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Daniel's China Adventure

China day 4 and 5

Friday, August 7, 2009

If I were to describe today in a nutshell, it would definately be called sweaty. The first activity of the day was to leave our wonderful hotel in Beijing and embark on a journey to a remote lake. It was about forty five minutes outside of Beijing. Our group split up into two smaller teams and raced on dragon boats. I was unfortunately on the losing boat but it was a great race. We only lost by about a boat's length. I was surprised to find out that there was an art to this kind of racing. It takes practice to get a group of people and row at the same time. One person had to take charge and yell to the rest of the group when to go forward and back. That person happen to be me and let me tell you, its very hard. I ran out of breath half way into the race and just stuck to short words. Technique is really important if one wishes to win a race in dragon boating. After the festivities in the lake, we headed to the rec center and played ping pong, badminton and basketball. It was really fun to play ping pong after the master lesson. I practiced the hard shot technique and it sure payed off in several games against adam. After all of the racing, serving and playing, we were pretty sweaty. The cold beverages at lunch were quite refreshing. We sat at a table above the lake and the scenery was beautiful. I didn't really notice the nature when we were racing on the lake but when we had lunch it was incredible. The lush green surrounding really caught my attention.

Following the lunch, we arrived in a small village two hours away called gubeikou. Upon arrival, our group was greeted by chinese dancers and a large celebration. It was interesting to see how welcoming all the people were. The atmoshere for foreigners in China is so welcoming and warm. I was really surprised to see how nice everyone was. When we got to the village we hiked a path to see parts of the great wall. We learned about the emperors that witnessed its construction. After the tour of the village, we went to a room that surprisingly had tvs and lights. The villagers planned for us to karaoke! The boys picked out YMCA and we sang and danced our hearts out. The last thing I expected to do in China was karaoke in a remote village! Our next activity was dinner with the villagers. We had a special treat during dinner. A man and woman came out and sang a song for every person at dinner. They would complement that song with a cup of water. When the man came to me he told katie and I to take three cups of water to symbolize what the emperor would do. The buildings in the village had unusually high thresholds. Our guide Rileyy told me that it is a spiritual barrier that keeps the devil away. The devil doesn't have knees so he can't get in. Another interesting thing about the dinner doorway was that it was extremely short. The reason behind this is to bow to the emperor's picture on the other side of the room. I thought both of these ideas were awesome. There is so much symbology in the Chinese culture. After the great dinner we were off to camp beneath the great wall. This is why I couldn't blog because there was no service. We had to set up tents and sleep under the stars. Despite the massive amounts of bugs, I really enjoyed being in nature. We had to wake up at five in the morning to hike the great wall which was the adventure of today!

Day 5

As explained above, yesterday was really eventful and full of surprises. Today, however, was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. We hiked and scaled one of the greatest creations of all time: the great wall of China. It was about a ten mile hike through lush jungle and rugged terrain. I wasn't expecting to hike off the wall but we spent about half the time in plant life. We even got lost in a corn field! There were parts in the hike where if you fell, you wouldn't turn out too good. I was astonished at the wall. I even took a piece of it to take with me home. Its amazing to see such an old structure in real life. In America, we really don't have anything that ancient. Seeing a civilization build such a wonder was incredible. I never thought I would see what I saw today. After the tedious hike, we got on the bus. I am in fact on the bus right now heading to chengde. We are on the way to a hotel for the night. I will never forget this day and I wonder what's on the agenda for the near future. I'm looking forward to find out!

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Karen said...

What an amazing two days you have had. I'm sure you realize that the regular tourist does not get this kind of opportunity. I bet you guys were a "hoot" when you did YMCA for the crowd. Karen Wells DSA South Africa

Changing Connections said...

I hope someone made a video of the dragon races; they sound like so much fun. So, a sweaty day; can almost see and hear YMCA. Wonder what the villagers thought.

Your comment about thresholds and warding off evil spirits intrigues, as well as the short doors. Great details. Much appreciate your sharing. On your way to scholar athlete?

RJ Stangherlin
PA DEN Leadership Council Blog Coordinator

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Essential Programs Details

Duration 15 days
When August 4th - 18th, 2009
Focus History/Culture
Martial Arts
Modern/Ancient Architecture