Trisha is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An International Business major at Champlain College, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.
In this week's post, Trisha visits the Yu Garden on a My Global City outing and shares some fun observations from her experience.
During my first two weeks in China, one of my favorite first places that we visited during a My Global City event arranged by the CAPA staff here in Shanghai was something that piqued my interest at an earlier outing. Our first weekend here, CAPA resident director Colin Speakman took us to see the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, which was filled with scale models of many of Shanghai’s most famous sites and tourist attractions. One of the models that most caught my eye was Yuyuan Garden.
On the way to Yu Garden.
The following week a small group of students and myself were led by CAPA on the metro to see this beautiful place for ourselves. The Yu Garden was originally built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yunduan as a pleasure for his ancestors in their old age. The garden itself is more temple than garden, with beautiful structures spanning the entire course. You can walk through almost the entire thing without ever having to step out from the shade of a rooftop! Amongst the beautiful foliage there are meticulously placed small tiles forming stone paths spreading out in every direction and bordering the ponds of giant koi fish.
A view of the Yu Garden with koi fish swimming in the pond.
The koi fish were the most fun to watch. They all seemed to have their own personalities, and they’re actually very social creatures. The koi fish play with each other, and even with the turtles and ducks. They stay together in tightly knit schools and if you’re gentle, you might have the fortune of one brushing against your hand in the water. They very much reminded me of house pets like cats and dogs. I never thought of fish that way before, so it was a nice experience.
When in Shanghai, do as the locals do with a sun umbrella in hand.
Photo credit: Jacob Burt
I took a sun umbrella on this particular outing after noticing how many Chinese people engage in using umbrellas to shield themselves on sunny days. Our CAPA guide Lulu was rather impressed at my “when in Rome” action of the day as she said most foreigners typically don’t do the sun umbrella thing. It’s actually quite handy, and I found that the parasols they have around here are very beautiful as well. I may make it a regular habit, I can already feel myself assimilating to the culture!
A temple structure in Yu Garden.
Beyond the beautiful garden, there is the Yuyuan market, with endless stalls of stores ranging from gift shop trinkets to hip upscale boutiques. However, be careful when showing interest and inquiring prices. I showed interest in a traditional Chinese dress, and after they showed me one in a size that would fit me, they insisted so much it would be just right for me that they negotiated down the price three times until I finally decided to buy!
I enjoyed the Yu Garden!
As a global city, Shanghai saw it as important to preserve historical sites such as the Yu Garden for generations of both citizens and tourists to be able to marvel at the proud culture of China’s past. Spending the day here, it’s evident what sort of value this brings to the city, in particular our ability to enjoy the place today despite our modern time.
Trisha's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.