An Olympic City

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August 18th 2012
Published: August 18th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

The past few days have been filled with orientation and exploring the area surrounding our campus here at UIBE. My friends and I have found the "wu market" or a Chinese equivalent to a Walmart not too far from our dorm. Unhappy to see that the lines in the wu market are just as bad as in Walmart, I took my time shopping around for some essentials! Toilet paper and bottled water are a must as well as some things to eat for breakfast. It's difficult to eat rice for every meal so I purchased some oatmeal and brown sugar that can be easily made with the boiled water from the kitchen! As for lunch and dinner we have been experimenting different places and types of Chinese food. A lot of what we've been eating has been way to spicy for me! A lot of times waitresses will ask (in Mandarin of course) whether we would like "Beijing spicy" or "American spicy". Clearly they think our food is too bland- and it must because my mouth has been on fire for the past few days! We have succesfully located some great places for dumplings and wonton soups. This particular place down the road is very small but makes the best soups that are delicious even on humid days.

I recently met my Chinese tutor for lunch as well! Every TBC student is paired up with a tutor. We meet several times a week to improve our retention of the language outside of class. My tutor's name is Quan and she comes from Yunnan which is a province very far from here! She loves living in the city and I can't wait to explore all of the hidden (non tourist-y parts) of Beijing! She also knows the best places to eat- I've been trying to get away from all of the greasy beef and noodles all week and today we had sweet rice that came in a pineapple and grilled eggplant. By far it was the best meal I've had since I arrived!

We also had the chance to visit the Olympic park earlier this week! We went at night so we were not allowed inside the birdsnest or water bubble but the park is lit up at night and it has tons of people selling goods and taking pictures. I can only imagine what it was like when the 2008 Olympics were actually going on! They have a long wall that looks like a war memorial but it's actually a list of all of the medal winners both in the regular and paraolympics. I took some pictures--check them out!

I will be traveling along the Silk Road for the next two weeks so the blog will be quiet until after! We will be traversing 4000 miles by bus, overnight train and plane and staying in hotels and homestays along the way! I can't wait to tell everyone about it afterward but until then zai jian!

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