Beijing and Xi’an

Part 1: Beijing

Although I had visited Beijing in 2010, I was still excited to go back for a second time. Some of the sites we saw were the same ones I saw in 2010, The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, The Lama Temple, etc. I even went back to the exact same Hutong house and visited with the exact same family that I had lunch with in 2010. The Forbidden City was just as beautiful as I remembered it, and also just as crowded! I thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by so much ancient history. This visit also made our class lecture on the Feng Shui of the Forbidden City more interesting. One of the most interesting facts I learned was that the emperor and empress lived in houses that made three unbroken likes, which is the trigram qian (heaven), while concubines lived in the houses that created three broken lines, which is the trigram kun (ultimate yin energy).

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While visiting the Great Wall I couldn’t help but take some stereotypical dance photos, especially since I had on my Gamut Dance Company shirt. The part of the wall we visited was actually different than the part I visited in 2010. This part of the wall was less crowded and didn’t have any vendors trying to sell their products. Due to this, walking on the Great Wall was so much more peaceful, and I had a better time enjoying the scenery without the noise of vendors and other tourists.

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When we got to the Temple of Heaven we had some free time to wander around, and I was impressed with what I saw. There were hundreds of older Chinese men and women exercising. However, what really caught my eye were all of the men who were doing gymnastics and various kinds of pull ups on the uneven bars and the monkey bars. I hope I can be that active and physically fit when I am there age. Watching all of these men and women exercise made me wish that this kind of outdoor social group activity was practiced more in America. After watching people exercise we went to tour the rest of the park. This has to be my favourite picture of the entire trip! Nothing like a group photo at the Temple of Heaven.

 

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Part 2: Xi’an

I very much enjoyed my time in Xi’an. We first saw the Terracotta Warriors. The most interesting thing about the Terracotta Warriors was the fact that no two warriors are alike. This is really impressive when you see just how many warriors there are.

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However, as much as I enjoyed seeing the Terracotta Warriors, the highlight of my trip was learning how to ride a bike and then biking around the entire city wall of Xi’an. Marin was a great teacher, and I had a lot of fun. Initially I was nervous and scared, but after practicing and getting more comfortable riding a bike I was able to enjoy riding and looking at the scenery. After fishing my bike ride, I felt very accomplished. This is definitely an experience not everyone can say they have been through, and I’m overjoyed to be someone who can!

Another highlight of the trip was getting to see traditional Tang Dynasty dances. Even though this wasn’t the main attraction, or the reason people visit Xi’an, it was still exciting for me. I did traditional Chinese dance from age 5 to 11. I loved performing, and even though we were little kids my dance group and I got to perform at some big Chinese culture and Chinese dance events. I miss being able to do Chinese dance and seeing Chinese dance. Since seeing traditional Chinese dance is such a rare event for me, I was delighted to learn that we would be able to watch some dances during our time in Xi’an.

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