Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tearing down the wall

Note - The delay in posting was due to China's internet censorship. :(

Greetings from China! Monday (6 July) was the first day of our study trip to China and I am overwhelmed by all I am seeing and tasting in Beijing! I wanted to share with you some of my first reactions of this new city, new country, and new continent for me that might interest you. This message below will be posted on my blog once I leave China (yes, China not only blocks facebook but my little blogspot too).

Beijing loves fast food. McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and even DQ. I only broke my “will not eat at USA fast food restaurants outside of the USA” rule once to have a Green Tea Blizzard. It sort of tasted like home! J

I don’t know that much about Chinese history. There are Emperors and dynasties that sound familiar but I’m not able to say who came when or even in what order. I realized this when I was walking around the Old & New Summer Place. History in this area of the world is completely unknown to me and I don’t like that. Also unknown to me was the amount of pollution in the air – look at the pics below, the white clouds are not fog but SMOG.

Old Summer Palace

New Summer Palace
Beijingers are extremely helpful and friendly. Two minutes after I open a map people not only ask if they can help me but they offer to lead me to my destination. This is has turned out to be a lifesaver because many people do not speak English (even within the tourist destinations).

We are one in a million. There are so many Chinese tourists in Beijing that foreign tourists stick out like a sore thumb. So that said often times when we’re walking we find people are taking our picture…so we started taking their picture back!

Me (purple shirt) and Paula (blond hair) with Chinese tourists
The view is always worth it. Earlier in the week my classmate Paula (from Ireland) & I did a day bike & hike tour of the Great Wall in a non-touristy area. It was hot and sunny and the Great Wall isn’t a really easy climb, it’s steep and there are many broken steps, but the view was worth it!

Did you know the Great Wall was so steep?

The Great Wall

Yes, Beijing is a great city to visit but I don’t think I could live. There are just SO many people and the city is SO huge that I think I would get lost daily.

See you later!

PS: To my family & friends in the USA, I hope you had a great 4th of July! I truly missed the celebration, the picnic-ing, the parades, the boating, the fireworks and most importantly seeing all of you!