By: Eric Dexheimer, `14
We started our last day in China by going to the Summer Palace. It was built by during the Qing dynasty and it was used as another home for its leaders. Although it was drizzling outside, we still walked along the lakes and gardens. We then went to a restaurant for tourists to show information about the Cultural Revolution. Lunch also included an auction in which the prices would go up with no bids from the crowd. After lunch we went to the massive gardens and ruins called Yuan Ming Yuan. Also built by the Qing, it contains many interconnected canals and gardens. While the British destroyed most of the original buildings and bridges in the 19th century, the ponds and the garden’s history were interesting. The garden’s remains such as the heads of the zodiac fountain statues, which were stolen by the British, are still being looked for today as it still carries importance to Chinese history.
We visited the Olympic Village through the rain and went inside of the Watercube to view the swimming pools. As the sky cleared up, we walked around the crowded Wang Fu Jing shopping street. For our final meal in China, Chris’s uncle treated us to dinner at Da Dong, which is known to have the best Peking duck in Beijing. We would like to thank Chris and his uncle for the wonderful meal. The trip went by too quickly and everyone had fun and learned a lot. For me, I learned a new cultural perspective and experienced firsthand the development of China. This trip gave me a historical view of China, as well as how it affects the rapid changes brought about. For example, teachers in Suzhou said that ten years ago the highways we drove on were not there. Mrs. Zhang’s village outside of Xi’an was no longer fields, but large car dealerships and closely packed buildings.
Looking forward, it will be interesting to see China’s impact on the modern world. Its population size and massive amount of production makes it one of the most highly sought after economies in the world. With more and more connection between people throughout the world, greater communication and cooperation with China will be necessary for peaceful and productive international relations. The importance of learning Chinese has also been reinforced due to China’s rapid growth and influence. Lastly, we would like to thank all of the readers who followed the blog during our trip.