Blog Entry #46: Beijing Day 1: From The Great Wall to Tsinghua University
Saturday, November 5, 2011
|Interior Hong Kong International Airport|
|Hong Kong International Airport|
After our day in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Pat and I were very much looking forward to three days in Beijing, our first time in the heartland of China. Following a fruitless wild goose chase to buy our Japan Rail Pass in Hong Kong (Japan mandates that they be bought outside of Japan before one arrives), we gathered with our group of 22 shipmates at mid-day and headed for the Hong Kong airport.
|Hong Kong Harbor with the city of Shenzhen, China in distance|
Much like its sparkling skyline, it is hard to capture the size and scale of the Hong Kong airport: Wow! And flying out of Hong Kong during the day was especially interesting as it allows one to see the geography of islands, water, bridges, and peninsulas that comprise this fascinating spot rich with history. It was impressive from the air to see just how close Shenzhen is to Hong Kong, separated only by a small range of hills.
Unfortunately clouds soon moved in and obscured the rest of our flight over China, though this gave me time to write down my thoughts on the previous day in Shenzhen (see previous blog entry).
We arrived in Beijing at night to cool, autumn weather. Pat and I had been particularly looking forward to this trip as we were being hosted by Tsinghua University, one of China’s most renowned universities, and we looked forward to our time on campus and the people we would meet.
We were met at the airport by Liu Fuchan, Program Manager for the Center for Overseas Academic and Cultural Exchanges at Tsinghua University (www.coace.tsinghua.edu.cn), a lovely, quiet man who would prove to be a wonderful host over the next three days. Unfortunately a scheduling snafu prevented us from staying on campus as we had expected, so we instead lodged at hotel nearby. This itself proved to be an interesting experience, as they clearly had had very little experience with hosting international delegations, which made breakfast (lots of tofu but no coffee) and basic communication very interesting!
|At the base of the Great Wall!|
|Dan with friend at the top|
|Marketing Mao on the Great Wall|
|Crowds on the Great Wall|
|Detail on Temple at the Summer Palace|
|Crowds at the East Gate of the Summer Palace|
|Buddhist Temple of Fragrance on Longevity Hill|
|Painting of scene on the Long Corridor|
|Lilies on Kunming Lake|
The afternoon brought our first of many wonderful meals at Tsinghua University, and a chance to see some of its beautiful campus. First founded in 1911 (we arrived in the midst of centennial celebrations), Tsinghua is known as the “Harvard” of China, and is usually ranked 1st or 2nd in terms of academic reputation in China. Its motto is Self-Discipline and Social Commitment, and it describes itself as “being dedicated to academic excellence, the well-being of Chinese society and to global development.” Among its well-known alumni is the current President of China and head of the Chinese Communist Party, Hu Jintao.
|The main Quadrangle at Tsinghua University, Beijing|
|Our Tai Chi Instructor|
|Doing Tai Chi at Tsinghua University|
|Emily with Pat & Dan at dinner at Tsinghua University, Beijing|
|Pat with Ying Chong at Tsinghua University|