Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Finals and graduation on Friday. We start our trip home on Saturday. I should be back in Maine by sometime Sunday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We are about to buckle down and prepare for finals. Everyone is sick though, so it's going to be a challenge. The air here makes it difficult to recover once you've got something. 

It took me two tries, but I finally found the Houhai Lake district. That's where these photos were taken. You can tell that it's a tourist area by the English on the signs. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I visited  Tiananmen Square.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hello! Sorry it has been a while since I have last posted, but I haven't really had any internet access, boo.

Not much has happened the last week, except lots of studying. We have progressed from words like 'hamburger' to words like open door policy, pollution, and the Chinese word for being a parent who has no siblings.

I learned that for about the past 10 years, if you are a parent who was born without siblings, and your spouse is also, the government will let you have two children. 

We just got back from the Chinese Acrobatics show! Which was the best thing ever! They did some really crazy things; lots of fake accidents. My favorite was this double sided spinning wheel that two guys got on and did crazy things. Kind of hard to explain, I know a lot of my friends took pictures that I can eventually link.

The last act was an Americanized motorcycle ball cage. Eight people on motorcycles got into it. Crazy terrifying, but the costumes were great!

More later, bye!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The air cleared a little today, and we got to see blue sky. That was a relief. The concern about storms and flooding in the city caused out outing to be cancelled yesterday, so I went to the flea market to shop a little.

There are a few things about Beijing that are very unlike the United States. Construction is one of them. Everything, and I mean everything, is under construction. I'm used to there being a lot of road and construction projects at home during the summer, but here it's so much more. There are also anomolies that make you wonder what's going on. For example, while we were walking to the flea market, we noticed that there as a pattern of large holes in the sidewalk for an extensive distance. Upon inspection, we discovered that the holes opened into deep nothingness below the sidewalk. Why are there holes? We just don't know.

Cars are the other issue here. There are simply too many of them. The city is intensely congested, even though access to owning a private vehicle seems to be restricted by a lottery of some sort. Traffic is tight and dangerous.

Most people have heard of China's one child policy, but I have, interestingly, been told that it's not true and that many families have more than one child. I can't account for the discrepancy. I just thought it was interesting.

And then, there's China's ice cream monetary policy. Really. We were told that ice cream is actually monetary policy. Luxury ice cream (like Hagen Das) is under government control, so buying a bona fide ice cream bar costs about $15. I've been buying a local bar, that has some kind of chocolate like confection in the center, with a thin layer of jam and ice cream. It's yummy, and it's only about 50 cents.

I tried to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies, but the station that I thought would have it was only reporting from outside of the arena. The Chinese stations are covering their athletes. They cover a greater variety of sports than the US networks cover. There was a lot of excitement about the first gold medal going to a Chinese woman in the air rifle competition.

After living in a cloud for a week, I decided that I needed to cut my hair off, so I located a salon. Their price schedule was tiered according to the experience level of the person who did the haircut. I tried to buy a medium tiered haircut, but they wouldn't have it. The American had to have the manager. So, I had a shampoo, head massage, and haircut by the top guy in the salon. Now I'm sporting a Chinese hairdo!

I have three weeks of study remaining, and tomorrow is another day of study. More later.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Internet access has become increasingly difficult and is preventing me from updating the blog. For some reason, what used to be 6 hours of internet access is now 15 minutes of access and it's not enough time.

What I can tell you is that being in Beijing is like being inside a cloud. It's a cloud with a taste too; a bit salty like the ocean, except I know there's no ocean. 

We have been working, working, working, and I think everyone is beginning to be exhausted. I'm trying to memorize an essay that I need to know well enough to say out loud tomorrow. Memorization isn't a study technique that any of us have had to use a lot, so it's tough. 

I've decided to leave some of my worn out clothes here in China, and I'm going to refurbish my wardrobe with some new things from Beijing. I think a shopping trip is in order, but I might wait until the cloud thins enough that I can see outside of the building.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012


We went to the Forbidden City yesterday. It was awesome, but some of its spectacular size was drowned out by the never ending hoards of tourists. I took lots of pictures of pretty things. The Hall of Clocks was awesome. They were enormous and elaborate! So much gold. My favorite was a huge water powered one. I think that there are pictures, which I'll try to get up soon. After the Forbidden City, I think everyone crashed from exhaustion. Much to much walking. Coming back we walked past where our bus was parked and just kept walking. 

Friday we went and played badminton at the gym, which was great. I think we are going back next Friday too.

Today, I will be trying to find the silk market. I'm a little nervous that it's an over priced tourist trap, but it's supposed to be cool. If that doesn't work, I will go back to Tiananmen Square. 

Yesterday, after having cloud weather, and by that I mean being in a cloud much thicker than normal fog, it finally rained. That's probably why my sneakers are damp, now that I think of it. 

Okay, I'm off to see if the cafeteria is open yet, bye!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ah, every time I type something really long it gets deleted! So, shorter this time. 

I just finished taking my midterm and am waiting to present a skit. We finally have it memorized. Today I am going to go play badminton with my language partner and some of my classmates! Yay! 

Tomorrow we are going to the Forbidden City!  Sunday everyone wants to go back to the flea market to shop. I might go find the history museum at Tiananmen Square. I wanted to go to the Ming tombs, but the subway line my map told me to take directly there apparently hasn't been built yet. They only sell 2015 versions of the subway maps! I should go study! 

This marks the halfway point of my stay in Beijing! 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hello! Sorry I haven’t posted much recently. I have been very busy and have a persistent cold. Also, most times I try to email the internet fails and I lose everything.

Because of this nasty cold, I had to visit the infirmary. Now I’ve have had the experience of being prescribed traditional Chinese medicine, which tasted awful, by the way. Hopefully, this thing will pass soon so that I will be healthy for testing this week.

On Friday, went to the ruins of the Summer Palace, lots if lotus.
Saturday, we went to the Great Wall! It was fantastic! Check out the photos.
Sunday, a bunch of us took a cab to the National Zoo to see pandas, and there were pandas! We thought we had seen the panda exhibit, then there was another, and another, and another. There were different kinds of them. It was pretty cool to see.
I accompanied a few of my MoHo classmates to McDonalds, where I had pineapple juice. This McDonalds actually offers delivery.
I’ve had a couple of funny cultural experiences. When we went to the museum, I had my water bottle in my bag. The guards made me drink it to prove that it was just water. I’ve had my photo taken by random Chinese people. Every time our group stops for a photo, all of the people nearby step up and take a photo of us too. I’ve also been stopped on the street and asked to pose for photos. I guess photos of American’s are desirable. On the subway once, a man told another man to get out of his seat so that I could sit there. People are very friendly. American logos are everywhere; American flag emblems, NYC hats, NBA t-shirts, and Mickey Mouse on everything.
Living in the dorms is fairly comfortable. We have more amenities than the people in the other BLCU dorms seem to have. One of those amenities is TV. I’ve been watching a cartoon called Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. I’ve also found a game show that has people from various countries dressed in costume who go into a bullring and challenge a bull. It’s rather violent and quite strange.
I went to the market and managed to haggle in Chinese. The result is that I bought a very nice skirt at a good price.
Off to bed now. Hoping my head clears. I’ll share more when I can.