CHECKING IN: Lauren Carter's China Trip Journal
May 14, 2008
BEIJING, China -- So, we are into our second full day in Beijing! We have already been all around the city, and today featured what I was looking forward to the most -- visiting The Great Wall of China!
We boarded our bus at 8 a.m. to head to the Wall in the prime of rush hour -- I have never seen so many cars, pedestrians and bicyclists in my life -- but on the hour-and-a-half trip, our tour guide, Claudia, gave us a brief history lesson on the Wall and Chinese policies and added to our Chinese vocab. Now we can say, with little hesitation, ni-hao (knee-how), which is "hello," she-she (shay-shay), which is "thank you" and zao (zow), which is "good morning." We still get some snickers from the Beijing natives when we try the words, but they know we're trying. As we were making our way to the Wall, I also noticed on road-side parks that had ping-pong tables and outdoor equipment. That's right. China has parks to run in and lift at ... and it's all free.
Before we actually got to the Wall, we stopped at a jade jewelry factory and watched how the jewelry was made and had a little leisurely shopping time. Of all the things, we met at the factory a professor from Weber State (a conference rival!). He asked us to take a picture with him so he could show off to his volleyball students. It was pretty funny.
When we finally arrived at the Wall, I was in awe. The whole team made it to the top of the portion we visited. It was the hardest workout of the year, but it was totally worth it.
Our next stop of the day was at the Ming Tombs. We got to see all of the items that were found inside one of the emperor's tombs, and we saw where some sacrifices were made. The highlight of the Ming Tomb visit was when we got our first bargaining experience, thanks to Mr. Glenn. He helped Jaclyn Bruns score a little Buddha sculpture for eight bucks.
At the end of the day, the Andersons and the Glenns surprised us all with Chinese masseuses coming to our rooms to give us massages. It was exactly what we needed after our long hike up the Great Wall before our first match tomorrow.