This was taken at the New Summer Palace!
After a four hour flight to Hong Kong, and then another three hour flight to Beijing
, we made it to Tsinghua University late Friday night! Our rooms are really nice! We have a TV, desk, private bathroom, and a sink...though our beds are basically a small pad on a piece of wood. You can't drink the water here, but they gave us something to boil it in. We don't really have to worry about eating food that is washed in the water because not even the people here can drink it, so it is all boiled! Tsinghua University is the best technological university in China. Every time we tell people that we are students here, they get very excited and tell us it is the best! The pollution here is AWFUL! You can barely see down the street.
Here is the soccer field infront of our dorm. We live in the one second from the right! This was taken in the middle of the day...the smog is REALLY bad!
It hurts to take a deep breath or yawn because of it. Alot of students play basketball and soccer right outside our dorms anyways. Everything here is REALLY cheap. One US dollar equals about 7.8 RMB (Chinese currency). I can eat a muffin and coffee for about .50 US and lunch/dinner for about $1 (at the school). Food outside the school costs a little more...a whole $3 US dollars! haha. It is actually really good though...but maybe I'm just used to it by now! I really don't know what I am ordering here because it is all in characters. I just follow other people around and point to what they have to order it! haha. The people here are really nice and helpful. Of course, they want to make money off of you, so they will do whatever they can to communicate.
My brand new bike! (Ok...it was actually probably stolen and repainted...but its PURPLE and the brakes work, and I have a basket!)
We have had people come up and want to take pictures with us or practice their English. They say "Hello" and we respond with "NE-HOW" (which is Chinese for hello) and they laugh at us. They think that Americans are really sophisticated so they are always interested in us and try to copy what we do. I would say that they are nicer than the Singaporeans.
The first day that we were here, we got a tour of the campus and bought bikes and bike locks. Everyone here has a bike, but they get stolen often. I could have bought a nice bike, but I figured that it would just get stolen so I bought one for about $10 US...and its PURPLE! :-) It takes about 30 min to walk to our classroom, so the bike should come in handy.
My amazing bed. ;-)
Taxis are really cheap to take, but it is hard to tell them where you want to go. We got one of the guys here to write down where we live on a card in Chinese, and the divers can always read it and know where we want to go, or we point on a map. Its always a good feeling when they understand where we want to go! Last night, we went to eat dinner down town with a group of GT students who were visiting Beijing because they are also studying abroad in China. They were really fun and taught us how to communicate at restaurants. They don't understand if you hold up any more than five fingers-they have different hand signs to say 6-10.
Today, we first visited the Old Summer Palace where the Emperor used to go to relax, though it was destroyed when he was killed and the country was taken over by war lords.
At the Old Summer Palace
It was a really neat place...there was a maze made out of stone that we got to walk through! Then we went to the New Summer Palace where the Empress Dowager spent all of China's money to build a marble boat to take her tea. It eventually lead to the down fall of China because afterwards, they didn't have any money to make a navy and were defeated by Japan. This place was HUGE! We walked around for 4 hours and still didn't see everything! It was full of temples and corridors. There were also alot of places where you would have a beautiful view of the city were it not for all of the smog. Robin and I went to the Pearl Market after the New Summer Palace! It was AMAZING! I got beautiful pearls and purses and plan on going back! They spoke perfect English there! Probably because it was the best way for them to sell us stuff.
the ruins of the Old Summer Palace
I really like China alot more than I thought! The professor really scared us, but its not bad at all. Its more of an adventure than Singapore and its really fun when we are able to break the language barrier. Its also a nicer city than I expected. The campus is really pretty, but the smog ruins it. I'm really excited about exploring more!