Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Touring China

Well, I have literally had almost no extra time or internet access, so here's a relatively brief recap of the last month or so.

We spent the rest of our time in Shanghai trying to understand philosophical daoist theory relating to the environment from a professor who spoke close to passable english. Other than that, we visited Suzhou and Wuxi, two cities close to Shanghai, and saw the tiger pavillion and the famous Suzhou gardens. My ankle ended up getting better relatively quickly and my ipod even started working about the toilet water dried from the inside. good news.

After taking our final and spending our last days in Shanghai savoring the delicious back gate food that made our stomachs sick afterward, we headed to Taizhou, where we were followed around like celebrities because we were the first foreign group to visit Taizhou. There we met Jojo and Gloria, who were our Taizhou and China guide respectively. In Taizhou we had the chance to ride on these amazing old women with sticks-powered boats, and many other cool things.

Next we took a night train to Taishan, where we climbed the amazing Confucian pilgrimage mountain (or 6 of us did), and I even got to put on a Confucian charm at the top for good health. After Taishan came Beijing, where we visited famous monuments such as the Forbidden City, Tianneman square, The Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Peiking Opera, and many more (Water Cube...MICHAEL PHELPS). Lucky us, we were in Beijing during the 60th anniversary of Mao's declaration of the People's Republic of China, and we got to see some amazing fireworks.

Next we traveled onto Xi'an, famous for the terracotta warriors. The area was packed with Chinese tourists, but it was amazing to see so many warriors, each made uniquely from a real soldier of the emperor. Afterward, we flew down to the Yunnan provence in southern china, famous for its ethnic diversity. There we went to the dragon gate carved into the mountain, and the stone forest, created when the indian ocean packed limestone into forest-like designs.

In our last week in China, we visited Dali, my favorite city of China, where the old city was beautiful and historical, and the Erhai lake was clean with an island full of spiders the size of your hand. We also spent time in Lijiang, visiting Tiger Leaping Gorge, which will be non-existent in 5 years because of the new dam proposed on the Yangtze river.

Finally, after around 3 weeks of constant touring, we left China for Thailand, where we have been welcomed with open arms (albeit sweaty arms because of the intense humidity). We have had about 5 hours of thai language class per day, and had to climb Doi Suthep, a religious moutain with a Buddhist temple at the top.

Last night we got to experience the night-life of Chiang Mai, and I think we all had fun dancing and meeting more thai peple. Other than that, In two days we move in with our thai host families, and all I know is that my family lives on campus and the parents work in the Statistics department. So excited!

Sorry for the short and not very detailed post. Hopefully the next will be better. Love you all.


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