Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tai Chi Demo

For our speaking class final exam Zhao Laoshi had us talk on a subject. Ten minutes before our exam we were given our topic. I drew sports. One of the questions we were to address in our topic was "What is your favorite sport?" so in the course of my final I told Zhao Laoshi that tai chi was my favorite sport and that I had practiced it for over 30 years.
At class the next day Zhao Laoshi started talking about the exam and how everyone did. I didn't realize it at the time of the test but she was taking notes on what everyone said. When she mentioned my exam she told the class I practiced tai chi and asked me to come to the front of the room to demonstrate.
I didn't realize it at the time but fellow student Xiang Siow made a video. He recently posted it on youtube. Click the link if you would like to see it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

China's National Performing Arts Center

One evening Wang Leyan and Wu Ceng bought tickets for all of us so that we could attend a muscial performance at the National Performing Arts Center. The music was excellent (violins, Cello, piano) and we really enjoyed the performance. The building was also amazing. Later we went back to take pictures of it.

This is a view from the front. The walkway and water that you see in the picture is actually part of the roof over the entrance. The entryway is behind and below from where I stood to take this picture. Once inside, the pool of water (seen in the foreground here) becomes part of a transparent ceiling. You look up and have flowing patterns of water above you. It's quite an amazing building. Ultramodern and with excellent acoustics. I wish I was better at describing it. They also jam cellphone reception in the building which ensures that some thoughtless person doesn't disturb the performance.

May I have your picture?

Often when we travel people who don't encounter westerners very often like to have their picture taken with us. Hannah is especially in demand since she has light hair and fair skin. On this day at the Temple of Heaven I was taking a picture of Hannah when a Chinese girl moved in very close to her and Hannah looked over to see what was going on. Either they just happened to be in the same place at the same time or the Chinese girl may have wanted a picture with her and stepped in close to get it. Anyway, we laughed about it and ended up sharing some nice pictures with her!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dragon Boats

Our first weekend in China was spent sightseeing. Close to the university is Yi He Yuan or The Summer Palace. There's a big lake and lots of interesting things to see. It is a very nice place to go to.

Here's a picture of some boats on the lake and the dragons on the front of the boats.

Shi Mao Tian Jie. The largest outdoor video screen

At Shi Mao Tian Jie, (in English, known as "The Place"), there is a huge courtyard between some large office buildings. In the center is a huge video screen. Do you remember watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and they rolled out the large video screen on the floor? This is very similar to that only it is suspended in the air and you look up to see it. My guess is that it is at least the length of a football field, maybe even longer. It is like a park underneath and people eat, have drinks or children rollerblade and play. When we arrived they had a listing of people's cell phone messages on the screen. Apparently you could call in and have them posted. After that there was a show about the solar system that was pretty amazing. Hannah said it was ironic that we'd sit outside on the ground and look at a video screen to see the stars.
The picture to right is from the front as you walki in off the street. The screen curves upward.
Video below is taken approximately from the second of the last two sections seen in the picture.

Dog Fashions

While we were at a large market we saw a man walking this lttle dog. I ran after him to get a picture and snapped this just before he picked him up and disappeared into the crowd.

The Bird's Nest and Water Cube

We visited the Olympic Park and saw The Bird's Nest stadium and Water Cube. The visibility that day wasn't very good as you can see from the pictures.