Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
32Trip End Jun 25, 2008
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Last week passed pretty smoothly- nothing major happening in school, but everyone was definitely looking forward to a little bit of time off. I had my second tai chi lesson, and didn't feel quite so much like a doofus this time. He keeps pointing out the way the movements, although they're done really slowly, are based on what you'd actually do to defend yourself in a fight. So I'm definitely going to be set the next time someone tries to rob me in slow motion.
On Friday night, I had a kind of unique experience- camping out on the Great Wall. The event was actually organized by an international church I think (although there was nothing religious during the trip), with about 200 people going in total. I was invited by a classmate who was going with about 10 friends, and we had a really good time. We were bused out on Friday evening, to a part of the Great Wall that was not refurbished, so it was pretty rugged and was not touristy at all. Sleeping bags and mats were provided, so we lugged our stuff along the wall until we found a spot we liked, and sort of set up shop there. It was definitely nice to get out of the city for a little bit, into an area where there was actually some nature and clean air! It had also been awhile since I'd been able to camp out anywhere, so it was great to be able to sleep under the stars again! Saturday morning we ate breakfast there, and then were bused back in time for lunch in Beijing- a good start to the vacation.
This morning, my roommate Yuka and I headed down to Tiananmen Square for a little sightseeing. Apparently every year for National Day, the square is decorated with flowers and water to celebrate- and even though this wasn't a "big" year (50. 60, etc) it was really neat to see! I felt like I was going sightseeing around Beijing, because model versions of the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Olympic torch, etc had been recreated on the square using flowers and plants! It was really interesting and beautiful. I'm definitely glad I took my teacher's advice and went down this weekend, instead of on actual National Day, or the two days after- there were a TON of tourists (mainly Chinese) there today, and apparently there will be hoards more this week. Starting tomorrow is the official holiday which I believe everyone gets off, so tourism in China skyrockets, and a huge number of Chinese people come to Beijing.
So, it's a good thing I'll be leaving Beijing! Bright and early Tuesday morning (although it may not even be bright, that's how early it is!) I'm heading off for a 4 day vacation to Inner Mongolia with three friends. Should be lots of fun, although I'm sure there will be a ton of tourists there as well!
Anyways, hope all is well at home! Enjoy the pictures, and I'll try to update again once I get back from my trip.