First Day in Beijing

Our flights were smooth yesterday (minus the lack of movies/TV on the Detroit-Seattle-Beijing group’s long flight). We checked into our hotel on the North China Electric Power University campus and were in our rooms by 10:00 p.m. Everyone is getting the hang of boiling the tap water in the provided electric kettles to use for brushing teeth and drinking.

This morning, we went to breakfast at NCEPU’s Dining Hall #2 – options galore and I don’t think anyone spent more than 10 yuan (which is less than $2) from our prepaid meal cards. There aren’t signs next to the food so most of us are not sure exactly what we’re selecting, but it was all quite good.

We toured the campus, listened to a welcome and a lecture on Chinese history and culture, and then took the placement tests. Each student is assigned to either Group A or Group B for the classes that begin tomorrow.

After lunch (in Dining Hall 1 or 2), we boarded a bus to visit the Great Wall. Today is Qingming Festival in China, a holiday dedicated to remembering one’s ancestors and often celebrated with cemetery visits. Because of the holiday traffic, it took about an hour and a half to reach the Badaling section of the Great Wall. We all climbed the South Wall as it was slightly less crowded. Many Chinese people asked for photos with members of our group. After the climb down (arguably more difficult than going up because of the incredibly steep slope), we visited some shops and then had a buffet dinner.

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