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.

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