Written 9 June 2014
Yesterday we went through the final part of our orientation called “Mystery Beijing”. We were split into groups of three or four, given tasks to do, and the rules were as follows: 1) use technology as little as possible, and 2) do NOT take taxis.
Elizabeth and Alex and I walked to the Weigongcun 地铁 (ditie, or subway) station (we’ve already taken the language pledge not to speak English, so we’ve already been speaking “Chinglish” at this point) and nearly got ran over as we tried to cross the street. I’m glad we decided to get subway cards, so we had less fuss switching lines.
Our first stop was the Beijing Zoo Market, but we misinterpreted this to be talking about a market stand outside of the zoo entrance. Our task was to get a 10 kuai bargain, but it was hard for Elizabeth to haggle, so we ended up getting two comic books for ¥10. Our next stop was the 公园in the Temple of Heaven where we had to look for either a marriage market (where older ladies try to set up matches for their children) or people doing 太极拳 (Tai Chi), bonus points if we joined in dancing with some 阿姨’s (ayi, the Chinese title for a woman that’s older than you). We got a photo of the marriage market (and the woman promptly yelled at me, because apparently they hate people taking photos of the marriage market), and we were found some ayis dancing, but none of us wanted to cut in on pairs dancing, so we gave that up.
We soon wanted food but we couldn’t find something we wanted, so we decided to head towards the houjie (backstreet) by the east side of campus for lunch on our way back. One thing about Beijing during the summertime, though: thunderstorms can pop up at literally any moment (side note: in this respect, I never left home). When we came out of the Weigongcun station heading back to campus, we saw dark clouds overhead and decided to skip the houjie and make a run for it back to campus. Luckily, Elizabeth had an umbrella, so she and I didn’t get too wet (poor Alex decided to brave it out), and instead we went for shouzhuabin (I’ve been loving those for breakfast; imagine a croissant made into a pancake, with pork, chicken, egg, or some kind of sausage with lettuce and sauce) for a quick lunch because we were hungry. We were the first ones back and I promptly napped off and on for an hour and a half because I learned later that my entire back was sunburnt. It was nice, though, to be able to see Beijing after being in the IES Abroad building for two days. Today, classes began, so hopefully we’ll get to learn and see some cool things as time goes on!
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am a rising senior at Tulane University, studying Anthropology and Asian Studies with a Russian minor. In my spare time, I enjoy writing dark supernatural fantasy novels as well as science fiction. I am also a hopeless geek, so if you're into LORD OF THE RINGS, FIREFLY, STAR WARS, or RATCHET & CLANK, feel free to talk with me about it!</span></div>