Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home again!

Well I made it home from Beijing China, with lots of luggage and a very tired body! 
I am still somewhat on Beijing time but am working to get on to Iowa time. It really seems like a dream right now - all that we saw and did during our 8 days in Beijing. From losing and finding my passport to climbing the Great Wall of China to visiting the Forbidden Palace to taking a rickshaw in the windy narrow roads of a hutong. The snow (made by the Chinese Government or The People as it is called in China), the people we met, the sites we saw right now still a blur, but as I process the experience - more and more small details stand out. We could not have had better tour guides or bus drivers! Vincent from the China Guide will be a great memory for all of us! Not only was he knowledgeable about Beijing, he shared his life with us. How different a place to grow up from the United States. I was constantly amazed at the grace and politeness from people of all ages. We did feel like movie stars as people would ask us to pose for pictures with them.

Day 9 in Beijing & US


Day 8 in Beijing

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Last day of the conference, everyone is very busy getting ready for the final presentations. The 6 student groups are busy working on their videos and the adults are finishing up and having their projects juried so that we can find the three best.  The rest of the people are working on elevator speeches and some parts of the final presentations. 
The final presentations went great and the ending ceremonies ended on time! We had a great time and now for a final day of touring.

Vincent, Mr. Lei and Mr. Wong picked us up at the Hotel at 1pm today and took us first to the Pearl Market. Leigh had a great time bargaining for many different things including the hat on my beautiful model!

By the time the bargaining for this hat had finished we were all laughing so hard! At one point Leigh went higher and the salesgirl then went even lower! It was just too much!
After the shopping we went and got in some rickshaws for a tour of a very old hutong. The hutongs in Beijing are the original neighborhoods. Some are over 800 years old.  We saw the Bell Tower Zhōnglóu (钟楼) and the Drum Tower Gǔlóu (鼓楼) These were used to tell time for all.  One story is that the Bell was rung at 7 pm to signal the time to close the gate. And the Drum was used to signal the time to wake up at 5 am. They were both originally built in 1272 and have been rebuilt twice since due to fires. They are made of wood and stone.  The bell in the Bell Tower is over 500 years old and made of Copper. It is said that it can be heard for 12.4 miles. There is still one of the original drums left to see by tourist. The other drums are newer.