After visiting Beijing almost 3 years ago, I told myself that I had seen enough "China" to hold my interests and wouldn't be back for a while. I figured I have so many other places to explore in the world, traveling to the same place twice wasn't in my immediate future. But I must have forgotten I was a business student and China's GDP is a force to be reckoned with, so here I am, in China... but this time I will be here for nearly 6 weeks.
What am I doing?
You know, that's a really good question. So glad you asked!
Long answer: I am completing a field study in Chengdu, China. Chengdu is a city in the "western" part of China which is seen as an up-and-coming area with many developments popping up in hopes of urbanizing China more so that the land in the rural parts can be used more efficiently. My program, the 3/2 MBA program out of Kelley School of Business at Indiana University completes field studies for 4-6 weeks working on value added projects in the business setting. I have been assigned to work with Caterpillar and the Nordic Center for Living and Learning in which a team of 3 Kelley students and 1 student from Southwest University of Finance and Economics who will serve as a Chinese college.
Short Answer: no clue.
Although I stayed (and explored) Beijing more extensively after my Freshman year, the girls I were traveling with were interested in going and I was happy to go back for a few days considering there is so much history there that you can always learn or see something new!
Day 1: Waking up early was no issue, the 12 hour time difference got us up around 5:30 and we were out the door by 8:30 (which is true "Budzik" style). We headed off to Tiananmen Square for a bit before walking through the Forbidden City.
Forbidden City is one of the coolest places, the complex just seems to go on and on with pagodas and buildings getting larger and more impressive as you make your way through the city.
After struggling to find a lunch spot, we were put into tears by the beef and noodles. A man felt so bad for me that he bought me a water in hopes of trying to sooth my burning mouth. Post lunch we wandered through Behai Park and then went home for the evening.
Day 2: On the second day we got picked up by our driver Sun, he was great and drove like a maniac. Not to worry, he assured us that in his 30 years of driving, both as a taxi and professional driver he has never been in an accident. The interesting thing about driving in China is that there really aren't many rules, and if you don't use your horn every minute you are probably among the minority. We spent the day at the Great Wall and then headed to the Ming Tombs. It was my first time at the Ming Tombs, not what I was expecting, but always interesting to see such complex structures that were built so long ago.
Above: We rode a ski lift up to the top of the wall where we were able to walk around!
Below: Kristi and I continue to learn to navigate chopsticks while we eat dumplings and fried rice.
Above: We explored the great wall for a couple hours, the great wall spans a large part of northern China, but there are 2 main parts open to the public.
Right Top: Deisy and I sitting on the steps taking a break. The stairs were super steep and slippery.
Right Middle: Riding the individual toboggans down the mountain!
Right Bottom: Ming tombs
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Day 3: Probably the most hectic day that we had! We made a ton of stops starting with the Lama Temple, moving to the Hutongs, Olympic Park and then finally onto the Summer Palace before our slight mishap of being dropped off at the wrong station. After nearly breaking down, we were able to find someone who spoke English so that we could buy new tickets on the next overnight train that same night. On the plus side, we were able to get a faster train, leaving two hours later, we got to Shanghai an hour earlier!
One night on the overnight train and checking into the Hostel we were able to start our day by 10:30 (pretty impressive if I do say so myself). Although we tried to walk to the Yu Gardens and got terribly lost/turned around so we had to get a taxi. After seeing the traditional Chinese Gardens we walked to the Bund which has European influence in the old bank buildings that line the waterfront. We took a bus tour from the Bund to the financial district and went up 104 stories to the top where we were able to look out over the city. Then after we got Subway and watched the city light up at night.