Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Home in Beijing!

I'm back at my home away from home, cozy Renmin University in Beijing. :) It is actually really nice to be back, sleeping in my "own" bed and being in a familiar setting again. Beijing had a significant temperature drop while we were gone, probably from the 70s down to the 40s. It's beginning to feel like winter! It's kind of cute how weather.com always says it's "foggy" in Beijing; if it sticks around 24/7 except when it rains, in a city known for its pollution, I'm betting it isn't "fog". We have a week long break now, so no classes until next Monday. Most everyone is travelling (Daping is biking to Inner Mongolia), but I'm staying here, filling up the time with skating and Model UN/Other RSO/Summer Internships stuff. Not so exciting, but things that have deadlines and really need to get done, so it's nice to not have to worry about school, too.

Our last day in Xi'an was fun, as we spent several hours on the bus to visit a couple mausoleums of emperors. It was a 2 hour ride to the first one, and while I primarily did Chinese homework, Kimberley, Louis, and Alex were playing poker with Mao Zedong cards, which was amusing. (Kimberley ended up winning 12 RMB!). The first tomb we visited was Emperor Wu's tomb, who was an emperor in the Han dynasty which we  studied extensively in class. There wasn't too much to see there, but they had some large stone sculptures that show a horse crushing the barbarian Xiongnu, which was representative of his reign. The funny thing about the ancient emperors is that they created pyramids for their tombs, except unlike the Egyptians, they made the tombs out of earth, which puzzles me to no end. Emperor Wu was particularly concerned with his own immortality, so although his design of his tomb is him conceding to death, it seems like he'd want something glorious to be remembered by, not just a big pile of dirt. But they were buried with a lot of pottery soldiers, animals, chariots, etc - pretty much everything needed to rule in the afterlife (ie, 8,000+ terracotta warriors). I guess I would just expect them to focus on being remembered, too - I mean, they didn't even find the burial pits of the one emperor until they started digging to make the Xi'an airport.

The trip back was okay, although I've discovered my love of overnight trains is diminishing quickly. This wasn't an express train, so we had to stop at practically every station, meaning that the return trip took about 13 hours. I was so happy to get back to my room and be able to take a shower and a nap in my nice, hard, non-moving bed. :) Since I don't have school, I'm going to try and update quite a bit this week, catching up on topics I've wanted to write about but haven't had the time. But now, it's off to lunch and the ice rink!

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