Monday, May 26, 2008

a carefree life once more!

Very happy to report that our conference went off completely successfully -- the room was full, the students were attentive and interested, the speakers were much more thumbs up than not, and there was plenty of congratulations afterward on a job well done. Can't ask for much more than that. Everyone was amazed that we'd pulled it off from idea to actual event in the time span of a month, but what can we say...when you're studying abroad in Beijing, you have a lot of free time.

Now we can once again return to normal, college-student-carefree lives. Well...not exactly, but closer, anyhow.

On Saturday we went on a tour of some hutongs (alleyways), which Beijing is famous for. There used to be over 6000 hutongs in Beijing that, if connected, would reach from Seattle to Washington DC. But now with modernization only about 2000 are left. We did the touristy thing and took rickshaws through some hutongs near Houhai, and then wandered around near the lake for a while. I'd never been during the day before, so it was pretty interesting -- there were lots of Chinese people hanging out by the lake, some swimming, some fishing, blatantly ignoring the "No swimming or fishing" signs behind them.

Riding the rickshaws

Walking along the edge as they pave a hutong road

We also saw the Drum and Bell towers in the middle of the city:

Drum Tower

Bell Tower

Walking centipede-like down the extremely steep stairs in the Drum Tower

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