We all met in the lobby at 10am and I was very grateful that I got to sleep in since I was still not feeling too well and I was getting worse by the hour. Our first stop of the day was the Shanghai Museum where we explored only one of the four floors of artifacts. What I got to see was very interesting and I was able to learn a few tidbits about Chinese currency and the furniture from the various Chinese rulers. Since I was already sick, I decided to go to the tearoom on the 2nd floor. When I got there I ordered a pot of Oolong tea. This is one of my favorite teas since it brings back memories of eating Chinese food in New York when I was a kid. The tea definitely soothed my raging sore throat and it hit the spot. A few others joined me and as we sat and finished the entire pot, I checked the time and realized it was time to meet our host in the lobby. We piled onto the bus and went to our next stop, the silk museum. When we arrived to the front of the museum, I was unsure what we were walking into since it looked like a four story building and not your typical museum setting. When we walked in the door we were greeted in typical Chinese fashion and we went into one of the side rooms. There we watched a presentation on how silk is made and saw the difference between real and imitation silk products. We also watched a woman unravel the pods of the silkworm and even stretched some silk fabric that was being used for a silk comforter. This was a really cool experience.
After the museum we went to lunch and I was very excited for this. Our lunch consisted of this amazing Sweet and Sour fried whole fish, Shanghai Soup Dumplings, Pork Buns and lots of other amazing Shanghai specialties. Shanghai food is a lot sweeter and they are known for their famous Shanghai soup dumplings. These dumplings are a unique mixture of pork combined with soup base so when they steam the filling separates from the water incorporated into them also creating a clear soup. They are delicious! After lunch we visited the Shanghai gardens and visited one of the historic shopping areas. This shopping experience is unlike any other because the price on the product is not what you pay. If you are tourist and do not know any better, most people will pay that price; however if you know the secret, you can haggle them down to lower than half the price. Since I have briefly visited Shanghai in 2010, I knew better and negotiated my way on lots of items! This is definitely an art form and must be practiced to entirely benefit from the art of negotiation.
You must show interest in the item, ask questions, and then start the haggling process. Just when you can’t get them down any lower, then you walk away. At that point they ask you what do you want to pay and bam, you start wheeling and dealing! You can tell I enjoy this and yes, the car dealers in the area fear me!
After shopping we ran, yes ran to get on the 5pm ferry. It was 4:57pm and thankfully we made it. This is the first time I have done a river cruise in China and it was a really neat experience. By this time, my cold really started to settle in and I was hating life, but the views of Shanghai from the river were amazing. Then as the sun started to slowly set in the west, Shanghai could be seen in a totally new light. As each minute passed and the sun started to slowly disappear, the lights of the buildings began to flicker giving us an entirely different view of the city. Seeing the city switch from day to night was an entirely breathtaking view. When the boat docked, we got off and went to the Bund area. This is an area that depicts the European architectural influences within Shanghai and overlooks modern Shanghai. The two architectural areas combined into one area are a sight to see and seeing it at night adds to the mystical beauty that the city holds. While the others went off and took pictures, I stayed behind and talked to our host Golden. We chatted about his life in China and I realized how lucky I was to be an American citizen. Golden told me all of the lies that the government has told and even asked me if I saw the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. I told them that they were real and I remember watching them on TV when I was a teenager. He seemed shocked about how much I knew about the event and became even angrier at his own government. I then asked him about how the Chinese government ruled with fear and then began asking him about the sentencing for a Chinese thief. He said that if someone is caught stealing a pen or a small item, they are sentenced to at least 15 days in jail and if someone steals a big item like a car or truck they can be sentenced to at least 7 years. I found this an amazing little factoid of knowledge. I have never committed a crime, but I know from friends that if someone is caught stealing a small item, they do not get 15 days in jail. Now I know why everyone in China minds their own business and follows the rules. I would too if I permanently lived here!