Thursday, August 29, 2013

Not at all what I expected

One of the coolest things I’ve seen since being in China was the Chinese acrobatic show. There was not a single act that did not amaze me in someway. These people were seriously superhuman. No need to watch the Avengers, there’s real superheroes right here in China! Just kidding, you should definitely watch the Avengers, but as far as real life goes, this was pretty amazing. There were people standing on one hand while balancing twenty feet in the air on one leg of a chair, there were people that could walk down these pegs with while another person stood on their head on their back.

Seriously it was absolutely fantastic. The ending show was a motorcycle riding around in a circular cage driving in circles and upside down. The craziness didn’t end there though… The China men put three more motorcycles in that cage… and then four more after that. A total of eight motorcycles were driving around in a very confined circular space. I couldn’t believe it was even happening. However, this show showed me that there really is no limit to what the human body can accomplish if you are disciplined enough.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the most spectacular place I’ve ever been to. There’s so much to it. I loved how peaceful it was, it was great to just escape the craziness of the Beijing City for a little while. It was another great climb up, not nearly as long and tiring as the climb up Mount Tai, but still very tiring. Once up on the wall, the view was so amazing. Everywhere you looked you could see mountain stretching on everywhere. No skyscrapers, just the wall and the mountains, with small towns in the distance. It was also very humbling being there, because of all of the history behind the Great Wall. Just contemplating the building of it amazed me. It’s seriously amazing what humans can accomplish. The only regret I had about the Great Wall is not being able to spend a longer amount of time there, I would have loved to have climbed all the way to the top of it, but time was not on our side. Overall, the Great Wall has been my favorite site in China.

The Birds Nest Stadium

On Monday some of us took a trip to the famous Birds Nest Stadium. The Birds Nest Stadium is where the 2008 Olympics were held. The 2008 Beijing Olympics marks the first time China has ever hosted the Olympics. This is a big point of pride for the Chinese. The stadium is one of the coolest modern man made structures I’ve ever seen. The architecture is so unique from anything I’ve seen in America. Being in the Olympic stadium was a great feeling in and of itself. One of my favorite moments was when we went to the fifth floor and just sat and took it all in for awhile. It was a great feeling to be at a place were so much history was made. It wasn’t just another stadium, it was the Olympic stadium! It was especially cool because I’ve never been to an Olympic stadium. There was also an opportunity to ride around on a segway on the track there, but time kept us from doing that. Overall just being there and seeing the stadium was a great experience.

Dinner with Professors

During the last week of classes my classmates from Bloomsburg and I had the opportunity to take our professors out to dinner. It was one of my most favorite experiences. We let our professors pick the place to eat, which turned out to be a fantastic idea. Not surprisingly since they know the area quite a bit better than we do. At dinner I fell in love with one of my favorite dishes in China: Qiezi. Qiezi means eggplant. I never thought I would say eggplant would be a favorite of mine, but it was absolutely fantastic. Oddly enough it’s also what Chinese people say when they’re posing for a picture; like us saying “Cheese!” It was great to be able to talk to our professors outside of the classroom to get to know them better. They had the opportunity to learn more about America from us, and we learned a little more about China life from them. Overall a great experience.

Temple of Heaven/Pearl Market

Our last excursion in China was to the Temple of Heaven and the Pearl Market. Both were very cool and unique places. The Temple of Heaven reminded me a lot of the Forbidden City; it had traditional style buildings, and just had a very traditional Chinese feel to it. The Pearl Market was completely the opposite. We got a look at China’s idea of a Capitalistic economy. At the market we were attacked by the Chinese merchants trying to sell us whatever they possibly could. The problem with stuff in China is that even if it looks legitimate, it most likely is not. This is the reason you can get things for so cheap there. The one fun thing about China markets is bartering. Bartering isn’t something commonly done in America, but it turns out it’s quite a bit of fun. It makes the act of buying things much more fun. This is probably a bad thing in retrospect.

Reflections on China

China was not at all what I expected when I imagined going to China. I loved the experience, but I think I’ve realized that I’m not a big fan of cities, and China in general is a place I would not ever want to live. However, the opportunity to live in China even for only a month is an experience that I will never forget, especially the bonds with friends and teachers that were made. Not to mention getting to fully immerse myself in the Chinese language was fantastic. I still love speaking Chinese, and look forward to continuing to learn it. Not to mention the opportunity taught me a lot about myself, and other cultures. It also convinced me that I want to go visit other countries and experience their cultures as well.

Zaijian China!

    — Andrew F. Rector, digital forensics major

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