It's been a while, hasn't it?
Here I am in week four, and I have so much to tell you! Things have gotten pretty busy lately, so I've neglected to update my blog. My sincerest apologies. So here's the latest from my life in Beijing:
(1) Last Monday, I went to the Great Wall. Basically, it was the greatest thing I've seen, and everyone needs to see it. Seriously, reconsider your next vacation to Hawaii or Mount Rushmore, and head to the Great Wall. It took a subway, then a bus, and then a taxi to get there, but I can't even explain the feeling I got when the Wall first became visible. The Wall is pretty far outside of Beijing proper, so the air was clear and clean. It sits atop mountains, and it stretches as far as you can see. You've probably seen pictures, or checked it out on google earth, but I'm telling you, nothing can compare to standing on the Wall and taking in the lush and green view.
As you know, Beijing has a serious problem with pollution. So although I've also been able to see many other great sites (Tiananmen, the Temple of Heaven, Beihai Park, etc.), going to the Wall was even more special because it was literally a breath of fresh air. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to describe my experience at the Great Wall, and I realized there is nothing I could say that would do it justice. So, I've included a picture. My friend Jack took it after he and I had taken a long hike through a more dilapidated part of the Wall (crumbling, crazy steep stairs and all). Our other companions didn't want to venture there because we'd already been walking for a couple hours, and the part we had already walked on was much easier. Even though we were tired, sweaty, and a bit dehydrated, it was totally worth it.
(2) As a quick note, I visited Tiananmen Square again. We couldn't go into the Forbbiden City because for some reason it closes at 11:00 a.m. on Mondays (and we got there at 11:07. Bah.). So I'll have to go there another day. But, for those of you who were annoyed by my lack of photos earlier, I went with my fellow interns, and one of them was kind enough to snap this shot. Oh, and how lucky am I that on this day -- one of the only days that the sun was actually shining in Beijing -- I ended up with a crazy sunburn?
(3) For the foodies out there, this past week I ate at a crazy delicious Japanese restaurant. We had tonkatsu ("Tonkatsu, is a Japanese food which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. There are two main types, hire and rosu. It is often served with shredded cabbage. Tonkatsu originated in Japan in the 19th century." -- I Wikipedia-ed it for you), edamame, saki, and Japanese beer. If you arrive between seven and nine, you can pay 35 yuan for an all you can drink special. Nice.
I've also enjoyed green tea ice cream (delicious), and observed my fellow interns eating scorpions and donkey-meat sandwiches. I refused both of the latter. The scorpions were skewered alive, and sat atop the counter wriggling their little legs, just waiting to be dunked into boiling oil (And yes, as the photo shows, they also had sea horses. And you can't see, but there were starfish too). As for the donkey-meat, considering the fact that eating pork is a stretch for me -- and something I never do in my real, United States' life -- eating an animal that is only one step ahead of pig and one step behind horse was too much. Especially considering the fact that there were pictures of donkeys all over the place. I was hearing Eddie Murphy's voice the entire time.
(4) Work is great. I'm learning a lot, and spending copious amounts of time reading 40-year-old journal articles, trying to learn about the origins of diversion programs in the United States and China. I should probably spend more time telling you about it, but honestly, I think I've exhausted the easy to understand explanation of my research. And in an attempt to avoid boring you, I will wait to explain the next phase of my project, which just started today.
So that's all for now. I'm enjoying my time, and I am missing Williamsburg (I didn't even know that it was possible for me to feel that way, ha!).