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China (September 20, 2001)

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China is our first foreign country. It is communist and has many historical sites, including the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Forbidden City. There are also a lot of people who try to sell us things. It is a whole lot dirtier than America, and everything is written in Chinese (of course!).

It is funny because we are now used to being on the left side of the road, we have the same problem: we're driving on the right!

We went to the Great Wall. It is 4000 miles long! The way we went was very steep and had many steps. At the end of our walk we rode on a cable car (Mom freaked out at the heights). It was a fun experience.

We also went to the Forbidden City, which was the palace of the Emperor. It is huge, and there were so many rooms that I was surprised that it was only for the Emperor, his family and his staff.

Also, we went to the Ming Tombs (the Ming were a dynasty of Emperors). We walked along the sacred path, with statues of animals, such as elephants and camels, on either side of the road. They were always alternating, one pair of camels standing, the other pair sitting, then one pair of elephants standing, another pair sitting…


China (October 4, 2001)

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I didn't like China because it was too crowded and noisy. I did like China because there were things there that I couldn't do at home, such as a sky cable car. Being in China gave me a lot of culture shock and made me feel very homesick..

There were a lot of things that were different in China. For instance, it was even hard to cross the road because of trucks, cars, bicycles, hand carts ("Oh look, a donkey" "Hey, there's a camel in the road"). There were also many (too many) solicitors on the street trying to sell us things that we had absolutely no need for. They kept following us and made me feel uncomfortable.

We did a lot of touring in China, too. We visited the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Sacred Way, and the Sun Yat Sen memorial.

We also took a lot of trains to get around China. The first one we took was a night train. Since we had five huge suitcases, my vision of the train was a small room with us almost sleeping on the baggage. In fact, there was an overhead compartment that all of our suitcases could fit in. We also took some day trains. Most of time our seats weren't together, but Mom and Dad did some talking and usually got four seats together. Those were also a lot better than I thought they would be.

The hotels were also very interesting. Most of them only could give us rooms next to each other, but sometimes we got rooms with doors in between. Strangely enough, a lot of the three star hotels were a lot better than the five star hotels (the more stars the hotel has, the better it is supposed to be).

I am also learning how to play Chinese Chess. There are fewer pieces that you can use, but they can do much better things, such as the cannon. It needs exactly one, and only one (but any) piece in between it and the target, but its range is unlimited (limit: edge of the board). It is a very interesting game.

 

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