Archive for July, 2008

Olympic torch relay week

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

This past Monday was the torch relay in Qingdao.  I and most of my classmates went down to the main gate of the university where the torch would pass by.  I got there about 6:15 so I could get a good spot, only to be moved three different times by policemen shooing bystanders back and down the street so that the students bearing flags representing various donors could be right next to the street.  Not at all fun, but understandable.  So anyway, I finally found a spot and then proceeded to wait around for three hours for the torch.  I had heard it would come by at 8 am, but in reality it started at 8 am and didn’t come by the university until 9:30.  In that time I chatted with some Chinese people, did some homework, and watched the excited crowd practice chanting in unison “Zhongguo jiayou, Ouyun jiayou” (Go China! Go Olympics!).  I also practiced chanting with them and managed to procure (more…)

Pics from the last few weeks

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Ok, here’s the rest of the pictures from our Taishan trip. I already posted day 1, now here is day 2 and 3, as well as other pictures from last two weekends. Enjoy!


This is a picture of the main temple in Confucius’ temple complex. This complex is where Confucius taught and it is filled with monuments to him that have been built over the years.


A picture of the long halls on either side of the many temples and monuments that currently hold more shrines to lots and lots of someone’s, but I suspect that previously they could have been (more…)

Last weekend and this weekend

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to tell you about my next two days of adventure in length, mostly because I’ve been sick and going places this weekend, thus have not done my homework yet, thus I have to do homework now instead of writing a long post.

In short, on Friday morning we visited Confucius’ and Mencius’ temple’s/homes. Confucius’ place was a bit crouded, him being more or less the most famous philosopher in Chinese history. Mencius’ place was much less crowded and more fun in my opinon. Both temple complexes (which were also where they taught their students and did philosophical things), had bunches of very old evergreens growing everywhere, and there were lots of noisy birds. All the buildings and such had been restored and repainted etc, several times over the centuries, so of course everything wasn’t just like it was back then. We had a tour guide, but (more…)

Pictures for Day – 1 (go read the written post first cuz it explains the pictures)

Sunday, July 13th, 2008


Countryside seen from the bus window as we drove toward Taian city


More countryside, we saw a lot of greenhouses like this one, though this was the only one I saw with (more…)

Our trip to SW Shandong – Day 1

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

This week we went on another field trip, though this one was longer than the one we had a couple week ago. We had class mon-wed and then left early thursday morning, coming back saturday evening. We visited the towns of Taian, Qufu the hometown of Confucius, Zoucheng the hometown of Mencius, and another town which I believe is called Weifang (famous for its traditional arts especially kite making). Because I am sure I’m going to write enough to count as a senior thesis paper, I’m going to split this up into days, days one two and three. Here’s day one:

Our fist adventure started before we even got anywhere. For the trip, we had our usual bus and bus driver. Our bus is very large and very pink, with two rear-view mirrors that look for all the world like drooping bunny ears. Our driver is good at getting a bus through spaces that no bus has any right squeezing through, and he is rather horn happy (a more common occurrence in China than America). Our tour-guides, though full of good intentions, were…..interesting. There were two of them, Liu Zuzhang and Chen Jianlei, and from what I understood they were (more…)

Going away for a few days

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

We are leaving tomorrow morning for Tai Shan, a mountain in southwestern Shandong province which was the home of Confucius. We’ll also be visiting a few other places in the process, so I probably won’t have internet between tomorrow and Sunday. Just FYI, if you send me something and I don’t reply, that’s why.

Much to my annoyance, because of this trip we won’t be having school tomorrow OR next monday *grumble grumble*. I mean, come on, I came here to study and here they are canceling two days of school for a measly field trip. I mean, I don’t grudge the field trip, it will be really good education and we’ll get to see some more of China, but do they really have to cancel school for it? Sigh…..and I’m sure you are not surprised to hear that all the OTHER students are widely happy about two free days.

They complained that it wouldn’t be fair to have school on Monday because we will have been traveling all weekend and couldn’t get out homework done in time. Well, I pointed out that they could always take their homework with them! I will be. We’ll be driving for about 6 hours both ways, so that’s plenty of time to get a lot of homework done. But unfortunately my logical argument was drowned out with boos and when we voted on “school or no school” for monday, I was the only one who voted for school (hmph, you’d think they didn’t like school or something).

So that is how I am suffering at the moment, everything else is just dandy. In fact, I found a very large wood borer (kind of bug) lying dead next to a tree outside our classroom the other day. Its head and two legs had come off (in the process of decomposition and because something chewed on it), but I managed to find all the pieces and I used super-glue to put it all back together. Best of all it hadn’t been dead that long, so it was still flexible and I pinned it up on a foam plate. It is currently sitting on my window sill, drying. It is quite a find, about an 1 1/2 inches long with antennae that are about 2 1/2 inches long, black with white spots. I found a beautiful ground beetle the other day as well, also very large, but this one had been half eaten by something and I could not salvage it.

So there’s your excitement for the day, I hope to post more next week, we’ll see how much time I have sunday.

4th of July and other things

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Ok, so this week from Mon to Thur. was really busy. I got maybe four hours of sleep each night. But don’t feel sorry for me, it wasn’t a big deal, I lived through it and I love school. It was however, one of the first times I can remember just lying down on my bed, still dressed and not even under the covers, and the next thing I knew it was morning. I hadn’t even meant to lie down on the bed in the first place (or maybe I only meant to lie there for a few seconds *sheepish look*). Fortunately my body knows what’s good for me and when it comes to the point, it has it’s way. Thursday we had a couple tests (in addition to class, not instead of), which I hope I did well on, and then school was over for the week.

This past friday, as you know, was the 4th of July, and we planned a big party to have out on the beach on Friday night (we being the American students from Ole Miss Univ. OSU, and Arizona state, who are all in this same study abroad program). The party was to be complete with grilled hot dogs and fire works, but then,  (more…)

Week III – part 2

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

So we had a thunderstorm today. It was really fun. I can’t remember the last time I was in a thunderstorm, which is sad because I love them. We were in class at the time (it was in the morning) and had to close the widows because it was raining so hard, we couldn’t hear the teacher over the thunder and the rain falling outside! In between classes though, I went out and jumpmed in puddles, getting very wet in the process. It was nice to be in the rain for a bit. It was pretty hot yesterday, so the rain was a nice relief.

Now, back to last week. So, that thursday night after we got back from visiting the school, was free time. I took a nap and then went out walking in the market with a chinese student. She got a necklace for herself and I bought some fruit and presents. She ‘complained’ that she had to pay more for the necklace because I was with her. Since I am a foreigner, I am more or less charged more anywhere the price isn’t fixed, which gives me lots of bargaining practice. So she thought the ‘puzi ren’ (store owner in chinese) wouldn’t go for less than he did because there was a ‘waiguo ren’ around (foreigner). I’m getting pretty good at bargaining. The most important thing is to be able to say no and walk away. Most things you find, you can find cheeper somewhere else. And sometimes you can say no and walk away, and come back later and get him to go down lower. You have to be able to set your own price in your mind and not buy it if the seller doesn’t meet that price, no matter how much you want it. You also need to start ridiculously low, ask for what you know they won’t give you, then move up to what they might and stay there because in the end, they usually give in.

Friday we got up around 7 and at 7:30 had a group breakfast at the hotel. It was VERY different from the breakfasts I’m used to, though not really strange since (more…)