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Daniel's China Adventure

China day 7

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ni hao once again from China! Today was one of those mellow days where not much was planned. We had one activity in the morning and the rest was set aside for travel. We had an early wake up call at seven so that we could bring out our checking luggage. We had to lock our checking bag because we are going on an overnight train tonight. We are going to Shaolin temple in the outskirts of the country. It is a temple where we will do martial arts and learn the spiritual side of the fine skill. Enough about the future, let's talk about today.

Our first and only activity today was the potala palace. This palace was used for the dale lama to come and stay there. There were four hundred steps that led to the top of the palace. At the top level of the building, there was another smaller building in the center of the structure. The top roof of the building was plated in real gold. I found it really hard to believe until the guide told us that it was real. What was interesting was that the lower part of the roof was much darker and more faded than the top. The reason was because when it was buillt, people climbed up to the ceiling and scraped off the gold for money. The top was clean gold because no one could reach it. I thought that was a cool little fact. After we came back to the bus, the weirdest thing happened. There was a camel roaming around in the parking lot! Two days in a row with out of the ordinary animal ordeals. When we were done with the palace, we went back to the hotel to freshen up before the long bus ride back to Beijing. The five hour bus ride was a great opportunity to relax, listen to some music, chat with firends, and just accept the fact that we are in this amazing country. It still seems surreal to be climbing the great wall, exploring ancient cultures, and learning new things every day. I must say this is one of the best trips I have ever been on and I have to thank discovery student adventures for making it possible. Anyways, back to my bus ride. One thing that really amazed me in this country is the absurd driving. People pass each other like shopers in front of macys on christmas eve. Its absolutely ridiculous. I'm pretty sure I almost saw five accidents today. Our bus driver was very safe and used his horn with ease. When we got to Beijing we had another "shopportunity" at the mall as well as a grubbortunity at mc donalds. It was a nice change from all the Chinese food. After some time at the mall we got on a train to Shaolin which I am actually on right now. We are headed to the martial arts school and will arrive in the morning. This is one of those activities that I have been looking forward to the most. The train is actually pretty nice. All the boys are rooming together and its a grand old time. Can't wait for tomorrow to see what it will bring.

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Karen Wells said...

A camel - you've got to be kidding. I think he has gotten his Discovery Student Adventures mixed up. They're probably looking for him in Egypt. I loved your simile comparing the people passing in traffic to Macy shoppers on Christmas Eve. I could certainly visualize it! Karen Wells DSA South Africa

Harv said...

A wild camel in China? What the hey? I'm glad you finally got to relax a little. Hope you have a great time at your final destination. -megan

Changing Connections said...


Please tell me you took a photo of the camel. Unlike most of your readers, I raise camelids--I have a llama farm and my first llama is actually pregnant (only have 3 llamas right now, but am looking to add 3 more soon). So, unlike your other readers who find your sighting curious, I am really excited to see if it was a camel, or maybe a camelid (relative of a camel).

You sound like a seasoned traveler. Have you ever been to Italy? Transportation is a form of blood sport there, and they take it seriously. Guess I have to go to China to make the comparison of who drives more crazy (I'm betting on the Italians with their Ferrari, get the idea).

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