First Days in Beijing

Written by Dana Boyer

Tsinghua University campus

Tsinghua University campus

After arriving in Beijing Monday afternoon, we met our Chinese classmates on Tuesday at Tsinghua University. Considered the top university in China, large groups of tourists visit the campus every day. Large Chinese tour groups, usually with matching hats, are a common sight outside the gates of the university.

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Where classes are held

We were given a tour of the campus known as one of the top ten most beautiful universities in the world. The campus was rather large (about 4 square kilometers) and indeed very beautiful with ponds and rose gardens. Our classmates explained that the variety of architectural styles on campus reflect the different foreign influences on China throughout the years, most notably the U.S. and Russia.

Following the tour of the campus, the Chinese students took us to a restaurant for dinner. The restaurant looked more like a hotel than our image of a place to eat. Our party of 20 was given a private room, complete with bathroom, TV and sitting area. The large circular table was set with an automatically rotating elevated table for easy access to a variety of dishes. Gracefully grabbing a bite to eat off a moving plate with chopsticks required a level of dexterity that few of us possessed. Following a first course of grapes, our group sampled dishes ranging from bamboo shoots to green bean juice, beef stomach and quail egg.

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Our buffet table

After dinner we saw a performance of traditional dancers and a man climb a latter out of swords.  Despite the entertainment, the jet lag took its toll and we caught taxis to end an early evening.

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Traditional dancers performance

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