Day 10 – Ruins of Yuanmingyuan, tour is Peking University by Guanghua School of Management, Peking Duck, and Peking Opera

Medical updates first (and hopefully last update) – My voice has returned; however my Chinese still has a very long way to go. Our student has been released from the hospital and is recovering remarkably well for just having surgery. She will be able to continue on the trip. As mentioned in my previous post, the medical care she received was outstanding.

As par for the course, we had another full day of activities. In the morning, we had some personal time so I decided to visit the Ruins of Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace). I don’t have a lot of time, but made the trip to see the beautiful botanical gardens. I have been amazed by all the flowers around Beijing. The Ruins of Yuanmingyuan had many trails, flowers, lakes, ruins, etc. that were very interesting and new to me. There was a very colorful bird I had not seen before but every time I tried to take its picture, it flew away. It became a game, the bird won (I have no photo of it.). I only wish I had more time to explore the entire park.

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After lunch, our students were guided around Peking University by current Peking University students. A recent Forbes article compares Guanghua School of Mangement as the Harvard of China http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/21/news/world/game-changers-guanghua-csi.fortune/index.htm. This was very kind of of the studnets to give us their time given the fact that they all have finals next week. The stress of Final Exams appears to be universal. We were able to tour inside the Peking Gymnasium that held the 2008 ping pong Olympics. I can imagine 5000 people watching ping pong.

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We next visited the West Gate to capture a class photo. According to wikipedia

The university campus is located in the former site of the Qing Dynasty royal gardens and it retains many traditional Chinese-style landscaping including traditional houses, gardens, pagodas as well as many notable historical buildings and structures. There are several gates that lead into campus – East, West and South gates, with the West Gate being the most well known for the painted murals on its ceiling. Peking University is known throughout China, along with its neighbour, Tsinghua University, for their beautiful campuses. Weiming lake is located in the north of the campus, and is surrounded by several walking paths and small gardens.

It is a very beautiful campus.

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For dinner, we heade to Quanjude Restaurant for the famous Peking duck. It was a great meal. Brought back memories of my mom making Peking Duck at our home. I can remember her using the spring onions to swipe the sauce on the pancake. Here, they dunk the duck meat directly into the sauce, place the meat on the pancake, add a few spring onions, and thinly sliced cucumber. All taste excellent.

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After dinner, we attended the Peking Opera — different and similar to other Operas I have attended. The singing and costumes were elaborate. There were 4 short performances that told different parts of a story. They did provide English translation so I could follow the story line (The Drucken Concubine). We had the best seats in the house — front row. We were also served tea and light refreshments.

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After the opera, the students and Trey headed out for more nightlife. We went by the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square — with lots of lights — very different at night. I was exhausted and took the subway back to the hotel. The subway is so easy to use, clean, and safe. I also had 3 of the local Chinese students with me. I understand many students didn’t arrive back to the hotel to the early morning. Sounds like they all had a great time enjoying the local culture. If you want to follow the blogs the students are writing (part of the class assignment), check out http://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/China_GIE/

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