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A Hint of Tradition With a Handful of Progression

It is an interesting perspective being in a country that has an extremely rich history dating back through several thousands of years, making the United States seem like just an infant. Remnants of ancient culture still show through in Chinese society, but is all that's left just aspects of their psychology, such as some beliefs and behaviors? The main cities we have explored so far have shown a very contemporary image in architecture and basic city life. Concrete and steel buildings stretch upwards while the honking of passing cars drown out any other noise. On the surface, these cities would not be too out of place in the United States or any other "developed" nation.

This past Friday our group traveled to Beijing. We were picked up at our hotel in Tianjin by a tour guide and we proceeded to head toward Beijing. The first day, as a group, we explored both the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City. It's hard to imagine those places have been around for so long and have accumulated so much history. Our tour guide wasn't the most exciting individual to listen to, but I definitely don't regret visiting those places or any of the others we visited over the weekend.

After those two tours on Friday, our tour guide made mention of a show that performed a traditional story. It was about martial arts, so how could I pass that up? The name of it is The Legend of Kungfu. Revolving around the story of a little child who wishes to grow up into a warrior monk, In the end, only Krissy was the only other person to join me for this event. I believe the tour guide was a bit upset because he wasn't able to rip off as many people, but I'm still glad I went. The show didn't demonstrate much that was applicable to combat, but the displays of endurance and acrobatics was extremely impressive. Besides flips and twists, there were also people breaking wood on their bodies and metal on their heads, and at one point there was a man who was lifted up while laying on the point of a spear, without it piercing him.

The entire weekend was busy and packed full for all of us. A few of the other activities we were involved in include climbing the Great Wall, visiting a couple of tourist traps such as a "jade factory" and a "silk factory", and also an expedition through the Summer Palace before we made the trip back to Tianjin, where we are stationed once again.