I see Chinese people...

If you were wondering, as I had myself, if Chinese people can differentiate between those born in mainland and those born in the good U S of A... They can. Just yesterday, I had a particularly satisfying moment when I overheard the end of a conversation between two men in Cantonese about five feet away:

"She's definitely from America." - Man 1
"I bet she can't speak or understand Chinese." - Man 2
"I can hear you, and I do speak Chinese." - Me (in Cantonese)

Booyah.

I think Man 1 was just flustered and kept walking, but Man 2 was so amused that he stopped to chat. He was apologetic for making the bold assumption (but I really can't blame him after seeing the kids that I hang out with, who CLEARLY aren't from around here), and after a couple minutes we got along famously. This situation happened in HK too; I can only imagine what could have been said in Mandarin during my stay in Mainland China, and I was just completely oblivious to it!

ANYWAY--By now I'm sure the web editor thinks that I've duped Bucknell out of a camera (not to worry, Sam Alcorn!), but I do apologize for the lag in time since my last entry.

My travel seminar China: Past, Present, and Future through Xi'an, Beijing, and Shanghai was absolutely amazing. It was essentially summer camp, in the sense that the program constantly had us on the go, but we saw everything and couldn't have done China better. We started days sometimes as early as 8 a.m., and had lectures and/or were herded from place to place via *luxurious* coach bus. Luckily, we were given the evenings off to explore the cities on our own leisure. Too much has happened to explain it all, but here is the rundown of China highlights:

Xi'an:

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Tomb of the Terracotta Soldiers

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Big Wild Goose Pagoda
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Biking the nine-mile perimeter of Xi'an City Wall
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Engaging in the favorite Asian pastime of KTV aka karaoke!

Beijing:

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Outside the Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square--Mao is EVERYWHERE

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Great Wall of China! People never talk about the climb up, but let me tell you it's a toughie (or perhaps I'm just incredibly out of shape).

Some group shots...

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The end of our toboggan ride down
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The ever-famous Olympic Bird's Nest
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Michael Phelps was here

Rickshaw ride in Shi Sha Hai Hutong Village

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Shanghai:

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Shanghai is hosting the 2010 World Expo - this knock-off Gumby character is its mascot, and is essentially as prevalent around the city as Mao himself

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Shanghai in model view (Urban Planning Museum)
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Downtown Shanghai at night
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For $10USD each, we rented a bus our last night so we wouldn't get separated
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At Cloud 9 (87th story) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the highest bar in the tallest hotel in the world

Back in Hong Kong: Though it was a great opportunity to travel, since this week is the most extended period of free time I have, it's coincidently Chinese New Year and all airline prices have been marked up at least double -- my friends and I couldn't justify spending the same amount of money it took to fly over here to another country just a hop away. Plus, Mama Shum didn't approve of me doing all this traveling since I'm sort of prone to sickness (my little body can't handle it!), but it has ended up being the best decision to stay here instead.

It's pretty absurd that HK is in the dead of winter right now, and it's 70 degrees outside. It doesn't get much colder than 50 degrees, and everyone is still clad in down jackets and scarves. In that sense, I guess abroad students really do stick out because we're the ones walking around in t-shirts (and cameras, and big sunglasses... okay, too obvious).

The Chinese take the lunar new year very seriously, and everywhere is packed comparable to the days leading up to Christmas in the states. I've been incredibly fortunate to have family here, and have gotten to see them a lot. Apart from that, my friends and I have been spending our free time (classes FINALLY start on Monday) slowly poking around Hong Kong, and I'm certain there's enough to do that we'll stay entertained for the next four months.

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Home sweet home, our MTR stop!
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Mitch Chernin, professor of biology, has been on sabbatical this past year and was gracious enough to spend the last night of his world wind travels hosting a Bucknell reception at the Kowloon Hotel. Bucknell was very welcoming to my Cornell guests!
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Our view of the city from the Peninsula Hotel
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Ringing in the year of the ox!
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Hiking by the Giant Buddah in Lantau Island
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En route...
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Cable car ride down

One more thing before signing off: A shout out to Kelsey Cahill, a fellow Kappa and past abroad blogger who studied in Copenhagen last spring. She may or may not have been my inspiration to do this... Be sure to check out her archived entries; captivating stuff!


Comments (31)

Posted by Ali Jones - January 31, 2009 9:44 AM

Good for you, Peggy! Not many people can say that they know colloquial Mandarin. It's very interesting that they could immediately tell the difference. What do you think it is that causes them to assume you are American?

Posted by Mallory McLean - January 31, 2009 10:33 AM

Peggy, I am so jealous! I have always wanted to see The Great Wall Of China and your photos are amazing! I hope all is well there. Glad you're blogging, so you can give us all back here in Lewisburg a taste of your exciting adventures. Enjoy the warmer weather there, and be safe!

Posted by Caity McLaughlin - January 31, 2009 10:40 AM

Peggy - amazing pictures! You captured a lot of years of history... from the Great Wall to Forbidden City to Bird's Nest. China is definitely still evolving and you are there at a fascinating time. Enjoy it!

Posted by Tina TENG BANG - January 31, 2009 1:46 PM

PEGGGGGY!

I like your main picture but I know you cut me out! Anyway...I am very jealous you are experiencing our homeland without me. If I was there we could dominate the country with you knowing Cantonese and me Mandarin! Imagine the things possible. I haven't been to China, so I'm expecting you to take me one day! Mucho love from your biggest little <3

PS I'm sitting in your bed right now, creepy huh?

Posted by wormgirl - January 31, 2009 4:30 PM

peggy. so happy you shut down those doubting your asian-ness.. i'm so proud. anywho how's life over the pond? any life changing or inspiring revelations? live in vt is cold and lacking in the chinese department, but good nonetheless. bt-dubs: i miss you.

hope all is well!

laur

Posted by NRA - January 31, 2009 4:55 PM

Hey Pegs!
What a fascinating trip! You've seen so much in such a brief time. Kudos to the organizer! You and your friends appear to be soaking it all in.
Good for you! What a wonderful lifetime experience, guaranteed to influence your future international perspectives!! Keep savoring every moment!!

Posted by wenwen - January 31, 2009 8:28 PM

i hate it when chinese people assume we are not chinese enough to understand the language. same thing happened to me with the barcelona asian crew. punks.

i miss you and am glad to see you are updating your brog. er. blog. <3

Posted by Will - February 1, 2009 2:01 AM

Ah yes the water cube and Michael Phelps. A symbol of American dominance even in Red China. Of course Kate is in the photo too.

Posted by Pam and Kevin - February 1, 2009 9:21 AM

I can't believe you've been there a month and haven't even started classes! Nice. You're pictures are AMAZING and we can't wait for your next blog.
See you on the mainland!

Love and miss you,

Pam, Kevin and Pal

WOWWY! You look like you're having a blast! Keep us posted!

Peggy!
Such a great blog!! i feel like I'm right there with you! I'm such a fan and I cant wait to hear more about your crazy encounters in HK!!

xoxo
Amanda

Posted by sHuMfAn1 - February 1, 2009 11:21 PM

amazing!! it just keeps getting better. my favorite part was when you totally pwned that chinese guy lolz. Your mom sounds nice.

Posted by Kevin Baine - February 1, 2009 11:30 PM

Keep up the good work pegster, love the pics, I had no idea there were so many white people in china

Posted by Corey D - February 1, 2009 11:31 PM

Well herro preggy, your brog is rearry good

Posted by Conor - February 1, 2009 11:33 PM

is it me or have you gotten more asian

Posted by Scotty - February 1, 2009 11:36 PM

Hi peggy, looks like your having fun. keep your eyes peeled, i bet you can find a nice asian boy who's much neater than blake

Posted by Tim - February 1, 2009 11:39 PM

so china has cheap booze, BIG DEAL. we have baseball, babes, and nascar. AMERICA!

Posted by Dave C aka big poppa - February 1, 2009 11:55 PM

true or false: chinese people dont blink

Posted by Krystle - February 2, 2009 1:25 AM

aaww PEGS im so glad you told those men who's who. Anywayyyyy WOW what a LOAD of experiences hitting you every 5 seconds!!!! Keep on bloggin so i can keep on reading and live through you in these next weeks and months. miss and LOVE YOU

~your sister from another mister

Posted by Killah - February 2, 2009 8:14 AM

Pegs!
I am so happy you were able to first, prove old Chinese men wrong and that you are of the bilingual sort (trilingual I suppose if you count Spanish... well no, you're just bilingual) and second, to make friends with them! Fantastic!

Your pictures are amazing and I especially like the Great Wall one. Can't wait to keep seeing you explore China.

Just keep bloggin'.

Posted by Nina Shum - February 2, 2009 11:10 AM

You have quite the fan base on your blog. Keep them coming. I love you and I miss you. Let's talk this week. xoxo

Nina

Posted by Rachel Casas - February 2, 2009 11:58 AM

Peggy!! Ahh looks like you're having a blast over there. We miss you though! Great blog btw... ;o)

<3 Rach

Posted by christine j - February 3, 2009 8:26 AM

hahahahahah HALARIOUS. i just told this story to everyone in my program in italy. ciao!

Posted by anna - February 3, 2009 11:25 AM

nice entry, lil p! who is this impostor gumby by the way? and what's his M.O.? i'm intrigued by this world expo....

Posted by l dubz - February 4, 2009 1:48 AM

WHY DON'T YOU POST MORE?! SATIATE MY UPDATE NEEDS!!!!!!!!

also let's plan a skype date. i will use stan's comp.

Posted by Pam and Kevin - February 4, 2009 7:36 AM

I posted on a certain competitors blog site to help his cause as he is sadly lacking in comments. It seems he's gotten so desparate to be #1 that he has hired someone to actually create a blog on his blog. Vegas currently has you favored 3:1. I'll keep you posted as the odds change.
Hope you're still having fun!

Posted by Vegas Tracker - February 5, 2009 7:37 AM

Current score "the other blogger" 34. You-32. Vegas odds are shifting in his favor. Come on Kappa, show them what you're made of.

Posted by 108 adams - February 6, 2009 1:24 PM

your brog is lacking. (or racking)

Posted by peggy is #1 blogger aka ROME - February 8, 2009 7:28 AM

Peggy,

You have made me smile from ear to ear, not only because I am in many of those wonderful photos, but because you have truly captured the wonders of the Eastern World! Love your stories almost as much as I love you!!!

xox,
Rome

Posted by Pam - February 10, 2009 9:04 AM

No pressure but your fellow Bucknellianite posted again.

Posted by Lynne and Mark - February 11, 2009 8:41 PM

Hi Peggy,
Your blog is awesome! Please post the picture of you on the Great Wall with "Glitz". It is posted in our office and has been very popular!
Love, Lynne and Mark

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