Asleep and cuddling before the plane even left the runway, Ashley and Little Brian
Myself and Katya on the plane #selfie
The plane ride was pretty uneventful, I slept most of the way as did many of my teammates. There were 9 of us plus 1 of our advisors traveling on this trip.
After our 3.5 hour ride to Shanghai, we made our way to our hotel (after spotting Jason Momoa, also known as Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones, and his lovely wife in the airport #fangirlmoment) which turned out to be Citadines, a collection of Service Hotels--each room complete with a bedroom, living room, split bathroom, and a kitchen. Being the only 3 girls on the team, Ashley, Katya, and I split a room--Katya and I becoming bedmates as Ashley gamely claimed the sofa pullout.
We didn't have time to enjoy the room as we were given 5 minutes to change. The three of us, in that 5 minutes that actually was more like 10, managed to scatter everything we had brought with us across the entire room but hey, we looked damn cute.
Our entire team then had a team dinner moment, our first night in Shanghai, at a local pizza restaurant recommended to us by the organizer of the entire competition at his own school, Mr. Richmond. After our meal, which was quite good although it may have been my severe hunger talking, we walked to the school which was conveniently located a few blocks away from our hotel to listen to a lecture from a NASA engineer who built several satellites including Kepler.
We got back to the hotel around 10, just in time for a review session in the boys' room and then a brief gossip session back in our hotel room before it was time for bed at 11:30, having to be up by 6.
The next day we competed against 10 other teams, the 9 of us split into 2 teams of 4 with one alternate. The day was long and tiring, who knew questions about current events, history, literature, art, music, and occasional pop culture could be so tiring? Our teams did fairly well, my team (of which I was Captain #notbragging) won 5 or 6...even beating our other team and coming within a 50 point difference between the top-seated team (quite a feat considering there is the opportunity to gain 40 points on one question).
Our team always "suits up" for competition, a trend that has now spread to other teams that used to just wear jeans and t-shirts. I wore my black Marks and Spencer dress, Forever 21 striped blazer, and my new grey booties from Payless. I carried my blue clutch from Oxygen as well.
After the competition, our team(s) plus the team from Singapore (the top-seated one that we almost tied with and their second team), who was also staying in the Citadines hotel, all journeyed to a local Chinese restaurant where there was no English, no bathroom, and no bottled water only tea.
It was a lovely convergence of teams at dinner, we laughed and....well other than eating that was it: lots of laughter. After dinner, which was large and very filling, we all moved once more to the Bund.
For those of you familiar with Shanghai, this needs no explanation but for those who aren't (and I strongly suggest you visit at least once in your lifetime), the Bund is a long walkway by the Huangpu River: a brilliant place to people-watch, architecture scope, and take the most tourist-y photos ever. On one side of the river is the 21st century, Bottle Opener, the new Shanghai Tower etc. On the other side, the side my group was walking on, is the art deco 20th century architecture, which pleased me to no end considering I love architecture!
The giant group of teams all split up, agreeing to meet at a landmark down the Bund at 9:00. In my group was Katya, Ashley, and Ian--as well as three members from the local team: Harrison, Melissa*, and Charlie* (*oh my god I feel terrible but I can't remember all their names!!) who acted as our tour guides. They took us for ice cream and provided lovely company for our stroll through Shanghai.
After this, we all trouped back to the hotel to pack and spend our final night in Shanghai :( (Actually, speaking for the girls personally we spent the night gossiping about our own love lives in our room more than packing but whatever)
The next morning we got up, packed, and made our way back to Manila. I miss Shanghai so much already! Also, I picked up Ian's sickness (damn you Ian) and the cough settled in my chest, which has been messing with my asthma so unfortunately I couldn't go to school on Monday and hopefully I'll be able to go to school on Tuesday.