If you read the facts in my about me tab, you might have notice that I mention that I went to China. You’re not mistaken. At the end of my freshman year of high school, I went on a two week trip with my school. I was roommates with one of my close friends, which was awesome! We first hung out in Beijing, then we went to the rural area of China, and finally, Shanghai. Being there for two weeks really opened my eyes to just how different the United States is from Asia.
In Beijing, my group explored the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the actual city. the Forbidden City was beautiful- all the color from the architecture was so cool! We didn’t spend much time there, as we had an extremely busy day. The same day, we went to the Great Wall. At the Great Wall, you have the choice of taking a tram way to the top, or hiking. I didn’t want to spend my money on the tram way, and honestly, the view I got to see from the hike up was in the top three of the most beautiful things I saw all trip. The hike up was 987 stairs, and it was extremely hot out. Once we got to the wall, some people decided to hike it, while some people just walked along the wall. I decided to hike it, and I’m so glad I did. As we got closer to the top, the stairs got smaller and smaller- thus, I had to crawl up for a little bit. I admit, the Great Wall hike was one of the physically challenging things I’ve ever done, but the view was worth it.
Rural China was by far my favorite part of the trip. I don’t remember the name of the villages we went to, but that is where we spent most of our time. While we were there, we went bamboo rafting, which was the highlight of my trip. It was so much fun, and they gave us water guns to squirt each other with. If I could do any part of the trip again, I’d do the water rafting again. We also went to a mud cave, and found mud pools to play in. They were extremely messy, and it was pitch black in the cave, so finding our way up was challenging. While we stayed at that specific hotel (again, sorry I don’t remember where!), we did a cooking class, which was so cool! We made a chicken stir fry and some dumplings (I used eggs instead of beef since I don’t eat beef). Thankfully, we had a guide that new the caves very well. Later in the week, we went up to the rice terraces (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you look at photos). The hotel we stayed at was kind of strange, but it had beautiful views. That was the “hiking part” of our trip, as we had a lot of hiking to do to get to our hotel and to the town. Since it was monsoon season while we were there, it was always raining, which was an issue for me considering I forgot a rain coat and had to use a trash bag for protection. It was still so much fun though! After the rice terraces, we went to another town for our service work portion of the trip. For this part, we created + paved cemment at a local school. Since we were the last group to do it, we ended up doing a lot more work than we thought, but it was still so much fun and extremely rewarding. As soon as we finished, it started pouring rain + thundering/lightning.
We spent the final two days of our trip in the city, exploring black markets and museums. I personally loved the black markets- they were very cool, considering how sketchy they were. I also went to the science + space museum. I’m not much of a science person, but I LOVED it. It was so hands on and interesting! At this point of the trip, I was very home sick, but I was very happy I went on the trip. Also, I had been with the same group of people for 13 days, so I was ready to see my other friends. I’m so grateful for this experience, and even when I was home sick and tired from the day, I still had fun.
– Since I don’t eat most meat or rice, eating there was very hard (LOTS of veggies)
– Since I’m blonde, I got a lot of looks and yes, people did randomly come up to me, take a photo without my permission, and then would proceed to walk away.
– Even though China uses squat toilets, most places we stayed had “western” toilets. I had to use a squat toilet once, and it was an awful experience.
– After the second day, I was sick of the food. It was all the same, and even though it would be tasty, it was the same thing- every. single. meal.
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