Wednesday, July 28, 2010

我爬了长城! part 2

我爬了长城! part 2

i got interrupted in my last post. i never even got to the good part- the great wall, peking duck and silk market.

since theres no elective class on friday, we all went to a shopping mall far away called jinyuan centre, its where alanna's kouyu teacher said we could get our cute notebook fix. it took both the subway and the bus to reach there and once inside, the fuwuyuans (store workers) thought we were strange cause rarely do foriegners stray over there. we brough nicci, so thats probaby why. one of them i talked to was so confused lol that we were american since some of us look chinese. chinese heritage, american nationality was a very weird mix for him lol. so we found the cute notebook store and got some cute notebooks and pens and went back home by bus, which took us directly to pku's southwest gate. very convienent, on the way, we bunmped into gandhi's lang partner. this time, our meeting with our lang partner was all about making dumplings. none of us did a very good job and matt's lang partner never showed up so he sat with me and erica's lang partners. after that, we went to KTV yet again and did some street browsing at wudaokou. this time, the KTV was the kind i was used to, like jaguar in oakland, small and no AC, no background singers in the music, weird videos that go with the songs. This is Annie, Alanna and me at the Lion King KTV. it was only 70kuai an hour, no matter how many ppl. very very cheap compared to 100kuai per person per hour at the other place. but then again, the other place, 7mile, included free scotch and a big ass bottle of it too. this place, lion king was apparently rated top 5 in beijing. i liked 17mile alot more lol. There's everyone singing A whole new world at 17 Mile KTV. There's street shopping at wudaokou was really crowded and it was really hot so it made us tired even before we got to the KTV.

saturday we climbed the great wall! on the way over, our bus stopped working in the middle of the highway! the driver would gun the engine but it still wouldnt work. maybe it was overheating or something but thank god it worked again. once there, u had to hike up a steep hill up to all the vendors selling great wall souvenirs before u get to the actual start of the trail up the wall. we were already tired and havent even set foot on the wall yet! some ppl actually hiked up the 40 min trail up to the great wall in 40C weather. insteead me and sean sanely took the gondola thing up the mountain. it was so hot that day, i felt so gross at the end of it, the dirtiest, smelliest, grossest, wettest and tiredest ive ever felt. other than that, it was beautiful and i had a great time.That's me with my korean girls in my kouyu class. the view is pretty amazing. you can see miles and miles of the wall, snaking thru the hills. it was really impressive but word of caution, do not sit on the ground, it is really hot! baked from the sun, oh! i bet u could fry an egg on that! the best part were the watch towers cause it's so much cooler inside and u get relief from the sun blindingly shining down on you. we took the slide down. yup, u can slide down from the great wall to get back down the mountain. except a korean guy in front of the line busted his knee cap and we americans tried to help him, but we only held up the line. we couldnt do anything anyway, poor guy. its hard to get medical attn when ur so far away from civilization and up a hill. these kinds of rides would not exist in the states, liabilty issues heh. so we got to the bottom, it was fun to go fast and sean was on the phone part of the way haha. kids, do not do that, its very dangerous. we had lunch and it felt so good to be in AC. the tour guide, i should mention, was extremely rude, did not even give us any info on the wall and was not nice to anyone at all. i dont know who hired him but he was really umprofessional, very snobby and in your face.

at night, we tried to visit qinghua, the rival university to peking uni across the street. but the guards wouldnt let us in without a pass. so we just went to the pekin duck restaurant near its campus. the restuarant was really fancy, chandeliers on the ceilings and omg cream and purple tablecloth. the duck was delicious. we got 2 for the 8 or 9 of us. the chef would cut the duck right beside your table and one of the waitresses/manager? gave us a demo on how to wrap and eat the duck. the duckskin just melted in your mouth, it was soo good. the best part of the skin, u just dip it in sugar and eat it without wrapping it, that was soooo good. i loved it. the ducks even came with certificates or something which you could look up online and find out where the duck was grown and stuff. pretty legit. the restaurant was closing on us cause we got there at 8ish so we paid and left, it was about 100kuai per person. not bad. the restauarnt is in the so called silicon valley part of beijing cause microsoft and google have gigantic office buildings close by. we saw both on our way back. me and sean stopped by his grandmothers place to get our laundry and took the bus back, almost midnight by then. loooooong day.

sunday, i went out to the zhongguancuan bookstore by myself in the morning to buy the dictionary i wanted last week. on the way back with my new book, i saw blair's lang partner, the one who helped me pick out the dictionary from before. what a coincidence! but i had some bad luck today. i lost my meal card AND i locked myself out of my room twice. i got a new meal card and the money from my old card transferred over, i was relieved. my room card i had to get the hotel staff to let me back in, so embarrasing. im the kind of person who is clumsy and forgets things very easliy so im surprised it took me this long, a month into the program for me to finally lose something. and once i did, on this lucky day, i manage to lose things 3 times. XD

ok so silk road. me and sean met up with alanna, cody, matt, and ken. we took the subway and its very convinent, but it takes a long time cause its very far and you have to transfer subways. there were so many tour buses parked outside the place. the silk market is bascially a 5 story mall with venders lined up selling fake and low quality merchandise. hey, im not complaining, theres a whole floor devoted to bags and shoes. i didnt buy anything, but practiced a big of bargaining. cody got a jade necklace, but thats about it. there were so many foreigners, not just white ppl but lots of arabic families too. we took the taxi back, had to split up the group. on the way back, our car almost got into an accident. we were on the highway and had to brake suddenly cause of traffic. our tires screached so bad and we stopped so close to the car ahead of us. the car behind us stopped real close to us too and next thing you knew, someone didnt have fast enough reflexes and crashed into the car behind us. it wasnt too loud but u knew a car got hit. i almost thought it was ours but we pulled away, safe, a scratch away from an accident and the car behind us had his rear bumper completely totaled from the car behind him. we counted our blessings and drove away unharmed. thats the closest ive ever been to a car accident in my life! omg so scary! poor guy, probably ruined his day and the next few days too.

we had dinner at yoshinoyas which alanna isnt getting tired of, but i am. its expensive compared to our uni's cafeteria food and very manufactured too. at night, ppl were trying to finish hw projects and i was in the shower when the power went out. XD its like my worst fear when suddenly everything is black. the entire building had no electricity and we had to rely on our laptop screens or cell phones for light. most of us didnt think to bring a flashlight. i didnt either, cause i thought, oh its china, they'll have electricity. i am now proven wrong. the front desk said power would be out until 3am and that it was posted in the front door or something. hello, not like we can read chinese. steven on our floor came out with alanna and started hanging out in hallway and we talked by flashlight since they had one. sean came by since he couldnt work on his project anymore and brought out a glowstick. we were playing with it in the hallway when a black guy came out of his room across from my room and started talking with us too. he's from africa and said this situation reminded him of home, the blackouts that happen alot for him. interesting situation, huh? so anything, since i couldnt get anything done, i just went to bed, it was almost midnight anyway.

this week monday, me alanna and matt went back to silk street and i got by chinese bargaining skills on. i bought some clothes and a fake todd bag, and by the end of the night i ran out of money lol. we found out that alanna has terrible bargaining skills and matt had to cover for her instead lol. you have to pick out the good looking stuff from the ugliness. phew bargaining is tiring and you have to be stubborn but still a little flexible and you also have to speak only in chinese or else the americanness gives you away and they'll give you foreigners price. afterward, with matt and alanna carrying my newly bought stash of clothes, we tried to get a peek of the birds nest and water cube at night but they close down at 10 and it was 10:30. so close! wasted time! even cody came out to meet us to see it. but no, fail, missed it by half an hour.

tuesday was an interesting day. our kouyu teacher is such a character. hes always smiling like hes gonna play a joke on you, like everything has a secret funny meaning in it. we notice he lets us out early for break and goes away somewhere with his cell phone and always comes back late. so the girls in the class were very giggly and he wouldnt tell us. then in the middle of class, he got another phone call and took it outside. we confronted him indirectly of our suspicions and this time he was like, this one ill tell u about. the call was actually from his father whom hes never seen in 40 years, since he was 1 and left his mother. so his long lost father calls him out of the blue and now he doesnt know if he should tell his mother that he wants to meet his father or not. omg soo much drama. then we felt really bad cause he is in such a difficult situation, and the cute korean girl said outrightly that we thought it was your girlfriend. our teacher admitted yeah, the phone call before this was my girlfriend! OOOOOoOoOOooo!!! haha and immediatly we started asking about his gf, where did he met her, how long have they been goin out, etc etc. lol. he said, maybe he'll let us see a picture of her in a few days. haha got sooo off topic! i love this class lol

painting class we drew the great wall and the teacher said i didnt have to add color, so me and sean's are black and white painting. good grey shading. sean's painting was so good, ppl were mistaking it for the teachers. natural talent, right there.

the last two eating places we went to were different. last night we went to a restarant on campus that had american food-steaks, sphagethi, and coffee stuff. it was really bad, the only thing that was good was the steak. this afternoon, we had lunch at a hole in the wall place right across from our dorm. ppl dont notice it cause the entire building is covered with vines. it was so creepy when i walked in to the front hallway, not a soul in sight. there was barely anyone there and the food was so american style chinese food, it wasnt bad, but it wasnt as good as the normal cafeteria food. the cafeteria food on campus is actually pretty good, beats crossroads anyway and id say, better than clark kerr cause here, its consistantly delicious, havent messed up anything up so far.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


so much has happened since the last post...lets see, more than 10 days ago? man, i suck at blogging periodically. buti have a good excuse: i'm busy having too much fun! :D there's no time to sit down at a comp and write when i could be exploring new places with my friends and having a good time! plus internet is pretty bad here.Oh these are my friends, Alanna, Ken, Stuart and Matt. Only Cody is missing. This was at the summer palace

so last saturday, we went to the summer palace. this is the garden where the old emperors come to relax duirng the summer because its cooler here surrounded by trees and a huge lake. its all a recreation now cause it got looted and burned like 3 times when china opened its doors to white people back in the 1800s. anyway, its still really pretty and relaxing but there were alot of people visiting. the last emperor of china was a puppet emperor controlled by the actual person in power- his mother, the "empress". her living quarters were in the summer palace and we wandered in her courtyard and her VIP euneuch's courtyard. it was so hot and walking around made you really tired. we took a boat to the other side of the lake and took our tour bus back to school.

i sat in the front row of the bus and i got a birds eye view of traffic in china. one word on traffic here: CRAZY. no one follows the lights, or the signs or even the lines on the road. its a complete mess. one minute every car is perfectly aligned in their own lanes and the next minute, u hear honking everywhere and it becomes a huge group of cars in no discerable shape. i dont understand it here. plus u add in the bicyles and the pedestrians, i dont see how more ppl dont get killed in traffic accident here in china. anyway, im so glad, i dont have to deal with the traffic jams. they get really bad in the highways.

saturday night we went clubbing at Vic's. it was the best club ive ever been to. i didnt stay for long but omg the minute you walk in, it feels like its a set from a movie, those kinds of clubs you see that are so badass. it was so awesome and it seemed like the entire CLERC program was there, even the assistant to gui laoshi, fiona. we all got in for free too, cause one of the people from the program lives in china with his wife and he likes to go clubbing with her here. sooo awesome!! lots of ppl got drunk that night and got back really late. the next day lol some ppl didnt even get up until 3pm and they were soo wasted haha.

on sunday, i met up with sean and blair's lang partner to go to the nearby bookstore, zhongguancun. it was HUGE, just like everything else in china. 5 stories and soo many ppl! i got a simon's cat book and looked at the chinese-english dictionaries. after lunch, we headed out to xidan to get some shopping done. this is where all the natives go for the shopping, in the huge malls and expensive labels. again, hella ppl. but thank god for AC inside lol. we didnt find anything, we just walked around, tried on shoes. the boys were with the boys, and me and alanna (with annie sorta) together talking and bonding. theres so few girls in this program! t.t i finally found a watsons inside the mall but i just recently found a closer one, right next to the zhongguancun bookstore. watsons is like CVS, a better version of wumei lol. That pic is Wumei, just for Eileen to reminise lol. Just like her, I go there alot.

so i take my laundry to seans grandmothers. i feel kinda bad cause i get it done for free and everyone else have to think of a way to get their laundry done-either the laundry service, the sketchy laundry machines in the dorm, or by hand. at least i do my undies myself and hang them to dry in my room.

this past week, sean got a little sick, everyone else in the program is getting sick so im a little paranoid and wash my hands or purell myself everytime i get the chance and so far im healthy (so far.) i did ok in the unit test, im going to do less studying cause its not that important, im not doing it for credit like most ppl are for their schools. on monday, bryan was teaching ppl how to salsa in his room, too many guys and not enough girls were interested but our little salsa group got too big for the suite and we moved downstairs to the lobby of our hotel-dorm. it was pretty cool, learned some basics.

oh! sorry! gotta head out, gonna go to silk market! ill finish this later!

Friday, July 16, 2010


hello everyone. i am feelin the schoolwork this week. we had our first of three unit tests, which covers 3 chapters of vocab. you don't want to know how many words that is. and we also had an essay due. XD to add to that, ive been going to taichi class at 6:30a everyday and the painting/calligraphy class after chinese class ends. and let me tell you, it is really tough. ive never been so tired in my life. well, at least thats how it feels like it to me. after doing taichi for an hour, you just want to fall asleep and so... you do. but in class. not exactly somethin you should be doing esp since you cant hide amongst your classmates in the big lecture room cause first of all, we have a small little cramped classroom and second of all, theres less than 20 people per class. so yeah, the teacher can see you drooling as you're nodding off. so i decided to sleep in today and just go to class and skip taichi and oh man, i feel like a new woman, i actually have energy during the day. im not a walking zombie anymore. it feels so much better. but alanna is mad at me. lol so far, only stuart and alanna have been to every elective class, everyday. props to them but i want to be awake and present, man. the taichi teacher was even like, if you guys come everyday, mr. gui will give u a reward at the end. lol he's trying to keep us in the class. i also got keith from 10BX class to come to taichi. he doesnt come everyday but he likes it, since his eap program doesnt include these fun electives we have.

we have painting class every other day and calligraphy class the days we dont have painting, except for fridays, theres no electives. we've had i think 4 classes of each so far. in calligraphy, we're tracing in pencil and going over in ink to help us learn the form. its nice and relaxing in that class, the teacher put on some classical chinese music as we were writing. she also knows me by name. in painting, we've done 4 chinese paintings- ive done 3: fish and bamboo, waterfall, and lychee and a couple of birds. sean did such an amazing job at the waterfall, the teacher scouted him out and held it up for everyone to see. the whole class went OOOOOOOh lol and embarrassed the hell out of poor sean. but seriously, that sean has talent in painting. so now, the painting teacher knows him by name and by association since i sit next to him, and he says my painting was not bad, and he knows my name too. XD

on monday, we went to shabu shabu. it was terrible. the menu had no pictures and we couldnt read anything. plus the service was so bad, they bascially left us there and didnt even give me back change, or our drinks, or paid us back for the things they ran out of. they bascially knew we were foreginers and cheated the hell out of us.

theres this pancake place near the baozi place and we went there for lunch. you tell them what you want to be put into it, its basically like a crepe. i got the works- everything they had including duck, chinese sausage, bacon, ham, egg, meat floss lol, it was so bad for you and the guy was laughing as he was making it, it was humongous compared to everyone else's crepe. it was interesting flavour tho, the meat floss kinda runied the whole thing, plus it was orange and weirded me out.
on wednesday, we had kfc. it was ok, kinda weird. the burger was really plain and empty. instead of cole slaw, they had bits of vegetable, like the frozen kind in mayo. weird tasting too. thank god coca cola is the same everywhere. we had to get kfc cause we wanted something quick since clerc was taking us to see a kung fu show. it took the bus an hour to get there because of the perpetual beijing traffic. on the way there, the conversation was the nerdiest ive ever heard. alanna, chris, and gandhi was talking about star trek. like seriously, about how cool spock was and how natasha yar was such a bad character, how the romulans were the best kickass villans ever-well, that was debated over length. man, i love these ppl lol. it brings tears to my eyes now that there are some hardcore trekkies in this group lol. and then the converstation turned to computers and hwo to write viruses. lol anyway, the show itself was pretty bad, the kungu wasnt even that good, the actors kept messing up, the story line was laughable and i felt overly stimulated by the whole spectable. it was also targeted for foreingers and we even saw our tour guide from tiananmen, miguel. the whole thing was in english and when we left, we felt like we wasted 2 hours of our lives. on the way back, i talked to alvin, who is from the phillipines. his wife and 2 kids are at home and he kept saying how good i was at taichi and we talked about our lives and stuff. but honestly i was falling asleep cause its been a long day, esp with that taichi class in the morning.

thrusday, in kouyu class, the cute korean girl, sorae said they went to the pekin opera last night and pam from the office sat in front of them!! apparently jenna fischer is on her honeymoon in beijing and they got a picture with her and even got her signature! i am sooo jealous, they didnt even know who she was, only that she's an actress. omg how lucky of them!! celebrity sighting!!

painting class was alot of fun yesterday. theres barely anyone who goes anymore so it feels very intimate and social since everyone knows each other. we joke around and even had an improntu KTV session lol singing from an ipod. the teacher was so happy we were laughing so much and enjoying ourselves. he was like, your words are funny, but i dont understand them. we like him alot, hes so cute. and hes like everyone is tired from class, this painting class is time for you to relax yourselves. very true, we use this time to just relax and have a good time. everyone loves painting class even tho the paintings are so hard to draw! sometimes he comes around and looks at your progress and just laughs and walks away! lol! that happens to jessica alot lol.

so yesterday ppl were singing kesha, nsync, journey, beatles, all these random songs and the 4 guys in the back were in perfect harmony, everyone just looked at them, amazed lol. we didnt realize there was a boy band up in here haha. so we're planning on doing KTV (karoke) tonight, after we meet with out language partners.We went to one near campus, called 17 Miles. It was really nice, expensive but there was free hard liquor and snacks included. SCORE. we had such a good time ^^ That's everyone  including Magic Chris and someone's language partner lol oh except for Stuart.

today for lunch, me, sean, alanna, stuart, ken, matt, mark, chris, and cody went out for all you can eat korean bbq, above the terrible shabushabu place. you pay up front first, it was 300 something yuan, so came out to be less than $7 american. soo cheap!! it was really all you can eat, buffet style. you cook the food yourself and the best part was, they had soo much alcohol in the drinks section omg. we found a little bottle of 100proof wine. i smuggled it out and keeping it as a souvenir. its such a cute little bottle, old school chinese jug lol. anyway, i ate so much, food coma now. XD

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beijing Tourist Checklist: (Almost) Complete

This last week has been crazy busy with activity! Which is exactly what I want. lol. I should also say that blogspot doesn't always decide to load the editing window so I can't guarantee a post every few days. Which is why it's been so long since I last posted. Sorry guys! So I went to visit sean's grandparents and also his uncle and gf. His grandparents make such good food omg and his grandmother is quite a painting artist and calligrapher. His uncle has such a nice place too. It's close to Bird's Nest so we can just walk there from his apt but I'm getting ahead of myself. What have I been doing the past couple of days? I've been having class and also yesterday, saturday was a field trip to Tian'an Men Square and the Forbidden Palace which was great. More on that later.

So far every morning, we have breakfast at the roadside baozi place (steamed buns with filling) It's so cheap and fast which is good cause i need more time to cram before class starts. A baozi is 1RMB which is crazy cheap, like $0.15 and you only need 2 to fill you up. Basically I can get all my meals in china for less than a couple of american dollars each day. its hard tho to order cause alot of the menu is in chinese. the good thing is that sometimes, they have pictures so you can just point and say "nei ge" lol. they're so many on campus cafeterias. you can only use your meal card for that and only students have them so you have random ppl who will ask you to use ur card to pay for their meal and they reimburse you with cash on the spot.

after class, we have a calligraphy elective and i really like that class. its not something im good at but it feels good when you finally wrote something that looks good and not just a blob of ink on your paper. its kinda like yoga, the peaceful feeling when you meditate. oh and i also like my taichi class, which starts crazy early at 6:30a each day. everyone's poses are so messed up. people walking by stop and watch us (and are probably laughing silently in their heads), a huge group of foreigners attempt taichi lol. we have a teacher of course but he speaks only in chinese so most ppl dont understand him. he says as long as you show up and dont be late, you will learn it. so far, its good, only gone thru the first 4 poses. we also have painting class, which was really hard. well, at least im not the only one who screws up alot. its so embarrasing, i just want to throw it away. things are out of porportion and the colors are all messed up, the lines are too thick or too thin. then you look up and you see the sample demo one the teacher is painting in front and yours looks nothing like it. but its fun and ur not the only who whose fish looks like giant red balls with flames.

i got a cellphone finally, borrowed it from sean's uncle and its a really nice phone too, he even threw in a 50Yuan phone card for me too.
my kouyu (speaking) class is crazy hard, im always struggling. but its fun cause we do impromtu skits and play games. at the end of each class, someone presents a chengyu(idiomatic expression) and/or a joke so we always end on a good note. ppl from liuban, which is the highest level class say that our class is harder than theirs. which makes me want to switch but i think a challenging class is better for me cause in the end, you'll learn more. but still, lots of hw, mostly from hanyu (writing) class. 15 vocab words quiz daily. XD

for dinner, on thursday we went right outside campus. crossing the street itself is a life threatening experience. cars are soo rude! so are the bicyclists! they dont slow down for you, they just honk very loudly at you and if you don't move, i swear they'll probably run you over, dont even care. if you want to cross the road, its better to go with the pack of ppl and stay on the other side of incoming traffic just in case so if they do hit the crowd, you'll have a human cushion first. at least, that's what i do. its really scary!! and also your ears hurt from all the bikes braking. do ppl not care for their bikes? the brakes sound like nails on chalkboard and you hear so frequently, how can ppl get used to that sound?! so many nails on chalkboard, which probably means every few seconds, someone was almost run over by a bike. so anyway, there's a strip of restaurants across the street. there was KFC, dairy queen, golden phoenix and yoshinoya (sp?) we went to the latter and it was soo good! also milk tea in china sucks. dont even go for the pearls, if you want boba, go to taiwan, trust me.

we met our language partner on friday. except when the time came to go to the meeting place, it was POURING outside. it was raining so hard, that even tho we only had to walk a couple hundred feet away to the next building, ppl were soaked head to toe by the time they got there. it was seriously raining cats and dogs and most ppl didnt have an umbrella. this wasn't rain. it was continuous buckets of water. and it didnt stop for the entire night. the puddles were ankle deep, and the streets became ponds. my language partner was late because of the rain and she was stuck at the subway station because of it. but she did come eventually and she's pretty nice. she calls herself rachael but her chinese name translates to snow white. lol. we are in groups of 2 language partner pairs so im paired with matt, sean's roommate and his langauge partner and mine found out they have mutual friends and went to the same school , even had the same major sorta. we think they make a cute couple lol. hidden agenda, we gotz it.

ok, so yesterday was the highlight of the week. we took a tour bus to tianan men square. our tour guide was really funny. the first thing he said was that his english name is michael. his spanish name is miguel. and this was a chinese man talking in accented english to us. lol. we had a good time walking thru the huge square. it was raining that day too, but not as hard as friday night. it was kinda sad how terrible the weather is now compared to the first couple of days when we just arrived in beijing. before you could enter tian an men, you had to do a security check, xray your bag and all. and then once you get inside and walk past the picture mao's giant head, which they change every year to keep mao fresh, there's so much stuff beyond it. and there was soo many ppl, couldnt believe it. fiona said this was a good day too, wasn't too badly crowded. also it was funny how chinese ppl would come up to the white ppl in our group and ask them to take a picture with them. many chinese who come to tianan men have never seen a white person before so its a curiosity. we had a running score between the nonchinese in our group of how many times they were asked to have their picture taken lol. the forbidden palace was incredible. it just keeps going on and on. that place is humongous. if there's one adjective to describe china, especially the architecure, it would be: BIG. the bigger, longer, and taller it is, the better. i guess you need that much space since theres so many ppl in china. but it wasn't just big, it was also beautiful. hundreds of years of history was made in this place, its hard to fanthom how much drama and how many ppl have spent their entire lives there. even the number of rooms is incredible: 9,999. can you believe it? if you were to be born in a room in the forbidden palace and every night, slept in a different room, you would be more than 27 years old before you were done.

after the forbidden palace, the tour guide took some of us to a hole in the wall baozi and mian (noodle) place. and it was delicious. i havent had diarrhea yet so its all good. we also found a nice bathroom nearby and yeah my first squatting toilet since getting here! it was actually an upscale bathroom, even had luxuries like toilet paper AND hand soap there for you. me and alanna pretty amazed lol. so afterword, i dont know how alanna and them weren't tired after that long walk thru tianan men and forbidden palace but they wanted to go to the nearby park. me and sean called it quits and took a taxi back. let me tell you, a whole day of walking takes alot out of you. not to mention your feet starts hurting too.

we went to his grandmothers place at night and the accupunturist was there so i got to see some accupunture right there in her bedroom. it was pretty frightening, to say the least. sean even got some in his leg. he said it felt like a shot of electricty running down when the accupuncturist twisted the needle in. i dont know if i could do it, i hate needles. afterword, i did laundry and it took forever cause i handwashed it. i tried put a clothesline in my room but the hook failed me and snapped off lol so its still slowly drying in my closet. sad.

today was another long day. since getting here, i havent gotten up past 8am. but i also sleep relatively early. shit i just checked and its midnight now. ok so really fast, his uncle came to pick us up in the morning and took us to his high scale apartment building. he works for the air defense. we watched cartoons and i was so happy haha. there was sheep and rabbits and eggs who could talk. it was adorable. we had some baozi and milk that came in a bag for breakfast. then he took us outside and walked to birds nest and water cube. we took a golf cart tour which went around both buildings. it was sooo smoggy and because of the rain, you couldnt see very far. i havent seen such bad fog like this before and it was in the middle of the day! again, everything was huge. altho, its true, these two buildngs do look better at night. along the way, there were kite vendors and kids running around flying them. so cute. even saw picture of the sheep cartoon on some of them. most had the beijing olympic fujia(mascot) or beijing opera faces. farther down the opposite direction where it was less crowded, ppl were playing badminton and roller blading. so anyway, after, he took us the a really nice resturant and had peking duck! it was delectable. the skin was crispy but if you bite into it, the fat just gushes out, so much flavor, you would be surprised. there was no fat between the skin and the meat either, so thats a sign of a good duck. the way to eat it is to wrap it in a tortilla like wrapper, sorta like the vietnamese spring roll kind and you put in the thick sauce and some veggies like spring onion(?) and cucumber slices. there was also a bunch of other dishes ive never tasted before like duck tongue, feet, liver, ginko nuts, i dont even remember the rest. they were really nice to us, that must have been a really expensive meal...

ok so the rest of the day matt had to buy a new camera so we went to the electronics "city" to get one. omg the salespeople were so aggresive. the minute you walk into the store, they shout at you from either side about their products. if they see you looking at something, theyll talk to you, make you want to buy it. if you point, they'll see it immediatly and come over like lightening to your side. the minute you walk into their shop space, they're all over you. man, its pretty scary if you're not prepared. yeah so i really need to sleep, i have taichi tomro at 6am and i still need to cram my vocab words (like always...) nite!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


hey guys,
im about to head out to visit the bf's family here in beijing but its been a very hot and exciting 3 days since ive landed in beijing. classes have started and i have hw already XD. Here's whats been going on here. I arrived with a small group of 14 in Beijing 2 hours behind schedule, since our plane got delayed. By the time we got to our dorms on campus, it was alrady 10pm. The cool thing was, we passed by the Bird's Nest and Water Cube on the highway over and they were soo beautiful at night. Once we got to the dorms, we checked in and got our information packets along with phone cards, meal cards, PKU id card, oh and also our room card. Our campus dorm is really nice, it's almost like a hotel and apparently, this is the nicest dorms on campus since its for foreigners. i mean, who has chandeliers in the lobby of a dorm? Turns out we all got our own room within a suite! I was not expecting this at all. I thought we had roommates but this is soo much better!! My roommates are Nikki, from Arkansas and Jessica from Hong Kong/Malaysia. They're both pretty cool and not in their rooms alot, at least so far. Nikki was on the same flight as me and Jessica arrived the day before us. Total, theres about 50 of us in this program. So anyway, we got to our rooms and crashed. Or well, tried to, I was pretty tired but I couldn't sleep well, jet lag and all.

I gave up trying to sleep around 5am got ready for the placement test. Yup, 8am bright and early Monday morning, we all had to take a hour and a half placement test to see what level Chinese class we were going to be placed in. While they were scoring our tests (presumably) we got taken on a tour of campus. In retrospect, I think it was the worst possible time to be doing this. One it was record breaking 40C (104F) for that day, it was almost noon time, with the flaming hot sun beating down on us, no shade and no wind, and you expected us to walk around outside in that oven and pay attention to what you have to say? No. I was falling asleep, it was like sleepwalking, expect in a blazing oven, full on heat. The only good thing was, at least it wasn't 100% humidity and you could actually see the blue sky, which in beijing is something of a miracle and a rarely seen event.

We had a welcome banquet, which was incredibly boring but I got to know some more people. it was then that i realized that not only did people come from all over the US for this program, but also all over the world. At my table, I met a british HKer, a frenchmen, and an australian. Thats pretty cool, i wasn't expecting that. next after the banquet, i went to the nearby market with sean and stuart to buy a LAN cable and other stuff I needed. stuart is actually a berkeley student and he was in chinese 10BX at cal with me, but we had different sections! such a coincidence to meet someone like that here! anyway, by that time, we had to go back to find out our class placements. i got put into level 5 for chinese reading and speaking class (HanYu and KouYu) which is low advanced i guess. the highest was level 6. stuart got into the same classes as i did. we got our textbooks and also had a welcoming orientation in ppt, complete with similes like v(^.^)v and i'm not even kidding lol.

after that, i went with a bunch of people to get gym membership and it took almost an hour to bargain for the best price. >.< then we had dinner at the campus' largest cafeteria, 2 floors of food, it was incredible how much selection there was and how many people there were and also how hot and stuffy it could be inside lol. we then explored campus a bit, by then it was alot cooler, probably 90F or 80F and went by the subway station right outside campus. we also walked by No Name lake right wen it was sunset. it was really beautiful, serene and felt extremely summery, cicadas chirping, walking under full lush trees and benches spaced evenly along the walkway beside a lake with a majestic pagoda in the foreground. absolutely amazing. our little group also checked out west gate since we were in the area and took the obligatory picture. there are alot of new graduates everywhere on campus. i guess its graduation time for PKu right now cause everywhere you go, there is someone in their graduation gown and cap.

the 3rd day in beijing, which is today, i had breakfast with some people at the closest cafeteria to our dorm. and after, we walked to our 8am class for our first day of instruction. my reading class was ok but sean had a hard time. the class i think im going to have trouble with is the speaking class. half our classes is made of korean students and they were soo much better than us! it wasnt fair how they already knew the vocab and of course theyre going to win at a game of taboo when i've just seen the characters for the first time. the teacher made the losers- me and stuart do penalty homework =(

classes end at noonish and we had lunch at the big cafeteria. it was another hot day and it was even more crowded at lunchtime than dinner last night. also, i ran into a guy from my chinese class this past semester! we were so surprised to see each other, because we both didn't know the other was going to Beida (beijing university) for the summer. he was there for EAP and he was also speed eating since he had to go to class in 10 min. but that was such a nice and unexpected surprise to see someone you know from cal! (i also saw another one of my classmates from the same chinese class on the plane over to beijing from the states. what is with all chinese 10BX run ins?)

after lunch, there was painting class but since i was late, i didnt get a spot in the class and also they ran out of materials, which was fine for me cause i didnt want to sit in the classroom anyway. it was a small room stuffed full and NO AIR CONDITIONING. you can't imagine how hot it was in there. everyone was sweating like crazy. outside, which was another record breaking temperature, now the 2nd in a row was cooler than the classroom inside. to walk into the classroom was to walk into a sauna. and you were stuck there for 2 hours until you were finished with your painting. people in there were regretting coming to class. it was so terrible. me and sean got water for everyone, carried 30 bottles of ice cold water up 5 flight of stairs from the convienance store downstairs cause i felt so bad for them to sit thru such heat. we left before class ended cause there was no point in staying around anymore. annie, a girl in that class sold me her painting supply kit cause she didn't want to do the class anymore, so yay! i can still do painting class on friday! me, sean, stan and nicole, who were all sitting outside the class, left and we went to Wumei (the campus convienance store) to buy some toilettries and notebooks and such. i also got an umbrella so i can be shielded from the death sun. the sun shining down on you makes everything 10F hotter. alot of the women here carry umbrellas here when its sunny so hey, now i fit in more.

me and sean went back to our dorms and i finally got a proxy server thingy to access everything china decided to firewall, including this blog, facebook, meebo, and youtube. soon it was time to leave again, this time to have dinner at sean's grandparent's place right across from campus. his grandmother was so happy to see sean, it was so cute and omg she spoke so fast! i couldnt even try to understand his grandpa, he had such a thick thich beijing accent! thank god im in an advanced chinese class or else i seriously could not understand a thing there were saying. his grandpa also went over the lesson we did in class today and surprisingly, she didnt ask me any background questions, like where am i from, where are my parents from etc. i guess that information got relayed over already heh. we got back 3 hours later and here i am, writing a ridiculously long blog.

thank you so much for reading this if you're still here listening to my ramblings. lol nikki, my suitemate just came into my room and said she just woke up from a 6 hour nap. lol! now to do homework and cram vocab!! tomorrow is class bright and early at 8am and then calligraphy class! i can't wait for that! and hopefully the air conditioning is fixed for that room....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Heading off! See you in Beijing!

This is my "I'm so excited to be leaving for China" post. I'M SO EXCITED TO BE LEAVING FOR CHINA!!!! I can't wait to see how Beijing is like and I can't wait to meet everyone on the trip. I'm actually looking forward to the chinese classes and to be learning and hopefully vastly improving my chinese. I'm really looking forward to the electives too-taichi, calligraphy, ink painting. =D I want to explore Bejing and I can't wait to go to the Great Wall of China! This is one of the things in my bucket list! And after the 6 weeks hanging around Beijing, I can't wait for the week long tour of selected tourist traps lol. I've actually been to the places before exactly 10 years prior, when I was 12. Can you imagine it? Now, ten years later, as a mature (=p)22 year old, I'll be visiting Stone Forest, Lijiang, Dali all over again! Not to mention Shanghai as the last pit stop before returning to China. I am worried about some things tho, like how I'll get around with my terrible Chinese and making a good first impression meeting my bf's grandparents who are Beijing natives. Also, hopefully I won't go broke spending money buying everything in sight.

I'll blog again when I've landed in China! This is assuming the blog isn't blocked. XDD. Probably not, right? Alright, bye bye USA!