Finally! Recess week is here! Time to put down the projects and pick up the passports. I was ready for a whole week of traveling and seeing other parts of China. My plans included a 3 day stay in Shanghai, followed by two days in HuangShan, and ending with one day in SuZhou.

Sign to the Shanghai World Financial Building

First up, the city of Shanghai. This was my first time ever visiting Shanghai, despite it being one of the most well known tourist spots in China. The more urban areas of the city, however, were surprisingly similar to the way it is depicted overseas, and some parts of Shanghai were actually extremely similar to how our own Orchard Road looks, complete with a shopping mall that was even designed to look like the interior of Ion shopping mall. Our first day was spent leisurely taking a boat ride up the Bund, which runs along the western bank of the HuangPu river, taking in the Shanghai skyline and also taking a lot of photos at the same time. Like conventional tourists, we went up to the Shanghai World Financial Center to see the famous bird’s eye view of the city.

The trek up HuangShan was a tiresome and tedious one. However, it was not meant to be this way. Initially, we had planned to take a cable-car up one side of the mountain, and then take a short climb up to the peak, like how most tourists would do. Unfortunately for us, the host of the inn that we were staying at convinced us that climbing up the entire mountain on foot would be a lot more scenic, and a much more meaningful experience. So that was exactly what we did. It was a four hour scale up the front of the mountain, filled with uneven steps and a lot (and i mean a lot) of short rest stops. Some parts of the mountain were so steep that we had to use both hands to crawl up the steps. On top of that, it was raining the previous night, so the steps were still wet.

Steep stairs up the mountain side

After 4 hours of climbing, we eventually got to the long awaited peak. Naturally, I expected the most beautiful view to be at the peak of the mountain. However, we were greeted with a mist surrounding the entire mountain, and the visibility ended after about 5 meters out. Disappointed, we made out long and slow trek down the other side of the mountain. But to out unsuspecting surprise, the view down the mountain was extremely clear and beautiful. It was devoid of fog and we could see all the way to the other mountains surrounding the area. The climb was saved, and we finally felt like it was all worth it.

Mountain view

Overall, recess week was a great opportunity for me to travel and see different parts of China, and I had an enjoyable time exploring the slight cultural differences.

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