National Day Golden Week

So, the national day holiday has been over for a while now and I finally got around to writing something here after a busy week at the office.

The National Day Golden Week is my only week off during my internship, so I had to use it wisely. This was quite a bit easier as it’s becoming easier to get around the city compared to my first two weeks here before work started. To make this week a bit more special, my dad visited me during this week and I was able to show him around in Xiamen. Of course, a whole week is a bit too long to just visit places in Xiamen, so we decided to also visit Shanghai for 3 days.

In Xiamen, we visited most of the touristic places that I’ve already been to (XMU campus, Nanputuo Temple, Zhongshan Road, etc) and also showed my dad stuff in and around the Software Park. Apparently, Xiamen is a very popular city to visit if you’re Chinese which made the touristic spots awfully busy sometimes. For example, every entrance gate at the university campus had a huge line for tourists in the burning sun. Fortunately, I’m a registered student so we were able to skip those lines and enter freely!

After a few days in Xiamen, we made our first trip out of the Xiamen area to Shanghai. Our original plan was to take the high-speed train, but due to time constraints we were better off flying there. Because everyone in China travels around the country during this week, public transport was pretty busy. Nevertheless, we got some cheap tickets with the help of a Chinese colleague. We were lucky that the flight isn’t that long, because the plane was not designed people with tall legs which meant that I only just fit in their economy class seats.

Once arrived at the airport (which is quite a bit away from the downtown area), we took the high-speed maglev (magnetic levitation) train into the city. This train reaches speeds ranging from 300 to 450 km/h depending on the time of day and turns an hour ride in the metro into 7 minutes. After checking in at our hotel, we met up with Jerry (also from CHECK-IT) who was also visiting Shanghai. We visited the Yuyuan Garden area (the actual garden was closed) which had a lot of old-style Chinese buildings with shops and restaurants in them. When the sun had set, we went to Nanjing Road (which is a big shopping street) and ended up at The Bund, which has a long boulevard along the river where you can view the various skyscrapers and towers in the Pudong area. All the buildings were lit up with all sorts of effects which made it a pretty nice view.

The second day, we went to the other side of the river and walked between all these buildings (there are so many of them) and eventually decided to visit the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) which has a viewing deck on the 100th floor (474m). The weather was clearer than the day before so we were able to see quite a bit. After going down and strolling around the area a bit more, we went to visit the actual garden of the Yuyuan Garden. Luckily, the garden wasn’t as busy as the area outside, so we could walk around easily and enjoy the area. We were pretty exhausted after this so we went back to the hotel and got some food, we got up on time the next day to walk around Nanjing Road and the Bund at daytime. After a bit of that, we had to leave for the airport again and after being cramped up for 2 hours again we arrived in Xiamen.

The next day, my work started again, so my father had a few days to relax and explore some things on his own. My work is progressing nicely, the first 4-5 weeks are dedicated to training in Unreal Engine and 3DSMax for us, so work on the final product will start in 2-3 weeks. On Sunday my weekend finally started so we visited Gulangyu Island (we tried this during the holiday, but all the ferry tickets were sold out). It wasn’t as hot as usual, so we walked around the island for quite a while. The island has various architectural styles because of influences from other countries trading with Xiamen in the VOC era. The island also had a few statues dedicated to the national hero Koxinga who is famous for taking back Taiwan from the Dutch colonial rule.

The next weeks will mostly be filled with hard work, which I don’t mind because my project is pretty fun and the company we’re working with is pretty cool about everything (we even got 4 pretty strong PC’s to use, because the required software is quite heavy!). They are giving us a lot of time before starting work on the final product. We will also move to their new office in mid November, which might have some better facilities for our work. And possibly safer elevators, because I got stuck with 10 people in ours last Thursday for half an hour…

As usual some pictures (mostly of our trip to Shanghai):

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