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Monday, October 18, 2010

Allie is in China ... Shanghai to Hong Kong (fourth in a series)

Read part 5 ...

Read part 3 ...

Read part 2 ...

Read part 1 ...

The flight from Seoul, South Korea to Shanghai, China was a little less than two hours long. This trip to Shanghai would be the first time that I had visited China and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, especially since it was the only country on my Asia trip that required a visa.

I quickly cleared customs and border control with no issues at all and easily made my way to the metro stop for the airport. Signs for the Shanghai Expo reminded locals to smile at the foreigners and there were posters plastered all over the subway with the phrase “better city, better life.”

After one metro line change and 18 stops later, I was deposited at People’s Square in Shanghai, a large park in the center of the city that was a racetrack until 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was instituted and gambling and horse racing were banned. Across from my hotel was Nanjing Road, one of the most well-known shopping streets in Shanghai, selling everything from Chinese herbs and pearls to westernized malls with stores like Gucci and Prada. Just about everything you could ever want to buy could be found on Nanjing Road.

Located at the end of Nanjing Road is The Bund, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. The Bund sits on the banks of the Huangpu River, the major water supply and thoroughfare for ships entering and leaving the port in Shanghai. This area is an interesting juxtaposition of old and new on opposite sides of the river. On one side is the Shanghai World Financial Center, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and the futuristic Pearl Tower. On the other side are historic buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century, designed by European architects with buildings that remind me of Paris or London.

Our Emory reception in Shanghai was held in the Sky Bar at the Radisson Hotel, with amazing views of the twinkling city skyline. Several parents of current Emory students attended along with a mix of alumni expats and Shanghai natives. All were eager to meet again soon and were interested to find out how they could get more students from Shanghai to come to Emory.

(See my Shanghai photos on the Emory Travel Program Facebook page!)

After eating my fill of Chinese dumplings for breakfast, lunch and dinner (by choice), I was back again at the airport for another quick flight, this time to visit our most active Asian chapter in Hong Kong. Somewhere between the mainland of China and the island of Hong Kong, the temperature went from comfortable but warm in Shanghai to steamy and humid in Hong Kong. It reminded me of a typical July day in Atlanta.

As a former colony of the British Empire, the English influence is still heavily present in Hong Kong. Cars drive on the opposite side of the road, and you must be careful when crossing the road to look right, left, right instead of the reverse in order to keep from getting run over in this densely populated and incredibly vertical city.

The Emory alumni in Hong Kong gather regularly for happy hours and networking, host Lets’ Go Emory parties in the late summer to send off incoming students and participate in April yield callings through the admissions office to answer question for parents or students in Hong Kong who have applied to Emory.

This fall, the chapter will also be participating in Emory Cares, our international day of Service in November. After a brief 24 hour visit to Hong Kong, I was off again. This time, headed for the last country on my trip, Singapore.

-- Allie Hill, director, international alumni relations, EAA

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