Page 2 of uwbride2008 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an December 21st 2011

Today I flew 'China Eastern' from Beijing to Xi'an. Its a two hour flight, cost about $75 US and had a warm meal (rice or noodles) served during the flight. You can't beat that. The flight attendants even go around turning on reading lights and closing shades to make you more comfortable. What ever happened to that kind of hospitality on US flights? The sheer size and quantity of housing high-rises in Xi’an is almost more impressive than in Beijing. Its just unfathomable how that many people can reside on one building, and then to top it off, there are a dozen of the same building in a row! We were even told that apparently these buildings have no elevators! I plan on writing an ‘afterward’ blog on things I love in China and things I ... read more
Dinner in Xi'an
Dinner in Xi'an

Asia » China » Beijing » Olympic Park December 20th 2011

Today was a more low-key day and I (and my legs) am thankful for it! We started off by heading to Olympic Park. We had driven by the Bird's Nest, as the Stadium is called, several times already, and were looking forward to seeing it close-up. Olympic park is HUGE and was completely built in about four years to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. At the height of construction nearly 17,000 workers worked on the stadium. The 100,000 tons of steel used to construct the stadium was all manufactured in China. 7800 square meters of grass for the field was laid in 24 hours. The Bird's Nest cost $423 million (US) to construct and was designed by two Swiss architects based on studying Chinese ceramics. The stadium currently seats 80,000 people (321 less than Camp Randall). ... read more
Water Cube
Beijing Olympic Mascots
Temple of Heaven

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China December 19th 2011

Today was a truly amazing day. You read about it. You hear about it. You even see it on TV. But to actually see the Great Wall of China is humbling. Badaling is one of the sections of the Great Wall that has been restored, and we were able to hike a good portion of it today. Only a small portion of the 5500 foot-long wall has been restored and much of it is crumbling away. Badaling is the most visited section and is about 50 miles outside of Beijing. Luckily, we had an incredibly talented driver to get us there, as the traffic here is like nothing I have ever experienced before (more on that in an upcoming "afterward" blog, so that my mom can remain calm while I am still here). It was chilly ... read more
The View From Above
A Long Way Up
Summer Palace

Asia » China » Beijing » Forbidden City December 18th 2011

Today Roger took us to the Forbidden City in Beijing, which served as the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. Built in only 14 years (1406-1420), the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 7,800,000 sq ft, making it the world's largest palace complex. There are over 9000 rooms throughout the complex, so if the emperor lived in 1 room each day it would take him almost 25 years to live in each room! Luckily for me, we had a tour guide who spoke English and took Liang, Roger and I on a 2 1/2 hour tour of the City. We first toured ... read more
Amy in front of one Palace
Roof Design
Male & Female Lions

Asia » China » Beijing » Tian'anmen December 17th 2011

We had a restful first night and made our way to the lounge for breakfast. In an attempt to try a new food each day, the first item I picked up was near familiar fruits like pineapple and watermelon, but was a white fleshy fruit with black seeds inside, with a skin that looked like onion. The flavor was mild but I thought it must be related somehow to the kiwi. After returning to our room, I found out that it was called 'dragonfruit'. In the afternoon we met a friend of Liang's family, 'Roger', who took a 5-hour trainride in from Shenyang this morning to be our guide. We took a cab to Tian'an Men Square (where Chairman Mao is buried), walked through a Beijing city gate house (which used to guard old Beijing city ... read more
Tian'an Men Square
Beijing Gatehouse
Old Shopping Disctrict

Asia » China » Beijing December 16th 2011

We have arrived in China! After an 8-hour layover in Detroit (during which I learned how to say "Do you speak English?" in Mandarin), followed by a 13-hour flight, we are now in Beijing! Our flight took us up over Canada, Hudson Bay, the Northwest Passage, the Artic Ocean, Russia, Mongolia and finally into China. A friend-of-a-friend of Liang's family picked us up at the airport. He spoke no English, but was happy that I thanked him by saying "xie xie" after dropping us off at the hotel. I think him and Liang were also laughing at the few Chinese words that I knew, since I could understand that much (and no more) while we were driving. Oh well, you have to start somewhere! Even at night, I could sense that traffic was going to be ... read more
Beijing "Fog"

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