Joseph Niederriter

Joe Zai Zhongguo

Joseph Niederriter

I'm Lewis and Clark student living in Beijing for a semester.

Asia » China » Qinghai » Xining November 1st 2010

I went to Qinghai province last week for Fall break on a whim with a backpack and a sleeping bag, boots and the notion of camping. Well, I never used the sleeping bag, it was colder there then I expected and due to events on the train ride there I was not feeling up to the challenge. I took a train from Beijing on the 24th of October, two Sundays ago and because I bought my ticket that Friday there were no sleeper tickets available and I ended up with nothing but a seat for 23 hours. The bigger issue ended up being something I had not expected. Everyone seated near me wanted to talk to me when they found out I could speak some Chinese so I had a bunch of enthusiastic people trying to ... read more
Taoer Si, Buddhist Temple
Prayer cylinders
Burning Incense

Asia » China » Beijing » Temple of Heaven October 23rd 2010

Last weekend I checked out the Temple of Heaven, southeast of the Forbidden City. It's where the emperor used to make sacrifices to bring good harvests. Today the area is a nice park around the central temple and other various sacrificial sites. My roommate took a trip to the countryside and asked to borrow my camera so I included the best picture he took. The location is around an hour outside of Beijing. This Friday we had our mid-terms which went very well in my case. Next week there is no class so tomorrow I'm starting out to Xining, in Qinghai province. It's about as far out of civilization I can get with only a week to travel. From what I hear the small city has a good mix of historical religious sites in the forms ... read more
Shrine of Harvests
Temple of Harvests
Temple of Harvests

Asia » China » The Great Wall October 5th 2010

This weekend the larger part of my group went to hike the Great Wall. It was a two hour bus ride to reach the wall and the weather wasn't so great, lots of smog but it was definitely good to be out of the city. The part of the wall we went to is called Jin Shan Ling which is means Golden Mountain Fort but in the past the wall was actually known as the Sand Hills Fort. The name was changed when it was restored in the 60's to attract more tourists. We climbed to the wall on an old stone path which while not the steepest hike of the day might have been the longest ascent of the day. As soon as we reached the top of the wall a group of locals started ... read more
Climb to the wall
First Tower
Starting Line

Asia » China » Beijing » Tian'anmen October 5th 2010

The first of October is Chinese National Day and I figured it would be the right time to check out Tian An'Men. Approximately half of China's population had an identical thought and as the pictures show it was crowded. I bought a little Chinese flag because it seemed like the thing to to do and I got lots of attention as I walked around. A lot of Chinese people took pictures with me using there own cameras and a few followed me around asking questions. They also took the pictures of me in front of various points of interest. It was a very interesting experience, the funniest part being when some a woman brought over her baby to get in the picture with me. I felt like a celebrity. This weekend we are heading to the ... read more
Square near Qian Men
Revolutionary Hero
Qian Men is big

Asia » China » Beijing » XiCheng District September 27th 2010

Okay so it's been a while but the last week and weekend were pretty well packed, considering the combination of events and school work. The weekend before last the group attended an acrobatics performance which sadly I have no pictures from. There were plate spinners who did rolls and jumps while holding eight rods with spinning plates on them, a set of bicycle stunts culminating in eight people riding the same bicycle while it circled the stage, an excellent juggler and a lot more. I also went dragon boating again which was even more fun with the three friends I brought along. None of us are supposed to speak English so we asked the boat leader to speak in Chinese. We made a pretty good team and learned some useful phrases. "Jishu" is technique while, ... read more
Under this park
Is a clothing bazaar
Start up the fragrant hills

Asia » China » Beijing » XiCheng District September 12th 2010

Today was mostly a work day catching up with homework save that this afternoon was my first practice with the Houhai Lake dragon boat team. There were about twenty people there and we split into two boats. A large number of the participants were foreigners and the lingua franca was English. The principle members of the crew are expat Aussies, a Mongolian guy, and a few Chinese. It was pretty easy to get into the swing on the boat. The stroke rate is very high but the strokes are also relatively short. Because you face forwards in a dragon boat the body torsion seems reversed in direction, that is you twist into the boat rather than out of the boat. This way instead of never seeing your teammates face to face like in a rowing shell ... read more
A whole mess of boats
Houhai Lake
The Dragon Boats

Asia » China » Beijing » XiCheng District September 11th 2010

Friday was the first of what will hopefully be many sunny days here in Beijing and it was also the first test day. I was so excited by the sun though that I snapped a picture of the blue sky when I went to get breakfast. The test wasn't all that long and it replaced the day's class so I had a lot of time to rest before I went out that night. My friend Ge Wei and I found a German bar which he decided we had to check out as he spent a few years in Germany with the army. It definitely had better beer then most places in China but he said it was just okay. Today I went with the group to The Summer Palace which is a huge Qing Dynasty structure ... read more
View from the class building
Deutsch Zai Zhong Guo
The start of the boat tour

Asia » China » Beijing » XiCheng District September 7th 2010

I got lost on my way to Mass Sunday as I mixed up which bus to get on. Luckily the cab I used to get back on track cost only two U.S. dollars to take me a non-trivial distance. Mass itself was interesting. The only phrase I understood was the "Peace be with you" equivalent "Zhu ni ping an." Amen is just about the same in any language. After Mass I bought a Chinese bible from the attached religious store. It is not at all easy to read but I expected as much. Later on Sunday there was a yoga/wushu demonstration set up in a nearby park. Unfortunately I got no pictures as the group participated in various exercises. We started with stretching followed by unarmed forms and then forms with two knives a piece. The ... read more
Red Panda
But these two aren't
Giant Panda Habitat

Asia » China » Beijing » XiCheng District September 4th 2010

"...then it's spicy." This quote from tonights dinner near Lao (Old) Beijing was followed by a short walk to a busy alleyway where some of us tried various animal kebabs. I actually only ate some sort of fried cocoon while my more adventurous comrades had scorpions, a lizard, and a tarantula -like spider. It really was the first scorpions I saw wriggling on their skewers that put me off the animals. After finding I had been placed in the 260 class I went out looking for a church to attend tomorrow and found one only a ten minute bus-ride away. The Xicheng Cathedral. The most prominent churches in Beijing are unimaginatively named. After that I joined up with a group headed for Tian anmen and the Forbidden City. The view we got of the Forbidden City ... read more
more church
more church
you guessed it

Asia » China » Beijing » XiCheng District September 3rd 2010

Orientation continued today leaving the group plenty of free time to explore. This gave me a chance to begin my education in Chinese transportation. Right of way for example is slightly different that the larger vehicle always has the right of way. Also if you beep your horn you aren't liable for any damages incurred on those who don't get out of the way. The subway however is very convenient, as it is only 30 or so cents per trip and you can get a card to hold your money rather then buying a new ticket every time. Several of us took the subway to the People's Revolution Museum which was wonderfully stocked with ancient swords, modern missiles and tanks and propaganda. We Americans especially enjoyed the exhibit on the War of United States aggression (Korean ... read more
Dorm Room
Walk to the Subway

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