Monday, June 13, 2005

Aviation Museum, Great Wall, MC Party, Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square

These last three days have been jam packed!!! For pictures from the last few days – check out http://johnkelly.fotopic.net/ (I should have them up by the end of the day). The internet connection the past few days has been dodgy, so please bear with me.

On Saturday, there was a group of us that rented a minibus and went to the Chinese Aviation Museum about 30 minutes north of Beijing. Here we got to visit Mao’s private plane, test out some old artillery guns and explore an underground cave housing hundreds of China’s old fighter jets. Before we left, I made a hike up a steep hill to get an incredible view from the top looking down on the Aviation Museum. I returned to the minibus and I thought my legs were going to give out…but we decided we had some extra time and would go to the Great Wall - Mutianyu section! Climbing up to the Great Wall was the hardest part – but once up top…what an amazing experience! Absolutely incredible. You feel like you’re on top of the world. After climbing down we returned to a party at our apartment in Beijing. We all came in tired and sweaty to the apartment only to be greeted by about 25 AIESECers from Beijing! What a great night…

On Sunday Peter, Pierre, Leon, his girlfriend Crystal and I all went to a traditional Peking Duck restaurant in Tian’anmen Square for lunch and then to the Forbidden City. Crystal was a great tour guide and told us all of the history and importance behind each of the buildings. We got a glance at what life was like as an emperor. One word that comes to mind…luxurious! One thing that I noticed while we were at the Forbidden City was how the Chinese absolutely cherish their historical landmarks and take so much pride in them. Whereas in many other cities I have travelled to around the world, the locals very often or not vandalize or litter around their historical landmarks. The Chinese are incredibly proud of their culture, knowledgeable about their country’s history and cherish their city’s monuments.

Today was a day of work! It was the first official day for the China MoC MC to be in office. We worked throughout the day on transition and turnover. I also worked on my CEED timeline and we had a team meeting from 3:30pm to 8:00pm. For lunch today though we went out to a Taiwanese restaurant and I ate pig kidneys…mmm!!! I’m being adventurous! Dinner was delicious as well…and both meals were only $3. (Including lots of beer!)

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