Today was lecture day and we bussed to the IVPP graduate school and attended a lecture by Wu who wrote one of the article we read in class. After the first class we went to the dinosaur museum and the skull/ancestor room. The clouds settled down and the smoggy skies set in, but the air didn’t quality didn’t get worse and the cool wind was still nice. Afterwards we went to eat at Pizza Hut and then shopping and a department store. We returned for a lecture by LiWu the director of the institute. Afterwards we got the last lecture on stone tools and then went to have a veggie dinner. After dinner we came back and helped Madoka create a facebook account and watched Kung Fu Hustle.
The hotel food began to get tiring, but I was short on breakfast time today anyway. We had another meeting where another individual was assigned to writing the journal then watched a long film on the summer palace, which we would visit today. Today was cloudy and this would be our furthest trip from the hotel. The taxi far was 3o yuan but we got there pretty fast. The old summer palace was grand and the area was full of gardens, lakes and fauna. At the end there were ruins which were very interesting. You could see buildings and blocks sticking out of the ground and pieces of statues broken into pieces and sometimes the same statue in a variety of areas.
Afterwards, we had lunch and some went to a noodle place while we went to McDonalds. Jenn and Carley really like the coffee and compares it to Seattles best. We entered the new Summer Palace shortly after and like always people are trying to sell us junk and souvenirs. There were a lot of steps to climb at first but like the Forbidden city the Palace was massive and tall, there were a lot of views, rocks, trees and stairs. When we reached the harbour we saw the marble boat and afterwards we went to take a boat to an island in the middle of the man made lake. On the island we saw a snake and crossed a huge bridge, and thats when my batteries for my camera died. After that we walked around the island back towards the Summer Palace and went through the side areas which had a lot of relics and bronze things. We missed the Beijing Opera section because it was closing and after a very long day of walking we headed home by bus. By bus we could see a lot of road rage but no accidents, and the air was heavy with carbon, but at least the bus was never stuck in a traffic jam during this rush hour. The ride was long though and kind of tiring, and when I got back I had noodles with Dongya.
We had our first meeting after breakfast, and a set time and announced a journal schedual.
Today we got a free morning to head out and shop, so with help from Grace we taxied to department stores near where we had KFC and saw variety of clothes and shoes and bags at the open markets.
Jenn was bargaining too hard and got nothing, and when time was nearly up we went to McDonalds to eat.
We taxied back (only 10 yuan!) and headed back at 1 to get ready to go to subway to the museum. The Beijing Capital museum had 6 floors and a film describing the history of Beijing. The floors all had relics of Beijing and even bronze weapons for my proposal topic.
More free shopping time came afterwards and at the subway, we learned how to use and travel since a station was so the near hotel. Some of us went shopping near one of the stops and others decided to go home and rest.
There was a lot of good stuff, toys, clothes, and nice views of the city. Our big group of 8 split up for dinner, and like always we would not be with our teacher outside of class and for shopping. 5 of us had Pizza at a modern looking restaurant that allowed us to write on the walls and the others had curry, Jenn gave a penny to a employee that we liked and she was very excited.
The shopping mall had a skating rink where students were practicing figure skating routines. There was a large electronic department but we did not check it out.
The walk back home was long and tiring, but our classes sense of accomplishment and independence allowed us to feel stronger. Jenn and Angel had become expert bargainers unlike myself.
Suprising things about China: You don’t see a lot of litter on the ground, most likely do to the mass amount of employees cleaning the street. You don’t see a lot of spitting nowadays most sounds like they spit but then swallow.
Today I woke up dreaming about misquitos and power outages, but the truth is I’ve yet to see any.
Its good to have my own room! The sky is pretty and blue, and after my show I had breakfast downstairs.
We spent the day at the Sky Temple and Forbidden City taking a lot of pictures and seeing a lot of relics.
The biggest problem was that most things were under rennovation so the best and biggest buildings could hardly be seen.
Lunch was dim sum and mostly buns and for dinner we had KFC, which we walked to from a distance and it was pretty much the same tasting. On our way to KFC we saw kittens on sale in cages on the street, that really made members of our group cringe.
Then we spent what was left of our time shopping across the street. When we got back we had another drinking facebook party and learned I had sunburns.!
May 26th 2007
Today our fieldschool was finally headed to China!
After traveling quite often the routines and checks have become familiar.
The ride was a reasonable 12 hours but Air China was more boring than any flight I’ve been on but my PSP saved the day.
After arriving we were shuttle bused to the terminal where we had to line up for a long time and pick up our baggage.
As we collected our baggage we met up with Madoka who had gone to Japan first before meeting the rest of the group.
Stepping out into Beijing was much like Tokyo the air was not too humid for it was still spring but it had already reached 30 degrees.
Vancouver is suppose to reach 28 according to the newspaper on Friday so I can say maybe I’m preparing myself for Vancouver 😛
We took a long bus ride through parts of Beijing to reach the 2nd inner circle of the city where our apartment was.
The hotel was one brand new designed for the Olympics, so new you could still hear construction.
As we stepped in you could tell everyone wanted to finally settle down and drop their luggage for a cool shower.
Afterwards we had dinner in a private room in a restaurant with Grace and her parents. We had alcohol and tofu which I am allergic to. Then some of us left to buy supplies such as booze and cigs but for me water.
We headed back and in my room (because I have a laptop) and Jennifer and Mary enjoyed a couple hours of drinking and facebook. My air conditioner and my table were broken, but good thing its not that hot or humid out and the air conditioner still brought in air so I didn’t need the window open.
More on day 5 later, today on day 6 we had a lecture about the origins of Chinese civilization and then we watched the movie Hero and continued the civilization talk. The days are going by quick.
Here are some Chinatown pictures but there is not much I can say about them. We walked around the square to the Daoist temple and these are the pictures I took on the way. Pictures of the entrance, a bell down Guangzhou and Shanghai alley where Chinatown started a century ago. A street, yin-yang symbol and then inside the temple.
On day five (yesterday) we went on a trip to Chinatown to tour the traditional Chinese gardens. Here are my pictures resized to 800×600 to reduce loading times but I might (or still can) increase future pictures to 1280×1024 or bigger if anyone likes larger sized pictures for wallpapers.
This be the entrance, where we…uh our instructor (Dongya) pays for tickets.
We are introduced to the garden in a typical Ming living room (not picture here) but outside of the room this is what you would see.
The very small hundred year old tree can be seen in the left picture and on the right is the view of the other park.
What doesn’t fit? The tall buildings or this park?
The tour guide attempts to show us how they wrote calligraphy back in the day and a turtle seeks food.
No trip is complete without rocks! Yes good ol’ Washington and Daoist chemistry have churned out magic!
Some moongates and a statue of Sun Yat Sen leads the way to the free park which we did not plan or have time for.
The surprise was there were no Chinese lessons for day 2! They were moved to day 4 and the quiz was also moved to day 4 because the provinces were difficult to remember in only 2 days. Therefore, we went over the history of China since the Yuan period and after lunch we studied outside. We discussed the single chapter we read, especially on sensitive issues such as f-gong and the corrupt official who fled China.
On day 3 we all got Chinese lessons and we went over the geography of China especially the provinces and why they are named what they are. This was quite helpful and afterwords we read another chapter but this time we read wherever we wanted to because some of the girls got sunburned last day and then we came back to discuss.
On day 4 we had our quiz after a speaker came to give us a lecture on Chinese paleoanthropology and the rest of the time after lunch we discussed precautions for our trips and some surprises such as toilet squatting.
The beginning of the day started at the end of the Archaeology departments in a large room filled with voices. We are to meet several more times throughout the month before taking off on the 26th of May, but unfortunately this room we were given has no access to the campus’ wireless Internet. Some windows are opened in this skeleton filled room with several skulls displayed for any visitor who happened to stumble upon this room. The tables and cabinets are dusty from the construction of the new building next door, but it is fitting for a old looking room filled with old looking furniture and displays. One could only wonder how different the atmopshere of this room must feel if one happened to accidently stumble in at night especially after the chilling walk down the long, and quiet hallway.
The class begins with the handing out of the class outlines, and severals hours of questions and explanations about the trip to China and the projects we will accomplish beforehand and after. We broke for lunch and I picked up a book that was required as well as my passport after finishing my meal. When we returned we went over various topics about laundry and clothing and then Class introductions commensed before our one hour lecture on China’s geography. The laptop constantly went in hibernation mode and class was let off early with myself and one other student staying behind to ask questions. We were to make our way back to that room tommorow for another 7 hour class expecting to go over several commonly used Chinese phrases but…
notes: No U-Pass these 3 weeks I have class! I must remember to validate my fairs. Classes are 3 days a week. 7 Hours long with 1 hour break. The usual 3 hours of daily transit commuting.