Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 6 @ Shanghai

Hurray! Today is a shopping day. The pupils were told on the previous night that today they would be visiting some places for them to get more souvenir if they had not gotten enough, or had not done so. And all of them were looking forward to the trip.

Our first stop is 城隍庙(Cheng Huang Miao). 庙(Miao) is temple in Chinese. We did not go to the temple, but we visited the shops around Chen Huang Miao.

Before shopping, the guide brought us to 豫园 (Yu Yuan). Some several hundreds of year ago, Yun Yuan was owned by a court official to be used as a private garden. Yes, a huge, private garden.

The official must be very wealthy. Some of the man-made mountains came from rocks from a famous mountain.

The transportation would be done in winter so that the rocks could be moved easily on the frozen, icy ground then (Science Concept: Icy surface -- slippery -- less friction). Well, people in the past were really innovative and flexible in trying to get their work done. =) Other than the beautiful and scenaric "mini mountains and ponds" (that were all over the garden), the owner also built many pavillions, resting rooms and even an opened-air Chinese opera theatre in his garden. I think we would all love to live in such a place. Don't you wish to have a personal cinema? =)

After spending an hour or so in Yu Yuan, we split up into our smaller groups to do shopping. Today, the pupils got to put their bargaining theory into practice.

Bargaining Strategies/Steps

1. Offer one-half, one-third, one-quarter or even one-fifth of the quoted price.

2. If the seller refuse your offer, say 'never mind' politely and walk off.

3. (This is when you have to pay attention to seller's reaction) If the seller could consider your offer, he/she will definitely call you back. Hee......

4. Then repeat your offer while giving the seller a chance to raise your offer sightly. In the end, the two of you should be able to come to a consensus. Hee.....

Several pupils used this set of strategies and they managed to bargain from RMB280 to RMB60, RMB108 to RMB12. Well pupils, I should really give you a certificate for passing the bargaining course. So proud of you!

In our small groups, we went for our own lunch. My group decided that we want to try the famous Shanghai Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) - "Nan Xiang..." (Sorry, I can't remember the name of the restuarant). The dumplings there were simply delicious. Even the girls wanted more after they tried it. It was really a nice change from the usual 12-course meals (Honestly, most of us are a bit sick of it. Hee...) Oh, but at our lunch table, a question was raised, "How did the soup get into the xiao long bao?" And one of our well-read pupils managed to answer it (It can be related to Science in a way). The dumpling master will freeze the soup and add frozen cubes of soup into the dumplings when he is making it. After steaming, the frozen cubes will gain heat and melt to become the delicious soup inside the xiao long bao. Woah... we simply love the xiao long bao.

After lunch, we proceeded to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. We learnt that Shanghai is going to hold the World Expo in 2010 and they have already started planning it since 2002. A new 'town' is going to be built for the Expo. Of course, the pupils were more interested in the models in the exhibition hall than the plans for the World Expo. They went around taking pictures and trying to identify where the location of Pearl Tower was.

In the evening, the China co-oganiser - Shanghai Society of Astronautics - prepared a farewell dinner for us. It was the usual 12-, or even more, course dinner. However, the surprise by not the food, but the need for us to do cultural exchange again. So, there we were, pupils, including teachers and Mr Charles, put up our Singapore Town again. This time, the pupils were more relax and we just had fun doing it. =)

The organisers were very generous. Not only were the teachers given mementos. four of our pupils were also awarded prizes for being outstanding during the study trip.

Let's hear what they have to say about recieving the awards.

Ok, got to go. Have to start packing the luggage. Singapore, we are coming home soon!

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