Journey Into China

This is the story of a young man's trip across the world to a place he had only dreamed of.

The Vibrant City

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The no sleep plan worked out well, now that I’ve gotten a little perspective. I was able to wake up at 5:30 the past two mornings and take a morning stroll. There’s nothing better than a little Tai Chi in the morning – especially when it involves swords! After I got my dose of martial arts, I started looking around, and realized… the hotel complex is GIGANTIC. There are 7 buildings for the hotel, 4 apartment complexes (multiple buildings each), and several guard stations. Once outside of the property, the hustle of Beijing is fully visible as one of the main roads runs alongside the land.

There are 13 million people in the city. Of those, 8 million of them have bicycles. The bicycle lane here is two to three times wider than the lane in the area around San Francisco – and that’s saying something! The funny, or sad, thing was, out of all the bikes I saw, no one of them was fewer than 5 years old. Most looked as if they had been made in the 1970’s, and some were even made out of wood. Many of them also had utility beds on the rear for transporting fabric and fruit to sell on the street.

We started off the day (or should I say, the rest of our group started off their day, as I had already been up for 5 hours) with a rundown of the policies and procedures and the schedule. A well spoken Chinese man in his 30’s told us tales of the culture and quite a few funny anecdotes. For example – Why does a bike fall over without a kickstand? …because it’s two-tired. Or – A Russian man, an American man, and a Chinese man, all have the unfortunate situation of having their light bulb go out. The Russian replaces the bulb, and then takes his lost friend to the bar, and drinks vodka in his honor. The American replaces the bulb, and then boxes up the old bulb so he’ll have evidence in his civil suit against GE. The Chinese man replaces the bulb, and then builds a temple around the old one so he would be able to reflect on its years of great service.

After the informative stand-up was done, we split up into groups and were told to represent what we wanted to get out of this trip in some way. One group had a lengthy rap, complete with a beat dropped by one of their members. Others drew a yin and yang, and talked about blending Eastern and Western medicine. Some of the groups had a poster board filled with symbols. I dusted off my drawing skills, and our group came up with the image you see here. Our talking points were traditional (not modern) Chinese medicine, proper etiquette, and contrasting the two styles of medicine (Eastern vs. Western) instead of blending them into one. We felt that it was more important to understand the differences, so that we could get a better picture of why each worked apart from the other.

When I said I was excited about having buffets for meals, I never anticipated that we’d be getting, as my friend, Alisa, put it, “traditional Chinese 7-course meals” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I may bite my tongue later, after I gain 20 pounds more, but for now, all I can say, is – these people know how to do food!!! The picture is of our APPETIZERS at lunch yesterday. The only thing that irks me is that they only give me a glass, not much bigger than a shot glass, of water, and don't like to refill it. When I go to a restaurant in the States, I usually drink no less than a pitcher of water. This will take some getting used to, but the food certainly makes up for it, so I can't complain TOO much.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben Morrow, you are amazing! I had no idea that you were going to China, I have a friend who is also going, maybe you all are on the same trip, his name is Ben Stewart, if you meet him tell him I said hey! I'll be praying for your safe journey on this awesome experience! You never cease to amaze me Ben. Je t'aime mon ami!
Love-Kayle B

5/17/2006 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Britt said...

My compliments to the drawing, well done.

As for the gaining 20 pounds, I wouldn't advise it. You just bought some lovely new suits and you wouldn't want to pop of the buttons or anything like that...;)

P.S. I'm glad you got your computer to work.

5/17/2006 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha... I like the fact that I am noted in your blog... Hope the advice really did help... I told you-- the weight comes easy!

5/18/2006 3:23 AM  

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