Week #1 – Random Thoughts

This week has been a phenomenal week full of work (yes, I said work), excitement, and adventure.   The week started with 44 Zhongguo Adventurers setting flight to China.   Oh, what does Zhongguo mean? It is a term used to refer to all territories claimed by the People’s Republic of China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan).   The food has been plentiful and very delicious, with the highlight of the food (for me) being the roasted duck from the HePing Gate Roast Duck Restaurant.  Our hosts have been most gracious to us, and have truly taken care of all of our needs.  It is amazing how nice everyone has been to us, regardless of where we have been, who we have spoken with, and what questions we have asked.  A big thanks to our guides, Leonard, and Li Bo (a.k.a Cookie).

A week later, I feel like a local of China, as if I have been here all of my life.  We have been to great places such as the Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), Lao She Tea House, and many of the local outlets, such as the Pearl Market and Silk Street, with many more great adventures to come.  It is also interesting to intermingle with other colleagues as everyone is navigating through.

Peking Duck
The HePing Gate Roast Duck Restaraunt, an enormous five story restaurant, that prepares many cuisines, but specializes in the “Peking Duck.”   The Peking Duck, is a roasted duck, prepared by separating the skin of the duck from the meet, and roasting it in such as way as to render the fat from duck, leaving behind a beautiful crisp skin. The best part of the whole meal was how crispy, and delicious the skin of the duck tasted, as it just melt in your mouth.

Saturday 7/16, we split into two different groups, and was bound and determined to adventure away from the safe confines of the campus, into the city of Beijing (Watch out Beijing!!!!).   One group went to the “Silk Street,” and the other group went to the “Art District.”

Silk Street
What is silk street you ask?   Silk Street is market that sells commodities such as shoes, bags and cases, leather, famous brands, causal wear, fashion clothing, silk wax printing, crafts, jewelry, and antiques.  If ever you need to brush up on your negotiating skills, this is the place to come. Wow, I have never been at a place in which the vendors are literally pulling and pushing you into their booths. Tip, go in knowing what you want, how much you know/think it is work (basically how much your willing to pay), be prepared to walk away from a deal you aren’t happy with, don’t be afraid to use their calculator, and know the currency rate.   All those tips will allow you to confidently purchase the items you want, and know that you have a great deal.

Art District
The art district commonly referred to as “798 Art Zone,” is a part of the Chaoyang District of Beijing that houses a thriving artistic community, which is often compared to New York’s Greenwich Village or SoHo.   Here you can enjoy the artistic ambience and flare, at the same time enjoy some of the cafe’s located around the site.   For more information please go to the following link, 798 Art Zone.

In conclusion, week one was chocked full of both lecture, language study, and also free time.   Weeks two and three will be much more intense, but will definitely be noteworthy. Stay Tuned!!!!!!