China Tour – 2074 : Pranjali Sunuwar

Published Date: January 23, 2018


BEIJING

It was a sunny day on September 17. We all met at the airport. We could easily spot everyone because of the red hats. I went ahead and got myself a red hat too. I could see familiar faces everywhere.

After we got on the plane, we flew over to Lhasa. The view from the airplane window was breathtaking. We could see the vast plateaus and lakes right beneath us. We got off in Lhasa and went through some immigration process. After a really long flight, we reached Chengdu.

Chengdu was beautiful. The city air felt clean and the city lights were very captivating. We went to the Hang Kong Hotel. After spending an extremely hilarious time in the hotel lobby, we got our rooms. The 14-story building was incredible. We had a nice glass protected porch from where we could see the busy streets of Chengdu. We ended the night with a delicious burger king dinner.

On the next day, we flew for Beijing. We met our guide, Mei. She was a fair lady with good English. Her catch phrase was “Boys, Girls, ah, ChaloChalo!!”. Actually by “ChaloChalo” she meant,“let’s go” in Hindi.  When we first got in Beijing city, it was amazing. The fast running cars, the clean broad roads, the neatly lined bikes and the tall buildings made the Beijing City so much new and fascinating to us. Soon, we reached the Beijing City Inn Hotel. The hotel room was spacious. We rested our bags and went immediately to resume our tour.

Out first destination in Beijing was the Beijing zoo. The anticipation was huge because it was first time seeing Pandas. Pandas are near the brink of extinction so they are being conserved as china has most of them. We could see the animal in their shelter munching on a panda. It was a really adorable animal. Next destination was the temple of heaven. It was a place with great ambience.  We entered into a tree filled area. An array of tall tress grew side by side to the broad path leading to our place of visit. We went through a wooden hallway. The delicate artwork on the ceilings and the railings were mesmerizing. The detailed painting with the mix of a beautiful blue and green and the skilled wooden carvings made the place a microcosm of relaxation and art. The blue symbolized peace, harmony and freshness. We could see some people playing Chinese checkers in the garden near the hallway. The exquisite garden was filled with plenty of tress and plants. They were really enjoying themselves. We proceeded towards the temple of heaven. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to go inside. From outside, the tall temple was gorgeous as well.  The square represented the earth and the circle roof represented the heaven. This symbolizes the connection of Heaven and Earth.

Our last stop for the day was the Forbidden City. So, firstly we walked through the amazing streets where we could see an ancient military fort and a beautiful church. Finally, we reached the Tiananmen Square. The Tiananmen Square is a city square in the centre of BeijingChina, named after the Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”) located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. We were across the mausoleum of Mao Zedong. The beautiful street tights made the view quite spectacular. The broad road in between was clean and free. On the other hand, it was the evening so the Tiananmen Square wasn’t as crowded as we had expected. We sat on the small ledge on the right hand side of the area. We could see all sorts of people over there. We sat as we observed the vast and diverse fashion, culture and faces of people. It felt absolutely amazing. As I sat there, drinking some water, I could how big the world was. At that moment, I had a flash of realization of how little beauty I had seen. Every person walking on the square was walking on their own pace, with their own thoughts and with their own people. It was the same for us. I could see the different expressions people had: excitement, curiosity, happiness, sadness, loneliness and so much more. The fresh air of the place and the comforting lights made it easy for one to breathe and think. I saw how so many people were living in their bubbles. It led me to think that everyone was different and everybody had his or her own purpose.

Finally, we reached the Forbidden City. We couldn’t see much as it was the evening. We went into the enormous establishment through the Tiananmen gate holding a picture of Mao Zedong. The entrance was well lighted but the inside wasn’t so bright. We enjoyed the calm evening walk. The pagoda styled palace with golden roofs were very pretty. The long and elegant paths to the palace made the view very breathtaking. However, due to insufficient time, we had to end our visit. The marvelous views still remain in my eyes as fresh memories.

The next day in Beijing started with our visit to the jade factory called Dragon land Superior Jade gallery. It was an elegant place with an array of delicate jade items. Themost famous ones there were the money dragon, the jade cabbage and the jade ball. All of them would bring you wealth, good health and happiness. We could see the workshop where the jade items were made. We could see how the crafters made the beautiful jade items with utmost care. We finally entered the shop. We were allowed a 30 percent discount so it wasn’t as expensive as we thought. A light jade ring caught my eye and I bought it. The display of the items over there was very eye-catching. The elegant display made the jade look even more attractive.

The next place was the great wall at Juyong pass. There was a lot of excitement as we were going to visit one of the wonders of the world. The view of the vast green mountains was refreshing and breathtaking. We took pictures there. I stood there, stunned by the beauty of the place. I closed my eyes and felt the light breeze blow my hair gently. The mountains and the clear sky matched each other perfectly. Soon, we went off to climb the great wall. Juyongguan Great Wall is one of the three most famous passes along the Great Wall of China, together with Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan. 37 miles (60 km) from downtown Beijing, Juyong Pass was a solid stronghold encircling a valley, which was the northern direct access to Beijing in ancient times. The tall stairs were really hard to climb. It was a very adventurous road. The view from the higher place was amazing. I felt like I was at the top of everything. The great wall made of stones, bricks and earth was challenging and enchanting at the same time. We climbed maximum up to the fifth tower. We bought medals as a memoir of the trip. It had the date, year and name embedded into it. It was really awesome. The great wall was a great experience.

We returned to our hotel by bus. During the bus ride, the striking view of Beijing city captivated me instantly. The tall building that was covered in bright lights made my heart skip a beat. I fell in love with Beijing. The darkness was nothing to be scared of. The buildings changed light colors and revealed a very interesting pattern. It made the night view so amazing. The endless chain of these blinking buildings, the fast running cars and the comforting streetlights made my heart melt and filled me with fascination.

SHANGHAI

September 20 was a nice day with a clear sky. We set out to the train station early in the morning to board a bullet train to Shanghai. The train seats were very comfortable. The large glass window gave access to the outside view. The train started moving a little and soon, the speed built up. I saw the slow city scenery change into a blurry yet watch worthy mix of green at first. Soon, I saw the hills and high cliffs. We passed the bright flower garden with an array of beautiful flowers, a dark tunnel and finally, we reached the city. As the city began revealing itself, we could see higher buildings and more cars.

On reaching Shanghai’s Honhqiao Railway Station, it was raining. We got off the train and went to the exit. Honhqiao Railway Station is said to be the largest railway station but still we managed tofind our local guide for Shanghai, Mr.Raymond. Raymond then took us to anIndian Restaurant for Lunch. He also gave brief information about Shanghai city on the way. After thelunch, we went for shopping in a local mall. We were told not to scatter here andthere and visit the shops with all the group members under the supervision of the GroupTeacher. The local mall underground was huge. It covered a large area and there was one place, D-12, where everyone decided to meet up after the shopping.

After the shopping, we went to our Hotel named RAMADA. Almost everyone was happy and enjoying the visit and shopping except for Prakhyat, who had left his luggage in Beijing. He was really panicking and troubled but we managed to calm him down somehow and his luggage returned to him shortly.

The next day started by visiting the Shanghai museum. The Shanghai Museum is a museum of ancient Chineseart, situated on the People Square in the Huangpu District of Shanghai, China.Rebuilt at its current location in 1996, it is considered one of China’s first world-class modern museums. There were various arts, scripts, pottery, coins etc. of the ancientChina. it was quite big museum so we weren’t able to visit all the places. The beautiful items of ancient Chinese history were quite intriguing. The letters, paintings, ornaments, etc from centuries ago were preserved in the museum. The paintings were made mostly made with black ink on white paper and some were even colorful. The beautiful painting showed mountains, rivers, clouds and people from all levels: the emperor, the peasant, the empress, the slave, courtesans, farmers and all of china. The paintings were made using specific brush stroke methods. They were truly an example of great art. The art carried no prejudice or judgment. It just had a striking beauty that embedded its story onto the viewers. All the items had their own history and made us ponder with curiosity.

Next, we went to the Shanghai Urban Planning Center: The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centeris an Exhibition Center and Museum on People’s Square in Shanghai, China. It isdedicated to the history of the architecture and urban planningof Shanghai. Major attraction of this museum was the model of Shanghai city.There was a place where we could watch the 360-degree view of Shanghai as well. The vast model made it very easy for us to distinguish between the old and new Shanghai. We had been on the bridge that went over the river that parted the old and new shanghai.  It was a very informative and spectacular piece of work.

Then, we went to the Silk Museum. It was an educational tour of the entire processfrom growing and feeding the silkworms to collecting the silk threads and thefactory production of silk textiles. Quality silk bedding and products could bepurchased there. All the processes of collecting silk thread from the cocoon andthe lifestyle of the silk were shown properly. Though we could buy high quality silk garments, none of the students from our group buy anything because it was very expensive. However, the feathery soft touch of the silk items was very tempting.

After that, we went to the Jade Buddha Temple. The Jade Buddha Temple is a Buddhist temple in Shanghai. As with many modern Chinese Buddhist temples, the current temple draws from both the Pure Land and Chan traditionsof Mahayana Buddhism. It was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha statuesimported to Shanghai from Burma by sea. These were a sitting Buddha (1.95meters tall, 3 ton), and a smaller reclining Buddha representing the Buddha’sdeath. There were statues of different forms of Buddha. The most amazing thing about this temple was that it was being shifted around 20 meters from the foundationwithout damaging the structure of the main temple. The ambience of this place was amazing. It was a peaceful temple with a good vibe. Vidha had lost her mobilephone. We helped her find the phone and it was successful.

We went for a Cruise dinner at night. The night view of the river and the city was amazing. The Chinese food was quite good. We enjoyed the calms, duck and the other items that were very tasty. We went out to the railing to watch the view. The tall buildings were very radiating with different color of lights. We could see the Shanghai tower, the second tallest building in the world. The buildings in shanghai shined and created colorful patterns, which were very fun to watch. The water beneath us made a relaxing sound. The water parted and recovered reminding us that life is like water, parting and meeting comes in an instant. So, you should live the moment. That night, we could witness the beauty of the city. On the bus ride back to the hotel, the city was living. I could see the room with lights on late at night. I could imagine someone working hard all night in the office room. I could almost hear the busy telephone rings and typing of the keyboards. It was an intriguing experience. It hit me that so many people were working hard to live their life. It made me realize how little my world had been. It encouraged me to explore more.

Finally, on the last day, it was the most anticipated place of visit in this tour, the Shanghai Disneyland Park. Shanghai Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Pudong, Shanghai that is part of the Shanghai Disney Resort. Walt Disney Parksand Resorts and Shanghai Shendi Group operate the park, through a joint venture between The WaltDisney Company and ShendiCompany. The park consists of seven themed areas: Mickey Avenue,Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle, Tomorrowland, and Toy Story Land. We were given a hole day to spend there. We went around the Disneyland in different groups. I personally enjoyedin the tomorrowland the most. The Tron ride was amazing. It was a thrilling ride with a futuristic design. The speedy ride made me scream out my lungs. We got to see the concept cars of Chevrolet as well. We rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The visuals were 3D and it really felt like you were under the sea. The characters greeted us and entertained us shortly. The place was amazing. Butwe were somehow not happy because we didn’t know that we had the fastpass and wehad waited in the queue for all the activities, which we didn’t need to. However, it was an amazing day.

That night, we could see the beauty of China, the hardworking country that never sleeps. The bustling street filled with cars, the footsteps of a thousand people in working everyday to live, the tall buildings with millions of such people, the enormous river reflecting the beautiful moonlight and a warm night that remains in our hearts as beautiful memories.

– Pranjali Sunuwar