Over the Easter holidays in March, a group from the Business and Economics department, comprising of 15 girls from Years 11,12 and 13 accompanied by Mr Spick, Mr Coote and Mrs Bates, embarked upon a 9-day tour of China, taking in Shanghai and Beijing, and seeing no less that nine record breaking sights in the process!
After taking the world's fastest train, the Maglev, from the airport to Shanghai, our first stop was a tour of the Volkswagen factory, complete with James Bond-style buggies. Despite being very sleepy, everyone loved seeing how the cars were made!! After this it was off to sample some authentic Chinese cuisine and get some practice using chopsticks.
We spent the next morning visiting the Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world. We whizzed up to the top deck of the 632 metre structure at 45mph in the world’s fastest lift! There were some stunning views at the top, from the world’s highest observation platform.
After a visit to a silk factory to see how silk goods are made, we went to the Old City and Yuyuan Garden. It was a real contrast to the skyscrapers which dominate the rest of the city. Lunch was followed by a tranquil tea-tasting experience. The remainder of the afternoon was spent looking round local markets and taking the opportunity to test out our negotiating skills. Some of the girls were amazingly adept at seeking out bargains.
Our final day in Shanghai started with a tour of the Yakult factory in which we got to see the probiotic production process. After lunch we visited a Government building to find out about how the Pudong free trade zone became the fastest growing economic area in Shanghai. Our final activity of the day was watching a Chinese acrobat show; the highlight of our time in Shanghai! The flips and tricks done by the performers set all of our hearts racing and gasps were heard from everyone.
We said goodbye to Shanghai, and a 4.30am alarm called us to take the world’s fastest bullet train to Beijing. Travelling at over 200mph we reached our destination in just over 4 hours, arriving on the same day as Kim Jong Un! After a spot of lunch we visited the Temple of Heaven, a Taoist imperial palace.
Another record breaking day started with the world's biggest square, Tienanmen Square, then a walk through to the world’s largest palace complex, the Forbidden City. In the afternoon we visited the Summer Palace and finished the day off with a Kung Fu performance.
Our last day in China we visited one of the seven Wonders of World and the most famous landmark in the country - the Great Wall of China. Beth and Lydia were the first at the top, shortly followed by Mr Spick (our legs were now aching but the views were worth it).
After a well deserved break at lunchtime we went to the Beijing Olympic stadium and had the opportunity to have a walk around and take photos by the Bird’s Nest and the infamous Olympic track.
For our final activity of the day we got to once again practice our haggling skills which had definitely improved since last time, before making our way back to the hotel, then the long flight home to Manchester, via Frankfurt (on the world's biggest passenger jet - the Airbus A380!)
Yasmine Dajani, Year 13