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Sarah in China part 4 July 30, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Family, Travel.
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Sarah is probably somewhere on a plane right now, on her way home. We miss her so and cannot wait to see her. Here are more of her exploits in Beijing.

July 17th: Bargaining and  Rain

After a scary bus ride, swerving in the ever dangerous and now wet traffic, we made our way to the Temple of Heaven. After the astonishing events from yesterday, the temple was a slight let down. Still beautiful, and fascinating with facts like it was made in 1420 with only wood on wood no nails and made in layering circles which were filled with cow statues, it was crowded, wet, and slightly disappointing for me. Somehow knowing that these people did all this for Buddha, when I personally know the real, one true God and Creator of the universe, made me want to do more for this God, which I suppose is an excellent thing. We walked away from the main area and down a flowered public park area, still part of the temple, and listened to a man singing and Chinese people dancing, swaying majestically to the music. I have yet to yearn to know the language as much as I did here, so I could understand that melancholy, chill bump-provoking song.

Sarah at Temple

After the temple we headed to the market, where I paired up with Kaitie to see if I in fact had any bargaining skills. The market was not as I expected. It was three floors filled with trinkets of different sorts, electronics, brand names, clothes, purses, pearls, and touristy items. I made way to floor two, stopping first to buy a few electronics. Details I will fill in after I have gifted everyone with what I bought. To Ariel and Katie’s pleasure, and my astonishment, I was a good bargainer. It was fun to set a price, usually 10 RMB, typed on a calculator while the clerk for that particular booth would groan and type 180, we would work down, and I do not think I spent over 60 rmb, less than 10 dollars for any one thing. Katie and Ariel had me bargain for them too, and the hour passed extremely quickly. My best deal was towards the end, when I, wearing my new “Rice farmer” hat, met up with a certain Mrs. Watts who was trying to decide whether or not to go buy pearl earrings. Talking to each other we convinced one another that we should use the last three minutes to go make that purchase. This time she bargained for me, in Chinese! I got a pearl necklace and she purchased real plural earrings for just 6 dollars! I was amazed and as we rode hurriedly down the elevator Katie and I had open mouths and shocked countenances. We met up with the group, only two minutes late, and all talked about our purchases, all feeling extremely successful for the simple reason of coming away with so many good, or what we thought was good, purchases. Kaitie announced on the bus, “Sarah is a fantastic bargainer. I’m seriously naming my first child after you!”

The zoo awaited, the rain ceased from a pour, to a slight shower, as we made our way across Beijing again. The first exhibit was pandas, classic China. There were about 5 Giant Pandas each in their own little area and we were disappointed to find that the zoo was not like we expected. The animals lived in small areas, and everything was dirty. But there were weeping willows everywhere that were beautiful to walk under. My favorite animal exhibit was a spastic monkey who was running back and forth behind glass. We got lost for a few minutes, trying to outrun pickpockets who were staring us down, but got to see an extra section and giant tiger statue. We found the group, and left as if nothing was wrong. Everything was in fact great as we saw a few more trees and animals and then entered the bus to head to the dorms again. We ate dinner, “jammed” for a little bit, and then went to an amazing Tea ceremony class. We got to try tea and then see how all the tea was actually made from leaves, a tedious process. I was even one of three to make and serve tea. It was almost like a giant tea party, but without frilly dresses and with grownups (I don’t know why grownups don’t have tea parties) and boys, who also enjoyed it! I left a little bit before everyone, only to get turned around in the maze of a building and then saw Tyler and Tomas who then led me to my dorm. I called home, talked for a while, and then fell right to sleep, oblivious to all the news and meetings about Swine Flu.

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