We traveled by plane, boat, subway, car, bus, and even a let train. The first day was a long day of travel and we landed In Belong around pm. This was my first time ever being do far from and It was an exciting feeling. Our group was all pretty new with each other, but right away we clicked and started making friendships. After we checked into our hotel we went on our first walk. It was a lot different then and any city I have been and I was excited right away. We had a beer while walking down the street (who knew you could do that) and smoked a cigarette with the group.
At this point In time I knew nothing about the people and how they loud treat us, but after buying a beer and one walking up to me right away with a bottle opener after seeing me struggling I knew it was going to be a great trip. Not because of the beer although everyone loves beer, but because of how nice everyone was to us that first three hours we were in Beijing. The first couple days were definitely a culture shock. Everything was new! Our tour guide was a little hard to understand and it was a lot hotter than expected. On the first full day I was glad I brought a camera with. We went to the heart of Beijing.
The Forbidden City. Attainment square, A bike ride through the oldest part of Belling, a Tea ceremony and to top it off we all got foot massages. This one day set the pace for the whole trip and I think got us all over our culture. I wish however that this day would been a little later in the trip so I could of really understood what was going on the whole time. Lisa was easy to understand after the first day and even started cracking a few jokes. Belong was amazing and my most memorable part was the Great Wall of China. The wall was huge to say the least. It took over 1 million people to build.
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It hard to explain its size without posting pictures. As soon we approached it and got in it I immediately respected the people who built it. Yeah it's a huge wall. A lot of people don't understand that the wall is built on top of basically a mountain ridge. It is only oft high, but If a person falls of they are rolling down the mountain side. Also a lot of people Including myself thought It was flat on top almost like a road. I never knew It was more Like a broken escalator. Once we walked and crawled to the end we were daring enough to explore past the part of the wall that still being kept up and tapped foot on the original wall.
In my opinion this was the best part it showed the age and strength of it and how it lasted so many years. I never knew the wall was actually a bad thing for the Chinese. It separated China from the rest of the world and they used all of their recourses building It. I think they could of thought of a better way to keep to Mongolia's out with 1,000,000 people. All the wonders of tea and the health benefits certain teas give you. The ceremony is hard to explain, I could repeat it for you some time with my authentic teapot. I liked owe she explained each kind of tea individually and what temperatures they should be served at.
I guess I'm not supposed to put green tea in boiling water... Oops. Another one of the cool things we did in Beijing that I don't think I will ever see again is go to the Pearl Market. This wasn't Just any market the market was strictly for knock-off or look alike items. This market really put my bargaining skills to the test. The market was 4 floors of vendors each floor was as big as the Kirby Lounge. They had everything from pearls to statues. Every vendor started at a price and through his market Ryan and I really honed our bargaining skills.
Some of the things we did we questionable, but effective. First things first you have to walk away at least twice. And keep walking the first time. They are really persuasive. They all think that we are "dumb" Americans and don't really know what the price should be. So Just keep saying a lower price and stand firm on the price. They always can go lower. Sometimes it takes a good 15 minute argument, but it's satisfying knowing you paid the lowest price possible. Another trick we did which kind of upset a few people was elk to multiple venders. Play the "Over there well she said this price" game.
Those weren't the only awesome things we did in Beijing, but if I talked about them it all it would literally take me three days. After Beijing we went to Tannin. Tannin was amazing. We spent 2 weeks there studying business and visiting businesses. I learned a lot about the Chinese culture in those two weeks from the tours, classes and the people we met. Instead of talking about the businesses and classes I would rather talk about the friends I made there. I learned a lot from them and they are the most memorable part. ICC, Iris, Tony, Niles, Jon, Jason, Lisa, and even Terry the club owner were all great people.
Miss ICC was great she was out going and bubbly and really help us break the ice with the other Chinese students when we were together. She taught us all about the dating life. She was interested in older men because they were more mature and set in life. I feel like this is a common thing over there. She also talked about how marriage is not considered complete until the guy has a house and a car. Iris was very interesting. Her friends called her Superwoman on the account f that she was great at sports. She even took the time to teach Ryan and I few things about tennis.
I don't think there is any hope for me in that sport. Tony was an interesting little guy. He taught us about how is China it is really is frowned upon to fail. That is why there aren't a lot of entrepreneurs there. He also helped me order a few times. He was interested in our gun laws compared to his. I never noticed that it was illegal over there to own a firearm. I Just thought of it as a nonchalant thing. He was very intrigued when I was telling him about hunting and the rights we have as Americans. Niles was awesome we got along very well. I don't think you ever met him Dry.
L', but he was a world traveler from Germany. He wrestled in Minnesota during high school, went to college in France, studied abroad to China where I met him, on his way to south Asia for a month and then to South Africa for his last semester. He taught me a lot about how to communicate effectively with the Chinese. He had decent mandarin, effectively and how to be really respectful to the Chinese. He kind of inspired me to travel a lot more. Life's too short not to travel the world. Little Jon and Lisa were awesome too. They showed us everything and brought us everywhere.
They were basically our guides around Tannin. They taught me about how the schooling and grades were actually set up. They explained that it is really hard to get into college, but once you're there it is basically a pass/fail. They took the time to show us around during their finals week which they would have otherwise spent studying. They broke the stereotype that all Chinese students do is spend their time in the library studying and never have any fun.. They even came out with us a few times and let loose, which was awesome to see. Jason did a good Job showing us around the city and explaining things.
He let us have enough room to branch out on our own and explore stuff on our own which I think was the best part. It was cool meeting him and his family. I still remember his contagious laugh after he would crack a Joke. Terry the manager of the club still Heehaws me very once in a while Just to see how America is and how life is. He actually seems like a pretty nice person. After we left Tannin it was a sad goodbye, but it was exciting to start traveling again 2 weeks was plenty enough time to spend in the city of Tannin. The next city we went to was Wax. We met our new tour guide there named Joe.
He went to school for Tourism and English and was originally from Wax. In Wax we visited the Tiger Hill pagoda which was one of the most beautiful places we had visited in my opinion and a Tea pot museum. The pagoda stood 7 stories tall and was built to honor and emperor. The emperor was said to have been buried with 7,000 swords. Wax stands for no more Iron. Wax used to be full of iron and was fought over because of it. It used to be a battle ground because of this precious metal, but once it was gone the city was named Wax Just to make sure no one would come back. It's hard to explain the beauty of all these laces.
I guess that's why I took almost 1,000 pictures. The Tea Pot Museum was amazing. I love interesting facts and learning about random things like the teapot. The tea pots in it represented Chinese culture and history. People dedicated their lives to the art of Tea Pot making and we learned about the process of how the pots were made, History of the material, what makes a good quality Pot, and how they should be properly used. I had to buy one. I bought the 2nd lowest grade of pot, but it is the most traditional. It doesn't drip and can be perfectly balanced in water. After Wax we went to Ouzos then Hangout.
One was known for its green tea and the other for silk. I had to buy some of both. They made great gifts for my girlfriend.. I could go on and on about the shows, tours and places we went, but I would be writing for over a month. I will have to end my reflection by talking about the food. The food was amazing I had the expectation that I would like it, I never thought I would miss it. In fact I'm pretty sure I gained a few pounds over there from it. Lets start with the breakfast. The breakfasts we had we usually at the hotel, which in America means a few bagels and cold cereal.
In China is was pretty awesome most places we went had everything a person could think of and more. One place even had sushi. The breakfasts were pretty Americanizes in my opinion. They had the standard Chinese food a person could get here. The best lunch I had was at the dumpling place you brought us to. That place was amazing I wish Duluth had a place cooked. The dinners were interesting as well. They were all family style around a round table Which I am not used to. Also a big difference is the size of plate a person gets. The Pates in China Are comparable too Tea cup plate.
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