Love you <3
Where the adventure begins
The pollution in Beijing is a huge problem. Today is a really bad day. The sun is not able to reach through all the smog, and it is highly recomended not to do physical activities outside. (It's still very hot though). You should not go outside at all, if you're not feeling well in the first place. Almost all of us have problems with thicker phlegm in our throats and we are coughing all the time. A day of breathing Beijing air is like smoking a pack of cigarettes. So, there is a reason why many people here wear masks.
The last couple of days I finished the first assignment (speaking activities), went on Tour day and I've had a day off.
Tiananmen square. (You see the gate to the Forbidden city in the back) Because of our western appearances, people take pictures OF us all the time (even videotapes) and they also want to take pictures WITH us. It was kinda fun in the beginning, but now it's more annoying than fun.
Traditional Chinese meal.
China's national drink: Tea!
Summer palace #1
Summer palace #2
All the TTC Summer 2012 participants
Summer palace #3 (As you can see, the smog was really bad this day as well)
Summer palace #4
This was our guide on tour day. <3 <3 <3 I LOVE this man! Long story..
We also went to a acrobat show. I have no words. They did the most crazy things I've ever seen in my entire life!
I'm also getting better at bargaining at the silk market :P
Today I stayed home from school. I became sick yesterday, and I just got worse during the night. Not fun! I missed important classes relating our first assignment (thanks to my wonderful roomie who brought me notes from class).
I missed the one and only tai chi-class (culture class), and I'm now missing KTV-night.
KTV is a karaoke place, where you sing karaoke and drink beer (and surely other drinks). KTV places are everywhere in China, and they are generally extremely popular all over Asia. What's different about KTV compared to western karaoke, is that you pay for your own private room (ca. 10 persons) with a TV and sometimes your own bathroom.
Here are some pictures from the last couple of days:
This is my classroom. We are three classes of 24 people.
Ida and me at lunch break.
At campus. (The campus is quite small)
Miguel from Spain and me.
Our hotel entrance.
Me and Norinas room.
Yesterday (05.08.12) we went to 798 Art District. It was kinda cool, with a lot of art-galleries, designer clothes, restaurants and bars.
One thing I've forgotten to tell about is where I live now. I live in a district called Chaoyang, which is placed in the North East quadrant of Beijing. Chaoyang has a total population of 3,6 million people. (Beijing: 19,6 million people, China: 1,3 BILLION people)
And for those of you I've been joking about being placed in Inner Mogolia for my internship, that might actually happen! Haha.
Hopefully I'll get better tomorrow, because we're having a day off, and I'm supposed to go to the city centre and experience lots of things.
I arrived early on the 1st of August, with a warm welcome by the TTC (Teach & Travel China) staff on the airport. We were transported to our accommodation, which is a hotel, next to the university were we are going to spend the next month of training. The hotel is nice, and I'm so happy they have western toilets here. We are 72 participants, mostly Europeans. My roommate is Norina, who's a really sweet girl from Germany!
Here's a little list of what I have experienced so far:
- The traffic is crazy. It is very dangerous to cross the road, even though the traffic light shows us green man. Busses and cars drive wherever and whenever they want.
- The Chinese are talking chinese to you, even though they understand that you don't understand them. This turns out to be a quite awkward moment, and quite funny when you start with body language.
- When it rains, it REALLY rains.
- You are not supposed to stick your chopsticks into your food, in a bowl of rice for instance. That is apparently disrespectful, and of course I failed during my first meal in China.
- You get rice to EVERY meal; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just like bread in Norway.
- Chinese are spitting out bones and other things from their food right on the table.
- They have very hard beds in China.
So as our trainers always say "This is China" or "Welcome to China".
Here's a picture of Norina (roomie), Martin and Martin (from Denmark) grabbing a beer the first night in Beijing.
The local beer was acutally very good!
Today was orientation day, where we got an introduction of our trainers and the program itself. The program seems very serious and quite strict, especially the "teaching english" part. In addition we are going to have mandarin lessons and other activities, such as a trip to the great wall.
Here's some pictures from the welcome dinner tonight, where fantastic chinese food was served:
Me and Norina.
Some of the participants.
A lady demonstrating tai chi (martial art).
Demonstration of kung fu.