Some of our fun times in Beijing :)
Today was our last day in China 不好！This trip has been absolutely incredible and I definitely am going to become fluent in Chinese and come back and possibly work here. The people are incredible and the culture is so rich and all around you here. The food was delicious, but my stomach sometimes didnt agree haha. I was shocked by how cheap food was for how tasty it was. We road the subway to the Pearl Market this morning to do some shopping. The Pearl Market is a big building with 5 floors full of vendors with mostly jewelry and electronics, but also crafts and clothing. It is so much fun bartering for goods and I found that I’m pretty good at getting a low price here, maybe they like that I’m trying to speak some Chinese?
Tonight we’re having our farewell dinner and headed out to Houhai street together. We have all gotten really close on this trip and I think we are all reluctant to leave Beijing and each other. The 12 hr plane flight is not too exciting either…
But tomorrow afternoon we leave Beijing for SFO and we go back in time! we leave here at noon and get to San Francisco at 8:46 am, awesome.
I am excited to get home however, I have missed America and many of you! Hopefully it won’t take too long to adjust back 12 hrs…
We spent the morning visiting Ogilvy, an international advertising firm that is the biggest advertisement agency in China. Tim Broadbent talked to us about advertising business in China. He worked in London for 30 years and has been in China for 3 yrs. The things he told us about advertising in China were very interesting. The main point of his presentation was that the people in China are not too different than everywhere else, but their adds are. Chinese advertisements focus most on demonstrating the product being sold. The adds are less creative, appeal less to emotions, and are generally less effective. What Ogilvy struggles with in China is convincing their Chinese clients to use more creative and effect advertising, but they are reluctant. He said that most his clients believe Chinese people do not want and will not respond the same to creative adds as Westerners, and that they’d rather see what a new product does. Mr. Broadbent showed us many research, however, that says the opposite. He believes that once Chinese companies begin using creative and effective instead of straightforward and dull advertising, they will see much more success.
Yesterday we road the train to the Tianjin province to visit Master Kong Noodle Co. The train took about an hour, but it felt like much less because of how nice the train was and how smooth the ride was. The train station itself was nicer than any airport I have ever been to. The train was set up with seats and table that were very spacious and comfortable, and the ride was incredibly smooth for traveling over 260MPH!
One we got to Tianjin we drove to Master Kong Noodle factory to observe the noodle business in China. The factories we saw were incredible. They were very high tech and clean and produced over 500 noodle packs a minute, thats a lot of ramen! At the end of our tour we got to sample some noodles and they were delicious.
We also got to visit their beverage making factory where they produce tea and juice of different flavors along with bottled water. It was just as clean and impressive as the noodle factory.
Later we met with a representative of Master Kong and he told us a little bit about the company, they are the largest provider of ramen noodles in China, Taiwan and Japan. There beverage line is newer and not as successful, but still very profitable. The company is trying to focus on going green and eliminating their waste and pollution which was nice to hear from a Chinese factory!
1. Chinese women wear these funny nylon socks that go above their ankle. Every woman wears them no matter if they’re wearing high heels, sandals, or tennis shoes.
2. Food is amazingly cheap. Im talking $4 for a generous helping. Lexi and I got 2 plates of meat, a bowl of rice, and veggies for 25 RMB, which is about $4.
3. Cabs are also ridiculously cheap! We took about a half hour cab ride and it cost us $7.
4. Chinese massages are more painful than anything I’ve ever experienced. If only I knew how to say “softer, I’m crying.”
5. Restaurants don’t serve rice unless you ask, and even then they’re hesitant. Rice is a very cheap food so serving it is insulting. Lots of places where I’ve just ordered a bowl of rice charge me .25 cents or don’t even bother and let me have it free.
6. People prefer the squat toilets (they are literally holes in the ground) over western toilets. I was waiting in line at a public bathroom and noticed 2 stalls were free so I told the people in front of me and they all said no thanks that they were waiting for the Chinese style toilets…
7. Chinese people are very encouraging if you are trying to speak Chinese!
8. Shopping malls smell weird.
9. Stairs are very awkwardly spaced out. There are a bunch of tiny short stairs, versus a few higher stairs. It’s weird and annoying.
10. Chinese girls hold hands. Here it is a sign of friendship and very normal to see women and girls holding hands wherever they are.
11. Chinese dance clubs play American music that came out a decade ago…
12. When it rains in China the sky and entire outside turns pitch black. It rained at 3 o’clock one afternoon and we thought it was 2am because of how dark it was.
13. You can buy knock off American products for super cheap at the Pearl and Silk Markets. I’m talking anything: iPhones, cameras, jewelery, electronics, Nike’s, clothes, purses, weapons, sunglasses, you name it they have it!
14. There are no traffic rules. People drive on the wrong side of the road, they don’t stop at redlights, people cross at anytime in the middle of traffic, drivers pay no attention to the lines on the road, bikers and mopeds and even a few gutsy cars drive on the sidewalks, and everyone uses their horns!
15. I love China!
Once you hike up and down the wall, you have three options on how to get back down to civilization: walk a trail down the mountain, gondola, or TOBOGGAN!! We chose toboggan and it was an absolute blast!
Yesterday we went to the Great Wall of China. I can easily say that it was a day I will remember for the rest of my life. The wall itself is amazing and stretches on farther than the eye can see. Some parts of the wall are a little over 2,000 years old! We went to a part that is about 400 years old and hiked to the end on one side. To get up to the wall you take a gondola and the view from the gondola alone is amazing. Once up you could choose to go to the left or right, the left went on longer and was more flat, the right was shorter and some parts were literally straight up. So, of course, we chose to go right!
I was amazed at how steep the stairs were! some parts the steps were more like a latter than actual stairs. Being the athlete that I am, I thought I should try and run some. hahahaha, that did not last too long. Just walking the stairs, we had to take breaks every 10 steps or so because of the steep incline. The way up took us about a half hour, photography time worked in of course, but once we got to the top it was all worth it! The very top of the wall ends with an amazing view of the entire country side below you. I can’t explain in words and I don’t think a picture even does it justice of how beautiful that view was. Lexi and I walked up a little further on a little trail that took us to an even more amazing view of China.
The walk down was SCARY! We had to walk in zig zags down the stairs because of how steep the decline was. I don’t think the Chinese factored into their design people with size 11.5 feet… They also didn’t include handrails or anything to help you walk down, but somehow we made it.
During our time hiking the wall, we met a wide variety of people. There were thousands of English speakers from all over the world. We met people from France, Brazil, Chile, Germany and all over Europe. We also met some fellow college kids studying here from Texas and USD! It’s a small world after all.
I never dreamed I would be able to see the Great Wall and the experience was one I’ll cherish and look back on often!
On wednesday we went to Silk street, commonly known as the silk market. the first thing you see when you walk in this venue is a sign saying something along the lines of, “we do not sell counterfeit goods, if you see any, please dont purchase.” And then you are bombarded with merchants trying to sell you the latest Gucci, luis vuitton, and coach bags for a suspicously good price. hmmm? Needless to say, I bought my fair share of counterfeit goods.
The marketplace is complete chaos, there are levels and levels of venders all pushing the exact same product, from knock off purses to nike shoes to northface jackets, you name it they have it! The venders however, are not pleasant. As Lexi and I walked through the skinny aisles, people were literally grabbing and pulling us in their shops, yelling at us with prices, shoving goods in our face, it was a madhouse. The coolest part about this place was bartering with the obnoxious venders. They would start at a ridiculously high price and go down from there. For instance one of the wallets we were looking to buy started off at 2,300 yuan and i think we bought it for 80yuan. an absolute steal! Lexi and i developed a bartering system that worked out pretty well and we walked out with our arms full of Chinese counterfeit goods. But if you see me walking around with a new Marc Jacobs wallet, I swear its real! haha
more to come!