Sooooo…. I really wanted to be diligent about blogging everyday but I was so tired every night that I just knocked out! Today is my last day in China. It is about 9am here and I am sitting in the hotel lobby trying to catch up on my e-mails and such before I head to the airport.
This trip has been so interesting! I’m not sure if I could ever live here but it was so nice to just experience their culture and history! I can’t believe that I am heading back already!! I am so thankful that I didn’t get sick this entire trip and everything so far has gone very smoothly.
I realize that I am NOT a fan of Chinese food! I probably really enjoyed only 2 meals since I have been here. Even the praised peking duck wasn’t all that. I actually prefer Chinese food in the USA over the food here. I love how they eat it though! They eat family style. The table has a rotating center and the servers place the food on there. Then we can just turn it and take whatever it is that we would like. I think this is how dim sum restaurants in the US are set up too but this was a new experience for me. One thing I didn’t like was how hard it was to identify what I was eating. They would place food down on the table and say “Beef in sauce” but when I would bite into it, the beef was chewy and soft. Uhhhh…. not too sure if that was really beef O_o! BUT, when in China…. I would just close my eyes and swallow half the time. LOL!
I also realized that I could never be a celebrity! I swear I felt like Beyonce every day! The people here LOVE them some black folk. With me being tall and having natural hair, I was a special treat for them. I could not walk 2 feet without someone asking me to take a picture or stopping me to tell me how beautiful I am. I was a real self-esteem boost! As beautiful as they say I am, I highly doubt that any of these Chinese men would ever try to date me. LOL. Even still, it was a nice difference from the states where I need to remind myself that I am beautiful more often than not. It’s funny how in Italy, Greece, South Africa, and even now in China I was praised for my beauty but in the states it is bad to be too dark skinned, too natural, or too ethnic… THAT’S another story for another time though!
So, I have done quite a bit since my last update. On Day 4 we went to the Great Wall, visited the site of the 2008 Olympic games, went to a traditional tea ceremony, and watched how they manufacture Jade (their most precious stone) at a Jade factory. One thing I really respect about Chinese people is their hustle. Everywhere we went, they wanted to sell us something. At the Jade factory, I wanted this earring and necklace set but I didn’t want to pay the price and the lady would not let me leave until we bargained down to a price that I was comfortable with! After that, I didn’t pay full price for anything here!
On Day 5 we went to the Heavenly Temple and had a Tai Chi lesson from one of the elders of the community. This was HILARIOUS!! The local people were crowding around to watch the Americans make fools of ourselves. It was pretty cool though and I did feel pretty relaxed afterward. After this, we went to Hutong and took a rickshaw to a small village where we had lunch with a local family. Now THAT meal was BOMB! I guess no matter where you are, there’s nothing like home cooking! The chicken actually looked like parts of chicken that I have seen before. You know, a leg, a thigh, etc. LOL! Later, we went to a silk factory to see how silk is made and then we went to the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was beautiful but I was disappointed by how busy it was. There were people everywhere and I honestly just could not even enjoy the serenity of it all. The day that we went was a holiday for them so maybe that is why it was so full. I would have like to be there at a less busy time though.
The next day was a free day. My sister and I got up early to see the Giant Pandas at Beijing Zoo. This was SO sad!!!! They have the pandas in this tiny cage and they are all dirty and sad looking. I was so disturbed at how they treat their supposed mascot. I was glad for the experience but sheesh! After we went to the Lama Temple and watched how Buddhist worship and then we hit the Silk Street Market for SHOPPING!! The prices there are ridiculously cheap and we still bargained them down to less! I got so much stuff! I spent about $300 this entire trip so I am pretty happy! We were sick of Chinese food at this point so we ate at KFC and Pizza Hut for lunch and dinner. YO! Their KFC was SOOOOOOO good! Idk what they put in that original recipe but we need some of that in the states! The Pizza Hut was crazy because it is a fancy sit down restaurant here. Like, when we entered, we walked up a winding marble staircase to the dining area which was decorated with chandeliers and flowers. Their menu also had way more options. I took lots of pics. Definitely a new experience.
I am getting ready to head home now. This was a super long post but it still doesn’t even cover all the craziness that I experienced here. It’ll be nice to look back on this blog and remember all of this though :-)