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Nanjing and Shanghai

November 12, 2012   

Last Wednesday I went on Fall break to Nanjing and Shanghai, and it was a BLAST! 

My friend Dami and I first went to Nanjing, to meet up with our friend in a language program there. I was mainly going to see what my friend's life there was like and to meet her friends, but I discovered that I really liked the city of Nanjing! It was less crowded with more of a surburban feel (two subway lines instead of Beijing's fifteen), and the people were very warm and welcoming. There were more trees, it was cleaner, and had less air pollution. Then again, I think Beijing has really changed my perception of what a small city is, because Nanjing has seven million people.

Shanghai, of course, was the polar opposite of Nanjing. We did a lot of typical Shanghai "touristy" things - saw the Bund, walked around the French concession, did a little shopping (ok, more than a little!) at Yu Yuan market and at the big malls on Nanjing East Road. We also went to the Urban Planning Museum. Speaking of which, I found all of the old European architecture in Shanghai absolutely fascinating.

It was a lot of fun, but I wasn't expecting Shanghai and Beijing's differences to be so apparent. Shanghai is very expensive. Moreover, Beijing has the malls and modern, tall buildings of Shanghai, but also has hundreds of historically important, cultural sites - the Forbidden city, the Summer Palace, and Tiannamen square are just a few. Shanghai may have some of that, but seems to place a lot more emphasis on the shopping and skyscrapers. It was fantastic for a weekend trip, but I don't think I would have had as fulfilling a study abroad experience there. Plus, I think I would have gone broke!

I would love to go back to Shanghai and Nanjing in the future, but I am now more grateful for Beijing than before. I was actually happy to hear the familiar Beijing accent upon coming back. *Just a side note, the language pledge is making me lose my English! I had to look up the English translation of the Chinese word "kou3yin" to come up with the word "accent." Yeesh.*

Also, strangely enough, the next time I see my Nanjing friend, we will both be back in America. Just under a month left of the semester!