Day 12: Yu Garden

It’s unreal how the time flies. Today was our last full day in China, and it was bittersweet.

We began our day by visiting the Yu Garden. I was particularly excited for this site because it is the one I studied for the pre-departure presentation. And, I was not disappointed, it was a beautiful place and great final showcase of the elegance of Chinese culture. We saw the natural beauty of classical Chinese gardens, along with the intricate dragon walls and the famous Emperor’s Stone in the center of the garden.

Afterwards, we perused some tourist shops outside the gardens. I purchased a patch with the Chinese flag on it for my backpack, as well as some loose-leaf teas to bring home. We also went into some clothing stores to get a feel for Chinese fashion, and we learned that clothing with random English writing on it is very popular. I was really tempted to buy one that said “Ohio” on it, but I figured it was a little too pricey.

In the afternoon, we had our final presentations, followed by a farewell dinner. I think the presentation went quite well. Our idea company was called WeWash, an on-demand laundry service that took advantage of the e-commerce industry and alleviated the hassle of travelling in crowded Chinese cities. The dinner was at a Chinese Muslim restaurant called The Silk Road. There was an impressive collection of dishes, complete with all sort of meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. And for once, I knew what everything I was about to eat actually was, so I must have learned something this trip. Then we met the founder of the Asia Institute and he and the tour guides gave us parting gifts – silk scroll paintings.

This has been an incredible experience. I will miss China and certainly plan to come back some day.

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