“Our morning began with a wild stampede of students rushing to the hotel lobby at 5:45am. The previous night, Jayne informed us that the last to arrive would have to write the blog for the last day of our trip. When all was said and done, Marthe and Lorina were the tardiest, and will therefore regale readers with the story of our final day in China when the time comes.
Our final moments in Xi’an were spent observing locals dancing and doing tai-chi in public parks along the way to the airport. We also learned about Chinese preferences towards having a baby boy or girl. In the past, boys were preferred, but now that the price of paying for weddings and purchasing homes for young couple has escalated for the parents of the boy, these sentiments have reversed.
After an uneventful flight, we touched down in Shanghai and met our next tour guide, John. On the ride into the city, John discussed the difference between old China from 20 years ago (people were poor and happy) and new China (people are less poor, but have many pressures). He also informed us of how expensive it was to own a car in Shanghai due to the price of the car, licence, and parking. The prices for the licence and parking are used to deter all 23 million people from buying a car, because the city isn’t set up for that much traffic; car culture is only 6 years old, whereas the infrastructure is mostly much older.
Since traffic was bad, we arrived at BaoSteel about an hour and a half late. Fortunately, we were still able to witness a raw block of iron transform into a spool of sheet metal. We were also able to tour the “garden plant” (thus named for the huge number of trees planted on the 20 square kilometre site). The tour concluded with a view of the shipping facilities and some history about the development of the facilities since the 1970’s.
The day ended much as it began: with a stampede of students being measured for suits and shirts, then a similar crowd of students in small rooms singing karaoke. Before the end of this trip, we will undoubtedly look better, but our singing is still suspect”