I’m going to tell you about Yu Garden in a second, but first I want to tell you why I went to China in the first place.
You know my friend Shelby, right? She asked me in February if I would like to go to China with her at the end of March. My international travel experience up to this point in my life was one trip to Montreal with my dad and sister at age 13. But I looked up flights to Shanghai from LAX and they seemed reasonably priced, so I just went for it.
Fast forward to one month later. I’m on a 13-hour flight to Shanghai alone and I’m just like “WTF?!”
But it was SO COOL. Such a wild experience.
The First Night in China
Shelby and I met at the Shanghai airport around 6pm and took a cab to a hotel. Life hack (not just in China): if random people start shouting “TAXI!” at you, don’t get in a car with them. It’s a scam.
Anyways, it was like 4 in the morning for us by the time we got to the hotel. This hotel room was so tiny and the bed was hard AF but we were just happy to get some rest.
Starving, we ventured out to grab something to eat. We ended up going to some hot pot restaurant where you pick out your food and then they cook it for you. Like a BD’s Mongolian Barbecue, except no one spoke English and we didn’t recognize 80% of the meats and veggies. Our soup was hella spicy and when we asked for water (shui), they gave us tiny plastic cups of hot water. Shelby also ordered what we thought was a nice cool bottle of milk and it was hot soy milk. People were staring at us. Like, people who worked back in the kitchen came out to take a gander at the silly American girls. It was WEIRD!
Yu Garden, Shanghai
The next morning we woke up at like 5 in the morning (thanks jet lag!) and took the Metro to Yu Garden. Yu Garden (or Yuyuan Garden) is an enormous traditional garden in Shanghai built during the Ming Dynasty (c. 1500’s). Tickets to get inside around about $7. It’s definitely worth it, the garden was way larger than we expected. It just kept going and going. Just next door in the Yuyuan Tourist Mart, which I will talk about in the next post.
Do you like Shelby’s yellow glasses? They remind me of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Speaking of which, I feel like this gif sums up a lot of how we were feeling in China:
I knew on an intellectual level that there weren’t going to be very many people speaking English in China, but to know that in your head and experience it in real life are very different things.
ANYWAYS…back to the pictures.
We have a tradition where we take pictures of each other in tiny spaces. This will be a theme for these China posts…you’ll see…
If you would like to visit Yu Garden, I would recommend visiting earlier in the day before it gets too crowded. If you’re a fan of botanicals or want to learn a bit about classical Chinese culture, you should definitely check it out.
I hope you like learning about China, because I have a few more of these posts for you!
Have you ever been to China? Let me know in the comments!