During orientation in August, the Shanghai Alliance program we’re studying through gave us a “Must-See, Must-Do” list for Shanghai to give us ideas and help us make the most of our stay in this ginormous city. Even though it’s so large, whenever you web image search the term “Shanghai,” most pictures that fill the page are of The Bund and the city’s icon: the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Needless to say, going up to the Pearl Tower was on Alliance’s “To-Do” list, so I went with some friends to see a bird’s-eye view of Shanghai. There were tours available but we rarely enjoy being in a large tour group more than self-guiding. I didn’t know before entering, but the Pearl Tower actually holds a wide variety of attractions and businesses, including a museum, a roller coaster, an arcade, restaurants, a shopping center and a panoramic video tour of Shanghai. The most surprising and amusing find is that the tower actually has a space theme (shout out to Katie M. and her astronaut dreams)! For instance, on the top floor we were given elastic “shoe socks,” which looked like large socks but also covered your shoes. I still assume were only for aesthetics. It was quite the quandry. I would advise not going to the Pearl Tower in heels or else you might fall down in the already-slippery shoe socks like I almost did. The view itself was both awe-some and enlightening; we were there on a fairly clear day, but the infamous China smog still obviously blanketed the city. Most of the viewing floors themselves functioned like lighthouses, where you walk on the outside ring of windows while there are one or two doors to enter the building’s core. A few times my friends and I would get separated and just go in circles until one of us caught up with the other. We took plenty of photographs and tried to locate places we knew in the distance. My favorite floor was one where the floor itself was glass, making it look like you are floating in the air. To take good pictures we had to be very quick and grab a floor “square” when someone else left. It was interesting and I’m very glad I went to see what modern Shanghai looks like. I will put it on my own “Must-See, Must Do” recommendation list!”

Chinese words: 东方明珠塔__Dōngfāng Míngzhūtǎ__Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower     污染__wūra3n__pollution

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