5 Highlights of the First Week in China
Bloggers: Walker, Isaiah, Christian, Hannah, Stella
- The Forbidden City
For our first journey in China we took a trip to the Forbidden City. These two places have so much history behind them. I got the opportunity to learn why they call it the Forbidden City. I admired the architecture that was used in building the city. All of the shops and art was really interesting, and I actually got a chance to buy some art. This experience was one of my favorite of the whole trip. I am so excited to travel to more places.
- Photo Taking
The experience with the locals has been very exciting and weird in a couple of ways. One major difference I noted between social norms in America vs China was that we were being swamped by people taking pictures with us. The picture shown is just one example of the new experience of having people taking photos with you. It’s a new and cool experience but something even more extraneous that I noticed about the locals are the public activities for the retired. When walking through Beijing I stumbled upon a whole square full of retired people dancing. I learned this a cultural norm used to keep people active. I think this is a great idea that could be implemented everywhere because it’s fun and healthy.
- Tea ceremony
After a beautiful stroll through the summer palace, we headed to a lesson on traditional tea in the bell tower. We learned how boys and girls are each supposed to hold the tea cup the proper way (pinkie tucked in vs. sticking out). We got to smell the leaves and taste a variety of Beijing’s most traditional and famous teas. The teas, made from many different flowers and plants, each have specific and very interesting health benefits. For example, pure black tea helps with weight loss, and jasmine tea brightens the eyes. It was a really special experience to learn about how many amazing things natural ingredients are capable of and to try teas that are hard to find in the United States.
4. Summer Palace
On Thursday, we took a morning trip to the Summer Palace in Beijing. This massive natural retreat for the dynastic rulers, although right in the middle of Beijing, is still one of the most impressive and beautifully designed parks that I have been to. My group and I decided to climb the Tower of Buddhist Incense. This Temple looks over the man-made lake in the Summer Palace and gives a bird’s-eye view of the city of Beijing. It was well worth it, and the architecture was impressive as well. There is always something new to see in the Summer Palace, all around are new horticultural designs, so you could spend an entire day in the gardens and never get bored. It is a fantastic experience, one that I would love to do again.
On July 7th, we went to the desert and we did a myriad of activities ranging from sand-skiing, camel riding and the slide. We also saw two ostriches. Before yesterday, many of us haven’t rode a camel before. It was definitely an experience.
At first, the sand dune we were due to slide down looked really terrifying but most of us did it anyway and had a great time! However, some of us decided to climb up the sand dune and we were exhausted.