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May 31, 2009

Making our way from Hangzhou to Shanghai...


May 30, 2009

Living in China

(Posted by Ashley C.)

In China I have come to find out that most people do their own laundry and let them air-dry at their apartments. Most people in the cities live in apartments and they are very expensive. We have also experienced washing our own clothing.
(Posted by Ashley C.)

Pets in China

(Posted by Ashley C.)

I have also found out that many people have house pets. They have ducks, chickens, and dogs as pets.
(Posted by Ashley C.)

Grocery store at Hangzhou (a 15 minutes walk from our hotel)

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(Posted by Ashley C.)
We went to visit the grocery store and it was very different from what I have experienced before. In the store the service is great almost everyone has a store clerk to help them and the stores are very busy. People are everywhere looking at everything. In the stores there are so many people that you bump into everyone going thru the store.
(Posted by Ashley C.)

Ni yao "Ko Ker" (coke) or "Xia Pee" (Sprite)?


(Posted by Ashley C.)
Most people don’t have a drink with their meals in Hangzhou. If they do they are very small servings. About ½ measuring cup.
(Posted by Ashley C.)

The Crazy Monk at Hangzhou's Ling Ying Temple


(Posted by Ashley C.)
We went to Ling Yin Temple and we got to see the “crazy monk”. The “crazy monk” is a monk that was a drunk but very kind to the people. We also got to see a lot of other monks. The caves at the temple were full of carvings and of Monks and Buda’s.
(Posted by Ashley C.)

Once upon a time...a classic (tragic) love story...


(Posted by Ashley C.)
We went to the West Lake Impression and it was a love story on the water at the Broken Bridge. The show was very beautiful and the lights would change as the seasons of the story progress, and there was music to illustrate the varied emotions of the love story.
(Posted by Ashley C.)

At Xixi Wetlands, Hangzhou - making sweet rice snack

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(Posted by Ashley C.)

This is a picture of a guy mixing the rice to make traditional Chinese sweet cakes.
(Posted by Ashley C.)

May 29, 2009

Hangzhou: Boat ride at West Lake

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(Posted by Nik K.)
Hangzhou is a famous tourist spot in China. One of the reasons it is famous is because of West Lake. If I have to pick my favorite part of the Hangzhou trip instead of the colleges we visited I would say it was West Lake. West Lake is very beautiful with the vegetation, water and a lot of culture. Yet my favorite thing is the people around West Lake. There are people from all around the world visiting West Lake everyday and it is full of different cultures.

When we first arrived to Hangzhou we went to West Lake for a tour and a boat ride on the lake. It was very beautiful and really fun to ride around to the different islands and hear about the history of West Lake from our guide.

(Posted by Nik K.)

Many people waved while we were on the boat...

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(Posted by Nik K.)

Hangzhou: Leifeng Pagoda at West Lake

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(Posted by Nik K.)
Another great experience I had was when we had a free day to do what we wanted. So the group went off in their own journeys while my roommate Jarrod and I walked to West Lake to explore more because the lake is so big that it takes more than a day to see everything. It takes about twenty minutes to walk there and once we arrived we decided to have a glass of green tea at the local shop. Then we started walking for awhile until Jarrod decided to sit and draw. So we split our ways and I continued my journey walking the West Lake. I was kindly greeted by many people and had my picture taken a few times with other travelers and locals. I almost felt famous because I was treated so nice and I received so much attention. I walked for about an hour and decided to sit on a bench to take in the beautiful view of the lake and the surrounding area. Then I was approached by a lone traveler from northern China who was visiting. We talked for awhile and she wanted to see a famous pagoda called the Leifeng pagoda which has a famous love story to go with it. We walked and had a good conversation all the way to the pagoda and went to the top of the five story tower!

My new friend knew a lot about the history of the pagoda and I learned a lot. At the top we met some travelers who were from New Zealand and had a good conversation with them. After the Leifeng pagoda we said our goodbyes and I had to head back to the hotel to meet with the group for dinner! It was a great experience meeting different people from different cultures and I think everyone should experience this and travel to another country.

(Posted by Nik K.)

Class at ZFU: Chinese Traditional Medicine

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(Posted by Jarrod L.)
Our first day of class at ZFU, my hip was hurting from all the walking we had been doing in Beijing and Hangzhou. In fact the pain started when I was walking to our lecture in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Health Care. Of all the times to get sore muscles! I must have some how picked the best time to have it happen. Our class was broken down to half lecture of various techniques and the other half a demonstration of them. At the time of demonstration, the teacher had asked for a volunteer, and though the other students were more then happy to volunteer I had some extra motivation. So It didn’t take me long to jump at the oppurtunity. “Not literally of course because my hip was in pain.”

(Posted by Jarrod L.)

My muscles become less tense and relax...

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(Posted by Jarrod L.)
The Teacher began the demonstration and he started using various techniques that had just been discussed. As he worked away I could feel my muscles relaxing and becoming less tense. By the time he was finished I could tell that I was going to feel a lot better, and as I stood up and took a few steps my inquiry was confirmed and I felt no pain where there had been not more than 15 minutes prior.

(Posted by Jarrod L.)

Chinese Calligraphy Class at ZFU


May 26, 2009 - At ZFU (Posted by Jarrod L.)
Today the UMC students and I learned how to write traditional Chinese characters – calligraphy. We all seemed to have a good time with the writing exercises, and some of our work turned out to be pretty good. Being somewhat of an art enthusiast I appreciated the difference and challenge of Chinese calligraphy. Though it may appear to be simple, it takes some time growing accustomed to performing the task. According to the instructor if a line is misplaced even a little bit in some cases, it can change the meaning of the word. This is where some extra finesse is required. After a while of practicing I got some of my characters to look right, however it took a lot of time and focus to do. Perhaps this is why I was impressed when the teacher’s characters only took him a few seconds to appear on the paper, even for the more complex ones.

(Posted by Jarrod L.)

May 27, 2009

At ZFU: Mrs. Ou Yangyan and the Chinese language lesson


(Posted by Torie K.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009 Zhejiang Forestry University
What an exciting day we had to day! First, we went to our Chinese language class taught by Mrs. Ou Yangyan. However, this was not like the first two days of language class. During this session, we not only got to learn how to pronounce Chinese words, but also how to write Chinese characters. This is much more detailed and difficult than I ever imagined. I learned that to correctly write the characters, a certain order must be maintained. It was very funny when the teacher would write a sentence, and we would struggle for the next five minutes trying to copy down each character. Even though it was a difficult class, it was one of my favorite and am very glad that I could have this experience.

The next class we took was Tai Chi taught by Mr. Li Jiyuan. Wow! What a workout. We learned a sequence of movements that is meant to look like fighting. Halfway through the class, most of the students were hot and sweaty. Muscles were being used that we did not know we even had! I personally enjoyed this class very much. I find it interesting that they could create a “dance” from a pattern of fighting movements. I also like the work out we got and plan to continue practicing the movements we learned here.

(Posted by Torie K.)

Lin'an: Buddhist temple located in the mountains


(Posted by Torie K.)

Part of our group went on a hike with Chinese students from ZFU. They took us climbing on a mountain to a temple. This was such a spectacular adventure. The climb was incredible; made mostly of stone stairs, it was not an easy journey. However, we got to see some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife. Once at the top of the mountain, we located the temple where monks still live and reveled in the beauty of it.

(Posted by Torie K.)

Lin'an: A view of some of the stairs on the mountain


(Posted by Torie K.)
The climb back down the mountain was just as grand. We got to see the village below, lakes, waterfalls, cliffs, and much more. At one point there is supposed to be 168 stairs in a row to get back to the bottom. I had such a great time running around and climbing on the rocks. I also got to explore so many little coves and places. In addition, I got to talk with new people and learn about their culture and their lives. We talked about the basics of school and our trip, but we also got to learn about the people themselves. I met a guy named Fu, and we talked about our majors and what we like to do when we are done with college. I also got to ask him some different things about China and he asked me questions about the United States. I had such enjoyable time learning about another country from someone who knows it first-hand. It can give a person a different perspective than learning it out of a textbook or from television. Our excursion took us about four hours and we walked that entire time, but it was well worth it. From the fantastic views to the amazing people, I would not have missed it.

(Posted by Torie K.)

May 23, 2009

An Evening Walk at West Lake, Hangzhou (Posted by Julie S.)

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West Lake at Night (Posted by Julie S.)

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West Lake, Hangzhou (Posted by Julie S.)

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Hangzhou - West Lake

Tuesday May 19, 2009 - Posted by Julie Snider

After super, we went to the West Lake for the water fountains show. The show was from 7 pm to 9 pm where the water fountains are timed with music. They have a couple of shows during this time. It reminded me somewhat of the timed fireworks show at Disney World, also great. For those of you who have seen it, will have a better idea of what I’m talking about.

When we arrived, we caught the ending of one of the shows, it wasn’t quite 8 yet. After we got seated, we waited for about half an hour before the show started. It was interesting. Before the waterworks, they have green laser projections of objects was shown and the sponsor. There was cars, airplanes, horses, etc. It was very interesting, not something that we Americans see every day at least.

The main attractions started. They have two musical numbers for the show with water timed with it. The music was a traditional Chinese piece, which was slower and then a more classical music piece. The Chinese music was more of an impression, but still in time with the music. For the classical one, they had the rows of fountains shoot up like the notes being played. It was really nice. A great sight to see.

(Posted by Julie S.)

Beijing, China - Peking Opera

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Peking Opera is a mixture of singing, dancing, acting and acrobatics. The theme was a combination of a love story between the king and his wife and the king’s preparation for a battle. The leader of the enemy was referred to as the Monkey king. The demonstration of the love story involved singing and dancing and the other part included acting and acrobatics. Even though it was difficult to interpret the performance, aspects such as music, clothing and talent could be easily appreciated.

Beijing, China - Temple of Heaven

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This temple consists of four gates. The Hall of Prayer is located at the North Gate and in this hall people prayed for good harvest. In order for the temple to become open to public, it was turned into a park. Today, retirees get together and socialize in many different ways such as playing cards and they appear to express themselves freely through singing and dancing.
The Circular Mound Altar is located towards the South Gate of the temple. The design of the Altar includes a square shape representing the sky and a circle inside the square representing earth. The prayers were held in the center of the circle with the purpose of these being directed to the heavens.

Beijing, China - Summer Palace

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This was the imperial’s family residence during the summer time every year. It is located in the northwest suburb of Beijing and it is the most perfectly preserved imperial garden. The palace consists of gates, halls, pavilions, corridors and towers. This picture illustrates the Tower of Buddhist Incense, which looks down to the Kunning Lake. Inside this octagonal tower there is a 5 meters high golden statue of the thousand-handed Guanyin Buddha that weighs five tons. Pictures of this statue were prohibited. The Long Corridor within the palace is 728 meters long including about 14, 000 paintings on its ceiling making it the longest painted gallery in the world.

Beijing, China - Market Place

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The food stands at the market place displayed local delicacies such as cow stomach, scorpions, sea horses, snakes, starfish, etc. The smell in the area wasn’t very pleasant given that the food itself wasn’t very fresh and the environment was a bit hostile at times. The style of serving the food seemed very barbaric, though the native people appeared to be use to it. The main street exhibited a variety of stores and the back allies showed more practice of capitalism. Salesmen were eager to sell, which led to bargain shopping. In order to have a good bargaining purchase the buyer should cut the price in half right away and at times the final price ends up being even lower.

Beijing, China - Great Wall

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Estimated to be somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 miles long. It runs through the mountains near the steps of Mongolia, and out the edge of the ocean. It was wide enough for 8 men on horseback to ride side-by-side. The great wall was built over several dynasties most of which has been lost due to weathering. Many of the men that died while working on it were buried with the wall, and thus it is the longest cemetery in the world. Walking along the wall it was difficult to image an army moving along it, as some places were stepper that 60°. The towers as shown above behind the wooden stairwell, where placed close enough so that two arrows could cross, wood was places at each tower so that a signal for an invasion could be transmitted quickly, and men gathered to counter their attack.

Beijing, China - Jade Factory

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Jade is a hard rock with a rating of 6.6 versus a diamond which is rated at 10. The Jade ages over time and becomes a darker green. It is used as jewelry and the people believe that it has healing qualities, and should be worn close to the heart. Most jade bracelets sell for about 2,800 yuan or about $400 US. Small pieces of jade sold for around 50 yaun or $7.50 US.

Beijing, China - Martial Arts

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The martial arts theater was designed to show the life story of young boy become a martial arts master. The boy had to go through many challenges, both physical and emotional. He was guided by a martial arts master, who helped him find his “chi” during his journey. Towards the end of the play it was clear that this was a cycle because the boy had become the master, fulfilling his destiny. It story of sacrifice, courage, knowledge, and endurance of human imagination.

Beijing, China - Silk Factory

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Silk is made from a silk moth, which feeds primarily on mulberry leaves. The life cycle of the moth requires it make a cocoon in order to complete the metamorphosis. The cocoon is made of one thread that is roughly 3048 feet long. The cocoon with larvae is washed and cleaned in a basin. The larvae is separated from the thread, which requires are brush to locate the starting point, it is then spun onto a spool which can be used to make clothing. The method for making beds is very different, the comforter is comprised of several layers which come from soaking the cocoons in water and stretching them over a half moon. The process then requires four people to stretch the cocoon threads out to the dimensions of the bed. There may be as many as 350 layers on a comforter depending on the season and location of its use.

Beijing, China - Forbidden City

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The Forbidden City was the permanent residence of the imperial family and is located in the center of Beijing. The south gate of the city is located directly across Tiananmen Square. It consists of three sections divided by gates. Each section within the city consists of courtyards, halls, and living quarters. This picture illustrates the final gate. One of the attributes we noticed were the copper and brass vats which appeared to hold a large amount of water in case of a fire due to the flammable material of the buildings. There was only one man residing in the city who was allowed to keep his family jewels, the rest were castrated in order to maintain purity in the imperial family. An important fact is that blood was never shed in the city. When it was time for the emperor to leave the city he was permitted to leave in a peaceful manner.

Beijing, China - Tiananmen Square

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The monument of the people’s heroes is a testament to the dedication or sacrifice for individual rights and freedom. The monument is 38 meters high, 50 meters east to west, and 60 meters north to south. It is comprised of more than 17,000 pieces of granite, and is the largest monument in Chinese history. The square surrounds the Mao Mausoleum where thousands line up each day to get a glimpse of his preserved body. The square is also littered with cameras to avoid any propaganda taking place and is accompanied by guards who walk throughout the square.

May 14, 2009

Quarantine Inspection for Swine Flu

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We passed with flying colors and good health!

Minneapolis airport: China here we come...

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Front Row: Shannon K., Victoria K.
Back Row: Nikolos K., Jarrod L., Julie S., Justin M., Irma D., Trista H., Ashley C.

At Grand Forks Airport: Jarrod L., Justin M., Irma D., and Trista H.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - BEIJING

We finally arrived our destination, Beijing, around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13. Jarrod, Justin, Irma, Trista and I started our trip from Grand Forks airport. The rest of the group (Ashley, Julie, Nikolas, Shannon, and Victoria) met us in Minneapolis airport. Our group consists of a diversity of traveling experiences: ranging from first airplane ride to some international travels. Overall, the flight went smoothly with a few bumps here and there due to weather turbulences. Each of us passed our quarantine inspection with flying colors, and was issued with a healthy report to enter Tokyo and Beijing airport.

Posted by Soo-Yin Lim-Thompson