Way back in the day (over Thanksgiving), Chuck and I re-attempted our trip to China… and actually made it this time! We spent 4 days in Beijing, which were unexpectedly cold. We packed for 40-degree weather, as forecast, and it ended up falling below freezing… but we shivered through it and learned a lot about a place that has captured the West’s imagination for centuries, in all kinds of different ways.
So what was it like, to visit a country that rivals the U.S. as a world superpower and hosts one of the 7 Wonders of the World? Well, to be completely honest, we didn’t love it. The Great Wall was amazing, and the Forbidden City was pretty cool, but Beijing itself left a bit to be desired. You know how iconic cities all over the world have their own cultures that draw you in and show you a good time, regardless of how well you know the history, or how much you care about the monuments? Well, Beijing is not one of them. At least not for me. This was one of those places where the sites were cool, but the culture left you feeling… not great. Needless to say, this is not a place I would consider visiting twice. Continue reading
Holy smokes!! I hate being this delinquent on my blog, mostly because I really enjoy writing for it, and recounting all my adventures. But my new course for school is kicking my arse with one of the toughest workloads yet. Seriously, I have something due EVERY DAY. What gives? At least the subject matter is interesting!
It’s still January, so it’s not completely pointless to write about New Years, right? There isn’t much to tell anyway… at least now that I feel so removed from it already. Chuck and I experienced hatsumode with some friends, which is the Japanese ritual of visiting a Shinto shrine in pursuit of good fortune in the new year. They don’t see it as a party holiday like Americans do. It’s a time of reflection and prayer. Of course, we did ring in 2015 in true American style as well, with a party at the nearby Officer’s Club, but we did the reflection part too… even if it was as semi-skeptical tourists. (Click the slideshow to see captions.)
Futenman Shrine. It was packed!
Tying my fortune to the laundry-line wires (as I called them)
Carnival-esque fare in the surrounding neighborhood
My fortune: Excellent! (Among other things)
So many (hopefully good!) fortunes for 2015