There was way too much to do with all of my naps, reading, more naps, more reading, and the occasional Downton Abbey episode. As you can tell, I have been quite busy! (To help you read through the sarcasm, I have also worked several shifts at the hospital so far and have loved it!) As some of you know, nursing school leaves me with little time to do one of the things I love most- reading [for pleasure and not just my textbooks]. Throughout the school year, I collect book titles that I want to read once the summer term hits. To prove my nerdiness, I even have two lists- one on my computer and one in my planner, just in case one is not nearby. Now that summer has officially arrived, I have delved into this list and am already on my third book. It's a problem. Hence, the lack of a blog post. Anyways, enough of excuses! Let's move on to the good stuff. China!
After Taiwan, about half of my group (including my instructor) traveled to Beijing for 9 days. The last three days of our trip, we were on a group tour hitting all the major sites. The days before that we were left to fend for ourselves. Naturally, this included a lot of shopping. I felt like we hit up about every market we could find in Beijing and revisited some of them up to three times. Another problem. The pearl market was my favorite. This was probably the biggest of all problems because I am IN LOVE with all things pearls and always have been since the day I got my ears pierced. So much so that I probably only go about 9 days out of the year without wearing some sort of pearl on me. The pearl market is exactly what it sounds like- thousands and thousands of pearls in all shapes, colors, and sizes stretching as far as the eye can see. I may or may not have left here tripling the amount of pearls I owned back home.
|A little bit of heaven on Earth|
|Bargaining in action. I was pretty much the worst at this part and always had to have someone help.|
We also went to the Beijing Zoo one day. It was just like a regular zoo except that it had a panda house, making it about 10x more amazing.
|Apparently the panda wants nothing to do with us. Rude.|
|I REALLY wanted to touch the turtle.|
|First time petting a zebra! I was scared, I'm not going to lie.|
|I want this as a pet! Seriously.|
|Beautiful lake in the middle of the zoo.|
The real question is, what do they not put on a stick? Scorpions? Check!
Snake on a stick? Check!
|Thinking about it.|
|Not too sure about it.|
Tiananmen Square: I guess I am not really sure what I was expecting to have happen here, but the whole situation shocked me. The feeling I had while being here was palpable and a little disturbing. It is actually really hard for me to put into words. We all know the history behind what happened at the square and I felt like we were the only ones that actually did. I asked our tour guide to explain the events that took place and I was not prepared for her answer. She told us that some people were protesting socialism in the 1990's. And that was about it. We asked her questions about some of the things we knew about Tiananmen Square and she did not understand what we were talking about. She just kept repeating her same explanation over and over again. It was clear to us that the government has told them one thing and conveniently left out the rest of the details. This is something that is very interesting and different to me. We spent a short while walking around the square, but I was more than ready to leave that pit in the bottom of my stomach behind. I will never forget what it was like to be standing there where so many people lost their lives and yet being surrounded by many people who do not know the truth of it all. After we got back to the hotel that night, I tried looking up Tiananmen Square on Wikipedia and it was completely blocked.
|Interestingly enough, this was about it.|
|Our group. And a random Chinese friend in a red shirt who wanted to be a part of our picture. This was how it always was. So funny to me!|
|Entrance to the forbidden city|
|The emperor was the only one allowed to go through the middle doors because they were taller. The rest of us/commoners were required to go through the shorter doors which lay on either side of the emperors door.|
|Jim and I are demonstrating proper finger placement for a male and female while drinking tea.|
|"Ball of Happiness"|
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA: Everyone always asks me what my favorite part of China was. I would probably have to say the Great Wall of China! Part of me couldn't stop thinking about the opening scene in Mulan the whole time I was there, but I was still able to focus on the history that occurred here. It was incredible!
|We rode the gondola's up the mountain.|
|I was a little nervous to ride the gondola's in the first place, but then when one showed up like this, I really got nervous!|
|First step onto the Great Wall!|
|Some parts were crowded.|
|Some parts were steep. Okay, the whole thing was steep.|
|This picture makes me laugh. This was not staged at all, but the guy on the ground in the background captures what a workout the Great Wall really was.|
|Playing games in the nearby park|
|I wanted to buy it because it was so incredibly soft!|
|We are the Olympic rings. Check out that air pollution too. They say that for every 6 days you are in Beijing, it is equivalent to smoking a cigarette. Nasty.|
We arrived safe and sound at LAX and took one last picture to complete the journey. Okay, well it turned out to be three because there was a slight interruption.
|This was not planned! But absolutely hilarious he managed to walk right in front of the camera as the picture was being taken. Classic.|
|It wouldn't be the end without a good ol' peace sign.|