June 16, 2011
A blog from China by sophomore middle blocker Mary Kurisch.
We made it to Beijing! This time we did not hit as much traffic so it only took us six hours. The only traffic we hit was near the city of Beijing! Our bus driver is very aggressive! He honks his horn all of the time to let other cars know we are behind them and to move if they are traveling slowly. At one point we were driving on the shoulder of the highway! We were so close to cars and trucks that I thought for sure we were going to be in an accident! But when we finally made it to our hotel we were surprised at how nice it was. We were all so hungry and excited to have cold water for the first time in China (at our last hotel they served it all at room temperature).
After eating and settling in, we went to a open market in Beijing. This market was different than the rest; it was in a building and it was several stories high. It was almost overwhelming with all the goods that one could buy! The sellers were very good at making you want to look in their stores. They would say, "pretty girls, pretty girls, come look at pretty shirts." This was the type of market that you had to bargin at. That was also overwhelming. The sellers were pushy but would compromise. They would not let you walk away from their goods. There were so many different kinds of goods to buy: clothes, purses, jewelry, shoes, electronics, and many more souvenirs. I learned some Chinese sayings to help me bargain:
duo shao qian (how much)
tai gui le (too expensive)
bu xing (no way)
After learning these phrases we did not even have to use them. The sellers could understand English pretty well and they would use calculators to communicate prices.
After the market we went to the Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe show. It was so amazing to see all the different performances. The first act was a woman on a tight rope. She did hand stands, rode a unicycle, and rode another unicycle with her hands all on the tight rope! There were also some contortionists and a juggling act.
One of my favorite acts was the skeleton act. These guys in skeleton suits jumped and did gymnastic moves through hoops. The hoops started at about four to five feet and for the final jump the hoop was at about eight feet! They not only jumped through hoops but did somersaults through them!
Another of my favorite acts was one where these girls all rode bikes. Besides themselves posing and riding the bikes, there were other girls riding the bikes and posing (besides the driver). For the end, there were 10 girls on one bike. They were all balancing on one while one girl pedaled! It was interesting to see how good at their acts the acrobats were, and there was such a variety of acts. When the show was over we were all tired from the day and went back to the hotel to sleep.
Today, Thursday, we got to see the Great Wall! This too was amazing and beautiful. When we got to the wall we decided to climb the difficult way and that was no understatement! We started at a run, just to say that we ran up the Great Wall. But then there were points that I thought I would slip and fall down the steep stairs. When we got to one of the highest points, it was foggy. So, we were unable to see the rest of the wall. It was kind of eerie to not be able to see what was beyond the wall, but we still knew we were up high!
After the Great Wall we went to lunch in a coffee shop that was attached to a place that hand-made vases. We got to walk through the workshop and they explained each step and all the time it takes to make just one vase. The precision that is needed by the workers was unbelieveable. Some of the vases were so small I do not know how they worked on them.
When we were done with lunch we went straight to the gym for practice. After about two hours of practice, we hurried back to the hotel to change for our banquet tonight. This banquet was at a very nice resturant that features their duck. It was my first time trying duck, and it was very delicious. They wrapped it in a tortilla with a sauce and some celery.
Now we are back at the hotel and we are all very tired from the busy day. And we have another busy day ahead. We get to sight see again and we have a match later tomorrow.
Well, that is all until next time!
If you have any questions, comments or concerns for Mary, please e-mail Volleyball SID Zach Peters (firstname.lastname@example.org).