January 13th

Today started with a truly awesome sight. It was a clear day in Shanghai, and we took a trip to the famous Bund! We were able to take pictures of the iconic Shanghai skyline.

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After a chilly morning on the riverfront, we ventured to the “Old Town” in Shanghai – also known as Shanghai’s own Chinatown. One of the great things about this trip is its timing; we are visiting just before Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year celebration. Although we have to go home for classes before the new year, we get to see all of the decorations and other preparations! It was so neat to see the Old Town all dressed up in lanterns and bright colors.

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In the Old Town, we took a tour of Yuyuan Garden, a beautifully preserved area with picturesque scenes around every corner. The garden featured many dragons, bridges, fish, stones, and traditional architecture. My favorite fun fact about the garden was that many of the pathways featured small set stones that were supposed to provide a foot massage for those who walked on it barefoot. It was said that one should walk on the paths barefoot for at least 20 minutes a day.

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We also had plenty of free time to roam the Old Town for its many great shopping opportunities.

Following lunch and a brief return to the hotel, we set out for Shanghai Maritime University! Today, we had a concert and another opportunity to exchange our culture with that of the students that attend this Chinese university. We played for them, and they played for us! After the concert, we got a chance to meet the musicians from the other group, and we mingled for a while.

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Following the concert, we headed to a reception where many of the audience members were in attendance. Besides our group, there were Gettysburg Alumni, Current Students, current parents, and even prospective students! It was a classy night, and we turned the event into dinner!

Tomorrow is our day trip to Suzhou, the so-called “Venice of China” – stay tuned!

For more photos from today, check out our flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/113489266@N06/sets/72157639731595104

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