With underlined category titles for your convienence! X)
07.21.2010 - 07.25.2010 95 °F
Current picture count: 1372
So yeah, I've taken over 1000 pictures so far in my three weeks here. I don't really know how I could've taken so much either. But my Facebook will crash for sure trying to upload these when I get home. In a way, this is a preview of the China pictures before it hits my Facebook :D Either way, I'm halfway done with my trip! I don't wanna leave either! In the past four days I've done so much. I'm sorry if I start babbling and turn this into a long blog. But a lot has happened in 4 days. God I love Beijing
The latest thing about school is that our class is no longer separated by language abilities, and everyone has a new teacher. In general she's stricter, and makes us give performances if we fool around in class or mess up while speaking in front of the class. In addition, we get Red Stars for good work. I think our new teacher is okay, but I do feel like we're learning more. Although, whenever she felt annoyed I could see it on her face...we're getting another new teacher next week lol. Since this is pretty much school related, I've been working independently on writing a story to practice writing/grammar. It's about a Penguin named Gavin and a Dinosaur named Jasmine who go to Fire and Ice Island for an adventure. It's supposed to be a children's book. Funny thing is that when I wrote my first draft, I remembered learning the word 性 as "nature." I wanted to write that they had a very adventurous nature. But apparently there's another meaning for that word, and it's sex. Instead of the sentence being "They had a very adventurous nature" it turned out to be "They had very adventurous sex." Good thing I had the first 5 pages of my story proofread xD
Also school related, we had a poetry contest in our class. My group (Me, Carrie, Rike, and Sean) really got into it. Watch it at: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTkyNjI1NjM2.html ! There's a password on it, so ask me if you wanna see it! (aka, email me or something)
Instead of Badminton, I've been going out to a market near my school called Qianmen Square (I think...) I'm pretty sure everyone went out during lunch so much that now we're allowed to leave campus during break. This place is pretty cool. There's a nice little fountain, small restaurants (including Mcdonalds and KFC...heheheh), a combination of Chinese and American stores, and a bargaining market. In fact I got a nice Pooh Bear bag for 10 yuan! Since Wednesday I've been there everyday and skipped lunch on Friday for Mcdonalds (where the crowded seating led to me ruining the WHITE shirt of the man next to me when I opened a pouch of ketchup. I tried so hard not to laugh and I felt sooo bad). Right now, Qianmen is a key place for hanging during lunch. It's only 10 minutes away!
Wednesday after school I went to Hongqiao Market with Carrie, her sister Xinyue, and Angelique. Carrie and Xinyue left early, but Angelique and I stayed to be attacked by all the vendors who basically said one way or another, "Come buy ______! Cheaper just for you!" I ended up only getting a...PANDA HAT. The ones sold at the Great Wall were 100 yuan and I got mine for 25 (though I should've gone lower...). I also helped Angelique bargain for a wallet and handbag (except each wasn't too much of a bargaining achievment considering I only dropped the price by 7 kuai, I guess I need to shop more for practice...! xD) At the end I went to Weiduomei (Pastry shop) and actually bumped into Carrie and her sister again!
Then on Thursday I encountered some misfortune when I forgot my transportation pass at home. And coincidently I had to go to the US Embassy that day by subway, go back to school, and then take the bus home. I'll never forget it again...haha. But yes, we went to the US Embassy on Thursday! I took one picture outside the Embassy and was stopped by a security guard. So I'm not sure if I can post it, and would rather not risk it. I can say that it was very nice though! The people there wanted to let us know how to be safe in Beijing, who to contact if we get into trouble, and how great a job in the foreign services is. I actually am considering international business from being on this trip. At the end everyone wanted to stay the night at the embassy though, it was that nice xD
Then Friday night a group of us decided to go to Houhai. It's a part of Beijing with a lot of restaurants, coffee shop bands, small stores, and especially people. It's known for the lake and having busy nightlife. We ate at a restaurant with our liason, Gong laoshi, where we had dumplings, pork, fried rice, chicken/vegetables, and hanging beef pot. Sooo good! By the time we finished eating, it was already nighttime. Then the remaining people of our group just walked around the lake. I could stop here, but I have to say this about Houhai. I swear, this is probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen! I loved the sunset. When I was eating my frozen yogurt with blueberries and pineapples, I just looked at the sunset over the water and just thought about how happy I was to see it. I don't think the pictures could capture the greatness of this scene or what I felt, but I'll still post them with some hope that people know what I'm talking about. I compared the last "amazing sunset" declaration from being on a boat during Philadelphia trip in 8th grade watching a sunset. It's now second place to Houhai in Beijing China. There's just something about but being in China, watching a sunset like you're in the country but with an urban feeling with it. Just amazing. I feel like I'm babbling about the sunset, but I just loved it. And even at night, the atmosphere of Houhai just blew my mind. I kept taking pictures and saying "I Love Chinaaa" in my head (maybe it slipped out a few times too hahah). Imagine this. A sea of flouresant lights with people walking around under them. The lake is still and reflecting this rainbow of wonderfulness as the moon glows on. In the distance you hear the water move just a bit as a Chinese woman floats by on a boat playing a Chinese flute. Passing by another part of the lake you catch a band trying to debut themselves in a bar as you see people sip their drinks. So many bars and clubs, but you can't feel anything bad about that. The air smells of barbeque from the grills and of a smoke that can't annoy anyone too much. The night is young, as the people walk on by enjoying the night or drive by on a small bike. It's warm but not too warm, and a slight breeze rolls on by to say hi. You sit down and order an ice cold coconut drink. As the first sip reaches the taste buds of your tongue, you admire the night once again. WOW that was a long rant about my night at Houhai, but I loved it so much. I know that I'm going to Houhai one more time before I leave China, and that I'm gonna ride a boat with my friends! If these pictures don't match my description, then you gotta see it for yourself. =]
Saturday I went to Beijing Zoo with Carrie, Xinyue, my host sister Henan, and Angelique. That day was so hot! Thank god we got cold drinks at Carrefour nearby. All the animals were fun to see! Though it was kind of disappointing to see that there isn't too much respect for the animals at the zoo. Someitmes people would bang the glass to make the animal come out. If I saw it again, I would wanna tell them "停！不行！“ Which means, "Stop! Not okay!" After figuring out that phrase I didn't get to use it though...haha. I was kind of mad that we had to pay 10 kuai to see the penguins, but it was worth it because I absolutely LOVE penguins! I was really excited to see the pandas too! I mean, why go to China without seeing a Panda? The aquarium that came with our ticket was kind of disappointing, because it was basically just a bunch of fish that looked the same. Took a lot of pictures though, (which contributed to the 1000+ photos of this trip...) Overall, good day at the zoo! I was practically dead when I got home and fell asleep until dinner.
Going to the most unique house
Today (Sunday) I went to the home of my host mother's friend. It's especially big. And the most wild part is that he owns all these animals! He owns lions, peacocks, ostriches, ducks, black and white swans, bears, monkeys, antelopes, meese, sheep, OH MY! It was insane seeing all these animals all over his property. He even gave me an ostrich egg to take home (though I don't know what exactly I'll do with it...) I also fed monkeys and bears and played with the lion. (Oh yeah, they're in cages so I didn't fear dying unless someone broke the cage). Overall, it was like going to the zoo all over again! There was more interaction here. It's just as good as the Beijing Zoo (but if this guy had a Panda, his house of a zoo would win xD) I met some of the owner's relatives (or friends? They call everyone by Aunt/Uncle and Cousin here, even if they're not related). They had children whom were in college or starting college in the fall. I taught them to play Bullshit with cards since we had a lot of time and they taught me how to play 13 (since I pretty much failed at it in Chinese class this year...). It was basically a lot of down time for me to relax from being tired at the zoo yesterday.
Well this is pretty much it. I think this is enough to put into a summer reading log...haha. But the part you've probably been waiting for (or have skipped to) the pictures! Putting up extra considering I've taken 1000 in China so far. Now it's time for another week in glorious China! 再见 for now!
Thanks for reading!