It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

20160930_172417       20160930_174626            On a Friday afternoon in September, we decided to go to the “Hutongs”. Hutongs are alleyways and lanes of old and close together houses that are arranged around a central courtyard. Most Hutongs are found by the Forbidden City. We took the bus and subway to get to there. Once we arrived, we immediately went into a leather working shop. That would be one of the many shops we visited. Here are some of the other shops we saw : a “snuff” shop, many food vendors, amber rock shop, bubble drink vendor, tea shops, and music shops. (We all learned not to drink the dry ice in the bubble drink!) I liked all the food we tried, including lamb kabbobs and the “candied fruit on a stick”. Continue reading “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

The Great Wall

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Well, we finally made it. And we were so glad we waited. September 28, 2016 was the perfect day to be on the Great Wall. It was a clear day, we got a direct bus ride there, and the Wall was not the least bit crowded. (After looking at video and pictures of the Wall during the holidays we especially realized how lucky we were on this subject!) After an hour/hour and a half bus ride to the wall at Mutianyu we bought on a shuttle bus and went up to the base of the wall. Because it was such a large hike to actually get up to the wall, we decided to take the easier, and more fun, way up. To help me tell the story of the Great Wall, I’ve enlisted the help from the other Ochsner 6 to each tell us about their favorite part of our adventure. Continue reading “The Great Wall”

The (not so) Forbidden City

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We were so ready. We had rented a van. We were all rested up. We had picked out our warmest clothes. We had gotten our snacks packed. We were going to the Great Wall.

The next morning we woke up to a massive wind storm. The Great Wall is on top of the mountains…I don’t know about you, but it blowing off the Great wall doesn’t sound so fun to me. Huh.

We weren’t going to the Great Wall….

So we settled for the next best thing, the Forbidden City. We packed into the van and off we went. Continue reading “The (not so) Forbidden City”

The Heart of Xi’an: The Muslim Quarter

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Maybe it was the illuminated drum and bell towers. Maybe it was the busy hum of the food street. Or maybe it was the excited hush of back road shops. Whatever it was, it made the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an one of our favorite parts of China. The excitement and diversity we found in the heart of this city made quite an impression!  Continue reading “The Heart of Xi’an: The Muslim Quarter”

Terracotta Warriors: You can’t take it with you when you go – but you can try

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“This is amazing,” I thought to myself while looking over the oldest army in the world.  It almost seemed surreal to me when I imagined that I could be standing in the same spot Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China, stood around 2226 years ago to survey his army when it was vibrantly painted and ready to march off to battle. Qin Shi Huang built this army to fight for him in the afterlife and to protect his tomb from intruders, and though these clay warriors may have failed their original mission, many of them still stand strong thousands of years later as a testament to his name. And that is an accomplishment to be proud of.

Continue reading “Terracotta Warriors: You can’t take it with you when you go – but you can try”

Happy Birthday Toddler Mao!

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This past Sunday marked the second birthday of our little Chairman Mao. We have not noticed much change in his behavior because Abel decided to get a head start and begin the “terrible two’s” stage early, just to warm us up. Our baby dictator is a fan favorite here in China, and rules the roost at home as well. We are hoping that because he began this “terrible two” stage early, he will end it early, because who could say no to that face? Continue reading “Happy Birthday Toddler Mao!”