Our trip to China was, to say the least, amazing.
The infrastructure, the busy streets and the hushed murmurs of citizens walking along on the gravel street is something I don’t think I can ever forget.
The day consisted of the actual traveling; we went to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in the early morning, before the sun even rose. It was just about 8 o’clock when we boarded the one hour and forty five minute flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and then stayed for transit and went to Beijing, Shanghai on another flight that took about a little over eight hours. By the time we left the airport and boarded the bus, we were exhausted. We spent half the ride to the hotel to go to a cheap McDonald’s, had some burgers, and headed straight for the hotel. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was asleep.
Our first day was the walk up the Great Wall of China. It was quite a difficult feat, and many had given up after passing two towers. The scenery was gorgeous; tall, large trees swayed in the wind and sharp rocks surrounded us. After we came down, we treated ourselves to some hot chocolate and coffee that was sold by a shop right by the entrance. I was fortunate to have been in the group in second place, and when we’d gotten back to the hotel, I was crying out of relief from the sheer pain I experienced from walking so much.
The next morning came, and we made our way to the Forbidden City; there was a bustling crowd, people carrying hats and toys and selling them, and we got to buy whatever we wanted before we entered. The walk through the Forbidden City was tiring, and I was completely knackered by the time we were done, but it was amazing. Tall, red and yellow buildings were scattered around, long pathways and beautiful architectures were all I could see. Our tour guide, Nancy, had spent the entire time telling us the history of the city.
When it was our third day, it was time for some business. We visited the Embassy of Maldives in China and got to showcase our culture through a traditional Dhivehi dance, while some of the Chinese people that were there played instruments and gave us some information about their culture. We ended the day by learning how to make paper kites; something that was surprisingly difficult, but the end product looked beautiful.
The next day would be our last in Beijing. Our first trip was to an IB school, where we got the chance to split into groups, take a tour and visit some classes. Pairs of two from the school’s higher grades had attended to every single group, and we got to take our time and participate in a Q&A session with them, something we highly enjoyed. After that, we had lunch and set off for the automobile company. We were taken around the factory, and we got to observe how cars were manufactured.
Fifth day in China rolled around, and we didn’t spend the day doing anything other than traveling to Shanghai on a bullet train, and by the time we got to our hotel, it was already late. We didn’t do much in this city other than visit some landmarks and go shopping.
During our sixth day, we got to go see the Shanghai TV tower, and there was a room filled with colourful umbrellas, splashes of colour everywhere on the ceiling. As we entered, we got to go to the very top to where there was a glass floor. We got to walk on it (although, honestly, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done), and go to the floor below it that had a glass wall that acted as a window. Walking around the entire circle just showed us the beautiful landscape of Shanghai. We then visited a large shopping complex (not large enough to be a mall), and spent the rest of the afternoon buying clothes, accessories and even headphones.
Our seventh day was spent purely on nothing but fun and we headed to an amusement park as soon as all of us were ready. We spent the day riding roller coasters (I thought I was going to fall off!), walking through haunted houses (group hugs always make you feel better during these) and screaming on the gyro drop. We spent the last hour visiting the stores and buying things such as books, anime merchandise and even childish toys.
The next day would be our last not only in Shanghai, but also in China, before we headed back home. The first thing we did was visit another shopping complex, where many of us got calligraphy artwork done and bought cheap headphones and roamed around the entire area. When we got to the hotel, we spent the next hour packing up and getting all dressed up for the dinner we were having at another hotel. It was the most amazing dinner I’d had in all of China, and I had an amazing time conversing with my friends, having dinner and spending our last few moments taking selfies.
We spent the next day traveling back home and when I was wrapped up in my sheets, my luggage forgotten on the floor; I could only wish to go back once more.
Our trip to China will certainly not be our last, but it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had my entire life, and I got to make many new friends, up my standard of knowledge, even learning how to negotiate prices!
The trip not only made me discover more about myself and those around me, but made me more aware of how different our cultures could be, yet how accepting we are — and should be — of one another.