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Ni Haou Jet Lag

March 9, 2009

Hello from Beijing!

I now know what jet lag is, and it isn’t fun. The flight was really long, the taxi was really fast, and traffic at rush hour was six lanes and eight cars wide. The Chinese version of the hamburger has an over-easy egg stacked on top of it. And I found all that out the first day.

Day Two: I lucked out by getting to share a room with David Chen, one of our two Chinese speaking students, and he has been very helpful. Xin Jia (a native of Beijing and another member of the project) was our guide for Saturday and thanks to her I’ll never be able to eat Americanized Chinese food again. Everything here is delicious, period.

We went to the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square and to a restaurant that has served an emperor and his court. What amazed me the most is just how diverse the city is. The poor and the rich live across the street from each other and sometimes not even that far. The service at all of the businesses is absolutely unmatched in America, and the people are cordial.

Oh yeah, and the subway is just as crazy and unique an experience as rush hour traffic.

Day Three: Sunday we went to the Water Cube and the Birds Nest – built for the 2008 Olympics. These structures are on the cutting edge of design, a far cry from the thousand year old buildings we saw the day before. Modern meets traditional here in ways I never expected.

Day Four… I’ll get to that next time…

Obviously, I won’t really be able to put an adequate description on this experience, but our days are packed full of activity and we are always exhausted by the end of the day. And… the food is truly beyond description; it’s some of the best I’ve ever eaten, and the average price for a four course meal is between 10 and 20 dollars… I think I may have gained a few pounds already….

Any way, I’ll try to give a synopsis of my days a bit more regularly for the next couple of days, and I’ll focus more on the project and the workshops we’re having with the Chinese professors and students of architecture.

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