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Published: August 29th 2010
lobby in Beijing.
The PLU students miraculously appeared this morning at breakfast. French fries and croissants had been added to the buffet line as well.
We went to a hutong, which means narrow road, in the morning. These are neighborhoods full of the old, courtyard style homes. Rickshaws took us through the streets because cars could not fit in them. One of the other drivers pulled up beside mine and Monica's rickshaw and said "美国人，Obama." (American, Obama.) So I asked him, in Chinese, "Do you like Obama?" And he replied, "I like Obama. I like America." So, I said, "太好了！I like China." Then he told me that I was pretty, I said thank you, and he pulled ahead. His Chinese passengers took a picture of us.
A local guide, who had named himself Potato, translated for the man who owned the hutong we visited. His family had opened their home to the public after the government requested that they do so. Nine families had lived in the four rooms around the courtyard during the Cultural Revolution.
In the afternoon, we went to the Forbidden City. It is a beautiful place, and impressive to think about, but every section begins to look
the same. Red buildings with gold roofs arranged around a courtyard. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been on my own and could wander at me leisure.
The day before, I had decided to buy a fan to fend off the heat. I asked Adam, one of our professors, how to say fan. He had forgotten, so he looked it up for me. Anyway, after the Forbidden City we were waiting for our bus and some vendors approached us. I asked a woman with chopsticks, "有扇子吗？“ She and her friends thought that this was the funniest thing. They repeated over and over, Do you have fans? Do you have fans? She didn't, by the way. But a man with fans came over and she pointed me out to him. I got one for seven yuan, but I think I could have done better. At that point, I was stunned. Although I realized that we do the same thing-- laugh and repeat what someone says if they speak English to us. We are not making fun of them. We just love that they want to communicate with us in our own tongue.
dinner at a restaurant that looked like the Rain Forest Cafe and had a minority show. We speculated that we are not actually in China. We are in Florida at a giant theme park, like Epcot. It is similar weather and seems unreal.
In the evening we went to a tourist trap, "flying acrobat show." There were a lot of Europeans there. The women scoffed at us in the bathroom because some of us were waiting for the one western style toilet. The show included parrots, a man dressed as an ostrich, and lasers. It reminded me of America's Got Talent.
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