Alas, all good things must come to an end. We knew that eventually, the day would come when we would have to pack our bags and come home. Before heading to the airport however, we squeezed in a visit to the Shanghai Museum. Originally founded in 1952, the museum moved to its present location in the center of the city, the People’s Square in the mid-nineties. It currently houses over 120,000 pieces including ancient coins and seals, bronze sculptures, jade carvings, traditional paintings and calligraphy, and ornate furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. With many of the pieces dating back over 6,000 years, the museum made the long history of Chinese culture palpable and provided a sense of context for all that we had seen on the trip.
Afterwards, we piled onto our tour bus and headed to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Along the way, we caught a blurry glimpse of the Shanghai Magnetic Levitation Demonstration Operation Line, a high-speed commuter train that travels almost 270 mph! Although the Maglev made our bus look like it was standing still, we did make it to the airport in plenty of time for our flight. Good thing too, as we would not have wanted to miss a minute of the four hours spent waiting on the Tarmac for some thunderstorms to pass! Nevertheless, the flight was smooth and thankfully, direct! Some eighteen hours later we stumbled out of the airport in Newark, NJ and with a warm “welcome home” from Dr. Lyons (now known as the patron saint of weary travelers) piled onto the bus for the drive back to Longwood Gardens and Newark, DE.
We have enjoyed an amazing three-week tour of China featuring almost a dozen public gardens, countless cultural sites, and beautiful scenery. Our deepest thanks go out to our gracious hosts at each institution who helped in coordinating the visit and took time to show us their collections and teach us about their work. We would love to visit again and, more importantly, hope that we will have the opportunity have a chance to reciprocate your generous hospitality when you visit the U.S.
Many thanks also, to Doug Needham and Naomi McCafferty for serving as chaperones on the trip. Things would not have gone as smoothly without you and we appreciate your help in making the trip a more enriching experience. Thanks for putting up with (and partaking in) the shenanigans of the Class of 2010! We really enjoyed your company and the opportunity to get to know you better.
Lastly, thanks to the staff at Asia Transpacific Journeys for helping us organize the trip and all of their wonderful local tour operators who got us to the right place at the right time, and made sure that we had fun getting there!
再见 (zài jiàn),
Daniel Stern (2009 International Experience Coordinator)
Longwood Graduate Fellows, Class of 2010