Saturday, August 11, 2007

Day Five (7/30/07)

Today didn't quite happen the way it was supposed to, but more about that later. Today we began our morning by taking a rickshaw ride through a hutong. You can actually see a picture of my grandmother and myself in the rickshaw up above. For those that don't know what a hutong is think of a maze of alleys that contains houses. The hutongs are really so small that only one car can go through at a time and if you want to actually go into Beijing you need to either walk or ride your bike. Our rickshaw stopped at a hutong where we were able to visit a local family. That was actually very interesting because it showed us the small confining spaces that many families lived in. Just imagine 10-15 people living in a space that is only as big as a classroom. Those people were considered the lucky ones. It really makes you appreciate what you have.

We next got back into the rickshaw and went to visit an old folks home where we had the opportunity to see their livign facilities. It is much different than what we are accustomed to in the states. They all live in little apartments right next to each other and they share three kitchens. The most amazing thing is that the government pays for all of it.

Lunch was incredible again and later we went to a local art shop where we took a class. We could choose between either making a rice doll or making a papr butterfly. I choose to do the paper butterfly and it came out a whole lot better than I thought it would. They even gave me a nice little frame to put it in.

We next drove to the airport and arrived at 3:45 for our 5:00 flight. There was a big rainstorm when we arrived and our plane never took off. After that it was a madhouse and a blur with people yelling at the airline people behind the desk and me and some others in the group drinking beers while waiting. Our director finally decided to call it quits a little after midnight.

I am so tied right now that I am going to make my observations short:

1. If you push an airline official you are arrested. People were irrate and yelling at the airline workers, but never touched one. I wondered why and it was finally explained to me.
2. Chinese serve their beer warm which is disgusting.
3. I am sick of the Beijing airport.

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