Thursday, June 4, 2009

Onto Beijing and Dalian

Blogspot is banned in China, so I am writing these entries and then having my parents post them to my blog.

On Saturday morning we got up before 3 and were at the Ottawa airport by 4:00. We caught a flight to Toronto and then to Vancouver. In Vancouver we walked around for a little bit and then got on our flight to Beijing. We were in the middle section of a 767. The flight was long and boring, but not too bad and we got in about 3:00 PM Sunday afternoon Beijing time. Before we were allowed off the plane, doctors came aboard and scanned our temperatures. Apparently we all checked out because we walked into the airport where they scanned us again using thermal imaging cameras. As my friend Matt and I walked through, it started to beep and Matt was taken aside for further tests. It turned out that he had a 37.2 degree Celsius temperature. His reward for this was to spend the next 2 days in a Chinese hospital while they did more tests and filed paperwork.

Our first Chinese meal on Sunday night was at a restaurant close to our hotel. We had a bunch of different vegetable and meat dishes along with delicious flower tea. Being quite jet-lagged, we all fell asleep quite early that night.

Monday started with a buffet breakfast at the hotel before we left for our tour. We traveled to the Ming Tombs outside of Beijing and then to a jade factory. Both of those were pretty cool but nothing compared to the Great Wall. We climbed as high as we were allowed to and the views were absolutely incredible. The pictures are on facebook. After that we drove back into Beijing and went to a tea ceremony. We tried some good teas and bought a few things. We drove through the Olympic village, and hopefully we will get a chance to go back and actually go inside the Birds' Nest and Water Cube.

On Tuesday we had the same tour guide and we traveled to the Temple of Heaven. It was a giant park with lots of people singing, dancing, and playing games. Naturally we all had to join in. We then visited the Forbidden City which was impressive because it was so big and built just for the Emperor. After lunch we visited the Summer Palace, where the Emperor lived during the summer. The pictures I have from there are absolutely incredible. The whole area was much cooler than the rest of Beijing (~85 degrees when the city was 100). After a boat ride with T-Pain we visited a Pearl factory and then went back to the hotel. Dinner that night included really good dumplings and jellyfish. Jellyfish is actually pretty good.

Wednesday we had a very early flight to Dalian. Flying is a much bigger deal here than in the States and there was a lady filming our entire 1 hour flight. Dalian is a very modern looking city, but the area we are in is outside the city and slightly less modern. We traveled to the office to meet our mentors, but mine is in a meeting so I am stuck waiting for him to get back. Our apartment in Dalian is alright. I am sharing a room with Nick, and then Sara has a room next to us. Felipe and Ben have their own apartment in the building next door. We don't have internet in the apartment yet, and it would be up to us to get it. Also, skype is blocked in the office so I will have to find another place where I can use it.

At the moment I am a little nervous and missing home a bit, but I hope that once I start working 40 hours a week I will do better. I don't feel too comfortable at the moment but I'm sure that in a few weeks I will love it.

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