I apologize for not updating my blog regularly. So the last time I wrote, I said that I would be going on a two week trip to the northeastern part of China. I’ve been back for about two weeks now, but I just never got around to updating my blog with school work and all.
So much has happened since my last blog entry!
During my two weeks of mobile learning, I went to the northeastern part of China (Dongbei). The Dongbei area is known for being home to 46 of the 56 ethnic minorities in China. The focus of our trip was to visit the Mongolian ethnic minority group and the Korean ethnic minority group. I never realized just how ethnically diverse China is, but when you go up to the northeastern part of China, signs will have three languages on them, Chinese, Russian, and Korean.
We started out in the grasslands of China in Hulunbeier. During our two days there, we stayed in a Mongolian Yurt. Living in a yurt is not conducive for cold weather! There we learned how to wrestle (traditional Mongolian style) and just enjoy the quietness of the grasslands. The grasslands are such a stark contrast to the busy city of Beijing, so it was really nice getting to experience a different side of China. After our time in the grasslands we headed to Harbin.
Harbin is known for their Ice Festival and their heavily Russian influenced architecture. When you’re in Harbin, it almost feels like you are in an European city because the streets are cobble and the architecture is very similar to European architecture. After Harbin we headed to Changbaishan.
Tainchi Lake is located in Changbaishan. Tainchi Lake is a famous crater lake that separates China from North Korea. When standing on the Chinese side of the lake and looking across, you can see North Korea. The lake was absolutely break-taking. The water was so blue and the air was so fresh.
Then we went to Tumen, which is a border city between China and North Korea. While in Tumen, we were able to climb a mountain to get an aerial view of a North Korean village. This mountain was really neat because it allowed us to see a Chinese city and a North Korean city at the same time, so we were able to compare the two countries and see their stark contrasts. The Chinese side was developed and had high rises, while the North Korean village lacked any high rises and all the buildings were exactly the same.
It was then time to head back to Beijing on our 24+ hour train ride. Riding a train in China is like no other experience I have ever had. Chinese trains have 6 beds in each compartment. There will be a top, middle, and bottom bunk. There are no doors to these compartments, so people can walk past you and look at you while you sleep. Most people want want the top bunk because no one can look at you while you are sleeping. In addition, if you have the bottom bunk, people will always sit on your bed, thus making it hard for you to fall asleep when you want. I was fortunate enough to have the top bunk!
When we finally arrived in Beijing, it was Nationals Day. A couple of my friends and I decided that we wanted to see the rising of the flags in Tiananamen Square, so we camped out the night before and pulled an all-nighter in Tiananmen. What an experience! In order to get into Tiananmen Square, we first had to stand in an absurd line, which was packed with people. I literally was smashed in between people and could not physically move my arms, that’s how packed it was that night. When we finally made it into Tiananmen Square, we had to find a spot to camp out in. Not only was it crowded, but it was extremely cold that night. The rising of the flags happened at 6 in the morning the next day, but because it was so packed, it was extremely hard to see what was happening. But the experience of camping out in Tiananmen Square was well worth the wait.
That’s it for now! Till next time.