24 Hours in Shanghai

 In Semester at Sea

While arriving in China, our ship arrived at the wrong pilot station. The weather deteriorated, and as our boat must approach Shanghai on High Tide, our arrival was delayed by 12 hours. The result was not disembarking until nearly 10 pm and missing our Sino-American relations field lab entirely.


My group of friends whom I eat dinner with every day soon set off to find one of Shanghai’s iconic dishes – 小笼包.

小笼包 (soup dumplings) are filled with ground meat and broth. They’re a bit tricky to eat without the broth spilling out; I found out the best strategy was to eat them in one bite.
After gorging myself on dumplings, noodles, and [very oily] bok choy, I left for the nearby convenience store. I stocked up on ramen for the days when I don’t feel like eating the ship lunch, and headed back to the ship to sleep.

The next day we went to the classical gardens of Suzhou. Unfortunately, it was raining, and not a great season to see the gardens. Supposedly,  summertime is much better than wintertime to go. Right outside the gardens were woodworkers as well as many street food vendors.

发财猪 – literally ‘get rich pigs’ – were one of my favorite street foods. Not necessarily for the good luck and bean filling inside, but rather for the cuteness of the outside. Aren’t they just adorable?
Sorry PETA, but at 3元 ($0.50) each, I couldn’t resist eating these cute little piggies whole.

Following our afternoon in Suzhou we took a mixture of buses, trains, and the MagLev train to the airport. This magnetic levitating train took us over 300 mph above the city of Shanghai using a form of artificial gravity to levitate us slightly above the track and reduce friction. While I’m not completely certain how it worked, it felt very high-tech. What would’ve been an hour drive took only eight minutes by MagLev. We flew past cars driving at high speeds like they were turtles, and soon we were on our way flying to Guilin.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Mama
    Reply

    Great to hear about your China beginnings!

  • Zach
    Reply

    Fantastic read. Those soup dumplings look amazing.

  • Alexus
    Reply

    Based on my field tests, the best xiaolongbao strategy is to bite a small piece of the outside off, drink out the broth, and then eat the rest.

  • Dad
    Reply

    What an adventure!

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