A Travellerspoint blog

Covering the first day

The first day of Beijing

sunny
View Unnamed Trip on CelLung's travel map.

Sorry for the long wait...a lot of hectic things have happened up til now...
This portion of the blog will only cover the first day. I know I'm behind but I have valid reason to be....

  • inhale/exhale*

I was almost late to the airport. It'd been a really long time since I left from Hartsfield and I only estimated the time it took to get from Augusta to downtown Atlanta. I made it on time (despite blurbs of light traffic).

I flew United Airlines for the first time (I'm a Delta girl :) )

My group (maybe 19 out of the 47-ish people going) had a connector flight through Chicago while the others went through D.C.

I really do love airports, as a brief aside...

I tried to stay up as long as I could the day before I left (I'm sort of jumping around topics, I know...). Dr. Reynolds suggested that we do that to rearrange our sleeping schedules and eating schedules. I went to bed at 3am with a slight allergy attack (poo....).

Anywho, the flight from Chicago to Beijing was approximately thirteen hours and seven minutes. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I mostly read, watched movies, and listened to the ipod. The downside was that was in the middle aisle on seat in. So, extremely uncomfortable place to sleep. I even popped a Benadryl (others were taking Tylenol PM or drinking wine to help them get to sleep). I maybe got a little drowsy but stayed up! Of all the times...
I drifted off to sleep on and off maybe three times for no more than a few moments it felt like. I was pretty sleep deprived :(

On the plus side, it's the first time I 've been fed on a plane in a LONG time. Like, actual food, not granola/animal crackers/snack stuff. I had a chicken and rice dish that was okay. I REALLY tried to sleep on the plane, for serial. I think my body (and mind) knew something funky was up with the time and all so I guess I stayed on an 'alert', if you will.

The turkey sandwhich they served was HOOOOORRIBLE. Me and another person in the group, Kristen, both got a little queasy after we ate it. It didn't even taste that good, but it was food, ya know? And of course, right after I start feeling queasy, TURBULENCE. That was honestly the most turbulent ride I've ever experienced.

Which brings me to my next point of conversation:

I thought we were going to fly from Chicago straight westward over California and/or Oregon/Washinton state. Instead, we go north from Chicago, through Canada, arching over those scattered Canadian islands, over Alaska, arching down through the eastern portion of Russia, and then southward to China and Beijing. We didn't quite make it over Hokkaido (that would have been cool...). It sucked that I didn't have a window seat. Mayhaps I could have seen ice caps :/

After we landed in Beijing we had to wait for medical officials to take our temperature. They have this cool instrument where all they do is point it at our forehead and it reads our temp in a second or two. We also had to fill out a medical form stating the basic info (name, passport number, all that) and if we had any headaches, fevers, vomiting, etc...

We got off the plane and headed to the first checkpoint where they took our medical forms that we filled out on the plane. We're waiting for a little bit to make sure everyone has caught up when we realize that we're missing one person. We look over to see him in the quarantine section (he was running a fever for some reason) and we get a little worried. If he was "sick" they may have had to quarantine all of us (or the entire plane) and they really will run after you and take you back to check your health).

They let him go after a few minutes (filling out paperwork, I guess) and we made our way to the luggage pick up and then to exchange our money. The rate is roughly 1 to 7; 1 U.S. dollar is 7 Yuan (or Kuai). So what may seem expensive to them is pretty cheap to us.

We meet up with the rest of the group and we head out on a tour bus. I didn't know we were going to be on a tour bus; I'm not a huge fan of being portrayed as a tourist even though they're used to it but I really wanted to integrate myself into the culture.

As a brief aside, it still hasn't hit me that I'm in China :/
I'm used to hearing Cantonese and Mandarin and being around Chinese people and seeing signs in characters (thank you, San Francisco). I'd like to think I'm fairly used to some parts of the culture as well. Sometimes I get a mental flash that I'm in S.F. :/

Ah yes, and by the time I got to Hartsfield, I wasn't nervous anymore. Miranda can testify to how nervous I was ;)

Ah well...maybe it will hit me soon.

Anyway, we take the tour bus to Beijing (the first of the few cities we're staying at) and that city is GORGEOUS. Like, I have a respect for that city, and I 've never said that about any other city before. It's so clean and well kept! They recently had a labor day celebration of sorts so they have pots of really pretty flowers lining the streets. Many of the cars are a lot smaller than ones in the States; no Escalades or Hummers to be seen. There are smaller fancy cars though (BMW and Benzes). The traffic gets CRAZY over there. Rush hour is from 7am to 8pm everyday, or atleast every weekday. Yowzers.

We stop by a local restaurant for dinner (it was paid for in advance). I must admit that I'm pretty used to authentic Chinese food already :) It was nice to eat non-Americanized vittles.

After that (and a little bit of traffic) we arrive at our hotel. I room with Christa (we've had two classes togther at ASU already) at the Days Inn Joiest (interesting name). The rooms are really nice, except the one they moved us into had no internet. A tech guy came up and tried to fix it for about half and hour or more. It wasn't our comps that were the problem; it was the internet/hotel itself. He moved us to another room which STILL had no internet. At that point we were tired and jet lagged and just wanted to sleep so we left it alone. I think that pretty much sums up our day. Because of lack of internet my memory is a little fuzzy as to what happened (and it's 11.20 at night...) I had no net so no Skype to call home with :( Ah well.

The hotel was pretty decent, as a brief aside. Here are some pics. It was a three star hotel :)

hotel_shower.jpg

hotel_beds_2.jpg

hotel_bathroom.jpg

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Posted by CelLung 09:27 Archived in China Comments (0)

The Final Countdown....

yeah, like the song lyrics....

I have a mere 3 days left until my departure. I leave from Hartsfield airport about 10 in the morn. I'm in the group that has a connector flight in Chicago (as opposed to those who go through D.C. ). I still have some loose ends to tie up here before I go. I've been reading up mainly on Beijing and Shanghai, courtesty of Borders (and no thanks to their horrific selection of music playing over the speakers....). I'm trying my best to retain as much Chinese as possible and plan on testing some of it out when I get there. Well, I won't have a choice during the second portion of my trip :/ . I read up on mailing info between China and the U.S. I think it's roughly $1.50 to send letters and/or postcards between the two countries. I'd completely forgotten about those. I was just going to buy little trinkets and such. Admittedly, I usually equate postcards with my sojourns to San Francisco.

I'm sure that if it wasn't 12:50 in the morning, my thoughts would be a bit more coherent. I think I'll save some deep thoughts for later when I'm not, well, dead tired.

As a random aside, I'm reading a very interesting book for one of my classes entitled "River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze". It's pretty touching even without me having visited to the sites...yet. The 'main' author spends two years in Fuling, a city in the Sichuan Province that borders the Yangtze River. It's not just about the river, but the people who live their. A portion of the story is set around the river itself and how the Three Gorges Dam will effect the land and the people tremendously. It's a fairly contoversial issue, and I'll admit that I haven't read up on it enough to form too solid an opinion. Every issue has two sides, I guess. I know the dam is supposed to be finished in 2009, but I don't know what month. One side of the dam/river will be forever flooded so portions of land that's been significant for the past several thousand years will go underwater forever. I've always wanted to see the valley before it disappears.

I have a nervous/excitement for my departure date. I sort of wish it wasn't so soon after school. A few months ago one week seemed like a long enough time at home seeing as how I only get to visit home once a month for a mere weekend. I dunno. I'm rambling now. My wit and dry humor is deteriorating as my need for sleep grows.

So, I guess the countdown continues...

Posted by CelLung 21:26 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

:O

:O

sunny 68 °F

10 more days til my departure. Only a week of rest til a 13 hour plane flight :/

Rest assured, I'll take plenty o' pics :)

Posted by CelLung 17:00 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

schedule

um...schedule for the General Studies trip....

83 °F

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Here's the schedule of activites (except I won't be coming back to the States until July 8th).

I'll be more excited once finals are over and I have time to process all of this zany information.

NOTE: B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner

Tue May 12: Leave Atlanta

Beijing:

Wed., May 13: Arrive Beijing, a tour guide will meet the group at the Beijing International Airport, transfer to the Hotel. (D)

Thur. May 14: Great Wall. After tour, drop the group at Wangfujing/Qianmen shopping district, take taxi back to hotel on your own, bus will return to the hotel, you can explore the city on you own, or participate in your class field trip. (BL)

Fri. May 15: Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. Take a hutong tour in the afternoon (include a ride with Rickshaws and residences of a hutong family and a Qing dynasty official residence). Visit some Olympic Game sites. After the tour, drop group at Shichahai lakeside entertainment district, bus will return to the hotel. (BLD)

Sat. May 16: Summer Palace
Overnight train to Xi’an. Dinner on the train on your own, transfer to the Hotel. (BL)
Xian:

Sun. May 17: Xi’an City Tour in the afternoon. Big Wild Goose Pagoda, City Wall (bicycle ride on your own), (L)

Mon. May 18: Terra-Cotta Warriors’ Museum. Visit a terra-cotta reproduction factory and Huaqing Hot Springs during the trip. Tang Dynasty Dinner Show in the evening in Xi’an. (BLD)

Tue. May 19: Free morning, visit Provincial Museum, Grand Mosque and adjacent Ancient Culture Street with a faculty member, Train to Zhengzhou, dinner on the train on your own, arriving in the evening, take the group to students resident hall on Zhengzhou University (ZU) new campus. Distribute on-campus meal cards.(B)
Zhengzhou:

Wed. May 20: Program on-campus orientation meeting in the morning, meet your ZU buddies in the afternoon, take a campus tour with ZU students, have a meal on campus or visit downtown Zhengzhou or nearby restaurants.

Thur. May 21: Class day

Fri. May 22: Class day, afternoon cultural enrichment class 1, evening party with Chinese students

Sat. May 23: Yuntai Mountain Geological Park (on UNESCO World Geological Park list) (L)

Sun. May 24: Free day

Mon. May 25: Class day, afternoon cultural enrichment class 2

Tue. May 26: Class day, afternoon field trip to a media agency (COMM class) or a firm (BUSA class)

Wed. May 27: Class day, afternoon field trip to a public/private sector site (e.g., new city district,
the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange, bank, or manufacturing site).

Thur. May 28: Class day, afternoon cultural enrichment class 3

Fri. May 29: Class day, afternoon cultural enrichment class 4

Sat. May 30: Shaolin Temple and Pagoda Forest. visit Yuan Dynasty Astronomy Observatory, Watch kongfu performance inside the temple. (L)

Sun. May 31: Free morning, host family visit in the afternoon, to be arranged by ZU

Mon. June 1: Visit a school in the morning to help celebrate International Children’s Day, to be arranged by ZU.

Tue. June 2: Class day, afternoon cultural enrichment class 5

Wed. June 3: Luoyang--Longmen Grotto, White Horse Temple, and Lord Guanyu's Tomb, and a Tang
tri-color pottery factory. (L).

Thur. June 4: Class day

Fri. June 5: Class day (last day of classes)

Sat. June 6: Free day, evening dinner in a Western-style restaurant (program partially subsidized).
subsidized cost in Softel or Mamamia or other place of faculty choice.
Shanghai:

Sun. June 7: Take speed Train in the morning to Shanghai, lunch on the train on your own, check in at
the hotel, early group dinner, and watch an acrobatic show in the evening. (D)

Mon. June 8: Visit Yu Garden, the Chenghuang Temple shopping district in the
morning. Free afternoon, after dinner take evening boat ride on Huangpu River. (BD)

Tue. June 9: Takes Maglev train to Pudong International Airport for flight back home. (B)

I still haven't gotten the itinerary for the intense language study :(

Posted by CelLung 11:20 Comments (0)

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