous, all three came home from their overnight stay with lovely gifts. Each of our students sampled a different restaurant for dinner trying different things again. I am so proud of the way our students are not afraid to give anything a go once! Some of us tried eel, pigeon, abalone, clams and a lot more. All three were treated to an amazing afternoon sightseeing. Thanks to our host families for making our stay so enjoyable!
We had a Kungfu lesson and demonstration as one of our afternoon activities, our kungfu master demonstrated weapons and breaking metal bars with his head and hands. The other activity was a visit to a famous garden. The Humble Ambassadors Garden we saw beautiful water features with huge goldfish, pergolas, zig zag bridges and wonderful bonsai. A very pretty and peaceful place to visit. Dinner was very different tonight we had dishes from another province in Western China. These dishes were hot, lots of chilli. Aaron and Gryffin had a chilli off during dinner.
8718 Steps Today
This morning after a massive breakfast smorgasbord including ice cream and yes they ate ice cream for breakfast in fact some ate 2! We were picked up and taken to Xincheng Gardens Primary School. We were welcomed and presented with gifts. After this we went to watch morning exercises. 1601 students all lined up doing the same thing at the same time a sight to see. After this it was time for what we thought was lunch! Dumplings and more dumplings meat and vegetable. After we were stuffed full, it was time to watch a tea ceremony, followed by a Chinese calligraphy lesson. Then there was wait for it….lunch. More and more food! Salad, squirrel fish, soup, fried rice, sauté celery and dumplings, yoghurt and fruit. Did you know it is tradition to serve soup last in China!
After lunch we returned to the hotel to wait for our homestay parents to Come pick us up. Kate and Chen were lucky enough to be invited out with Jasmine and her family for the afternoon and dinner.
Jasmine’s family took Kate and Gryffin to visit Tiger Hill and Channing road in old town both have amazing history. They are over 1000 years old. Australia is really a baby in comparison! Kate braved the stinky tofu in old town and found once you got past the smell it was really not bad. Gryffin was treated to a toffee peacock which we watched the man make by drawing with hot toffee onto a stone slab, he was very clever. We wandered around looking at silk shops, tea shops, traditional snack shops, shops full of wonder out things. Kate even got to look at pearl shops! We listened to a man play a traditional pottery whistle, Kate bought one!
7900 Steps today
Today we travelled to Suhzou by bus. Rose our tour guide told us that the trip can take anywhere between 1.5 hours and 5 plus hours depending on the traffic. Luckily our trip only took 2 hours . Along the way we realised that Shanghai city goes on and on and on! When we arrived in Suhzou went were treated to a banquet for lunch at a local restaurant, we had squirrel fish, eggplant, pork steamed buns, dumplings, smoked duck, several chicken dishes all very different from home, but nice the less delicious. We had to duck into a shop and buy jumpers as it was rather cold and wet and our luggage was under the bus until we got to the hotel much later in the day. Our afternoon activity was a visit to the silk factory. Watching the process from silk worm to silk product was amazing. We learnt that a double silk cocoon is only good for stuffing, that it is the single thread cocoons that are woven into fabric. A lot of the process is still hand done. We all enjoyed our shopping at the silk factory. Note real silk is very, very expensive! Kate enjoyed patting the silk worms. We finally arrived at our hotel where we unpacked and had some rare down time before another fantastic banquet. Sweet and sour pork is not red like it is at home and not a bit of pineapple. It is simply scrumptious. We had a local spicy chicken peanut and chilli dish, Kate is chasing the recipe for that one! A cabbage done in soy, pork dumplings, some type of yummy beef, broccoli, an egg custard with tiny local fish from the rooster lake, rice of course, all washed down with green tea.
16870 Steps Today
Ready to rock and roll!
Today we visited the insect market. Who knew crickets could be so loud! Lots of weird and wonderful things to behold. After we finished looking at coloured frogs, turtles, the cutest furry bunnies, puppies, squirrels, kittens and fish we walked back to the train after grabbing an ice cream from a local shop. The next stop was the Shanghai Planning Muesum. So much to look at but the highlight was a scaled down model of Shanghai city. Next on our to do list for the day was lunch, yummy dumplings again. This time we did a take away and sat in the park to eat them. Our group in purple shirts seems to draw a crowd no matter where we go or what we do! It was a bit like being the goldfish in a bowl being watched while we ate. After lunch we went back to the Science and Technology market. More bargains won and lost. Dinner tonight was in the food hall a short stroll from our hotel. We dined on chicken feet, prawn rolls, Mexican chicken, sesame buns and a spicy beef rice. After diner a walk along the shopping strip to look at all the lights. Back to the hotel to pack our bags before heading off in the morning.
16870 steps today
Today was a big one!!!
An early breakfast before wandering the gardens across the road. Anyone would have thought we were expecting rain by the amount of umberellas lining the paths. Each had a sign attached. We learnt that each one was advertising that the person was seeking a partner. Many parents want good matches for their children, so they sit with the umberellas for hours.
We then joined the locals for a bit of an outdoor gym session. Before jumping onto the met, our first train change so that we could venture to the Yuan Gardens. We wandered around the streets taking in the scenery. Before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant where the choice was mind boggling! We could have tried snails but none of us were that brave! Tomato sauce in Shanghai tastes weird! On our way back to The hotel we once agin stopped at Maccas for a soft serve treat. Time for a rest pheeeewww!
Once we had rested we wandered down the road to have a look at one of the upmarket shopping centres, boy was it BIG! On the 6th floor we ever found an ice skating rink. We returned to the hotel to catch our breath before trying pork in broth with noodles for tea. Not an easy thing to eat when you haven’t quite got the hang of chopsticks! After tea we were on the road again with a huge walk to the Bund river, we walked for ages before we got on our boat which looked a bit like a UFO. Shanghai really is quite spectacular by night, so many beautiful lights. Four very tired people returned to the hotel tonight!
21228 steps today by Kate’s counter!
What an amazing day we have had. We started off with an awesome breakfast. After breakfast we braved the Shanghai Met, to get us to the Pearl Tower. The Pearl Tower was amazing! Even Kate braved the glass platform. On our way back down we stopped for a ride on the virtual roller coaster. Boy the screams were loud! After the tower we had a quick bite at Maccas, then a stop at a huge temple. We listen to the monks singing and threw coins for good luck. When we had finished exploring the temple, we jumped on the train to try our skills at bartering in the technology market. What a great time we had haggling for bargains. Back on the train like sardines in a can. So we could have fantastic dumplings for tea. After tea we went into the park across from the hotel and joined in with some dancing. A quick ice cream and a look around the local cheap shop before bed.
14513 steps by Kate’s counter.
We are off a very early get up for our trip to the Melbourne airport. A long eleven hour flight followed by a bus ride to the Park hotel in the centre of Shanghai.
Our Travel to China is certain to be an exciting adventure!
The lucky students travelling are…
Charli Sullivan Gryffin Winser Aaron Melis
This year the three students above will accompany Kate to China.
Our adventure begins very early on the 1st of June.