So no one told you life was going to be this way.

Posted July 30, 2010 by annie6688
Categories: Uncategorized

Dan and I revisited the Friends cafe’ to get some much needed photo memories and to relax for a little with some American television.  On the way there I said, “Dan, wouldn’t it suck if they were playing the same episodes as last time” and we agreed that with ten seasons of Friends it was highly unlikely.

Guess what?! We were wrong and we watched the same exact episodes as last time.  I didn’t mind too much because now I will really remember Beijing every time I watch those particular re runs.

Also, Dan and I decided to play along this time when Ross tried to name the 50 states.  I started out confident but came up 5 short (Sorry Wyoming, Connecticut, Utah, etc. ) then we tried for capitals and I came up 10 short.  Looks like I have been in China for too long!  Here are our lists, congratulations on your victory Dan!

Our waitress wore a name tag that said, “Rachel”, she was so sweet, she translated the menu for us and delivered me the most delicious iced macchiato.

Enjoy the pictures! I will miss the Friends Cafe’ … Gunther especially.


Au revoir (goodbye in French)

Posted July 30, 2010 by annie6688
Categories: Uncategorized

Today I am celebrating my last day as a Intern.  I had a great experience here and definitely learned a lot.  I learned about Chinese business practices and how companies function.  I also realized that maybe a 9am – 5pm desk job can wait a couple of years while I explore the world (sorry dad).  Most importantly I met wonderful people who welcomed me to their company and were enthusiastic about my time here.

This morning we gave our final presentation highlighting our accomplishments this summer, including:

  • Anaylsis of the website
  • Research on American Internet Usage
  • Suggestions for Layout Revisions
  • Copy Editing
  • Survey Development to gain demographic information
  • Business and Marketing Plan

Here are some pictures of the presentation:

Back to Qingdao

Posted July 29, 2010 by annie6688
Categories: Uncategorized

The last day of my internship is tomorrow, after that I won’t have guaranteed access to the internet but I’ll try to post as often as I can about my last days in China.  My initial plan for after the internship was to head to Shanghai to spend some time with the Fudan Holland Fellows before leaving.  Now I have added a side trip to Qingdao before arriving in Shanghai.  Our original plan was to go Dalian to enjoy the beach and a beer festival but because of the oil spill the  beaches are closed so we have decided to go to Qingdao instead.

I went to Qingdao with the Holland Fellows but when we were there thunderstorms ruined the chance to go to the beach.  This time I hope to have sunny skies for our beach vacation.  My Chinese friend told me that Chinese beaches are like “dumplings in a pot” aka crowded.  I Google image searched some Chinese beaches and found this picture:

Jesse, PA, Dan, Pang Li and I will set out for Qingdao on Tuesday by train.  It will take about 6 hours to get there and we will stay in a cheap but nice hostel I found online for only about $7 per night.  I am excited that Pang Li will be joining us because China can be very confusing at times especially train stations.

The transportation system here is really unorganized.  To get the tickets to Qingdao, Pang Li and I waited in line for about thirty minutes because people kept cutting us.  We had originally wanted to leave Beijing on the 3rd but the tickets were sold out so we were forced to get tickets for the 4th.  At the train station, I had hoped to buy tickets from Qingdao to Shanghai but it is only possible to buy those in Qingdao.  It is a little risky but we will cross our fingers and hope that the tickets are not sold out.  If we can’t get a train, plan B is a flight but it will cost more money.

Wish us luck!


Posted July 29, 2010 by annie6688
Categories: Uncategorized

Last summer, more than 140 people were killed while another 828 were injured during riots in the western region of the Xinjiang province in China. The riots started as a peaceful protest performed by 1,000 Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority.  When authorities tried to break up the protest, the people refused and threw vegetables and rocks at the officers. Consequently, the police retaliated using hoses, tear gas and batons.

The Chinese government decided that the riots were instigated by outside agitators and blocked access to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Authorities also eliminated the ability for people in this region to send or receive text messages for almost ten months following the event.

In order to use the sites above I have been using a proxy all summer that my friends at Fudan sent to me.  I was apprehensive about downloading it on my work computer but decided that I couldn’t last all summer without it so it was a necessary step.

The other day at work my boss was telling me how much she missed Facebook so I sent her the proxy.  I was shocked to see the next day that she had sent the proxy to her other work friends and posted “Yay, I have Facebook again” on her MSN profile page that the whole company can see.  It is pretty ironic because our company is owned by the government so you would think that defying the government would have to be hush-hush.  Instead people all over the company are sharing the proxy and talking about how happy they are to have Facebook back.

Jesse comes to Beijing!

Posted July 28, 2010 by annie6688
Categories: Uncategorized

Jesse had limited time in Beijing so I had to come up with my three favorite things to do so that he could experience the best of Beijing.  Of course I chose Nan Lu Gu Xiang, Ho Hai Lake, and the Beer Garden.

The Beer Garden was by far our funnest night because we got to hang out and catch up on our experiences this summer.  Jesse has been interning in Shenyang (northern China) and has had a very different experience from me.  His boss has kept him busy pretty much every day with dinner parties, nights of drinking, and other special events.

We spent the night drinking and swapping stories of different Chinese challenges.  The table next to ours was occupied by a group of high schoolers who were getting a bit rowdy.

They came over to our table and gave us a whole watermelon which we thoroughly appreciated.
About twenty minutes later, they brought us a round of draft beers and after that a bag of fruit.

We wound up combining our tables and drinking with them for the rest of the night.  Their English wasn’t too good so Pang Li acted as a translator.  I met one girl named “Strawberry” and convinced her to change her name.  She told me that she loved the “s” sound, and that was her reason for picking strawberry so I renamed her “Stella” and she was satisfied.

Here is a picture of us and our new friends.  Of course, the victory sign is key in pictures with Chinese people.

The Best Weekend: Great Wall Fresh

Posted July 28, 2010 by annie6688
Categories: Uncategorized

My roommate discovered “Great Wall Fresh” the other week and highly recommended it so I decided that I had to fit it in to my stay here in Beijing. Here is a picture of the Chen family with their two sons. The Chen Family has a family farm right near the Great Wall and they opened “Great Wall Fresh”, a small business, that allows people to stay at their home and do a guided hike of the great wall.

I had previously gone to the Great Wall with the Holland Fellows group but it was such a touristy experience that I felt unsatisfied.  So, I invited my friend Jesse (a Holland Fellow who is interning in Shenyang) to come down to Beijing for the weekend and experience “Great Wall Fresh” with me.

I felt like I was really prepared for the “getting there” part but it turned out to be more challenging than I thought.  Turns out we took the wrong 919 bus and instead of getting dropped off near the Chen’s we wound up at Badaling (about 30 minutes away).  The 919 bus experience was miserable, Jesse and I had standing tickets and the road was bumpy and curved.  I have never gotten car sick before but I was definitely feeling nauseous.

So we arrived 30 minutes away from our destination and although a really nice Chinese man with minimal English tried to help us, there was no bus to where we wanted to go.  At this point I called my Chinese friend and he arranged for Mr. Chen to pick us up. (The Chens don’t speak any English so that is why I had to call my friend to communicate with them)

After we arrived at the Chen’s it was smooth sailing.  We were greeted by Mr. Chen and his wife, who always had the biggest smile on her face.  Immediately we were served a delicious lunch that was way too much for two people.  The meal included quail eggs, a green onion omelet, almonds, potato and green bean dish, cucumbers, and lettuce.  All the veggies were from the Chen’s garden and they were delicious.  I especially loved the lettuce, it didn’t need any sauce it was just perfect.

After lunch we took a little rest and then got ready to hike the great wall.  Mr. Chen gave Jesse and I two bottles of water each and tried to get us to wear hats but we just didn’t want to (I hope we didn’t offend him).

We could decide between the easy or hard hike and we opted for “easy” because our morning had been so strenuous and I was still feeling a bit queasy from the bus ride.  I am so glad we chose “easy” because I thought it was pretty hard.

The hike up to the Great Wall took about 45 minutes and some parts were straight uphill climbs.  I was pouring with sweat by the time we actually got to the wall. We hiked for another 3 hours on the actual wall and the views were extraordinary and I was amazed by how quiet it was.  Living in Beijing where it is always noisy, I had forgotten how nice silence was.  Here are some of my pictures of the wall:

After an amazing hike we enjoyed a meal and fell asleep after such a long but great day.  We got to sleep in a kang style bed which you can see below, kang beds have a space below them where you can light a fire in the winter to keep warm.  The bed was so comfortable and both Jesse and I fell asleep almost instantaneously.  Here are some pictures or our living quarters:

Finally, here is the Chen’s dog.  His name in Chinese can be translated as “Iron Egg”.  He was so spoiled because all the guest’s leftovers were his to eat.

The experience at Great Wall Fresh was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone traveling to Beijing, you can read more about it here:

The Chen’s are the nicest people in the world and even though you won’t be able to communicate with them you can still pick up on how much they value their business and making sure their guests are happy with every aspect of their stay!

Ho Hai Lake

Posted July 27, 2010 by annie6688
Categories: Uncategorized

One of my favorite areas in Beijing is Ho Hai Lake.  During the day it is a place for shopping, biking, playing games, and swimming.  Although swimming is prohibited there are always about 30 middle aged men in their underwear enjoying the water.

I used to have the goal of jumping in the lake and shocking all the men but then I realized how dirty the water was and quickly changed my mind.

The lake is surrounded by hutongs, which are narrow streets or alleys containing homes.  Near the lake, you can take a rickshaw tour of the homes but since the rickshaw drivers don’t speak English it is pretty much pointless for non-Chinese speakers.

At night, Ho Hai Lake transforms into the place to be for nightlife.  Bars and Clubs line the street and almost every single spot is offering a Tsingtao 20 RMB special.  Street Vendors attempt to sell laser pointers and roses.

(This pictures were not taken by me, they are from Google images)