19 Feb There has been so many weekend activities that I don’t know where to start…
There has been so many weekend activities that I don’t know where to start. The major ones would be our trip to a city called Wuxi and then to Beijing. Wuxi is known as a water city and we stayed there for one night and two days. While we were there, we visited the hot springs. These were 42 degrees Celsius out door pools of water that were surrounded by and almost magical looking, man made, atmosphere with nature and steam from the pool. Even though is was actually close to 2 degrees Celcius outside of the hot spring we were all sitting in, the heat of the water made us sweat and have to have brief breaks to stand up out of the water. We also went to a place called the three kingdoms. This is where I got a little taste of ancient China. We watched a reenactment of an ancient battle, took a ride on a medieval looking boat around a body of water and one of us even dressed up in an ancient Chinese warrior outfit.
The longer weekend trip to Beijing was a lot of fun. We were in Beijing for 3 days and for this trip we had an amazing tour guide named Penn. We started off the first day with the Great Wall of China. It was a breathtaking sight. To get up to the top there were two options, either a cable car lift or 800 stairs. Being an optimistic bunch, we chose the 800 stairs. In hindsight, maybe the cable lift would have given us more time on the wall but nonetheless it was a great climb. One thing I was very worried about was the bitter coldness of Beijing in comparison the Shanghai. The day we went to the Great Wall was quite cold but climbing those stairs definitely kept us warm. After an hour of photo taking and admiring the views, we headed back down via a toboggan! I think its safe to say like most people, I did not know you could toboggan down the Great Wall of China.
I could write a whole book on everything that happened at the Great Wall but to keep things moving, Penn took us to the temple of heaven next. Throughout the trip he taught us so much Chinese history. That night, we went to the famous peaking duck restaurant, which was a great meal. The one problem we had in Beijing was with the taxis. Most of them refused to take us in their car and the others told us that they don’t use the meter to change, instead they just set a high price and we either take it or leave it. That first night in Beijing was ridiculously cold and due to the problems we were having with taxi’s we ended up walking at night in the freezing cold weather for what felt like hours (it was most likely much less).
At some point we visited the pearl markets where we got to practice our Chinese numbers while bargaining for things we didn’t need with money we didn’t want to spend. It was so interesting to see how while some people would offer the same item at a considerably lower price than others would. We also visited this one long street in the city that is lined with street food stalls. Here one of the interns ate a scorpion and a skinned snake. There were some crazy food choices made but also some great ones. The stalls offered so much variety. I ate everything from fried banana to pastries to rice cakes. The best part was everything was ridiculously cheap.
So many stories came from our weekend trips and so many memories were made.