Expectations of the Great Wall

Expectations of the Great Wall

Meet ... John Vitiello

China Study Abroad Major: History
Location: Beijing, China
Studying: Spending four weeks immersed in the Chinese culture while visiting majestic, historical sites and studying at the prestigious Institute of Chinese as Second Language of Peking University.

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The Great Wall I was looking forward to this part of the trip since before we even came, and I really thought I was going to love it sadly I was wrong.

The one part I really want to do was smoke a cigar I was saving for the great wall and just as I lit the cigar people came up to me telling me that we couldn’t smoke here, so I had to put it out.

Another thing is that it had heavy fog that day, so we couldn’t see anything and our pictures are very bad.

Walking the wall was also terrible, because it was like Mt. Tai again when I was eye level with steps trying to walk up them I thought I was going to pass out. Then we all tried to get something to drink since the climb was so bad, and it was highway robbery 20 kuai for water, 30 kuai for Gatorade. They are usually about 3-5 kuai usually I would have just tried to haggle the price down, but they didn’t even try to haggle with us.

I would like to think that if the weather was nicer we would have had a better time, but it seemed like as soon as we got there we wanted to leave. The only part of this great wall was the shopping I got to do on the way down for gifts.

Acrobatic show

The show was amazing; however, we arrived about half way through the show because traffic was terrible. What should have been 30 minutes was close to two hours. I tried to take a lot of pictures but, they were all blurry and they don’t explain how cool it was to see the craziness with your own eyes.

Nine people on one bicycle, guy doing jump rope on a swinging platform, even 7 motorcycles in a sphere of death it was all just amazing. There wasn’t a single part of the show that I didn’t find amazing one of my favorite parts was when a women did ballet on a man’s shoulders it was crazy.

A lot of the stunts that these people did are just too hard to put into words and like a lot of the things I have seen or experienced in China you just have to do it yourself to really understand.

The Temple of Heaven and Pearl Market

China Study Abroad This part of the trip I didn’t have high hopes for I was looking more towards the other half at the pearl market. This temple reminded me a lot of The Forbidden City with the architecture and it was just as hot but, not as many people. I took a few pictures but, a lot of this trip I just kept thinking it just seems the same to me. Of course they are completely different structures and this was mainly to pray for a great harvest and also used to do human sacrificing which they eventually stopped.

We eventually got to the pearl market and I didn’t get much here but, I did annoy a lot of people because I was very stubborn while haggling. At one point when I was attempting to haggle for my friend the owner of the stand had her friends around her try to distract me while she tried to get my friend to pay more. Of course I caught on as soon as she tried to do it and anytime a new number was said I would stop my conversation and chime into theirs eventually she pushed me out of the way and gave him a finally offer which was 25 percent of the original price. I really wonder if anyone pays real price here because they are just so outrageous you have to not care about money at all to pay that.

KFC and Mc Donald’s

Most of the food here is mediocre some is great and some is just terrible and eventually we got home sick and decided it was time for something we knew we liked so we tried Mc Donald’s first. Ordering of course was a pain and they were getting annoyed with us because we couldn’t speak Chinese very well.

In fact with the last person they ignored him and kept letting the other Chinese cut in front of him in line after 5 people cutting him he was allowed to order. The serving sizes were tiny and I was surprised this meal could fill anyone up the double cheese burger I got in China looks like a dollar menu burger back in the states.

We went to KFC as our ethnic meal to compare it to the one back home and the food was good better than mc Donald’s but, there was still a problem. The problem I had with KFC was that I have been craving hot food for the past few days and I ordered hot wings off the menu. When I started to eat it I was positive that they gave me mild wings until I tasted a friends mild wings there hot wings were maybe a third the strength of Tobasco sauce. I have been disappointed with the kick of hot food here because it seems almost no where I went to had good hot food. The only good hot food I had was the octopus I had about 2 weeks ago.

Time to go home

This trip was amazing, and I am very glad I came despite the disappointments I have had. Some of the group says they want to stay longer and some of the group actually is staying longer for classes or an extended vacation. I would love to join them, but I am homesick I miss my girlfriend, my family, my dog and home cooked food.

This trip was fun even with compensating with the backwardness of this country ranging from traffic and bathrooms to politeness and lack of dairy products. That is one thing I did find to be very weird here.

They did not have cheese on anything, and the milk they drank warm. It was disgusting. I did like a lot of the food here, but I like the food at home much more. I can’t wait to sit down on my couch with my dog right next to me and enjoy a steak, baked potato, and some mac and cheese.

    — John Vitiello, history major