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Hey remember me?? (Great wall, Midterms, Xian)

November 11th, 2012 arreta14

Hello out there… is he still alive!? YUP still here… in China.

So Andrew, what has happened since the last blog post? Well hypothetical questioner, its been same old same old here. Climbed the great wall of China, took my midterm, traveled to Xian and saw the terra cotta soldiers, traveled to Chengdu and saw giant pandas and the Great Buddha of Leshan… see same old same old.

Ok I’ll go into a little more depth… but first, new Chinglish phrase of this post is “三颗油“ (San ke you) A Chinglish way of saying “Thank you.”

Back to adventures. To start off, in early October we CETers and our roommates traveled to probably the most famous site in China… the Great Wall! We went to a less well-known section of the wall called “Jinshanling”, but I can say (having seen the other sections before) this part of the wall was the best. Jinshanling is divided into three sections: the wild wall, the restored wall and the green wall. All are very appropriately named… climbing along the wild wall is a challenge!

We arrive at the Great Wall!!

Wild Wall, The first section of the Wall. This part is really dilapidated and a rough climb

This climb was optional, but still shows you how hard it is to climb some parts of the wall

Had to bring the crusader on the wall!

After our trip to the great wall our next interesting adventures were our midterm exams. Yes, midterms exist in Study Abroad too… 🙁 They were doable, but hard… imagine this: every week we learn approximately 150 new characters and 30 grammar structures in Chinese, and we’ve been in classes for over 7 weeks. It was a lot to remember and, for those planning on studying abroad here, it’s not something you should procrastinate for (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…)

But anyway, after midterms we had our fall break. A group of friends and I spent it traveling to different cities in China. Our first adventure was taking a sleeper train from Beijing to Xian (a 12 hour train ride). It was an experience for me (as I had never taken a sleeper train before) and it wasn’t too bad. Only problem is that the beds were not really built for anyone 6 ft tall (like me).

My bed on the train from Beijing to Xian. It was a little small, but I did get to sleep during the 12~ish hour train ride.

Anyway, arrived in Xian with no problems. Found our hostile, the Xiangzimen Youth Hostile, which I loved. It’s a small hostile right near the city wall of Xian. In addition to being built in an old Chinese architectural style (which I found awesome), the hostile itself has a restaurant (with western food), a bar, nice rooms and it cost us less than 10 U.S. dollars per night (each) to stay there… SWEET!

The restaurant of our hostile. I couldn't find a better picture, but you can see the cool woodwork and bricks that are used throughout the rest of the hostile.

We spent our time in Xian checking out the more famous tourist attractions… the Muslim area, the terra cotta army, and the big goose pagoda.

A very beautiful and famous mosque in the center of the Muslim area of Xian.

The crusader at the site of the Terra Cotta soldiers. A little history of the soldiers... they were built for the Emperor Qin Shihuang in 209-210 B.C. The emperor had over 7,000 statues of infantry, cavalry and chariots buried with his tomb believing that by doing so, he could maintain his army and rule after death. Each one of these 7,000 statues has a different face so that no two statues look alike.

Who knows, one of the statues might even look like this... (BTW this is my face)

The fountain outside the Big Goose Pagoda. P.S. does the tower look crooked to anyone else?

After 2.5 days in Xian we boarded another train from Xian to Chengdu… (Next post will be about from Chengdu and after, this is gonna get way too long if I put all of break into one post)

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Andrew Retallick '14

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