Friday, July 21, 2006

I'm getting packed and ready to leave for our "historical trip," so I thought I'd put in a quick update before taking off. The plan is to leave campus at 8:30 (about an hour following this post) and take an overnight train to Jinan, a city of six million in Shandong province (south east of Beijing). The main attraction for the weekend is a visit to Taishan (Mt. Tai), a site made famous by Confucius. We'll be hiking up the mountain, and it's supposed to be a real hike, 3-4 hours, which should be nice outside of Beijing's smog. Taishan is a UNESCO world heritage site, which means it should be swarming with tourists...hopefully they all take the cable car to the top and won't clog up the trail too much. We're also visiting several other Confucius-related sites (birthplace, cemetary, temples, etc). We're staying in a hotel on Saturday night and returning by overnight train on Sunday night. Luckily, we have Monday morning off from classes, which resume again in the afternoon.

As I last posted, I did in fact make it to see Superman. I enjoyed it, sure the plot was a bit bland, but let's face it, we don't see summer blockbusters for their depth. The theater we visited is, or at least recently was, the top-grossing cinema in mainland China, so the quality was great. We even got sold out of a matinee show. It turns out you have to pick your seats when buying tickets, and the theater was packed...no room for the 7 of us. It was an experience, a little slice of Western luxury in the middle of Beijing.

That's it for now, my roommate is dragging me out of the room...he's very big on punctuality. Check my Webshots for some new pictures from the Forbidden City etc, they're under the "Beijing" album.