28 Jan My busy weekends in Shanghai
The Weekends in Shanghai are always busy with organised events run by Absolute Internship as well as casual events that we organise ourselves. On the first weekend (after the initial orientation weekend) we had an organised trip to Suzhou, a water town that is described as the Venice of China. During the daytime we visited the Suzhou Museum and the Gardens. In the evening we walked around the small streets and canals and that’s when the comparison with Venice lived up to its billing. The bridges in particular had a very similar style however a unique aspect was the traditional lanterns that lit up the streets as the sun went down. On Sunday we had the Amazing Race. It was pretty much a competition based on the TV show that involved us going around Shanghai taking photos of sights or us doing things. Some were pretty basic such as taking a photo of the Pearl Tower but some were very difficult such as taking a photo with a person’s baby when you’re a complete stranger to them. The tasks took to us to various parts of Shanghai such as Pudong and Peoples Square; it was pretty easy navigating around Pudong because I worked there so was fairly familiar with the surroundings. Peoples square was less familiar and also really busy, there was also massive line outside some sort of exhibition. At around 4 o’clock our time limit was up and we headed back to the hotel to hand in our camera’s/phones for counting of photos, another team came out on top and received a prize for their efforts.
The next weekend was all about the Shanghai nightlife; a group of us got together and arranged to get a table at M1NT, Shanghai’s most famous club. It features a great view of the city and also a shark tank, one of the most unique things you’d ever find in a club. However the sharks are only little ones that are no bigger than regular sized fish so don’t go expecting to see a fully grown great white. The table reservation included a few bottles of liquor but it soon became evident that that wasn’t going to last the night with the number of people we had. This resulted in us ordering a lot more alcohol which came at a very steep price. Getting word of the bill the next day was certainly a shock, however in the end it was still pretty reasonable if you compared it to Australian prices. But of course my advice is don’t go too crazy with the drinks if you want to hold onto your money.
Nanjing was the setting for our final weekend. Absolute Internship organised a 2 day trip there with accommodation in a hotel for Saturday night. I was actually born there and my grandparents and uncle live there so it was also a good opportunity to visit them. We took the bullet train in the morning and got there in just over an hour, the time certainly flew by while we were on the train. We first visited the Mausoleum of Dr Sun Yat Sen, an iconic figure in Chinese history. The place was set on a hill so there were a lot stairs to walk up but there was a pretty nice view waiting for us when we reached the top. After that we headed to lunch in what was supposed to be a 20 minute drive, however for some reason the traffic was ridiculous that day and it took around 2 hours to get there. After lunch we were scheduled to go to the Confucius Temple, however I decided to give it a miss so I would get to my Grandparents place in time. After visiting my relatives I headed to the hotel to meet back up with the rest of the intern group. Some of us then headed out, first visiting a bar that was almost identical to Space Café in Shanghai and then to 1912 district where most of the nightclubs were based. It was notably less international in the clubs which was expected in a smaller city but the atmosphere was just as great. The next day we went to the Memorial of the Nanjing Massacre where 300m000 people were killed during the Japanese occupation in World War 2. It was definitely a very confronting experience with many eye witness accounts of the event. At the end, the memorial really emphasized the importance of remembering and learning from the past so such an atrocity is never repeated. We were scheduled to do a couple of other things that day but due to the traffic we didn’t have enough time to fit them in so headed straight back to the train station and on the train to Shanghai.