I’d like to preface this blog post with a PSA… Please do not support the Shanghai Zoo. But more about that later
We arrived in Shanghai early Thursday morning and I was right off the boat onto my Field Directed Practica with my US-Sino relations professor, John Israel, Shen Dingli and class. Shanghai Interaction as the trip was called consisted of a visit to Fudan Universities Center for American Studies. We met with Professor Li, who sat as a director of the ministry of education. He spoke to us about the importance of American Students studying in China. After that we had a boxed lunch at a local dim sum spot, where one of my friends had an allergic reaction to some shellfish. After 5 minutes of being excused I suggested someone follow her and make sure of her safety. 3 minutes later they both came out of the restroom one holding her finger in pain and the other frantically hurried. An epipen incident gone wrong! She had to go back to the ship; I observed that the Chinese sense of urgency is dangerously logy. I’ll shallow your shock in indicating at this point that she is fine. Hen Bao – or very full at this point- we went over to the French side of Shanghai were we had drinks at the Maison Bar, we were delighted in conversation from a Vietnamese UVA student who was studying in Shanghai and her experiences. Thereafter we had a traditional Shanghanese meal. I don’t remember everything we ate but, boy, we ate. Soup dumplings, Shrimp, tofu and more. That night we returned to the ship and a couple friends and I went out looking for a place to hangout and eventually found a nice hole in the wall bar where some SASers had frequented that day. A couple of beers, peanuts and popcorn a game of pool proved for a perfect way to end the night. We literally made our mark on the bar by signing our names on the walls – as was tradition.
The next day a group of us went to a Chinese acrobat show which was amazing. I cannot articulate how cool it was. After that the night transformed into a night filled with dancing at Chinese Clubs (M2), fistfuls of Yuan and broken Chinese proved to be the highlight of the Shanghai port. Outside of the FamilyMart we met Chinese students who we couldn’t communicate with so luckily we hailed down a Frenchmen and my French, Chinese and Diplomatic skills came into play.
Our last day in Shanghai, I awoke wanting badly to go to the museum. Never made it. Instead we went to the dreadful Shanghai Zoo. A place where you can examine either side of the glass and must question who the animal really is. We saw people feeding the Boars potato chips, the elks had no water to drink, we saw peacocks who were being man handled for the sake of pictures. The most disturbing of all was the manned wolf that was confined to A 30 square foot cement viewing box who stalked back in forth in its own urine. We saw people throw bottles and balled up pieces of paper at lions and tigers to warrant a roar. I’m going to cut further observations of the Zoo short because I am sure you get the picture.
After we left the zoo, a humbled group of us divided. Some went to the ship and the other half, Wal-Mart. I picked up some things and Now we are headed to Hong Kong.