Recently in First Days in Beijing Category

I forgot to post this one.. 5/21

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Today was our last time in Beijing.  We first went to the Temple of Heaven.  This was cool to see but we were all tired from all the sightseeing previous days, and the crazy party the night before.  After a little shopping and lunch, we took the high speed train to Tianjin.  This was the best part of the day for me.  It was really interesting to see the differences in train travel from Europe.  All the stations I have been to have been in old, historical buildings.  The station here looked brand new looking more like an airport terminal.  We also had to go through security which was also very weird to me, since I have never seen that in a train station before.  The biggest difference was that there were gates and a waiting area for the trains.  They check your ticket before you get on the train and you can't walk around freely to other platforms.  I thought that they would be more like every other train I have been on and they check your ticket when you are on the train, and you can roam around freely.  It felt more like an airport than a train station, and I think that I wouldn't like it if I had to travel by it frequently.  

Day 4

 

Today was our last time in Beijing.  We first went to the Temple of Heaven.  This was cool to see but we were all tired from all the sightseeing previous days, and the crazy party the night before.  After a little shopping and lunch, we took the high speed train to Tianjin.  This was the best part of the day for me.  It was really interesting to see the differences in train travel from Europe.  All the stations I have been to have been in old, historical buildings.  The station here looked brand new looking more like an airport terminal.  We also had to go through security which was also very weird to me, since I have never seen that in a train station before.  The biggest difference was that there were gates and a waiting area for the trains.  They check your ticket before you get on the train and you can't walk around freely to other platforms.  I thought that they would be more like every other train I have been on and they check your ticket when you are on the train, and you can roam around freely.  It felt more like an airport than a train station, and I think that I wouldn't like it if I had to travel by it frequently.  

Last Day in Beijing, First Day in Tianjin

Last day in Beijing turned out to be a short but enjoyable one. First we took a tour of the Temple of Heaven, ate lunch and hopped on a bullet train to Tianjin. I was really impressed by the massive train station on Beijing, it was bigger than most airports. The train station also turned out to be the worst part of the day as it was very very uncomfortably hot and we had to wait around 45min to just board the train. The train ride was very smooth and short, we traveled at 335km/h making the journey to Tianjin a short 25 minute ride. Arriving in Tianjin was also less than desirable as the train station was incredibly crowded and the bus we took to the hotel was much smaller than the one in Beijing, so we had to store half our luggage in seats on the bus making for a very uncomfortable bus ride to the hotel.

My first impression of Tianjin is a bit mixed at this point. The city seems to be more spacious and spread out compared to Beijing, but at the same time is much more dirty. We finally checked into the hotel and quickly thereafter headed down to a very unique restaurant where we were received by some of the staff of Nankai University. The meal was great, they kept bringing more and more different kinds of food (mostly meat) and even served us beer that came in a long plastic tube.

I look forward to our first day of class tomorrow meeting all of the Chinese students. I've been fighting a bug of some-sort for the past few days that has been making things a bit difficult but have hopes that it will soon pass.


Last day in Beijing

Today we went to the great wall... exhausted to say the least.  What an unbelievable sight, I don't think any words or pictures that I took will ever be able to describe the experience I had today.  Walking on the Great Wall of China is something that I have wanted to do my entire life. I cannot believe all of the things I have seen and done over the last few days, and neither can my body. I crashed hard last night and even fell asleep twice trying to write this blog entry. Now that I'm up, I have to say that I am incredibly sad to be leaving Beijing. I know we are traveling to many exciting new places, but I feel like nothing will ever be able to replace this city.            

Beijing, Day 3 - The Great Wall and Market

Never, in my whole entire life, have I ever been more exhausted than today.  The Great Wall of China was incredibly massive in sheer length and size.  I remember walking up on top of one of the gates and continuously counting the number of gates in the horizon.  I cannot even comprehend how many hours, men, and power it took to build such a thing.  Now I definitely can see why it took multiple dynasties to build it. 

Afterwords, we traveled to a bargain market, and that was very culturally unique.  I greatly enjoyed walking around and witnessing people and how they bargained for lower prices on various items.  Things ranging from Adidas, Coach, Sony, Armani, etc. could be found and all could be obtained at a very cheap price.  It was funny to see how just a simple 5 minute conversation sparking interest in an item, throwing a ridiculously low price out there, and walking away is all that's needed to buy an item at a good price. I definitely had a great time.  All in all, everything we did today was downright amazing. and the Great Wall of China is something I never thought I would have had the pleasure of experiencing... I love this place!

Day 3

Today is the day that I was looking forward to the most in Beijing. The Great Wall of China has finally been crossed off my list of places I want to visit.  This was something that a picture can never express.  The size and the beauty of the surrounding mountains made this the best part of the trip so far.  I am completely exhausted now after climbing all the steps up and down the hills.  The weather today was very sunny and hot, but it was worth it for the perfect view.

 

Something that I thought was really interesting today was the bus ride from the city to the wall.  I noticed many different signs with cartoon drawings of telling people not to drink and drive, talk on cell phone, and other laws.  The reason I thought they were interesting was because of the picture that was with it.  They all have the same character but they are doing different things in each picture. 

 

The other thing I noticed on the drive over was a truck carrying fourteen other small trucks.  Not only did this seem like not a good idea but it was really dangerous.  It looked like the last few trucks were about to tip over.  This was really weird to me that they would risk that much to deliver a few more trucks.

Great Wall Leads to a Great Day

Today we took a trip to a little place called the Great Wall of China. Never in my life have I seen anything quite like this. This piece of architecture is truly a wonder of the world. Just the journey to the wall was incredible, as we got to see some really awe inspiring landscape as we drove through the mountains. Upon arriving, we hiked up a small part of the mountain where we were bombarded by shop keepers urging us to buy their merchandise, most of it being Great Wall paraphernalia. After the short hike we were able to ride a gondola up the rest of the way to the Great Wall where we saw even more incredible scenery. After jumping off the gondola we were able to explore the wall on our own. I still at this moment have a hard time comprehending that I walked on a piece of history such as this as just the first few steps were breathtaking. With the wall hugging the crests of the mountains, it was quite the hike at times. I've never been so exhausted in my entire life after just reaching the point where we decided to turn back. The wall at times literally seemed to go up at a 90 degree angle, it also didn't help that it was a clear day with temperatures reaching around mid 90's. In total, it took roughly two hours to travel from our meeting spot and back. We were also able to take a luge sled back down the mountain which turned out to be a good time as well. There was so much more that happened today but it would take a lot more than a single blog post to describe it. Today was our last full day in Beijing as we travel to Tianjin tomorrow.     

China Ladies are AMAZING

Ok, here it is all straight and no BS, the women in china are the most amazing I have ever seen in my entire life.  They are gorgeous.  Today we went to the great wall, my friends and I climbed basically as far up as we could and well there is not a word in the english language to describe how amazing it was to be there and do that.  The wall is extremely steep and difficult to climb.  I carried a large amount of extra water and around 5 peoples lunches in my backpack so I had about 35 lbs. of extra weight in my pack.  It was amazing.  We then went to a really crazy clothing mall where everything was totally fake but also totally awesome.  I got three t's and two button downs for around 85.00 us dollars they are fake but heck they are nice.  Then we went to a dinner show thing with BEAUTIFUL AMAZING GORGEOUS AWESOME China ladies dancing and being sexy as hell.  I got a good luck charm and a little pillow from them, I AM IN LOVE.  Now we are going to the DISCO to dance our pants off.  Good times Charlee.  Have a great day everyone.  Peace.
It was another very early morning - I know that I looked as tired as I felt this morning. Jet lag is wearing on us all but there is so much fun to be had that none of us have let it slow us down. The morning started with breakfast and my first taste of chicken's feet - thanks to Sabrina - and it tasted really good - it did, I swear - but it was just too fatty for me.

The Summer Gardens were absolutely incredible. The sights alone were a wonder but I got my first taste of some authentic Chinese music which has brought this trip to a whole new level. We enjoyed some incredible views and hot sun and then grabbed some Yanjing for the Dragon Boat (or the party barge as we like to call it).

After another delicious lunch we headed over to the Olympic grounds where we had the chance to run around on the fields that took so many athletes their entire lives of training to compete on. It was really a once in a lifetime experience. (Or maybe twice - I've been to the Munich Olympic grounds too.)

Even after such an eventful day, I think my highlight was the music store that Dr. Li and I hung out for awhile. I was really close to buying a mandolin that had an amazing price but I decided to go ahead and buy a few things that I would never have the chance to get anywhere but China. I got what Dr. Li told me is a Moon Violin and a Calabash Flute along with some painted shakers. I can't wait to have the chance to sit around in the sun when I get home and master these instruments.

Music, culture, conversation and adventure are what I live for, and today I got it all. 

Just another day in Beijing

Today during dinner we learned a few more Chinese phrases.  However, depending on if you raise, lower, or stay the same with the intonation in your voice, it means different things.  This is incredible to me because it seems to add another level of learning on top of just learning the sounds.  Also, the language far exceeds our 26 letter alphabet so there are much more symbols to recognize as well.  It makes me wonder as to why it developed as it did with the immense complexities.  I believe that learning some key phrases is essential as we try to interact more with the locals and learn the cultural differences.  

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