Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Week to Lift-off

Nihao (Greetings),

The trip is getting closer now. I have most of my widgets and gadgets working to make posts and I am calling AT&T to add an international data and text package tomorrow. Most of my students have responded to the invitation to "befriend" me on Facebook and I have found long lost friends and family I haven't spoken with in too long (thanks, Evie).

I've been doing some research. The Chinese are a very courteous and giving people. There is an understanding that if a gift is given, a gift is given back to show reciprocal appreciation and gratitude. We are bringing gifts to show gratitude and based on the host's ideas. We would not go there empty-handed and we may as well bring what they could use or wanted. Jeans, cargo pants and shorts, logo t-shirts, especially with coca-cola on them, quarters of the states (minted in Colorado or Philly), chocolate, and knives made the short list (can you fly with knives?). It is also a status symbol to have alcohol from the US, even empty bottles. I have two bottles to bring. One for them, one for me...both full.

We also have more tickets to events. Track and field, softball, and of course volleyball. Some of our hosts stood in line for hours in 90 degree weather to score tickets for us. And now, the 2008 Beijing Olympics is officially a sell-out. The first ever believe it, or not.

As for food, I will post a few pictures of the delicacies that can be found in and around Beijing. A warning...they are not for the faint of heart. I had also heard that horse has been approved for selling as meat in China during the Olympic Games, but not dog. Whew!

There are a few things I know about the first few days...Friday, August 8th will be a free day to acclimate ourselves and tour the local street merchants and then, of course, watch the opening ceremony fireworks from the condo. On Saturday, we have a VERY busy day. Starting early A.M. we will be transported by a cousin to the Great Wall and possibly Ming's Tomb. We'll return to the condo early afternoon to freshen up for a special dinner at one of the most famous Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing. Then, we'll be dropped off at the Center for Performing Arts for the Cincinnati Orchestra at 7:30PM. Yes, we are going to China to see the Cincinnati Orchestra at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_National_Grand_Theatre
After the performance, we will stroll through Tiananmen Square and down the famous Changan Jie. (Long Peace Street). This is the largest square and widest street in the world. From there we can take a taxi to either one of China's bars, a disco bar, or home.

As you can see, the people who invited me to join them have been very helpful and one is a Chinese National who speaks the Mandarin language. It is her family that is hosting us in Beijing including letting us take over their condo and transporting our small group to the Great Wall, Forbidden Palace, etc. We do have homework and that is to watch the movie The Last Emperor. "It is a dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the Emperors of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic." Written by http://www.imdb.com/SearchPlotWriters?Martin%20H.%20Booda%20%7Bbooda@datasync.com%7D

It is "a biography of Aisin-Gioro "Henry" Pu Yi, who at the age of three was named the Emperor of China, and dies as a gardener at the Botanical Gardens of Peking. The movie is told in an interesting flashback/flashforward style, we learn of Pu Yi's childhood, the time he spent imprisoned in the Forbidden City, his term as the emperor of Japans Manchuguo, and his eventual release back to public life in 1959." Written by mailto:%7Bcst@imdb.com

Okay, time to go. Talk at you all later.

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