May 2011 Archives

Gardens of Hangzhou

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As the horticultural student on this trip, I have found it fascinating to behold the garden designs within the city. I think it's safe to say that all of us are impressed with the amount of greenery that has been crammed into this city. Every single roadway is lines with trees, flowers, and shrubs, and the medians are filled with plant life, not concrete.

Highlights of gardens we have seen thus far:

*Hangzhou Flower Nursery: It wasn't what you would envision as a US nursery; it was similar to an arboretum or botanical garden. The sign did say Hangzhou Flower Nursery though. Towards the entrance were HUGE annual plantings in swirling patterns and there was a fountain in front of a flower petal shaped garden filled with color. Today was the second day that we saw tons of couples taking wedding photos and videos. (21 and 22 are lucky days to get married and they fell on the weekend, so many many people were getting married.) We walked through an area that was more boggy and had ponds. The lily pads were starting to be in full bloom. There are so many water features and bridges in Chinese garden design. They also make use of rocks or stepping stones through water; something we should do more in the US. Jill, our guide, took us to see the orchid nursery; there were many tables filled with pots of orchids and they had a shade structure in place. Unfortunately, they weren't blooming; I'm unsure of species but the leaves were very long and thin- almost grassy. I saw a lot of bamboo today and walked through some small "bamboo forests." I've had a few people tell me that it's invasive and spreads a lot; I didn't know that before hand. Another random fact- you can eat bamboo- its fairly tough and kind of bland; good fiber source! Jill gave us some free time to look through the bonsai garden; these were fairly large bonsai and all of them were up on high pedestals. My favorites were the ones that looked really windswept, and one was hanging all the way down to the ground out of the pot. I definitely saw some new plants today!

Wedding Photos in Front of the Flowers & Fountain


*HuXueYan's Former Residence: HuXueYan was a rich, rich man back in the day and he lived in a house with his mom, wife, and concubines. The residence was surrounded by walls that were about 20 feet tall (my guess), and it was actually in the heart of what is now a busy street area. Inside the walls and exploring the villa was really peaceful though; we couldn't hear much street noise and there weren't many other tourists (which was refreshing). The carvings, painting and all of the detail in the house was amazing! But my favorite part were the gardens; there were gardens tucked in all sorts of little courtyards, and the last thing we visited was the immense garden area. It actually wasn't that big, but the detail that was crammed into the space was incredible. We took a lot of pictures! There was a central pond with bridges and a pavilion to sit in; there were balconies overlooking everything, and the funnest part was an area of little caves formed from rocks; I almost got lost in there! All of the garden elements that are central to China could be found in this garden, and it was a delight for me to finally see a private garden! I think we all enjoyed this visit very much.

Our Group in the Garden Pavilion

Leaving ZFU

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Today was our last day at the school. It was amazing yet really hard to do cause we all had gotten so attached to all the students and the school as well. We exchanged last emails, Skype names, and for future use if they ever get facebook, our facebook name.
We are so glad that we did get to spend the time we had with the students and also can not wait till fall semester when a couple of the students come out for a semester to Crookston.

Thank you so much ZFU staff, faculty and students for an amazing and memorable time.

(If anyone has a group picture with all of us student and would not mind sending it to me I will gladly add a picture to this post.)

Day of arrival at the school (ZFU)

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We arrived at the school on May 23, 2011. It was really fun.We arrived and had some time to settle down in our room and than we headed to a welcome dinner. The dinner was very nice.


We than after the luncheon went on a school tour. The campus is split into three sections. A, B, and C. They have an amazing and very beautiful lake on campus surrounded by lots of green trees, shrubs, and flowers. there was a wooden walkway that crossed over the lake as well.Overall the campus was very large.

After the tour of the school we went to our very first class at the school, Chinese history and culture. We learned all about the dynasties and a few of the important people during each dynasty. Our class was 2 hours long as would be all of our classes here at the school.

We ended our day with a Foot message (which was more than just a foot message) sponsored by the school. We thanked them very much for the message and all of us decided we were going to be coming back later in the week on our own and get one more before we left.

I have a feeling that we are all going to have a very fun time while we stay here at the school.

Olympic Village Beijing


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Second day in Beijing. After climbing the great wall our group had a nice time at the Beijing Olympic Village. It was a great experience meeting thousands of local people and tourists from all over the world visiting this amazingly beautiful place.
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This a picture of the four fellows of the group along with Jacob, the best tour guide in Beijing.
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Full group picture with the water cube at Beijing Olympic village as our background.

Peking Opera

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May 18 2011

The peking opera was very interesting. It was in a way the same as the usual opera in America but because of the language and culture it was totally different.

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Even though the beginning was not very interesting we all loved the rest of the opera. We were thrilled when the monkey king began his fight against the 18 warriors. The movements and talent of each person especially the monkey king were amazing. Somethings had to have taken a long time to master and others you could tell took a whole lot of built up muscle.

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Monkey King and 18 warriors

Monkey King and the Drunken Warrior

Temple of Heaven ...Peking Duck

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The Temple Of Heaven favored us as the rain predicted did nto happen, clear skies and light breeze made the 78 degrees day a true blessing. The pictures don't show but kites where flying all around the area that added to the natural splendor. The area was very crowded as it was national visitors day. A few hours in the area doesn't do it justice the landscape and grounds would have been wonderful to explore.
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Needless to say after climbing the great wall yesterday, the forbidden city in the morning the temple this afternoon, and the bargain shopping at the Silk Road-Free Market - food was the next item on the agenda. No one could ever say they left the table hungry with the amount of food provided. The Duck platter was cleaned off in no time. JP, Sue, & Lisa joined us. The feast was provided compliments of Mindy- A great full thank you from a hungry and very satisfied group.

Celebrities among us

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korean  school boys.jpg A group of high school boys from Kora swarmed some of the group. Rob got into the mod as did Levi and Allie. Kristien was selected for individual poses. Never realized that we would draw the attention we did. Truly became a people watching people watching people . Soo Yin said because were were so active and animated....Diversity well represented in the UMC group.

Forbidden City

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Forbidden City - grp.jpgSY director.jpg Groups photos inside north gate of the Forbidden City. Jacob our tour guide needed four arms for holding all the cameras handed to him.. "1 yuan per shot" was used instead of "say cheese" rate of inflation was steep by end of day it was 4 yuan....
Soo Yin got into the director mood- her assistant was Alysha with James in the limelight.

Forbidden City

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The Forbidden City was so much more than than the first glimpse indicated. Surrounded by water and the architecture symbolize of the number of knobs on a door (9 rows & 9 columns) The number of beams in the roof - four to none and was used in selection of which family to marry into. The number of animal characters on the roof ridge line also status symbols - eleven was the highest and that was on the Emperors Palacefirst view  os forbidden city.jpgbuilidng status.jpgbeams.jpg

Jade Gallery

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What the female Lion holds

We went to the Jade Gallery and learned tons of things. Some of which we even got to use outside of the gallery while we shopped to find out if it was real jade or not. Jade also if it is real will make a tinging noise like two china glasses taping together, when hit against each other or taped with a coin. Also real jade has what is called the flower of the jade and if it is not visible it is not real. What the flower of the Jade is is if you look into the stone it is foggy or cloudy and not fully clear. Jade also is a living stone in a way and when you get it and as long as you where it everyday at all times it will turn a slightly darker shade of green.

As Jade ages it will become of higher quality and thus costing more. The older the stone is the more white it is and the younger it is the more green it is. Also the older jade being older is found deeper under ground while the green or younger jade is closer to the surface of the earth.

In china there is no schools for learning to work jade, the only way to learn is from your family. Families will pass down the skill generation to generation and only then do they learn the art. if you are from a family that does not know the art of jade working you can only learn it by marrying into a family that does jade work. Also the work is usually split were the women polishes and the man carves and cuts, however a women can learn to do both as can a man.

Women of the Chinese culture also wear bracelets called bangles. They are made of jade and come in various colors and types. In a family the bangle is something that is passed down from the mother to the daughter because it is more or less a family treasure. If the family does not have a daughter and the mother loves her daughter in-law very much she can pass it on to her. Bangles are put on using a plastic bag and than slipping the bracelet over your hand. It is not going to fall of because of how well it fits your hand and how tight it is to get on.

The lions that are found in many places in and around buildings are actually paired for male and female lions. There is only one way to tell the two apart. The male lion will have under his paw a boulder or ball while the female wil have under her foot the cub.

On May 18 2011

The Great Wall!!!

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Today was our first full day in China, and we went to the Great Wall. Now that we have all touched the Great Wall we've become heroes!!!
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This is a picture when we reached the top. It was a great accomplishment!!!! We were all "celebrities" everyone wanted a picture with us!!!

Exploring our Holiday Inn neighborhood

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Some decided to explore the neighborhood...Alyssa was looking for an extra SD for her camera, notebook to journal, drawing pad...Soo-Yin bought a wrist watch to keep track of time ($15.00 - no bargaining allowed in this store - )...most of us are just curious of the cost; figuring out how to read the "for sales" and "discount" signs. Main mission - look for deals and horn our bargaining skills!

All Done...nap time!

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Eight dishes and almost all gone! Our favorite dishes - Lamb with onions and cabbage, Beef with Shitake Mushrooms, eggs with tomatoes, and watermelon for dessert.

Our first meal in China!

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Tired from our long flight, we checked into the Holiday Inn Hotel, took a quick rest and headed down for our first Chinese meal in China!

Our tour bus...main transportation around Beijing

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Ride from Beijing Airport to Holiday Inn, our "home" for the next three days.


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Our Global Seminar China 2011 group met in Chicago Airport. It took us approximately 13 hours to fly from Chicago to Beijing. All went well and we arrived in Beijing Airport around 3:15 p.m., and were joined by Jeff Lee (another Global Seminar student). Xia Yue (2009 UMC Alumni) and our tour guide, Jacob, met us at the airport.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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