Archive for December, 2009

Study Trip

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2009 by jenniferautumn

The study trip we went on was probably the best part of the program.  We saw so many things and had so much fun doing it.  It was crazy though, for two weeks we traveled with tiny suitcases by train, plane, and foot, never staying in the same place longer than two nights, seeing some of the most famous sites in China.   I was not disappointed; I admit that I was a little wary since up until this point my experience with Chinese cultural sites is that they are full of peddlers, beggars, trash, and smell like urine.  But these much improved my opinion.  I marked many things off my life to do list.

First we went to Luoyang and saw a performance at the Shaolin temple (you know, all the monks in orange robes who do martial arts) and the White Horse temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in China.  The next day we went to the Longmen grottoes, which are caves in a large rock cliff that are full of hundreds of Buddhas carved into the rock.

Our next stop was Chengdu, where we visited the panda reserve.  While it took some lobbying we were able to hold a red panda.  It was extremely cute.  They gave it apples to munch on so it would be happy while it posed with all of us.  We also saw an ancient irrigation project in Chengdu which without the use of dams had been responsible for both curing the region of flooding and making Sichuan the most productive agricultural in ancient China.

Our next stop was Xian, home of the terra cotta soldiers.  I don’t know what else to say on this one, it was exactly as impressive as you imagine it would be.

Guilin was probably my favorite area we went to.  We spent several days here, traveling around the region.  We climbed to the Longji terraces (our hotel was literally an hour hike up a mountains, on wet slippery rocks) and spent a couple days getting lost hiking to different villages.  We then traveled to the Li River and took bamboo rafts (legitimate bamboo rafts, like four pieces of bamboo latched together with a chair on top).  On our following free day some of us hired a small car to go to the place where the photo on the back of the 20 kuai bill was taken.

The people on our line were fantastic.  We all got along well together and made up games to keep ourselves entertained.  The line was divided into two groups to make it easier to keep people together, and I and another guy were assigned as group leaders.  I, of course, instantly dubbed us Red Squadron and Blue Squadron, and the group leaders Red Eagle and Blue Eagle.  Everyone had nicknames and we developed competitions between the two groups.  Our nights were filled with card games and beer (we kept trying to go out but somehow always managed not to lol), and our days started early and always had lots to do.

After two weeks the trip was over (tear) we returned to Beijing for our last day in China.