Beijing trip!
sydkiwi
I just returned from my first trip to Beijing. Where do I start?
Another exchange student and I flew in on sat night and caught a taxi to our hotel. As soon as we walked out from customs we were immediately asked if we were after a taxi. We said no. The guy tried while we followed the taxi signs a few times and even when we lined up at the taxi rank! We got to the hotel without too many dramas. Some other exchange students were already there and told us they paid $380 for their taxi and were shocked when we said we only paid $80 for the same ride! Apparently they got in a dodgy cab and the driver didn't turn on the meter :\

On Sunday we went on a tour to the Great Wall of China. On the way there we stopped at a gem stone factory and after the Great Wall we went for lunch, to a silk factory and a tea house. I brought a pillow from the silk factory. The Great Wall was awesome! I really enjoyed visiting there and my legs are sore from all the stairs! When we were told about the wall in China they forgot to mention those!!

On Monday we saw the Forbidden City, Tianeman Square and I explored the streets at night as it is one of the recommended things to do in Beijing. This city has such an old feeling to it. I guess it being almost winter gives some charm to it as well. It feels strange in 2 months time I will be heading back to Australia to summer!

Tuesday is the day I flew out from Beijing back to Hong Kong. It is when I really got to see the true face of Beijing the horror and the humanity. I caught the train to Lama temple a buddha one. I saw beggars on the train some hideously disfigured like a couple of people Im not sure if they were burnt their faces or if they were attacked with acid. I also saw a man coming along the train carriage on the ground on something motorised missing his legs. I guess if I'd stayed longer I would of visited the Hutong villages dotted around the city centre where I'm told true poverty is there. Humanity, I get the feeling people are untrustworthy in Beijing. But I met an old man on the train who seemed to find me the most fascinating person he had ever seen. I will never forget his kind eyes, his amusement at my gloves and his question about where I come from. I had someone tell me what he said! I went to the temple of Heaven as well. I didn't realise how big it was until I got completely lost but people where willing to help me find the exit. It felt like a really bad trip and even more so when I did find an exit from the park and was completely lost again. A cabbie pulled over on the side of a major road and gave me a ride to the other side of the city! The day before after the forbidden city we had trouble getting a cab to stop for us and had to walk to a major hotel to get one!

I wish I had taken the advise I received and stayed longer. I won't forget China, Beijing or the people. A fried said I was nuts coming here but you know what? I'm glad I did.

21 Sept 2011
sydkiwi
Well what a day! I had my group presentation this afternoon and it didn't go so well. I think my group now hates me too. I hate talking in front of the class and I guess I should of made that known. My mistake. I've other classes with one of the others so I will gauge how much they dislike me (if they do) then.

I had lunch with some of the other exchange students and sort of got an invite to join them at the gym but I don't know it sounded like an after thought. I turned that down and regretted it. I guess my presentation put me in a weird mood. I felt funny after watching two people invite everyone but me to their birthday thing they had going on at JC too.

I found the common room on 7th floor and hung out there for a few hours this afternoon and met some locals.

I'm looking forward to danso practice this afternoon though. I hope I make some new friends there! I've been feeling lonely today and wanting to to home. But I'm here now and its only another 3 months until I see Ryan again!

20 Sept 2011
sydkiwi
Well I re-added my mother on FB as a friend! I don't know why. Maybe she just had news on Lester and they need me to sign something. Apparently they got my postcard I sent from here. I just hope his lawyer isn't asking for much. She is yet to send me an email.

I got into Danso and will be starting rehearsals on Wed. I'm quite looking forward to it. I brought some new trainers and shorts for this. I just hope that my weekend trip to Guilin doesn't affect my schedule for this. But at the same time I am glad I'm going now while uni work isn't too full on.

A girl I hang out with named Grace I'm finding a bit full on. I think I should have a word to her about her opening line - are you a christain. I wonder if she realises it can be off putting and she might be missing out on meeting a lot of people with it. Maybe she does and only wants to meet like minded individuals which is fair enough too.

Had our meeting for the class presentation thats due in a few hours. I really should get some sleep but Im worried the others think I'm not pulling my weight when they keep saying its fine. Its really irritating when I get the feeling its not. Or maybe I'm just being paranoid.

I think I've relaxed more than I ever have in the last 2-3yrs since arriving in Hong Kong. I'm not sure why. I guess its the change of scenery and experiencing something new. I'd like to think its meeting other people as well and experiencing a different culture. I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and think I need to exercise more patience especially when english is many people I meet's second language!

17/09/2011
sydkiwi
Yesterday I had Exploring the universe! I felt a bit put on the spot when the lecturer asked me to point out the Southern Cross! And since I didn't do it, the others must think I'm stupid!

After that, I had a casting session for "Danso" or the dancing society. I'm not sure what they were casting for and I'll know in a few days how I did. I definitely don't think I was the best and I don't think I was the worst either. I was the only westerner there too. We were taught a few dance moves and then had some time to practice it. We were then called up in groups of 4 and had to perform it in front of judges. We then had to do a freestyle dance and then a walking and posing exercise. My muscles are sore today from it too!

Today I had lunch with Alannah and we went to the ten thousand Buddhas monastery in Shatin. It was an enjoyable trip and I liked how not only where there 10,000 buddhas but they all seemed to have their own looks and I guess personalities! Which I think made it even more interesting! I like how it was so close to everything but seemed so far away.

15/09/2011
sydkiwi
Well I was going to write an entry yesterday but the time the post an entry thingy came up, it was the next day - 1am to be precise! I thought the internet was supposed to be faster here!

We are looking at booking a trip to the Guilin area in China. It looks very pretty in the photos so am looking forward to it. I think Im just going with a few people from Sweden, Norway and Switzerland!

Classes are going ok so far. I've a class presentation next Tuesday already. I can't believe it is so close. We are meeting with the lecturer tomorrow night to discuss our presentation which is different. I've also noticed that when a lecturer says we have an essay for this class they don't really give an essay question list out like they do in Australia. I wonder if that is the same for other places. Like an American girl was telling me that they don't get to choose what groups they are in, they just get put in them!

I spoke with Ryan on line last night. He is getting better and loves me lots :) Apparently work has been better but we are now looking for a new flatmate.

Later 11/09/2011
sydkiwi
what a great dinner! I enjoyed experiencing a HK family gathering tho I think I offended when I gave a bottle of wine! I tried a lot of different dishes and got to see Waiwai's grandfather's home! I thought it was rather funny Waiwai's dad gave her and her brother money! I guess "dad can I've some money.." is universal!!

She asked me about my family and I'm like Ryan's my family. When she pressed I'm like I really don't like talking about them! I guess I need to learn to be a little less touchy about them and NZ. I guess I still have many issues still but I am not comfortable talking about them! I told her my inlaws I keep in contact with and enjoy a great relationship with them instead.

11/09/2011
sydkiwi
I've given up on the idea of a "day" entry so are just going to stick with the days date.

The past three days I've been up to all sorts. On thursday night a local girl took me to Tai Po centre for drinks at a place called "after 5" where I was served large and cheap cocktails. There was no dance floor - just a bar area. They also had western style meals so I went there again the next night! Besides going there the next night I went with some other exchange students to a karaoke bar and got pretty drunk there as well!

Today another local girl and I went sight seeing. We went to a temple in a less touristy area before going to central to go up the peak but the line was an hour and a half long so we went shopping instead. I went to H&M and brought a denim skirt and top as well as cotton on for some new pjs. Tomorrow I am going to my buddies house for the mid autumn festival celebration which I am really looking forward to!

Writer's Block: Excuse me, but there’s lettuce in your teeth.
sydkiwi
A blind date I once had! We went to the golden arches (aka McDonalds) for a meal and it was his choice! Seriously I was 25 not 16, it was the middle of the day instead of 3am and I wasn't drunk enough to not care! I paid for my own meal too! The guy wasn't even ok looking or have a great personality to make up for it either!

Day 13 and 14
sydkiwi
Yesterday I had my first class. It was the global environmental governance one. Our lecturer is an American guy who made a point of picking on the back row. I seem to be the only one with an actual copy of the book but when the lecturer asked who has a copy I kept quiet so I wouldn't have 50 people ask to borrow it! I've a class presentation in two weeks on the first chapter of the book so i'd better get reading! I'm in a group with two local guys and a German girl.

We had our second Cantonese class! I'm really enjoying them and try to remember correct pronunciation as a kind of sing song. We learnt numbers and ordering food in restaurants.

Today we have our first assembly! we are even getting dressed up in gowns!

Day 12
sydkiwi
Well new roomy moved in and its her turn to pay for the aircon tonight but she's not in to do it so I've paid for an hours use as I can't stand the heat but don't want to pay for a whole night again!

Today I went shopping with Alannah (who is Swiss), Katie (from Newcastle) and Lily who is from Sweden. We went to Tai Po markets and had a wander. I brought some new tops and a new purse. As well as some goggles and containers. I came back and went to the library to read the textbook I needed to for tomorrows class. I think I've a good enough grasp on international politics to survive the class I hope! A couple of exchange students busted me reading in the library I hope they don't think I'm a big nerd!

We also have another Cantonese lesson tomorrow which i'm much looking forward to but haven't practiced the last lessons!

I'm having breakfast tomorrow with Alannah. I've enjoyed getting to know her better. I'm thinking we should expand our group tho..

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