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Hello Xi'an, Bye Bye Beijing

ALRIGHT! Finally a chance to update! We have been a busy little delegation on diplomacy here in China. The flight over was miserable to say the least. 13.5 hours on the plane to Shanghai and then another 2 to get to Beijing... I was pooped! We got into the hotel, which was extremely nice, at around 12am on Sunday (our time). We had a light Western dinner (they made us crustless sandwiches) and went to bed. I'll put more in the DVD about the hotel, but it was definitely a 3-4 star. Extremely nice.
The next day we had our first group meeting, got to know some other people and had an introductory cultural briefing by one of the people in the tour company that scheduled everything for us over here. After that, we ate lunch at the Yueshanfang restaurant (pretty good, but not the best... the fish and chicken with their heads still on freaked us all out a bit), and went to the Imperial Summer Palace. The palace was extremely crowded, but served as a great starting point for learning about Chinese history. We saw some amazing art and learned tons about the palace itself. I'll include plenty of pictures and commentary on the DVD too.
Monday we started nice and early. First on the day's schedule was a talk by a Wall Street Journal editor who told us a little about the press rights here in China. She let us in on some great information that showed how limiting the Government can be, but how they're opening up (just like the markets and the government). After we talked to her, some guys from the American embassy came and told us all about Foreign Service life. Sounds like it might be fun down the road...?
Following their visit, we took off for the China University of Foreign Affairs. We had a lecture from one of the professors about the foreign policy of China that was extremely interesting. It helped to give us a solid basic understanding of the way things work here. After that we got to meet some students, talk to them about college life (Mom and Dad you'll die... it's only 16000 Yuan a year here... I'll let you convert it). They were great! Very excited to hear about the US and very excited about speaking some english with us. I got their emails, so we're going to try to keep in touch!
Yesterday, we headed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs right off the bat. We were honored to be received by the Prime Minister himself, who gave us an informative briefing on some of the issues China is facing today, and where they see themselves in the world. It was great, and I got to shake his hand!!!! We left the ministry after that, and went to the one and only GREAT WALL! I hiked up a rediculously steep side of the wall with my friends. It was incredibly breathtaking.. I hope my pictures do it some justice. After spending a few hours there, we went back and chilled at the hotel.
Today we visited Tian'amen square and the forbidden city. I took beaucoup de photos. It was amazing! After that, we got on a plane and flew here to Xi'an. We just had dinner at an amazing dumpling restaurant. They had EVERY type of dumpling you could possibly want (Dad, you'd be in heaven). Right now, we're about to go out, so I'll be sure to post more later! We're checking out the Terra Cotta warriors tomorrow! Hope you're all well, thanks so much for sending me here!!!!

(P.s. I can't read comments here on the site, so if you're posting them, I can't get 'em... Chinese security)


Anonymous said…
Dear Nathan,

I am so glad that you are having a wonderful experience. We can not wait to hear all about it and see your pictures.

About the tuition-remember relative economics! The gross per capita income (GPCI) in International dollars for the Year = 2004 in various countries was:
1. Luxembourg 56,230
2. Norway 52,030
3. Switzerland 48,230
4. United States 41,400.
105. China 1,290

If there are 8 Yuan in one dollar then the percentage of the GPCI would be 19.3% of an individual’s income (2000 Yuan per year cost/10,320 Yuan/yr income) for Chinese parents who help their students versus the US cost of college at 48.3% (GPCI) $20,000/$41,400.

Sacrifice is sacrifice and the GPCI is not a true reflection of what a person may actually make. Think of Bill Gate’s salary averaged in with Dad’s to get a US GCPI and Dad’s GCPI would skyrocket. A Chinese farmer probably does not make anywhere near the average GPCI in China.

However, if you decide to stay in China and go to the University of Foreign Affairs we’d be happy to send you $2,000yr as your total support! .

Missing you! Continued safe travels. Love, Mom

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