Let the Adventure Begin!
Today was a very tiring day with lots of new experiences already! We all just jumped right in ready to explore! Tiananmen Square followed by the Forbidden City was on the agenda for today. Tiananmen Square was huge and had great view of the building of the people.
Walking around there are many tourist groups some with microphones speaking Beijing dialect. In Beijing there are two different dialects – Beijing was simplified from Mandarin to get more people to be able to understand and write with characters, the Beijing dialect has simpler characters with less strokes but really they say the same thing. Characters are so difficult to write; people are called masters in writing the characters and they are sought out to write signs for shops and such. Anyway, after we saw the outsides of the buildings near Tiananmen Square we went to the Forbidden City.
There were endless amount of gates and buildings. so we were walking non-stop. The building styles looked straight out of Mulan! Speaking of Mulan. I am excited for tomorrow when Jack is going to sing Mulan songs on the way to the Great Wall.
At the Forbidden City there were a lot of tourists and people asking to take pictures with us. The people from smaller towns are not used to seeing white people so they treat us like celebrities and want to get a picture with us. Looking into the buildings, people are all trying to look inside so I was constantly getting shoved by people trying to see the emperor’s throne. I am always last because I am trying to take pictures. I do not normally like taking pictures, but I am trying to take pictures now because I know it will be less and less as the trip goes on.
We also went to the Bell Tower and across from that the Drum Tower. The Drum Tower was a very steep hike up 69 steps! Jack likes to count steps and so he challenged us to do so as well. Prof. Nik Butz, our trip leader, counted the steps as we climbed up today. At the top of the Drum Tower there was an amazing view of the city! There are so many small poodles that just walk around with there owners on the sidewalk; they are very well trained as they do not run off.
Our lunch today was super special as we went on a three-wheeled bike ride in a cart around to get to the courtyard where we had a traditional Chinese meal. I am very surprised so far we have had all great Chinese food! In their courtyard they had a bird and a chinchilla among other pets. The bird was squawking the entire time while we were eating! I am definitely never getting a bird – they are so loud and annoying. Someone asked what a sign said on their wall and it is a saying that they as a family live by. This saying simply meant if you give to others you will receive in return.
Casey Barton ’17 is a business administration—finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.