Sunday, February 22, 2009

From Dirt to Heaven . . .

Today’s adventures began with a trip to the famous dirt market. In contrast to the silk market of yesterday, the dirt market is an open air shopping market full of all sorts of goods ranging in stalls specializing in brass figurines, silk handbags, swords, knit hats, jewelry, beads, among others that will not be named here so as not to ruin the surprise for folks back home! Students became savvier with their bartering skills and shared trade secrets over another wonderful lunch in a nearby restaurant.

After lunch we went to a Chinese grocery store to buy some provisions for tomorrow’s excursions. Students enjoyed seeing various familiar products with Chinese labels as well as buying rice puffed sweet treats recommended by the Chinese Gould students that are serving as guides and translators during our time in Beijing.

Riding the public transportation to and from the Temple of Heaven during a busy Sunday proved to be a way to appreciate close up the way of transportation for many Chinese. The Temple of Heaven is a sight to behold. Amazingly the entire structure is built without a single nail. The trip back to the hotel was a bit delayed as a few students went to the incorrect gate to meet the group. We are all safely reunited.
Students had a chance to relax before a dumpling feast at our hotel. The lazy susans full of delicious variations of dumplings proved a tasty ending to a full day. Tomorrow we’re off to climb the Great Wall (well, not all of it) and to visit the Olympic venue before a duck dinner.

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