First day in China.
Ni Hao! We are finally here! After a 12 hour flight with our backpacks packed, we begin our journey exploring the rich history China has to offer.
Today, January 7, 2010 (possibly your January 6) we recovered quickly from the jet lag and started our day bright eyed and bushy tailed in Beijing, China with the focus of today being the history of China.
As we made our way to the Temple of Heaven, we joined the local retirees in there morning activities. Some of these were dancing, individual exercises, and a place to socialize with friends. The Temple of Heaven was constructed about 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. It was built as a place for people to gather and pray to heaven for good harvests with rituals of animal sacrifice. We were impressed with the detailing and architecture of these structures. Nothing in China’s architecture is by chance; everything has a meaning. For example, the color gold symbolizes the sun, wealth and royalty, green means people and red means power.
As we ended our time at the Temple of Heaven, we headed to Tiananmen Square were we saw the National Museum, the mausoleum of general Mao Zedong, where for the past forty years he has been on display for people to pay their respect, and a statue that represented the people’s heroes, the great hall of people and the Mao Zedong. This statue is also where the center of Beijing is located.
The Forbidden City was used until 1924 by the royal family. With 9,999, it was hard to wrap our minds around how big it really was. We braved the cold and spent two hours walking about the Forbidden City. We could have spent a whole day there as the Forbidden City covers about the same of a small town. We had interesting experience as we toured. We witnessed a naked man doing a push-up, while videotaping himself. There was also a brief snowball fight with people from Florida who had never been in a snowball fight before. We learned a ton from our tour guides (Lou Lou and Lynn), who really know their China history, and had a great time there.
We enjoyed a nice piping hot lunch and headed out to the United States Embassy, where we met with international businessmen. Getting thru security was a bit of a challenge though. With the fifty of us trying to get thru security, the thick glass doors, and multiple metal decors, it was a challenge. The businessmen we met with had a very important role in creating a good relationship with China and creating ties that will help the U.S in the long run. In a question and answer session, we were provided with some outstanding information about China and the U.S and how they worked together for the future of both countries.
To finish our first full day in China we headed to the Fuhua cattle farm. It provides seventy percent of Beijing’s meat market with product. Fuhau means “Big Ranch” and it sure was large! By the time we made it to the grounds the sun was setting and we were unable to truly grasp the size of the surrounding operation. There were three thousand head of cattle on the farm and we could most defiantly confirm that fact by the smell. The China yellow cow, Simmental, and Limousine breeds were present in the genetics of the herd. All the cattle had a rope tied around their horns for easy access to herd. Conveniently dinner was served that evening in the farm’s restaurant. The hot pot dinner included lamb and beef meat. Boiling water with vegetables and seasoning allowed us to grasp the traditional taste. After eating a disco ball was dropped from the ceiling and a disco was started! It was a BLAST! Everyone danced the night away including the waitresses. They laughed at our mad dancing abilities and videotaped us. They could not understand us but the universal language of dance and smiles bound us together to end our great first day in China!
The Karate Kids,
Emily Achen - MN
Lance Atwater - NE
Amie Burke - IL
Caitlin Cribbs - FL
Michael Dolch - IA
Macy Eaves - TX
Jared Henderson - MO
Austin Larrowe - VA
Ivan Martes - PR
Hannah Miller - KS
Dani Saathoff - NE
Morgan Shaver - NY