July 29th- We all had trouble paying attention in class because today head to Beijing. We boarded the train which was very old but had cabins with beds. We attempted to watch a movie but I feel asleep the entire 10hrs. We dropped off our stuff and the hotel and headed directly to Tiananmen Square. It started raining once we left the hotel but most of us had umbrellas. We didn’t mind because it made the areas less crowded and it wasn’t too hot. Tiananmen Square is where the Chinese Republic started 90 years ago. The Forbidden City is also located here. We learned so much about Chinese history from Wendy our tour guide. Here is my attempt to explain. The Forbidden City was a palace where the emperor’s lived. You must pass 9 gates with is symbolic. 9 is the largest single digit which represents that highest a man can achieve before heaven which is 10. There are also some places where there are 5 entrances and bridges which are symbolic for a man’s 5 virtues he must have. Men entered from the North end which represents fire and power and women entered from the south end which represent water
with is flowing and gentle. 4 is an unlucky number and represent death. They have boards at the base of the door you need to step over. These are placed there to ward off evil spirits. The roofs are yellow because it represents the earth which is owned by the emperor. They place fish in the water because they want to show “without water there is now life”. When you build your home you must have water at the front of your house representing life and a mountain behind you to protect from evil spirits. When the city was first built there was not mountain. To fix this they build a moat around the entire city and used that dirt to build a hill behind the city. The city is square which represents earth which they thought was a square back in the day. The heaves are circular and that is why their old money used to be round with squares in the middle. Ahhh we learned so much more but it is slipping my memory at the moment. After the Forbidden City we explored Beijing’s Pedestrian Square. We found this great ally that was filled with interesting food. You
could buy scorpions, spiders and lizards on a stick.
July 30th- To start the great day we got breakfast in the hotel. They had a buffet style American breakfast mixed with Chinese food. We all ate quickly because we were excited to see the Great Wall of China. The wall is the best known landmark of China. It was a 1 hr bus ride to get there. It wasn’t raining and the sky was clear blue. I didn’t realize how crowed the wall would be since it’s so big but I underestimated how many people live in China. Because it was a touristy area everyone wanted to take pictures with us. They never see Caucasian white people so we are a bit of a spectacled. We started to sprint up the wall and instantly realized that was a bad idea. There were parts that inclined at a 60 degrees plus. I am so glad it didn’t rain because we would have slipped up the entire length. We tried not to stop because if we did people would swarm us and take pictures. The views were spectacular and I can’t believe the built something so massive back hundreds of years
ago. It was great to breath in some “clean air”, be out in the “wilderness” and get some exercise. A Maine girl has to get out of the city every once in a while. After the wall we visited the Birds Nest. In 2008 Beijing hosted the summer Olympics. The Birds nest was where they hosted the opening games and the track. After the birds nest we visited Doc. Teas where we tested all different types of Chinese tea. One of my favorite parts of the days was the Acrobatic Show. I am not sure how to describe it but I was saying OMG the entire time. There are tons of videos so I suggest watching those for an understanding of how impressive the show was. We attempted to go to a KTV. KTV is rooms dedicated to karaoke where you can take large groups. We had trouble with the machine to get the songs because everything was in Chinese, duh. There was no one there to translate so we gave up. All in all Beijing was my favorite weekend of my entire ISP adventure.
July 31st- I needed to take to morning to recover. So I spend the
day in bed watching The Secret Garden on HBO. I hadn’t seen that movie in a decade. We packed our belongings and left the hotel. We got to ride on a high speed train. It goes up to 305 km/h. It only took us 5hrs to get back to Shanghai. The seats were much roomier than the first train we took. We had to say good bye to Wendy. She was so great to us. We found out she was a doctor but likes giving tours on the side. We spend the rest of the night getting ready for our last week of classes in Shanghai.
August 1st- Where as the time gone? It is already August. This week is our last week of classes. I am trying to plan out all the things I haven’t gotten to do yet. Today we just had class and our last project briefings.
August 2nd- We had a site visit to Henkel. It was a very valuable trip because they had a panel discussion on being an expat. They touch on all the points that I was concerned about. I am defiantly interested in moving around the world. It’s very feasible
if you are young. Now the trouble is convincing Brian to move with me :P The rest of the day was spent doing hw.
August 3rd- Today was a big day. We made huge break through with our IBM Project. We needed this day off from classes because our entire project is due Tuesday. I can’t believe we are winding down.
August 4th- Last class in Shanghai today! We had a presentation on Human Resources in China. A Fudan University professor made the presentation. He spoke better English than the Environmental professor. We went the the Fudan University books store after lunch. Tonight we went to a Hibachi restaurant called Tairyo Restaurant. We only pay one price and they give us all the food we want and drinks are included. We had a great last night. Everyone had their share fair of food and drinks. I finally got wonderful sushi. We did Saki bombs and even the professors joined. Chelsea and I went dancing with our professors. Didn’t expect them to head out with us. It was a perfect ending to a perfect trip.
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