Recently in In Beijing Category

The Great Wall

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When we arrived at the great wall I was truly amazed and immediately began to think of how good of a decision I made in coming on this trip. I have been to Mexico before and had done a little bartering there but it was definitely different here. As I was walking through the market almost every single vendor tried to get me to buy something. The vendors here seemed to be way more persistent than what I was used to from Mexico. Once we were done climbing the great wall which was amazing by the way, we came back down and walked through the market one last time. There was this one lady who kept telling me that she remembered me and I definitely didn't recognize her. She kept grabbing my arm and would not let me go. I tried walking away several times but she kept pulling me back into her shop. I kept trying to explain to here that I wouldn't pay anything for the item she was trying to sell me but she obviously did not understand my English. Dr. Li eventually came up to me and said Alex just walk away and I replied saying that I have been trying to for ten minutes. Looking back on the situation it was actually pretty funny. I ended up buying a great wall t-shirt and a picture of the great wall from a different vendor who was not so obnoxious. Overall, I had an amazing time and did not expect The Great Wall to be as awesome as it was.

Forbidden city 5/16

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Today was nice great day in Beijing. We began our day touring the capital of china. In this area it is a large flat no building areas that had government buildings along with the entrance to the forbidden city. The forbidden city was one of the oldest/longest/biggest area with buildings that I have ever seen. It seemed that the entrances to new places in the city kept going and going. We got to see many ancient treasures in some of the large buildings.

After the forbidden city we took little 2 seater carriage bikes with a Chinese local bicycler. He took us to a small ancient city and we ended up having some awesome home made Chinese traditional meal. The meal was really good I enjoyed it very much so and my favorite dish was the pot stickers! Awesome 1st full day in China!

Long but worth it flight 5/14-5/15

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I arrived at the air port about 3pm to begin the process of boarding. When waiting for our plane all of the students went to the restaurant that was close by to chillax and socialize before our trip. After a short flight to Chicago we took the plane that was the long haul to china about 12 hours. Luckily during the flight we were able to watch movies, sleep, and eat plane food. After the flight we met up with Dr. Li so we could take a ride to our hotel to unpack and unwind.

Temple of Heaven and more

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China Day 4 (Beijing-Tianjin)

We started off the day visiting the Temple of Heaven. Lina said that this was where the Emperor used to make sacrifices to appease their god in order to have a good harvest. She also said that a lot of people go their to exercise. There were certainly a lot of people there. The thing I liked most about this visit was discovering the Chinese version of hackey-sack. I don't know what you call the contraption, but the thing with feathers is way more fun to kick around than a hackey-sack ever has been for me. The architecture of this place was amazing and every day I am more and more impressed by it. We then went on the train to Tianjin and had to say goodbye to Lina. She was an awesome tour guide and it is kind of saddening that she can't come with us for the rest of the trip. Tianjin seems like a very cool city with a lot of students. We ate dinner at a Korean restaurant and the food was some of the best I've had so far. Not quite as good as the Roast Duck, but I really liked the meat that we grilled. I thought it was a very interesting way of preparing the food, I hadn't seen anything like it before. The restaurant really had a Korean feel to it, from the food to the outfits of the employee's. I was also very happy to learn that our hotel room here has air conditioning, but it is a bit discouraging that there is hardly any privacy for the bathroom and there is no where to put our clothes aside from our suitcase. Excited for the first day of class tomorrow!

Beijing Day 3

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I have to make this a point before talking about the rest of the day. Peking Roast Duck. Absolutely mind blowing. I don't think I have had a better meal in years, if ever, honestly. Lina said that this meal is as famous as the Great Wall and that you are to shame yourself if you come to Beijing and do not have the Roast Duck and I absolutely can see why. I intended to use China as a mechanism to shed some weight but if every meal is going to be as good as what we have had so far I think that will be very difficult to do. Anyway, we began our day by going to the Summer Palace. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to be the Emperor back in the day and have a place like that as a summer home. The lake was absolutely beautiful and the architecture was stunning. I certainly wouldn't mind living in a place like that. After going to the Summer Palace we ate lunch and then went to go to the tea tasting. I really liked all of the tea's that they served and was heavily considering buying some but ultimately I decided that I could find the same product for a cheaper price elsewhere in China. After trying this tea I can see myself enjoying tea more and buying more, especially with all the health benefits that the certain kinds of teas can bring. All and all it was a great day.

Beijing Day 2

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Today we climbed the Great Wall and, well, they weren't kidding when they said that it is a great wall. It was quite a work out. I honestly wonder just how the Chinese managed to accomplish such a feat of ingenuity. The site was beautiful and the people were very nice. Tobogganing down the mountain was also very fun, I had never done it before. I learned today what bargaining in China is all about and I learned my lesson the hard way... I payed 200 Yuan for a pair of sunglasses that I probably could have got for 30-50 Yuan. It was also very interesting to see the porcelain work at the shop on our way back to the hotel. I never knew just how much work it takes to make the art... and how expensive some of that art is. Lina said that the old Chinese phrase is that you cannot be a hero until you have climbed the wall and I can certainly understand why that saying was developed after having experienced it.

Beijing Day 1

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I had been doing my blogs in a different blog that I had created, so I apologize that they made it to this blog so late..

Today I learned some interesting history about China such as when the Forbidden City was built and how long it took to build it. The Forbidden City truly is incredible, not only in its size but also its history and architecture. I also learn about other Chinese monuments such as the Monument of Chinese Hero's, as well as more about Chinese dynasties and how the capital cities have changed over time with the change of rule. I also learned that the Chinese don't leave you hungry after you eat - The food was amazing, and plentiful. My first impressions of Beijing are that it is a very large city with many fun things to do. I really enjoyed the Acrobatics show, the performers were very talented. Hopefully the upcoming days will be just as awesome as the first.

Birds Nest

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One of the things we did today was visit the birds nest stadium in Olympic square. We also visited the water cube, which is where the swimming competition for the 2008 Beijing Olympics took place. But my focus was on the bird's nest, which is such a unique stadium, unlike anything I have ever seen. When I looked at it I wondered if there was a certain pattern that was followed when it was built, as it looks like a completely random structure. The stadium was also built for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, used for track and soccer and holds 90,000 people. I found it sort of odd that this extravagant stadium was built solely for the Olympics. Our tour guide, Lina, told us that it is hardly used for sporting events today. In the United States in the past, we have also built stadiums for the Olympics, however, unlike China, we have professional teams occupying and utilizing these stadiums after they are built, such as in Atlanta. To me it seems fairly inefficient to build a stadium and not continue to utilize it after the Olympics (for which was its initial purpose), especially because it took six years to build and was extremely costly. In the past I have learned that the Chinese are usually very efficient when it comes to business. This stadium is pretty much rendered useless for any sort of profits because the only events that go on there are not large enough to fill the 90,000 seats. It has become more of a tourist attraction, filled with gift shops. Yet, it does illustrate the pride and dedication the Chinese show when inviting the world into their capital city.

First day

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My first day in Beijing was quite an experience! It was like being in a different world, a culture shock, filled with many new things ranging from architecture to cuisine. I think the biggest challenge was trying to adapt to such a populated and busy city. I learned many things and got a much better idea of how people in China live, stereotypes aside. I really enjoyed learning about the rich and ancient culture. This is a country that holds pride and national patriotism in very high regard. We visited the Forbidden City, which I thought was an amazing experience as well, unlike anything you could find in America. I found the detail in the architecture and painting very fascinating, asking myself the question, "Why would anyone take this much time to re-paint such an enormous monument?" Answer: Pride in their country and preserving their culture. I also learned how to do little things such as use chopsticks, which I am still horrible at. Sitting down and eating an authentic Chinese meal was also very interesting, and much different than what we presume "Chinese" food to be in America. Today was just the first day of a great experience and I look forward to the days to come.

Day 2

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When we arrived at the great wall I was truly amazed and immediately began to think of how good of a decision I made in coming on this trip. I have been to Mexico before and had done a little bartering there but it was definitely different here. As I was walking through the market almost every single vendor tried to get me to buy something. The vendors here seemed to be way more persistent than what I was used to from Mexico. Once we were done climbing the great wall which was amazing by the way, we came back down and walked through the market one last time. There was this one lady who kept telling me that she remembered me and I definitely didn't recognize her. She kept grabbing my arm and would not let me go. I tried walking away several times but she kept pulling me back into her shop. I kept trying to explain to here that I wouldn't pay anything for the item she was trying to sell me but she obviously did not understand my English. Dr. Li eventually came up to me and said Alex just walk away and I replied saying that I have been trying to for ten minutes. Looking back on the situation it was actually pretty funny. I ended up buying a great wall t-shirt and a picture of the great wall from a different vendor who was not so obnoxious. Overall, I had an amazing time and did not expect The Great Wall to be as awesome as it was.

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