To warm things up, I feel like I haven't posted in a while, I ate a croissant thing with chocolate in the middle for breakfast a couple days ago (see mom, I AM eating healthy) and here was the brand name:
I see little things like this all the time. I went to a bubble tea place last night and there was a plaque on the wall telling everyone about their excellent service and the English part went something like "frequent terminating excellent service."
Moving on, after our long and schoolwork-intensive week, and test-intensive morning (Fridays are our test days) we were all in need of a little fun, so some friends and I took a trip to the Summer Palace, after we finally managed to figure out which line to take on the subway, getting there was a breeze. The Summer Palace is where Empress Cixi, the last real power figure of the Qing (the last) dynasty, chilled out in the summer and squandered all the money she was supposed to be spending on the navy. If I remember my history correctly.
Saying "Summer Palace" doesn't really evoke the right imagery though. It's like a huge park, there's a lake in the middle and a path going all the way around it. We were there for 3 hours or so and only made it halfway around the lake. There are a lot of old, bronze statues and bridges and lots of examples of Chinese architecture. The most beautiful that we saw was the Buddhist Tower of Incense. It was a 4?-tiered tower, people are only allowed to see the bottom floor though. Inside is a statue of Kuan-yin (China's favorite Boddhisattva). You weren't allowed to take pictures inside though and i couldn't get a clear one from outside the doorway.
We had to climb so many stairs! And there we a lot of upwardly inclined pathways that I couldn't help but be jealous of Cixi and how she probably got carried up all of them. This is a picture of the pathway that led to the tower:
This is Cixi's stone boat that she had built. It doesn't funciton as a boat, it's stone. Think of the awsome boat parties you could have on there, of course, playing the song "I'm on a Boat" would be necessary.
And here's my favorite Chinese mythological creature, the Qilin!
That was friday, yesterday I went on the CET trip to Cun Dixia village. Lot's of Chinese tourists were there. It's about 90km away from Beijing (about a 3 hour bus ride). The village was all still build in a very old, traditonal style and it was surrounded by mountains. I'm pretty sure you could consider them mountains... we don't really have mountains in Michigan, do we? It was awesome to climb all the trails they had and to look down, the view was just fantastic.
There was a family selling corn right after we got off the bus, om nom nom delicious.
And finally, here are my favorite pictures of the city. This is what I pictured northern China to be like before I came, all dusty and stone. In a lot of the books that I've read, they all say that the north is dry and the south is lush.