Some scenes from Purple Bamboo Park
It has been two weeks since I arrived in Beijing and I was planning on updating this blog every week but the internet was problematic the first week (due to technical issues, the Great Firewall is another issue).
Here is the overview of the first week.
- The first day (Sunday) we arrived the director took us to a Xinjiang restaurant and then gave us a tour around the neighborhood. Funny thing is that we were all so jet lagged we ate like 10% of the food. What was more funny was that the first day we learned that most restaurants here don’t give you a to go box, they give you a to go bag.
- The second day we had an orientation/tour of the campus by our tutors. They took us to the schools main cafeteria for breakfast. I’m going to pause here and say that food is damn cheap here. You could eat a full meal with sides and a drink and it would cost you about 15 yuan which converts to US dollars to be about $2.50. We then went to Tian’anmen Square. Since its a huge tourist attraction; not just for non-Chinese but for the Chinese as well, the place was packed with people. A couple of Chinese people came up to me and asked for a picture like I was some famous or something. But i think its was because i am a six foot two Laowei (foreigner in Chinese). After visiting the square we went to eat at a restaurant known for its special dish, the Beijing Duck. In my opinion its tasted like a cross between chicken and turkey, its was pretty good. When we finished the waiter (Fúwùyuán) gave us the rest of the duck in a bag. It was practically the whole duck except it had its breast carved out. We then toured the shops and around the area. I really liked the style of the shops, although purposely designed to look classically Chinese certain modern stores (Starbucks) kind of took the appeal away. But it was still awesome.
- The Third day we walked to to Purple Bamboo Park and took a boat trip through the lotus ponds. I forgot to bring my camera so i don’t have pictures. but i will be going back again. I’m here for 4 months, I intend to go back there and join in on a dance session with the older folks. As well as duel it out in mahjong and Chinese checkers. After the park we had Hot Pot, personally I was not a fan, it was good but not great. all the food swimming around each other in a hot pot made everything taste the same to me and look the same. everything turned brown. It looked worse than the Ganges River. After lunch we went to hear a lecture about Islam in China at the Haidian Mosque. The mosque was small but the architecture was nice. A mix of Chinese and Arabic styles.
- The fourth day we went to hike the Great Wall at Badaling. This portion of the wall was built around 1505 during the Ming Dynasty. The hike was pretty intense. I can only sum it up buy saying “Objects ARE steeper than they appear” After the hike which took a couple of hours we had dinner at a nearby restaurant. The food was great we had: Grilled chicken (mixed with organs), grilled lamb, grilled peppers, peanuts, noodles, bread, potatoes, and more!
- On the fifth day of Christmas, we went to visit the Drum and Bell Tower. They were traditionally used to indicate the time but ringing the bell and drumming alternatively. That is of course until the British came and started selling watches. We walked around the Hutongs were I and my classmates joined in on a game of Chinese hackney sack with what looks like a shuttle cock. It was amazing to see how nimble some of the older men were, they must have been in their 60’s yet their reflexes were insane. I was scared they would break a joint of something but they showed us up. After that i tried to join in on a game of Pogs with some kids but they would not let me. Damn kids are cruel! We then walked around Houhai Lake and then had dinner at Jiumen Xiaochi, it was a specialty store were you pick your food out like a buffet table (but its not all you can eat).
- On the sixth day (Friday) we had our placement test to see how much Chinese we knew and what level of Chinese we would be in. Basically I went into the class, wrote my name and ID on the test and then walked out. Because in the end its not how much you know in life that counts its how much you know you don’t know that’s more important. At night we went to the Chinese dorms!!!!!!!!!! They are so small they are about the size of an Americans cupboard and that’s not the worst part. Its 4 people to a room with 2 double bunk beds. We played Chinese poker with our tutors and did that one thing where you tel each other about yourselves, i think they call it Socializing.
- All i have to say is that on the seventh day (Saturday) we rested. By that i mean we went to a Wang Fend Concert. He is a wildly popular Chinese super star. He genre is pop music, i thought he was quite good although i had no clue what he was saying. But the experience was awesome. The atmosphere was very reserved, nobody did the wave when i tried to start one. My goal now is to go to a heavy metal or rap concert/show in china to see that aspect of Chinese culture.
I will be studying at the Minzu University in Beijing China through CIEE in the fall 2012. I will be writing about everything that’s different and unique in China. I will try not to write like a robot which i just realized I’ve been doing.
was supposed to read this but i thought that it would be more fun to find out the hard way!
Anonymous asked: What is Ogabeg?
im trying to figure that out!