Follow Paulina and Kim's trip to China in May 2014 with DU's Study Abroad Program.

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Accommodations for Day 11: Beijing: The Kuntai Hotel is hands down the best hotel that I have ever stayed in. Each room is equipped with its own Wi-Fi connection. No having to worry about someone else stealing your signal! The bathrooms were very clean. The shower head was one of the rain shower heads where it just comes from the ceiling. The room was also very spacious. The dinner and breakfast were buffet style with all different types of food. It was simply awesome. 

DAY ELEVEN: Bejing: The LAST Last Day

You’re probably reading this and wondering, how are they having a LAST last day? It was supposed to be for ten days! And now there’s another post!

Well, we were supposed to be leaving for Chicago the morning of what would be “Day 11”. We all got through security just fine, waited to board the plane, boarded the plane, and waited for take off. Unfortunately, take off never happened that day. First we were told that we had to wait until all of the cellphones were off. That took some time. Then we were told that there was trouble with communication with the watch tower. That took some time. Then we were told that they were finally able to communicate with the tower and that we had to get to the take off strip. That took some time. Then we were told that there might be an electrical problem and that they had to call in engineers. That took some time. Then we were told that we had to wait until the engineers made the call of whether or not we were leaving today. That took some time. Then we were told that we would not be taking off due to the electrical problem and that we had to wait for immigration. That took some time. Then we were all boarded off of the plane and had to get our passports rechecked. That took some time.Then we had to wait for buses to take us to a five-star hotel. I said that knowing my luck, it will just be a crappy motel named “Five-Star.”

As you can tell, this was a very long and dreary day. We thought we were going home, but China just wanted to keep us there longer. We befriended a flight attendant and a few students from DePaul during this whole ordeal. It was nice to see that even during this time, we all bonded anyway.

You are probably wondering if our hotel was an actual five-star hotel or a crappy motel named “Five-Star.” It was definitely a five-star hotel. It was the best hotel I ever stayed at in my entire life. To see a better review of the hotel, check out the Hotels tab on the side, where you can also see reviews of the other hotels that we stayed at.

Finally, the next day, we did actually get home safely.

DAY TEN: Beijing: Last Day in China

Our last day in China was spent enjoying the area around our hotel as well as going to a Chinese wholesale mall. 

The mall was definitely not what we expected. It reminded us of a warehouse full of vendors trying to get sales on their merchandise. One of the biggest differences from an American mall was that we could haggle for prices at the wholesale mall. There were five floors and each floor had different merchandise. Bags and shoes were on the first floor, makeup and hair products on the second, souvenirs on the third, clothing on the fourth, and home accessories on the fifth. 

Later on in the day we spent time in the Ho Hai area. We got to bond with one another and share our favorite and least favorite experiences in China. Although we did not do much on the last night, it was one of our favorites because we got to spend quality time with great people on the trip. 

Link(s) to Photos: Purchases, Roots Reggae Bar

Advice to Future Students: Take advantage of the great prices at the wholesale markets. Also use the haggling skills you picked up on the trip to your advantage. You will definitely need them here. Have fun with the people you went on the trip with because soon you will be back home going about your normal day to day life. 

Accommodations for Days 6-10 in Beijing: The King Parkview Hotel was not bad actually! The location was great for when any of us wanted to go out and explore the town. It was your standard hotel. Nothing too special, but nothing to complain about either! Wi-Fi was limited to the lobby, but we all somehow managed to survive. 

DAY NINE: Beijing: Confucius temple, the Guo Zi Jian Museum, University Visit, Jing-Hang Canal, the Summer Palace and the Tongrentang pharmacy.

Topics: After reading about the influence of Confucius on China we think it will be interesting to see the temple in Beijing. In the required text we read that Confucius has actually been frowned upon in most of China’s history. It is interesting that China has founded a temple in his honor in Beijing and many more around the world.

Confucius Temple and the Guo Zi Jian Museum:

The Confucius Temple was quite beautiful. As you may have realized from all of the text posts, I do find most of Chinese architecture to be beautiful. It is much more pleasing to the eye than the very square and modern architecture here in the States. Confucianism is a philosophy, a way of life, surrounding humanistic ethics. Near the temple was the Guo Zi Jian Museum, in which there are displays of the education system for government officials from the Tang Dynasty until 1906. When students came to speak to their professors, they had to kneel before them. Our own professor, Dr. Beach, thought that this was a great idea for the next semester and the future for his office. We even gave him the satisfaction of having a photo with him standing before us as our professor and kneeling before him.  

University Visit:

After our visit to the Confucius Temple and the Guo Zi Jian Museum, we visited Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). BFSU is the top language university in all of China, offering over 56 languages. We met with a few of the students who studied English at BFSU. After some introductions, some amazing coffee, and hints on how to get onto Facebook (which is blocked in China), we received a tour of their grand library. I simply fell in love with it. Even the outside of the library is beautiful, with the word “Library” carved all over with different languages. It was definitely unique. Afterwards, we all split up to play various sports: table tennis, badminton, or basketball. These students were much better than we were at these sports, and constantly beat us. It was still fun though! We were able to bond and start a few friendships. We even exchanged emails and Facebook information to keep in touch after we got back to the States.

The Summer Palace:

To get to the Summer Palace, we took a water taxi down the Imperial Waterway. The Summer Palace is a beautiful part of land filled with lakes, palaces, and gardens. We only walked on one side of the lake and admired the beauty of the palaces. We did not take a boat to see the actual palaces, but it was still a great site to see.

Tongrentang Pharmacy:

The Tongrentang Pharmacy is nothing like your local Walgreens or CVS. In China, there are two healthcare systems, Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. This pharmacy is a traditional medicinal store. The medicine available is mainly herbs or animal parts. There were various teas that were supposed to cure certain ailments. One of the medicines was a plant during the winter, but a bug in the spring. They even sold dried full seahorses, horse testicles, and deer tails. The dried deer tail, when crushed and mixed with Chinese wine, is supposedly good for the kidneys, as well as the menstrual cycle for women.

Rachel’s 22nd Birthday:

We had to properly celebrate Rachel’s 22nd birthday, especially since she was able to have that celebration in China! We went to what had become our usual spot, Roots Reggae Bar in the Ho Hai area. We sat around, talked, and had some drinks. It was an all-around fun night. Being cat lady supreme, of course, I befriended the bar’s cat, Ponzu. I also found out what “ponzu” means. “Ponzu” means fat pig. I felt bad for the kitty! Kim was worried that I would get fleas from Ponzu and bring them back to our room, but no itchiness so no fleas! Ponzu was very sweet and even fell asleep on my lap during our night out. It was definitely a night to remember that was filled with many, many laughs.

Link(s) to Photos: Confucius Temple and Guo Zi Jian Museum, University Visit, The Summer Palace, Rachel’s 22nd Birthday

Advice to Future Students: 1) Play sports with the university students. It helps both you and the students to open up to each other a bit faster and easier. We all felt closer with the students after some matches of table tennis, games of badminton, or games of basketball. 2) Definitely bring some loose clothes if you do decide to play sports. Most of us girls were wearing dresses that day that were not too great when it comes to playing sports.