Hey guys!! I am writing to you from beautiful Iceland this time around. This country is absolutely breathtaking and the people are so friendly. Everyone I have met so far has always had a smile while genuinely wanting to help me or know about what I have planned while here.
Today i explored one of the biggest attractions in all of China, The Great Wall! The wall is 5,500 miles long which means that there are multiple areas to choose from to explore. I originally wanted to go to the Mutianyu section which gives you an opportunity to toboggan back down after hiking up, but our hostel offered a tour of another section that is off limits to tourists. The other thing I learned that swayed me towards the hostel tour is a lot of the more touristy areas of the wall don’t have the original stones, they have been reconstructed using cement, making it not as authentic. The area the hostel took us to is all original, the only section that has been redone is an area that they put wood planks across the original stone where it has deteriorated.
Today was a very busy day of sightseeing in Beijing! Three people I met at the hostel and I started our day off by going to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square, which is located right in front of the Forbidden City, is only about a 20 minute walk from the hostel, but when we got closer to it, the roads were all blocked and nobody could get through. Patricia and I tried to communicate in Chinese with one of the officers standing by, and apparently the area is closed due to Congressional meetings for the next 5 days, but the Forbidden City is still open. To get there we had to take 3 different subway lines, just because of the blocks that were put up, and once we got to the entrance the line was really long to get through security.
China is really an amazing country, but it is such a hard country to adjust to, especially coming from the states where we have the luxury of using toilets that you can sit on. I knew coming here that squat toilets were the norm, but I guess I didn’t think I would actually ever use one. I was definitely wrong with that assumption.
It all started by going to the Temple of Heaven. The temple is inside a huge park, and you either pay 10 yuan just to walk around the park or 28 yuan to walk the park and go inside the temple.
Hi everybody! I have landed in China, and I am very excited to be here, but also a little apprehensive as I realize I didn’t do quite as much research as maybe I should have. My hostel is great, it’s clean, has a good atmosphere, and is located on a street with a lot of local shops and restaurants that really help you to submerge yourself in the surrounding culture. I really do love it.