Friday, February 10, 2012

CHINA- Beijing & Shanghai

for days 2-5 i spent my time traveling to beijing, hiking the wall and visiting the forbidden city.

DAY2- we boarded a plane in Hong Kong and flew into beijing. the entire process took all day and when we landed we drove to our hotel and enjoyed dinner at a local chinese restaurant.
DAY3- Hiking the great wall
we woke up early, dressed in layers, packed our day packed and headed off in a tour bus to the bottom of the mountain. we started our hike at the base of a mountain in a mongolian farming village. as soon as we started our hike up i felt exhausted. the elevation and cold air really killed me and i had a hard time breathing. but i pushed though it because i was having the opportunity of a lifetime. We hiked on th Great Wall of China for EIGHT HOURS! it was the most intense hike i have ever been on. the wall was crumbling below us and footing was not always easy. It followed the top ridge of the mountain side so i hiked up and down mountains all day, up and sown crumbling stairs and steep slopes. at one point we had to hike down the mountain and through a farm, only because that part of the wall is un open to non chinese people. Crazy! over all i had an amazing experience that i will never forget. (especially being given a big-mac by a farmer who hiked up the mountain with a cooler full of them just to feed us lunch! ) wherever we stood along the awl it stretched out for miles in the distance, something you can only imagine when you are looking at pictures.

Day4- we returned back to the wall and hiked a different portion of it for about 4 hours. it was definitely an easier day because the we were hiking in a more touristy area where the wall had been repaired. although ... there were definitely a lot more stairs involved...

That afternoon our great wall group took a trip to the forbidden city. I loved having the opportunity to visit because i had learned all about its history and meaning in my Monuments of World Architecture Class. It is exactly as i imagined it would be. Massive, simple yet beautiful and very zen. I liked that i knew random bits of information that i could share with my friends, enhancing everyones experience.

We spent day five flying back to shanghai where the ship was now docked.

Day SIX- in china i did a service vista to a kindergarten classroom. my friend hannah and i helped instruct an english lesson. They work on their english everyday by following along on a dvd with sentences and song. It was a lost of fun helping the kids learn and watching them smile while singing. After their lesson they were allowed out for recess not eh roof of their building. most of them were shy but i found they liked to jump rope, be spun around and race. at the end of our time, we helped serve their lunch.

*all photo credits to Margarita, Emily and Hannah, who nicely shared their shots with me after my camera was lost/stole/misplaced

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