Why should I leave China’s capitol and go somewhere else? There’s so much that I haven’t seen! Although I have to admit, I would have loved to see the pandas in Chengdu, go to the dessert to ride a camel, see the TerraCotta Warriors, or even spend a nice day on a beach in China. Not leaving the city was partly because I was too lazy to plan something, partly because I wanted to get homework done, and also because I wanted to save money. However, even though I didn’t go out for my long three-day weekend, I had a great time exploring Beijing with my roommate.
I have to say, I was a pretty good student on Friday. I spent the majority of the time studying. I was happy I finished my calligraphy homework and translated most of my Chinese textbook lesson for class on Monday. I was so happy at my efforts and progress that I rewarded myself with more sleep. Time seems to fly by so much here that I’m always tired, even when I get up in the morning!
On Saturday, my roommate and I set out on an adventure around the city. She told me we were going to a place where all the “young people” liked to shop and hang out. We could then go to an art gallery and a park where we could see the beautiful flowers bloom. I was very excited, as the only flowers I’ve seen around the city weren’t real, as it’s still winter and most flowers bloom in the summer.
We woke up bright and early at 9 in the morning and ate breakfast in the cafeteria. I had a great breakfast and ate the best fried dumplings I’ve ever had in my life that morning. We then walked to the subway and got off the subway at Ping’ Anli and then transferred on line six. Like my roommate, I was surprised when I saw all of the people using the subway on the weekend. I guess I’m the only one who likes to sleep in on the weekends!
We first stopped and shopped in the HuTong, an area that has a bunch of grey painted shops and homes that attract a lot of tourists and residents. To me, the Hutongs are long alleyways with something new around every corner. Anyways, I bought so many gifts for my family and friends that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to carry everything! A couple of times my roommate had to persuade me out of buying something that was eye catching. I know my wallet was thankful she came along!
After shopping for a bit and eating fried rice for lunch, we found two bicycles and rode around the famous streets in Beijing around the center of the city. I had a great time even though I constantly had to look around for cars or anything else that was a potential moving threat. Beijing traffic is something else! It was such a nice day, so beautiful and warm that I almost forgot it’s still winter!
Our next stop was up a hill directly across from the Forbidden City where the Emperor used to live. From what I’ve heard, the Emperor built a large wall around his home to keep regular citizens and his enemies out. So the only way we could see inside the Forbidden City was to either go in or go up the hill. I enjoyed the view once we got to the top but didn’t enjoy the hike up. I had to take so many breaks that my roommate commented, “You really don’t exercise much!” The good thing was that stopping so much allowed us to take awesome pictures of all the wildflowers that grew along the side of the trail.
After the much-needed exercise, we walked around trying to find bicycles to go to another park where flowers were just starting to bloom. However, once we found the bicycles, we were too happy riding around the city to stop at the park so we just continued peddling until we were hungry.
Even though I didn’t leave the city, I had a great time in Beijing. And hey, my roommate is a fantastic tour guide, so if anyone wants to explore the city, just let us know!
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<p>Hey everyone! I’m a junior and I currently attend Trinity University, a small school in San Antonio, Texas. I consider myself a sociologist in training, and I’m interested in learning and experiencing new cultures! This blog depicts my experiences in China, specifically Beijing, China’s capital city, a long way from home! Hope you enjoy and feel free to comment!</p>