China 2

travel china

The second half of my trip to China included excursions to Xian and Shanghai


We made it to Shanghai for a weekend. It was great to see another city.

2011-06-08 We couldn't get a sleeper car, so we were in chairs. The sleeper is worth the extra money. photo credit - Taylor

2011-06-09 The first thing we did in Shanghai was head to the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. This celebrates an event similar to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. I enjoyed reading the biography of the founders as many of them had treason related deaths. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-09 We needed to eat breakfast/lunch. So we went to Hong Kong.

2011-06-09 And for my lunch, I found a 7-Eleven, and everyone ended up copying my frozen coke idea.

2011-06-09 Always more crazy mascots. This is outside the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre, our next destination. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-09 The first thing you see upon entering the Urban Planning Centre is this large model of Shanghai's financial district.

2011-06-09 The third floor is a massive model of Shanghai, which is impressive, but then it LIGHTS UP! It looked cool, but due to the nature of the model my photos didn't turn out well.

2011-06-09 Whenever I see a model, I must try very hard not to emulate Godzilla. I hope there is no urban planning museum in Tokyo (whenever I find my way there).

2011-06-09 After a day of walking through the rain and having a visibility at approximately 500 meters, we exited our hostel at night to find the weather had partially cleared. Shanghai is beautiful at night, and having the clouds illuminated above helped as well. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-09 We made our way to the financial district to view the city at night, but spent too much time not knowing where to go to get to an observation deck. Here we are in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-10 The next day we went to Nanjing Road, which is the premiere shopping district in Shanghai. We met Ashley's friends briefly. Look at my new shoes! I woke up early that morning and wandered for an hour looking for them, but there are no shoes in China that fit! I finally found these in a roadside vendor's pile of shoes. They were good enough to replace my old sneakers with holes in them.

2011-06-10 We walked to Yuyuan Garden. It was pretty, however the rain and crowds subtracted from the experience.

2011-06-10 In Yuyuan Garden, Holden and Jon being adorable. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-10 Holden, Jon, Taylor, and I went looking for the China Sex Museum in the financial district. It was in our guidebook, but after quite a bit of wandering, we found out from a local it had been destroyed three years ago. This ruined our trip to Shanghai. This photo demonstrates how cloudy the trip is.

2011-06-10 With some time to burn we went looking for a pub and found the Bund Brewery.

2011-06-10 For dinner we met up with my sister's friend Tony, who studies at Michigan. Dinner went really well, but the best part was this dessert. This is the love child of an angel food cake and a pound cake, which has been cut into cubes so you can access inside with chopsticks. And yes, ice cream is put on top. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-10 Here is the group with our hosts Tony and Sarah. They took great care of us. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-11 The next day we made our way to the 1955 Shanghai Exhibition Center, where people were setting up for a film expo. I don't think we were supposed to be walking around, but no one yelled at us.

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2011-06-11 I wanted a cheeseburger, and somehow we found this American restaurant.

2011-06-11 Sucka!

2011-06-11 I'm confused by this marketing tactic. These Lynx (Axe) girls run up to you and spray you with body spray. However, this implies that I'm already attention grabbing BEFORE the spray. Perhaps it was my odour which attracted attention.

2011-06-11 Mascots are everywhere!

2011-06-11 While walking along, we came across this kitten who distracted everyone and is featured in a series of photographs. photo credit - Taylor

2011-06-11 Luckily I'm immune to the cuteness of a kitten, so I saw that fifty meters ahead was a bride and groom! I thought they were much more photo worthy.

2011-06-11 Happy days. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-11 We thought it was clearing up, and we headed over to the financial district to look out of some tall buildings.

2011-06-11 It was cloudy. I don't want to know what it takes for the sad face.

2011-06-11 Mascots are everywhere! photo credit - Holden

University of Science and Technology Beijing

We went for a tour of Dr. Wang's home University, the University of Science and Technology Beijing.

2011-06-15 Here we are outside the front gates. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-15 We toured the fluids and thermodynamics labs. Dr. Wang thought it was weird that none of us had lab work for thermodynamics or fluids, but I think it is the norm. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-15 The thermodynamics lab had a distillation column in it, which is not covered in our thermodynamics books.

2011-06-15 We met with some graduate students to discuss the differences between Chinese and American schooling. It is different, especially for undergraduate students. I cannot comprehend having the electricity in the dorms shutoff at a scheduled time at night. When are you supposed to do your schoolwork? photo credit - Dr. Wang

2011-06-15 We were presented with some beautiful signs, which were made by one of the students while we were there. I wonder what happened to those signs... photo credit - Dr. Wang

Forbidden Palace and Beijing TV Tower

A trip to Beijing is not complete without seeing the Forbidden Palace.

2011-06-16 I figure I'd throw in this photo that Jon took showing how our rooms looked, as they lack a proper closet. photo credit - Jon

2011-06-16 The Forbidden Palace still has an active garrison. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-16 Here is half a panorama of the first courtyard at the Forbidden Palace. The rest of it looks similar.

2011-06-16 Jon is excellent at taking portraits. photo credit - Jon

2011-06-16 Elephant! photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-16 Carl split off for most of the palace, and here we are meeting up with him again. Can you find him in this photo?

2011-06-16 Here is a picture of the view immediately exiting the Forbidden Palace.

2011-06-24 A couple days later it was clear, and I wanted to look out from the China Central Television Tower, the tallest building in Beijing. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it before sunset, largely because I'm incompetent at directions, but the tower looks cool at sunset.

2011-06-24 While the view was mediocre from the tower because it was dark out, the actual tower has tons of touristy things to do. I don't know what the real purpose of this wall credit - Ashley

2011-06-24 I have a future career as a news anchor, although I think I need to have a beautiful blonde next to me so people don't notice how stupid I look. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-24 Why is there a room of giant coffee mugs? And why do you strap a ying yang and the PLA logo onto them? photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-24 Outside the CCTV tower is a massive Chinese Chess set, which is a little too much work to play with. However, more conventional battling can take place with the massive credit - Ashley

2011-06-24 Where we ate dinner after the tower, this photo is an excellent example of the roadside vendors which pop up every night. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-25 The next day was also clear (which is really bizarre in Beijing), so I walked to the park about two miles away from our campus. The only problem was that it was quite crowded being a weekend.

2011-06-25 The CCTV tower is not world famous for its height, however Beijing is a flat city so it can be found in the skyline.

2011-06-25 What does Canbest sell??? I wish I knew, however I was strapped for time as we were leaving for Xian later this day.


The last major excursion we took was to Xian, which is famous for the Terra Cotta Army.

2011-06-25 We left out of the West train station, which was massive. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-25 A major boulevard leads strait up to the West train station, and looking down it is the China Millennium Monument (art gallery), and it had a giant hammer and sickle displayed celebrating the Communist Party's birthday. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-25 Looking down the train car at our merry band of travellers. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-26 The sleeper train arrived in the morning, and we had much better luck finding the hostel than when we arrived in Shanghai. The hostel had a nice bar and eatery with a good breakfast, although I was more thrilled for the quick shower I took. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-26 We finally had everyone in one place for this photo in front of a sign that I can't read (most likely saying we are at the Huaqing Hot Springs). On the left is V, who we met on the train. He was a real blessing to have. On the right we have Jon's family, Mark, Cheryl, Scott, and Luka. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-26 Everyone crowds this statue of Yang Guifei for pictures. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-26 Here is an overview of the complex. We spent some time taking photos here.

2011-06-26 Here is one of those pictures.

2011-06-26 Taylor being a boss. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-26 Carl challenging authority.

2011-06-26 After a short trip on the bus we made it to the Terracotta Army. This is in front of the museum, the actual army is housed in the large hanger-like buildings to the left of the photo.

2011-06-26 The world famous Terracotta Army! It is actually split up into three excavation sites, but this is the largest and the most interesting.

2011-06-26 Mascots everywhere! This poor mascot couldn't understand us and was obviously tired of standing on one foot all day long.

2011-06-26 Obomo Mao!

2011-06-27 In the centre of Xian is the Drum Tower and Bell Tower. This is looking from the Drum Tower towards the Bell Tower.

2011-06-27 Ashley with her jumping photos.

2011-06-27 The markets in Xian.

2011-06-27 We splurged on the sleeper car on the way home. Our rooms had doors!

Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution

The metro stop for the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution cough my eye, so I finally convinced everyone to join me on one of our final weekends.

2011-06-30 This premade sandwich was at the school store. I ate many of the peanut butter variant. photo credit - Jon

2011-06-30 Also at the school store was this roll, featuring the flavour "Meat Floss". Naturally, I bought it on the spot. It was: mediocre.

2011-06-30 Another evening out. photo credit - Holden

2011-07-01 We passed this local whenever we went to the metro. One of the few themed establishments in the area. photo credit - Holden

2011-07-01 The main atrium of the museum. photo credit - Ashley

2011-07-01 This missile launch platform is complete with an adult magazine stowed away inside.

2011-07-01 A Chinese-made vehicle. I believe it is designed as a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.

2011-07-01 I remember thinking to myself as a child "if only there were rocket launcher platforms available to LEGOs".

2011-07-01 Those swords mean nothing to us!

Final Presentation and Fragrant Hills Park

In the last couple days we presented our findings and had a small day trip to the Fragrant Hills Park.

2011-07-07 Here is Taylor, myself, and Ashley giving our final presentation.

2011-07-07 Here is Carl, Jon, and Holden giving their final presentation.

2011-07-07 We had a farewell dinner, and after we took this group photograph at the entrance to our hotel. I don't think I know this many people in America!

2011-07-08 We went to the Fragrant Hills Park in our last weekend. Here is Jing with a roasted sunflower. photo credit - Holden

2011-07-08 These umbrellas are not very good at providing shade. photo credit - Holden

2011-07-08 At the top of the mountain. photo credit - Holden

2011-07-08 We live for danger. photo credit - Holden

2011-07-08 Carl wanted to stay in China and put a down payment on this property. photo credit - Holden

2011-07-08 I was jealous, I left my hammock in the USA. photo credit - Holden

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