Arrival in China!!
Week 1 of my Design and Technology Experience was very pleasant. We had loads of time to ease into this new environment and culture that we would spend our next 14 weeks in. It was mainly spent settling the admin matters like the bank account and phone SIM card which was essential to living in China (allowing us to Alipay). Alipay is everywhere, without it, restaurants would reject you, cabs would not pick you up and even small street shops would have trouble finding change for our big 100 yuan notes. Having not been in China for a good 10 years, things have indeed changed and I was really shocked to see how technologically driven China has become.
Just as I thought the Alipay system was impressive, we headed down to the Liangzhu Dream Town for a field trip. Liangzhu Dream Town is similar to SUTD’s Innovation Design Centre but instead of a building its a whole town of Designing firms. Inside, we got to see their innovative designs of everyday items like the portable charger and table lamp. These designs adapt different items together improving the efficiency and usability of the item.
On Day 6, some ZJU seniors brought us around the ancient streets of Zhejiang, QingHeFang. Qinghefang used to be the downtown area since ancient times and the buildings there have been preserved intact. Along the streets, there were lots of Chinese snacks and traditional attractions such as the traditional cinema made of moving pictures and light with a live narrator telling the story. While walking along the streets, it was as though we were living a few decades back in traditional times! After we walked through the ancient streets, we then headed to Xihu (West Lake) to take a boat tour around West Lake where we were able to see the Leifengta Pagoda as well as the “3 pools mirroring the moon” structures (also found on the old 1 yuan note).
Looking forward, I cannot wait for the next 13 weeks and what I can explore in China!