January 12th

Day two of our Shanghai experience started off with a trip to one of the city’s most famous Buddhist temples. We got to tour most of the temple and learn a bit about Chinese Buddhism both now and in past generations.

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An unexpected part of our tourist experience is that, while we are taking pictures of these famous sites, other people are often taking pictures of us. These destinations attract tourists from all over, and some of these tourists may come from more rural parts of China. America is such a diverse society, but China is very homogenous. Some of these people rarely see a foreigner outside of a television, and they might take pictures of us as well as the sites we’re seeing. It’s an interesting experience.

Our next stop was a silk factory. China is famous for its silk and the Shanghai area produces 90% of the country’s silk. Our guided tour showed us the complex process of making silk, and of course that led to a chance to buy some pure Chinese silk products afterwards.

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After a classy lunch in the high-rise financial district, we headed to the Shanghai Museum. Often lauded as the finest museum in China, it has exhibits featuring centuries of trademark Chinese art- painting, sculpture, calligraphy, ceramics, and more. We had two hours to explore the museum before heading to Nanjing Road.

A popular shopping destination, Nanjing Road has blocks of department stores, restaurants, and other retail opportunities for tourists to enjoy. It seems like a very long and narrow Times Square, and is just as crowded. We got to shop along the road for a while, and many of us managed to find one of the four Starbucks in the mile-long block. To continue the sensation of being in New York City, we had dinner at either Subway or McDonalds. After a week in China, it was a nice change of pace.

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The night ended with a mind-boggling acrobatics performance. These acrobats start training at 4 or 5 years old, and go to school for 10 or more years to learn these skills. They demonstrated amazing feats on unicycles, springboards, stilts, tightropes, and more. A favorite with the band was a girl who played Jingle Bells on the clarinet while balancing 25 glasses of water on her nose. It was a stressful show to watch, but amazing. Tomorrow we explore more of Shanghai in the morning and have our third concert performance in the afternoon!

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Check out more photos from the day at http://www.flickr.com/photos/113489266@N06/sets/72157639690645713/

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