June 17, Sunset on Pudong

Text and images by Matt Smith

Today was a wonderful day, despite the grueling heat and humidity.  We kicked off the week with our first group critique. Each student was required to bring 25 images that we had taken so far while in Shanghai. It was nice to see everyone’s unique perspective on the places we had visited and we began discussing what we would be doing for our personal projects over the course of the workshop. Ideas ranged from capturing found graphic designs to portraits of the wonderful couples we have been finding all over Shanghai who wear matching shirts or outfits in order to display their affection for the world to see. After a few hours of critique we all went our separate ways in order to get ready for our dinner later in the evening.

We met up in the lobby of our building and headed to the subway which we took to East Nanjing Road, a very commercial area with loads of tourists and Chinese. After a short walk we ended up at our destination, a rooftop restaurant located in the Captain Youth Hostel. The view was incredible. There was also a nice breeze which was a relief because it was so hot and sticky out, the hottest it has been so far on the trip. We got a few pizzas and hung out, waiting for the sun to set and the lights of Pu Dong (the sci-fi-ish looking financial area of Shanghai located just across the Huangpu River) to illuminate the night sky. The huge, glowing skyscrapers were truly a sight.

Still hungry, a few of us headed to a local restaurant, the Blue Frog, which has become a go-to place when in need of some American style dining (noodles, dumplings, and fried rice are great but you need a break every so often). We were especially excited to learn that on Monday nights you’re able to get buy one get one free burgers, which is crucial when trying to stick to a budget. Then we headed home, where my roommate Marty and I attempted to watch some Netflix. The internet in our apartment building is so slow that we were only able to watch about eight minutes of a movie before taking another 10 or so to load the next part. This was a bit frustrating when watching a very intense and suspenseful movie. After taking three hours to get halfway through End of Watch, we called it quits for the night and went to sleep in our hard, springy beds that I doubt I’ll ever get used to. All in all it was a great day and I’m looking forward to more adventures in China!

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