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Pac Rim update

Friday, September 21, 2007  
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By Erin Minor

The Pac Rim group was very active in their last few days in Beijing, China.  The students were able to watch a Chinese Acrobatics Show, visit the Chinese Botanical Gardens and climb a 1,827 foot mountain called Fragrant Hill.  They were also given the opportunity to tour a hutong (a type of ancient city alley or lane typical in Beijing).  However, the Pac Rim group rode in authentic chinese style in a rickshaw- a common form of transportation for tourists, similar to a bicycle with a passenger cart on the back.  Finally, the students attended a “farewell dinner” at a rotating restaurant in Beijing, which included a buffet of delicious Chinese foods.

Students were given a free day for their final day in Beijing.  Ironically, many students found it necessary to spend a majority of that day at the post office mailing gifts home for their family and friends.  Others used their time to go shopping or get a traditional Chinese massage.  Rachel recalls her experience at the massage parlor, stating “ It was the best massage I’ve ever had and it was so cheap!  Only 88 RMB (about $12 USD) for a forty minute oil massage.” After two weeks of adventurous activities, the students said goodbye to Capital Normal University and the city of Beijing.

The Pac Rim group arrived in Xi’an early Sunday morning after an eleven hour train ride.  They were greeted by their new tour guide, Elizabeth, and immediately started exploring the city.  Their first stop was the city wall, where the students were able to rent bicycles and ride them on the man-made fortress.  The city wall is the largest ancient military defense system in the world.

Next, the students visited the Shaanxi History Museum and watched a traditional Chinese show.  They also enjoyed a Chinese dinner with over twenty different types of dumplings.  Each dumpling was shaped similar to its contents.  For instance, a dumpling that contained pumpkin was shaped like a pumpkin, etc.

Another event the group attended in Xi’an was a huge water show at the Wild Goose Pagoda, which consists of numerous fountains, gardens, and a variety of architecture.  Courtney said she “loved the water show and the surrounding area.” “The colors were beautiful,” she stated.  Before visiting the Museum of Terracotta Army, the students were given the opportunity to watch some replicas of the soldiers being handcrafted from clay.  The statues were available for purchase with a student discount, which many of the students took advantage of.  Visiting the Museum of Terracotta Army was another great experience for the Pac Rim group.  The museum opened in 1979 and was built on its original site.  It currently has three pits opened and has had over 40,000,000 visitors.

This week, the students will be touring Xi’an Polytechnic University, visiting a village school in Huxian County, and staying with a local family.  They will soon be leaving for Shanghai, where they will be given ample amounts of free time to explore the city on their own.  Sites they may be visiting include the Pearl Tower, Yuyuan Gardens, and the Shanghai Museum.

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