Sunday, November 1, 2009


Our first stop after arriving in Shanghai was the Yuyuan Garden, a beautiful Ming Dynasty garden now surrounded by urban Shanghai:

A nicely juxtaposed skyline:

What a city! View from the 58th floor of the hotel, Le Royal Meridien:

Our hosts:

We toured General Motor's Shanghai production facility. GM making cars in China? Here's why!

(Apparently, Buicks are considered hot, trendy cars in China.)

At the Shanghai Acrobat show, ERA. They rode eight motorcycles inside this ball!

Closing dinner, atop the Shanghai Art Museum. Our hotel is in the background center:

The day after classes ended, a group of three of us rode the Shanghai Maglev train, the world's fastest scheduled train with a top speed of 268 MPH (431 KM/H). A first-class round trip to and from the airport at that speed cost a bit over $20 (160 Yuan).

The driver:

Top speed!

Kinda looks like a fish, huh?

An ad for a ride at Disney World?

The columns in the airport maglev station are decorated to resemble the coils of electromagnets:

Looking down through the floor of the tallest observation deck in the world, over 1500 feet up the Shanghai World Financial Center:

Beijing was an interesting city, but Shanghai was a *fun* city! (I'm glad we went to Beijing first: had we gone to Shanghai first, Beijing might have seemed a disappointment afterwards.)

One thing I realized as I was about to leave was that I could not recall seeing a single soldier in Shanghai. (We saw quite a few in Beijing, though admittedly some of them appeared to be serving in a ceremonial capacity of one sort or another.)

I also realized, upon leaving, that I rarely heard sirens in China--even the sirens of ambulances! I'm used to hearing sirens frequently--typically several times per day--even in relatively tiny Charlottesville. Seems very odd to hear them less frequently in cities of ~20 million people!

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Charlottesville, Virginia, United States