Archive for the ‘Traveling’ Category

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.

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…)

Beginning

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I am off. I’m currently sitting in the Detroit airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Tokyo. I’m also trying to figure out why my e-mail won’t work, sigh. If for some reason I don’t reply to your e-mail for a while, that would be why.

I got up at a lovely 4 am to go to the airport, as per my father’s orders who always allows for two hours to get through airport rigamoroll. Not surprisingly, I was through in a half an hour and spent the other hour and a half sleeping on a chair.

Since I’ve not even left the states yet, nothing exciting has happend so I’ll just stop talking now and get back to you once I’m in Beijing (if I can find a wi-fi hotspot that is).

Serving Him

Lydia