Today we visited the Ming Tombs together with Li Xu and the parents of my friend. They picked us up at 10 am and one hour and 50 km later we arrived at the first gate of the tombs.
The Ming Tombs is the cemetery of the 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the whole area is about 80 km² large. After this first gate we walked down the Main Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs, a long avenue with twelve stone-animals on each side, one crouched and one standing. This way it looked like the animals would stand up for the dead emperor while he was carried down the way. After these animals there were also six stone-humans on each side, also for giving farewell to the emperor. „The Ming Tombs“ weiterlesen
Today was the day, where we would visit the Summer Palace. We ate our toasts and were ready to leave, when teacher Chen gave us a surprise visit. He wanted to know if everything is ok and we assured him, that we are totally satisfied with our stay in China.
We took the bus to the bus station where Lili and Tina, a friend of hers, picked us up to drive us to the Summer Palace, which is located in the north-west. A ~3km² area consisting of the Kunming Lake and the Longevity Hill. The Lake is entirely man-made and the dug up soil was used to build the Hill. With Lili and Tina we climbed the Longevity Hill, walked alongside the Kunming Lake and later took the ferry back to where we started our trip. Its a very beautiful, calm and peaceful place contrary to the noisy and busy city that is Beijing.
Early in the morning we started our day with our usual toasts, sadly we couldn’t find the ones we bought after the cinema in our Lotte Mart. But still much better than donkey in the morning 😉 We didn’t take our usual bus (No. 983), instead we took the No. 420 bus to get directly to Lili’s home. The plan for today was to visit a finished project of the company and then to enjoy a foot massage afterwards. On the ride to the project Lili gave us some details about it. The name is „Grand Epoch City“ and is used mainly as an convention center during the summer. The Citic Group, which our company is part of, invested about 500 Million Euro into this project. In a total area of 2,85 km² there are three or four hotels, a 18 hole golf course, two Buddhist temple, restaurants and a lot of parks. All hotels together have a capacity of about 4000 people.
After a car ride of about 1½ hours we arrived at the City and were picked up by a electric cart to bring us to the first hotel. We were greeted by the manager who took us directly to the dining hall where we had lunch in a separate room. The food was again so much we took most of it with us. And we guess it must have been some really expensive food, there was fish, jellyfish, lamb, pork, beef, pigeon and salad. It was a feast again!
Hungry we walked to the bus stop. We forgot to buy additional toasts. After waiting almost 20 minutes for the correct bus to arrive, we were pleasantly surprised by a very swift bus ride ~30 minutes. That must have been some kind of record. The problem is the unbelievably bad stench rushing by your nose frequently, caused by the bad breath of almost all passengers, words can’t describe. While finding yourself in crowded and smelly setting like a bus ride, you begin to let your mind wander. Maybe I should buy a family pack of mints or gum, carrying it with me at all times to offer mints to the ones in need. A friend of mine called this bad breath phenomenon:
„The downfall of the Chinese society“.
Today was just a normal work day, so it’s time to give you a little insight into our daily routine concerning body hygiene.
At the end of each day we take a shower, but it is a bit different compared to Germany. First of all we do not have a shower in our room. That means, if you want to take a shower, you will have to walk across the yard to another building. So at the end of our first day here, we had an appointment with Zhu & Li who wanted to show us the showers. When we met, there were also 4 other students with them, who were introduced as „school mates“. So we went to the shower building in the ground floor, first floor is for the girls. Inside the building are just some lockers and a big room with two walls in the middle. At each wall there are about ten shower heads with a small device beside them. So we all undress, take our shampoo and most important the card we also use for the food at the school with us. To start showering, you have to place the card on the device beside the shower, then water will run. The price is about 0.5 Yuan per minute (that’s very cheap).
When we arrived at work we were greeted by Lili who was very concerned about my wellbeing. She brought some cake, Chinese medicine and heat pads. At lunch we discussed the plans for the days to come. We agreed to visit the Forbidden City on Wednesday and next week we will be traveling to Shanghai from Monday to Wednesday to visit the city and additional construction projects of our company. Because of all the gifts from Lili she offered to drive us back to school after work, which we gladly accepted.
At school we met Zhu who informed us, that a package had arrived for us. Alex‘ mother sent us a lot of Germany themed gifts, which we will be handing out as a thankyou to the ones who treated us best. For the company we now have poster of the Brandenburg Gate, for which, with the help of a friend of mine, we will get a frame custom made. We are certain, they will put it up on the wall in their office. It is going to look marvelous!
While resting in our dormitory a Chinese student came to our door to meet us. The young Chinese student called Ding Tong had no problem with making himself right at home. He thoroughly searched through all our belongings while making a comment from now and then.
In return he helped us translate and explain to us the various Chinese medicine we brought home. When his friends arrived to pick him up, we scheduled a Ping Pong duel with some of them. Allegedly they are quite good – we’ll see about that 🙂
After showering we ate dinner, delicious rice with chicken and chili for Alex and good old Vollkornbrot imported from Germany for me – less delicious.
Lili promised us to take us to a foot massage this week, hopefully tomorrow 🙂
After yesterdays feast and due to Lukas stomachache, which got better today, we didn’t do a lot this day. We slept till midday and enjoyed our breakfast. After the cinema on Tuesday we have been to a supermarket where we bought some toast which now turns out to be the best one yet. After toasting it is not only crispy on the outside, but also on the inside. Very yummy 😀
We also wanted to play some table tennis but unfortunately it was too windy outside, so we mainly enjoyed the sun and also joined some Chinese students who were playing basketball.
Only two stations away from our dormitory is a Walmart so we decided to go for some grocery shopping there in the afternoon. The Walmart covers two floors, the higher one is non-food, the lower one is for food. At the non-food floor we searched and found some hooks for our dormitory. We decided to take the cheapest ones, which is a four pack for only 1,10€. And they are still in place where we stuck them. Let’s see for how long…
At the food floor we looked for the mentioned toast but we didn’t make a find. So we walked around and inspected the offers, buying some sparkled water, a kind of orange juice, some chips and well known Magnum ice cream. We could have also bought alive frogs and turtles „Relaxed Sunday“ weiterlesen
This morning we awoke earlier than usual for a Saturday. We had planed to go to the Ming Tombs with friends of Alex, but unfortunately the trip with the car would cost us 4-5 hours there and back. We were on a tight schedule because of the dinner we would eat at Lili’s later in the afternoon. We agree to postpone the Ming Tombs for a week and eat „breakfast“ instead.
The restaurant was located not far away from our school. We took our friend Li with us to act as our translator. The last time we had a meal with them, it was way to much and we took home more food than we ate at restaurant. This time would not be different:
It has to be some kind of torture. The amount of delicious food in front of you and you are too stuffed to take another bite. As always we asked to „All you can’t eat“ weiterlesen
Today we got up quite late since we had no big plans. After our delicious breakfast we played some computer games and relaxed a bit. Then we went to the Indigo Mall and bought some water, detergent, Nutella and toast. The 1st of May is a free day in China as well, so it was a bit crowded everywhere. But we got what we were looking for and headed back to the school afterwards. For lunch/dinner we had some beloved beef noodles from across the street, cheap and delicious.
We also tried to take a shower, but unfortunately the shower times (meaning when there is water) were not the usual ones for a Friday, but the ones of the weekend. That means between 7 and 9 pm, so we were too early.
One of Lukas friends did invite us to play some Doppelkopf at her flat, so we tried to catch a taxi to get there. Which was more difficult than expected, we tried for more than half a hour without success. Since it was raining it wasn’t the most pleasant thing to do…
Today was a day free of work, because tomorrow is the first of May and many employees do no need to come to the office. Only the more important ones do. We picked this day to be the day we go to the amusement park located in Beijing called Happy Valley. We anticipated, that today the park would be less crowded. We were right only to a certain extend.
Happy Valley is located south-east of Beijing. Our Chinese version of google maps called Baidu Maps predicted, that a trip to Happy Valley by public transportation would take 1 1/2h, because of an uncompleted subway traffic network. The right choice was to take a taxi and that we did. 6€ and 20min later we arrived at the place of fun and adrenaline.