July 11, 2012
A blog from China by senior middle blocker Mary Kurisch.
Initial Release | July 5 | July 7 | July 11
We are in Beijing!!
Here is a recap of our time in Beijing:
On Sunday, we woke up in Tianjin and drove two hours to Beijing. As soon as we got to Beijing we drove to our hotel which took us another 45 minutes because Beijing is so big! After we got to the hotel we exchanged buses and got on a tour bus and headed to the Great Wall.
On the way, our tour guide told us many interesting facts about China and Beijing. The ride was about another two hours, so we had a long time to learn about China. Some of the facts we learned were that China means "middle kingdom" and that China currently has 1.32 billion people in it. Beijing means "north capital" and it has 22 million people living in it. We also learned because there are so many cars in Beijing, there are some days that certain cars cannot drive.
When we go to the wall we rode a cable car up the mountain so we didn't have to walk up 1,000 stairs. But when we got to the wall we climbed the wall for about 30 minutes -- it was so hot. But it was less foggy than last year so we could see more when we were climbing.
After we were done climbing we took the cable cars back to the bottom and then loaded the bus. We drove back to our hotel in Beijing to get ready for another banquet to start off the second tournament.
The banquet was at a fancy duck restaurant in Beijing about 40 minutes from our hotel. After the banquet and a long, long day of travel we were all happy to be able to sleep!
On Monday, we trained in the morning. Each team got an hour on the court to serve and pass. Then we had lunch and prepared for our game that day. The team we were going to be playing was different than both of the teams we played in Tianjin.
We played first at 3:30 p.m., and it was a good game but unfortunately we continued our losing streak. The new team we played had a similar style as the other teams we had already played but they were just too much for us to handle. After the game we returned to the hotel for dinner and then headed out to watch the All-Star's game. The All-Stars played well also, but they too lost to the Shanghai team.
Tuesday, we got to go sightseeing because the day before we only focused on volleyball. We went to the Forbidden City in Beijing. I got to see the Forbidden City last year but it was exciting to see again. I learned that it was built in 1420 and that 24 emperors lived there over the course of many years.
Our tour guide also talked about how nine is seen as a lucky number in China so the city was built with 9,999 rooms. The Forbidden City was packed with tourists -- it was hard not to get lost in the crowd. Our tour guide told us that we had to stick together like sticky rice. When we finished walking through the Forbidden City we then headed back to the hotel for lunch and rested before our game.
We again played the 3:30 p.m. game against the team we had already played twice in Tianjin. We came out and fought so hard in this match. We knew their style and we really wanted to win. The scores of the games were 20-25, 22-25, and 22-25. It was such a heart-breaker. In the end, the Chinese team made less mistakes when it mattered. It was a tough loss but we showed that we can play with a Chinese professional team!
Today, we were all excited to go shopping at the famous Pearl Market in Beijing. Before we got to the market we walked through Tiananmen Square. We learned some history of China and the Square from our tour guide. Then it was time to go to the market!
At the Pearl Market you can buy many different items from purses, watches, electronics, all the way to Chinese souvenirs. But the catch is that you can bargain with the sales people about the price. It is really fun and it enhances the experience when you have a say in what you are willing to pay for an item.
After the market we returned to the hotel to eat and rest before our last game in China. The All-Star team played the first match so we got to take some time to relax and hangout with some of the girls on the team before we have to say good bye tomorrow. My roommate and I used most of the time trying to repack our bags because our stuff somehow ended up all over our room.
After the break it was time to play. Being it our final game in China, we wanted to work hard to play well together. We started out strong as a team and played pretty well. But the other team was on to our plays and our style of volleyball. They took the match in three games.
It was a disappointing loss but we knew that we had lost to a very good team! When we returned to the hotel we had an awards banquet with the other teams in the Beijing tournament. Our team ended up getting third in the tournament behind the two Chinese teams.
Tomorrow, we leave in the morning for the airport and begin our long journey home. We leave China on Thursday at 11:50 a.m., and because of the time change, we land in the USA on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. In the mean time, we will have spent about 14 hours flying! After I arrive home I will write one more blog about my whole experience and I will add pictures from my whole trip to China! So stay tuned for photos!
If you have any questions, comments or concerns for Mary, please e-mail Volleyball SID Zach Peters (firstname.lastname@example.org).