June 26, 2013
By Amy Nham and Elisa Ting
We were so excited to go to Beijing! It was most of our first times in Beijing, and even though our flight was delayed for over two hours due to bad weather, that didn’t curb our enthusiasm. After arriving safely in Beijing where the weather was slightly drizzling, we had a KFC lunch on the bus and then headed off to the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was a lot bigger than we had expected, since it took us an hour to just walk through it in a straight line. There were many tourists there but most of them seemed to be from Asia; we were the only group we saw that came from the US.
This was our group picture in one of the courtyards of the palace. The background was kind of misty due to the weather making it look like a backdrop, but it was definitely real!
After the Forbidden City, we went to Tiananmen Square, the site which is most known for the protests in 1989 as part of the pro-democracy movement.
This picture shows guards in uniform protecting the Communist Flag hanging high above the square. It’s interesting to note that all the guards had fire extinguishers nearby. Could this be because of the self-immolation incident that took place in 2001?
After we had dinner, we got to see a kung fu performance at the Red Theater. We got to the show early, which is why it looks like there weren’t many people there, but by the time the show started, the whole theater was packed!
None of us knew what to expect for the show, but it turned out to be really good! The show was a fusion of Shaolin, contemporary dance, acrobatics, and intricate set designs and special effects. The show was performed in English with Chinese subtitles so the English speakers on the trip could enjoy the show as well. The show was actually the first performance we saw in English thus far on the trip.
Since we were not allowed to take pictures during the show, this is a picture of the ending when the stars were giving their final bows.
After the show we all went back to the hotel to relax and sleep early in preparation for the Great Wall the next day.
We ventured to the Great Wall on Saturday, June 8th but first visited the Ming Dynasty Tombs. We gathered in the hotel lobby to meet up with our tour guide and took the bus to the Dynasty Tombs. Sherry, our tour guide, taught us specific traditions and sayings before entering and exiting the tomb so we don’t disturb the ancient spirits.
After seeing the emperor’s tomb, we headed to the Great Wall. The weather was rainy and foggy, but we all preferred the temperature to be cooler rather than hotter when climbing the Great Wall. Five out of the fourteen students in the group made it to the top of the Great Wall (or at least as far as we could go before the restricted area) and received “trooper points” from Professor Sheehan. Papa Sheehan (our nickname for our fatherly figure on this trip) also reached it to the top so we students give him “trooper points” back.
The view from the top of the Great Wall was full of clouds and mist so it was hard to see past the fog. We saw locks lined across the Wall as well as signatures of past people who had climbed the wall as a way to leave their mark. Though we didn’t leave a mark as an EASC 360 family, we took many pictures to document our two-hour hike up the Wall. Some of us draped parkas over our clothes to prevent getting wet from the rain so our pictures are more or less “colorful” from our fashionable outfits.
Since we were all exhausted from climbing the Great Wall, we headed back to the hotel and called it day and prepared for our excursion to Zheng Zhou the next day.