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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010


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After experiencing the thrills of Beijing and the Great Wall, we took a train to Xi an to see first hand what is still the main way of travelling in China : trains. Despite having become far more luxurious and modern than their ancestors 30 years ago, they are still a unique way to interact with the locals. We had the chance to have soft seats which are the most comfortable seats (as opposed to the hard seats , which are more like hard benches) and it looked more like a Western train than anything else. But the atmosphere inside is a bit different. Despite not being as wild and noisy as I heard the hard seats were, there was still a lot of socializing going on. I jumped at the opportunity to take my mandarin skills to the limit and I had the chance to converse with a bunch of Chinese people.

But most of these conversations were short ands focused mostly on introducing ourselves and talking about our recent lives. The intense talking was limited to the guy next to me , an entrepreneur in his forties with whom I had deep and intense conversations about religion , the environement, mankind and urban vs rural China.

I won t go into further detail, but it willdefinitely be something I will always remember.

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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Chinese Trains

Max Vachon,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

After experiencing the thrills of Beijing and the Great Wall, we took a train to Xi an to see first hand what is still the main way of travelling in China : trains. Despite having become far more luxurious and modern than their ancestors 30 years ago, they are still a unique way to interact […]

Posted On

07/5/10

Author

Max Vachon

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Throughout our travels in China so far, a consistant sight has been that of the Chinese lions, or Fu lions, "guarding" the entrances to everything from resturaunts to hotels to palaces. They've been an increasinglycommon sight in China but have been in existence in chinese culture since before 200 BC. They are sometimes reffered to as "mythical" lions because of the mystery surrounding there presence in chinese culture. No such lions ever roamed China. Regardless of their origin they became and have remained a dominant theme in Chinese culture. They are always in pairs of two, flanking the entrance, one with a paw resting on a sphere and the other with a paw on a belly-up small animal. There are several enterpretations for the symbolism of these objects.Some consider the male lion (with the sphere) to be protector of the earth and the female (with the animal, in this case considered a cub) to be protector of the animals. Another western interpretation of this eastern theme is that they are aides to Buddha (Fo lions literally meaning Buddha's lions). In this interpretation the lions are controllers of the earth and all the animals. The helpless creature is not a cub but rather prey, at the mercy of the lion. In our travels we've incountered dozens of pairs of them, this picture just being one grand example from in front of a police academy in Beijing

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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Chinese Lions

Eli Rosenthal,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

Throughout our travels in China so far, a consistant sight has been that of the Chinese lions, or Fu lions, "guarding" the entrances to everything from resturaunts to hotels to palaces. They’ve been an increasinglycommon sight in China but have been in existence in chinese culture since before 200 BC. They are sometimes reffered to […]

Posted On

07/5/10

Author

Eli Rosenthal

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    [post_content] => Most people viset the Great Wall for a coulpe of hours, at a part packed with turoist, and then said they have seen the Great Wall.We went to a remoute part and slept on it. Not many people get to experence this. I will never forget it. Also, the meeting the people of the counrty side was refreshing. They were a lot different, more friendly and kinder. As leave the city and head out to the wu dong mountains, I look forward to meeting the people and learn more about them. 
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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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The Wall

Billy Regan,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

Most people viset the Great Wall for a coulpe of hours, at a part packed with turoist, and then said they have seen the Great Wall.We went to a remoute part and slept on it. Not many people get to experence this. I will never forget it. Also, the meeting the people of the counrty […]

Posted On

07/5/10

Author

Billy Regan

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When most Western tourists go to the Great Wall , they usually get awed by the splendor and the majesty of the place, but they rarely take a chance to look around and get a real taste of the local culture. That wasn t the case for us, for we had the chance to explore an aspect of Chinese culture few know and even fewer understand : herbal medicine.

After eating at a restaurant near a remote section of the Wall, Kai (our instructor) whose is fascinated about Chinese medicine, convinced one of the staff members to show us the local plants and how they were used. So after a short hike on the Wall, we returned to the restaurant, left our bags, andfollowed Mr. Cuion a narrow path.

The road was harsh, full of weeds and branches, but pushed by our curiosity, we choose to continue despite the hardships. Then, once in a while Mr. Cui would stop and just describe a plant, while Kai would use his vast knowledge to give us even more info about the ones he knew.

The possibilities of such seemingly common plants are incredible. One of them, called Chai Hu, is capable of detoxifying the liver and helps keep your frustration and anger away. Another, called dan shen, activates blood circulation and is helpful against heart diseases and chest pain and a third one known as Sheng Di, clears the heat of the body and cools the blood (pretty useful on a hot day like this).

This list is only a sample of the numerous plants we encountered and they are a testimony to the wealth of the millenia-old Chinese culture, a culture that will keep surprising us all along the trip.

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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Chinese Herbal Medicine

Max Vachon,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

When most Western tourists go to the Great Wall , they usually get awed by the splendor and the majesty of the place, but they rarely take a chance to look around and get a real taste of the local culture. That wasn t the case for us, for we had the chance to explore […]

Posted On

07/4/10

Author

Max Vachon

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Hey Everyone,

The first day in Beijing was awesome as we explored the forbidden city, Tianamen Square and MaoZiDong's toumb. Sitting in A corner of the Forbidden City, Nina gave us an awesome lecture on the fall of the qing dynasty that facsinated everyone and got us even more excited to dive into the Chinese culture and history.The groupmet an adorable young chinese boywhojoyously practiced his english and took a picture with us.Later on last night, we all cleaned up and ate a delicious traditional beijing duck dinner. Although the rainy, humid weather was not ideal, eveyone had a blast and the skies even cleared up for our hike today. We all aresqueezing into the van now, ready to climb a remote area of the great wall where we are all looking forward to a sunset chigong sesh. Everything is great, we'll post back later to keep you updated!

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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forbidden city

Grace Backe,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

Hey Everyone, The first day in Beijing was awesome as we explored the forbidden city, Tianamen Square and MaoZiDong’s toumb. Sitting in A corner of the Forbidden City, Nina gave us an awesome lecture on the fall of the qing dynasty that facsinated everyone and got us even more excited to dive into the Chinese […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Grace Backe

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We are in China!

What an amazing group!

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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We are in China!!!

Annie Jiao,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

We are in China! What an amazing group!

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Annie Jiao

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It’s hot and humid – so of course, we are already at China! It’s been an adventure simply getting to the hostel that we are staying at – but I honestly can’t imagine a better group to have such an adventure with! We are such a diverse group of different people who all come from a multitude of different backgrounds. It all makes for quite the adventure, and I’m looking forward to the many days I shall be spending with such splendid people!

Before the adventurous plane ride, we had our first Mandarin lesson! Well, for me, it was my first Mandarin lesson at least. We have only worked on pronunciation so far, but the pronunciation is quite tricky. However, I shall be practicing during “down” time in order to do my best to learn as much Mandarin as possible. It’s quite fun trying to meet the adversity of learning another new language!

We’re currently staying at a hostel in Beijing, and the accommodations are quite fitting! The hostel gives us a vivid picture of daily life in Beijing (much more so than staying at a four star hotel for example), and the accommodations themselves are very comfortable. They have quite the “homey” feel to them!

Having arriving in China and viewing the magnitude of Beijing’s atmosphere makes me further appreciate what I have at home! Thanks so much, mom and dad! China’s atmosphere and livelihood is quite different from life in the United States, and I’m doing my best to make the adjustment! With such caring peers and mentors, I’m sure I can meet this challenge!

I’m having a blast in Beijing right now and for the most part, most of our time was spent just getting to Beijing! I can’t wait for another new adventure to start, and I do hope to write again!

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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The Beginning!

Brian Lee,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

It’s hot and humid – so of course, we are already at China! It’s been an adventure simply getting to the hostel that we are staying at – but I honestly can’t imagine a better group to have such an adventure with! We are such a diverse group of different people who all come from […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Brian Lee

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Hey, Greetings from BeiJing! Meeting everyone was fun and we all were excited, anticipating the next 6 weeks we would be spending together. From the begining we hit it off and within hours were playing games and dancing around the airport. Kai taught us some relaxing taichi and balancetricksduring our layover to make us look even more ridiculous. However, after traveling for what seemed like FOREVERwe arrived today at our hostle/hotel and were relieved to chill and take some much needed showers. China is amazing and it was sweet to justgaze out the window and take everything in. Shout out to the fam i'm already having an awesome time, and can't wait to go eat and see the rest of beijing!

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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we’re here!

Grace Backe,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

Hey, Greetings from BeiJing! Meeting everyone was fun and we all were excited, anticipating the next 6 weeks we would be spending together. From the begining we hit it off and within hours were playing games and dancing around the airport. Kai taught us some relaxing taichi and balancetricksduring our layover to make us look […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Grace Backe

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While waiting for our flight to Hong Kong at LAX, our new family of intrepid explorers set off on our first adventure: surveying the terminal for potential food options. When we discovered that the area offered little more than bottled water and candy, we headed back. Along the way, we came across another student group, dressed in lime green t-shirts and rehearsing a dance routine of some sort. Despite the fact that most of us had been awake for almost 24 hours, we naturally challenged these new rivals to a West Side Story-esque dance off. And while our rhythmic snapping resulted in little more than confused glances (and a great deal of amusement with ourselves), it certainly solidified a sense of what our group has, and will, become. I cannot wait to see where the next six weeks will take us. Until next time...

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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West Side Story at LAX

Sarah Morell,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

While waiting for our flight to Hong Kong at LAX, our new family of intrepid explorers set off on our first adventure: surveying the terminal for potential food options. When we discovered that the area offered little more than bottled water and candy, we headed back. Along the way, we came across another student group, […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Sarah Morell

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After spending endless amounts of hours in planes and airports, we have finally arrived in Beijing All of the traveling went smoothly, with the exception of the taxi ride. Max, Jonny, Sam, and myself got stuck with an overconfident cab driver who seemed to think that help was uneccesary. After a couple failed attempts of trying to locate the hostel, Max (the only one who could actually communicate with the driver) finally persuaded the driver to call the hotel. While Max was busy getting us to the hostel, Sam, Max, and I waved to many people on the streets to entertain ourselves. The whole taxi ride was both humorous and amusing. Now our awesome group is hanging out in the hostel, becoming even tighter than before (Which isn't really possible).

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

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Dazed and Confused

Imogen Morrall,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2010

Description

After spending endless amounts of hours in planes and airports, we have finally arrived in Beijing All of the traveling went smoothly, with the exception of the taxi ride. Max, Jonny, Sam, and myself got stuck with an overconfident cab driver who seemed to think that help was uneccesary. After a couple failed attempts of […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Imogen Morrall

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