Page 6 of lauralisonash Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Beijing » Olympic Park August 25th 2010

I knew it was coming, I just didn't know when... they have started taking us to factory stores. Today we went to a pearl showroom and a jade showroom. These are big and overwhelming. They give you a short briefing on how it is made, how to tell real from fake, etc. Then you wander awkwardly around a big room with glass cases while saleswomen hover and say "Just look. Just give a look." And everything is much more expensive than it would be on the street. However, it is required by the government for tour agencies to do this, so I do not blame the guide. We went to the Summer Palace in the morning, which is arranged around a lake. There were tourists from Korea and Japan as well, and locals. One Chinese man ... read more
I'm Hungry
Entrance to
Old man

Asia » China » Beijing » Forbidden City August 24th 2010

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 ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing » Tian'anmen August 23rd 2010

Everything is novel today. Even the simplest things are new and exciting. The beds are like tables with sheets over them. Breakfast is a strange mishmash of Western and Eastern foods. For instance, fried rice and chocolate breakfast cereal. I find everything amusing, no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable. Our small group, missing the majority of PLU students, went to Tian'anmen Square in the late morning. Vendors accosted us, hawking postcards and Chairman Mao watches. Asian tourists wanted to take pictures with us, and if you agree to take a picture with one, more line up behind them. The one thing that struck me about Tian'anmen Square was its size. It is massive. At lunch we sat at one large round table with a lazy susan. The waiters and waitresses continue to pile food higher and ... read more
Has Disinfected
Hotel Room

North America » United States » Washington » Auburn August 21st 2010

So the plane takes off tomorrow at 2pm-- an eleven hour flight. I am not even thinking about China right now... just fitting everything into a single suitcase and backpack. A few weeks ago a professor sent us a list of recommendations for packing. He suggests that we bring four pairs of underwear and four pairs of socks... to last us three and a half months. Right. That's going to happen. I am confused by the adapters and convertors for China's outlets. Hopefully I will be able to figure those out when I arrive. I am also worried about figuring out how to use the internet, getting a cell phone for local use, and about ten million other things mostly having to do with technology. But I worry about technology in the US, so no different ... read more

North America » United States » Washington » Auburn August 10th 2010

I have to say something about my expectations. Only eleven days until I leave, and I am feeling more nervous now than excited. I expect to feel lost and confused, nervous, overwhelmed and homesick. I will probably pack too much, but also forget something important. I won't have time to see everything that I want to see. It took me more than a semester to feel settled in and confident at Lewis & Clark. I will only be in Chengdu for a semester, so I will never become comfortable and I won't be able to make friends that quickly... I'll have so much classwork that I will stay in my dorm room and never come out. I'll be bit by a dog and contract rabies. These are all worst case scenarios. Best case, I excel at ... read more

North America » United States » Washington » Auburn July 31st 2010

There are exactly three weeks left until I am on the plane to Beijing. I'd like to say I am excited or nervous, but it still doesn't feel real. I don't think it will feel real until I start packing. My profile picture, for the moment, is a picture from the last time I visited China, which was six years ago. I remember many places and events from that trip, but they are all disconnected. Although we will be visiting many of the same sites this time around, it should be an entirely new experience. Since I visited China last, Beijing underwent various transformations in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. And I have heard that there is no longer a Starbucks in the Forbidden City. Mostly it will feel different because I am different: six years ... read more

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