Today we visited a Buddhist temple that was built by monks in the 19th century. Inside the temple we observed the religious rituals of the locals. It felt like we were being intrusive because we were being given a tour and taking pictures while they were worshiping, but they didn’t seem to mind our intrusiveness.
Next, we went to a room inside the temple where we tasted authentic Chinese tea: green tea, black tea and jasmine blossom tea. Presumably, this place was used as a place for bonding as people within the Chinese culture are really big on building relationships. The teas that we tasted are valued within the Chinese culture because they are central to maintaining health-even curative in some instances.
We also visited the silk factory where we saw how the cacoon of the silk worm is transformed into clothing and sheets. It was interesting to see the development of things that we use on a regular basis in the States because we usually don’t give any thought to how these things are produced.
We visited the urban planning museum where we saw a model of the entire city of Shanghai. The last place we visited was the Yu Yuan Gardens which was built in the 19th century by a wealthy man to please his parents. His father died before the Garden was completed, so he sold the Garden to the City of Shanghai. The Garden also had market where we were encouraged to negotiate a lower purchasing price for items. Some students were successful in getting as much as 50 percent off the initial price.
Written by: Jetonne’ Ellis