We made it! After two long but incredible months traveling around China, collecting survey data on public opinion on climate change, we have arrived back in the USA! We went to amazing places, had once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and made some hopefully long lasting friendships. We left Shanghai at about noon on November 21st and arrived in Seattle at 7:30am (on the same day… we went back in time!!) and still have a long way to go before we are all home with our families. We are all so grateful for this experience and the opportunities we have been able to take advantage of!
For our first meal in the airport Dr. J and Wes got scrambled eggs, Emy got sweet potatoe fries and I got pickles and fries with barbeque sauce… we’ve missed our American food!
Updates and pictures from our last couple weeks in China will be coming soon… we’ll also try to clean up the mess that happened from us being crazy busy and the blog site being down for a while… but probably not until after next week… so we hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and safe holiday travels!
So the site is still having difficulties so we can’t load any pictures yet, but as most of you know, we are back in the states on Thursday! Our time here has seemed to just fly by. We have completed around 570 surveys here in Chengdu which gives us a grand total of just under 2000 completed adult surveys!!! Thank you to all our new friends who helped make this research possible. Couldn’t have done it without you.
To all our family and friends, WE SHALL SEE YOU SOON!!
On one of our last days in Xi’an we decided to continue our tradition of climbing a mountain in every city that we’ve been in. So Emy, Dr. J and myself (Elora wasn’t feeling well) climbed aboard with some of our new Chinese friends and were driven off to the mountain. UNFORTUNATELY, in typical China fashion, the day we decided to climb the mountain is the day when a heavy, heavy fog settles into Xi’an. I mean you can’t see 10 feet in front of you. Literally. Emy says 15 feet so we’ll call it an even 12.5. Thankfully we were driven up the mountain instead of walking as our friends told us that people have actually died on this mountain. Great… (Usually it’s from climbing the mountain in the early morning darkness to see the upcoming sunrise but this fog seems to be worse than darkness) Needless to say, after the news of possible death, I’m on the edge of my seat as we fly around these switchback turns while following the distant tail-lights of the car in front of us. (At least if those lights just disappear completely from sight I would have had a couple seconds to hop out the window.) But thankfully we eventually came to a stop at what we were told was the top of the mountain and there was apparently a beautiful lake 30 feet from us complete with paddle boats and a sidewalk around the whole thing. “Oh that sounds beautiful… ummm you said 30 feet right? And which direction did you say it was again?”
(*I’d love to post a picture here for you to see, but this website is having some technical difficulties. Will post pic A.S.A.P*)
Our new friend Rossi took the lead (thank god) and led us up into this cave that dips into the mountain. The cave got a littttttleee tight at times but we ended up popping out into this little room while still in the cave with lights hanging from the ceiling, beautiful rock formations and oh what’s that over there? Oh that’s a monkey. Op and there’s an elephant…. huh. Sure enough we had our own little safari while underground. I’ll tell you what, no one can say China isn’t full of great surprises.
After the cave, we walked around the lake and took in our limited sights. If one person stopped, the whole group had to stop as you couldn’t walk 12.5 ft without losing sight of someone. Boy did I really have to fight the urge to take off running and hide, but alas I figured the last thing needed on the front page was a stupid white American lost in the fog trying to play a practical joke.
Finally we finished at the lake and were taken out to one last big meal before we were dropped off back at our apartment (after finishing a bottle of Chinese liquor of course) and said our farewells to one of our most favorite and most intriguing cities. Thanks for a wonderful time Xi’an.
So this post is a little over due, along with many other posts… But anyway, we have a very nice apartment here in Chengdu and although getting here was a bit rocky, things have gotten increasingly better since we arrived here! We have collected over 350 surveys so far and are enjoying working with our new group of students here.
This is our view from our balcony in Chengdu (sorry they are a little blurry):
Also, even more over due, when we were in Xian we went to a huge water show in front of the Big Goose Pagoda. It was pretty cool… Here are some pictures!
On Wednesday, October 30th, we went on an adventure to see the famous Terracotta Warriors. When we arrived, we found an interactive kiosk that was loaded with information about the Warriors. The information provided focused on showing and explaining the details of each individual warrior. Warriors varied in their facial hair, belt buckle, hair bun style, head piece, and armor. By knowing what each variation of the head piece and armor meant, we could identify the varying levels of command when we saw the first pit of warriors.
The Terracotta Warriors were discovered in 1974. What we traveled to see is called “Emperor Qin Shi huang’s Mausoleum Site Park”, which opened in 2010 and is the combination of the site museum and the three known pits which contain the unearthed warriors. The following is the history of the warriors. Qin Shi Huang (259 BC – 210 BC) was the first emperor of China, as he unified a collection of warring states and created the first imperial dynasty of China, the Qin Dynasty. He ascended the throne at 13 years old and began the construction of his mausoleum the same year. For the construction, he ordered over 700, 000 labors!
The following are photos I took of the Terracotta Warriors from Pit 1. The first picture shows off some of the warrior variations, and the second picture shows the head-piece and armor of a high-ranked solider.
While my “sister ducks” take their sweet time in posting their share about Xi’an, I’ll keep you all updated about Chengdu. So far we’ve been here for 5 days and already have 312 surveys. Not bad. We’ve had to do a bit more of scrounging for places, but that’s because we were spoiled by the drum tower in Xi’an. A place where we could complete 200 surveys in 4 hours… hard to beat. But we’ve resorted back to our roots and went to some public libraries, parks, malls and railway stations. All of the students that we are working with here are post-graduate so they have a lot more time to work with us then our other undergraduate students. Each day we’ve had at least 7 student researchers so that has helped a lot as well. We’re taking the weekend off to celebrate meeting our halfway point and hope to check out some of the local sites. Perhaps the Chengdu panda reserve? We’re still making some plans but we’ll hopefully post pictures soon. My heart goes out to Aaron Rodgers and his immediate recovery. Emy’s goes out to Ponder’s immedi…. Emy’s heart goes out to the quarterback they will draft this post season.
Oh and here’s a cool dog.
On Monday October 28th, we met the father of one of the girls Dr. J hosted in his home when she came to study in the states. This man was so grateful to meet the man that hosts his daughter in the states that he wanted to make sure we had a great time. So he took us to a big, fancy dinner and then got us tickets to a show afterwards. Now in Chinese culture it’s a sign of respect to finish your alcoholic drink in front of you whenever somebody offers a cheers with you… We didn’t know that. If it’s a shot , you down the shot. If it’s a beer, you finish the glass; wine the same. UNFORTUNATELY, we had all had a “fun” night before so we weren’t exactly up to the task of drinking Baijiu, the famous Chinese white wine, but we were eventually talked into what we thought was enjoying one glass of beer. Then we learned the culture… Eventually that one glass of beer turned into about 11 bottles. Thankfully we are all Wisconsin residents and had a big meal in front of us so we were all able to enjoy the upcoming show without falling asleep on our neighbor.
The show was called “A Song of Everlasting Sorrow”. We had done a quick skim of the plot before hand since the dialogue was in Chinese and this is what we found.
“In the story, a Tang Dynasty Emperor (618-906) falls deeply in love with a beautiful young concubine. His love distracts him from his ruling duties, causing unrest that led to a coup d’état, when rebels murdered his beloved. The show is a visual triumph, combining music, dance, lavish costumes, dazzling lights and a unique stage that is partially submerged in a lake.”
Honestly, I can’t even begin to describe this show that would do it justice. It may have helped if we could listen to the story over the loud speaker but just the laser light show that was going on and the amazing water works would have been enough but the quick scene changes and intricate dances made the whole thing unbelievable to watch. Highly recommended if you find yourself in Xi’an.
Sorry everyone, we know we’ve been really bad about posting lately but yes, we are still alive and kicking (except for maybe Emy’s left pinkie toe). Our final week in Xi’an was pretty crazy with finishing 600 surveys and entering them online. We’ve also finished our Posters on the Hill application and now have to wait till February to see if we made the cut. Despite some roadblocks, we made it to Chengdu today and met 3 of our 9 student researchers. We’ve printed our surveys and plan to start surveying tomorrow morning in a public shopping area. Wish us luck.
Also, eventually we will post all about our trip in Xi’an including a play we went to, the Terracotta warriors and another mountain hike. Many pictures to come as well.
On Saturday we had our last hurrah dinner with our Beijing students and additional dinner guests (Ruby, John, Ed, and Roxy). The dinner consisted of 3.5 pounds of noodles (Dr. J went a little noodle crazy), delicous spaghetti sauce with fresh veggies, bakery fresh baguettes, and a salad with ginger dressing (the grocery store didn’t have Italian). The feast was a celebration of us achieving just over 500 surveys for Beijing and getting to meet our wonderful Beijing Chinese students.
On Sunday we packed our bags, left our luxury Beijing apartment (all it lacked was bathroom doors) and waited on the street for a Taxi willing to take us to the airport. We arrived in Xi’an later that evening and got settled into our less than luxury Xi’an apartments (all they lack are utensils and the ability to shower in an inclosed area away from the toilet).
On Monday in Xi’an we got right down to business and hit the streets with surveys, as one of our Xi’an students, Flora, had already printed surveys for us to be able to hit the ground running when we arrived. We had long surveys days Monday and today but our hard work has paid off and we are currently at 217 surveys in just 2 days! We have met 7 of our 10 Xi’an students so far and they are lovely. Due to our small apartments (we have 3 small apartments rather than 1 larger one), we are not able to host the students for a welcome dinner but pictures of the group are soon to come!
Sorry it’s been so long but we’ve been busy. We leave for Xi’an on Sunday but we still have data to enter (about 120 surveys), an abstract to write and we still need to have the students over for a goodbye dinner. For those of you that haven’t heard, we are applying for the 2014 Posters on the Hill for undergraduate research. The application process is quite intense and with a November 4th due date, we have a lot of things on our plate. But tonight we are taking the night off and going to the Yin rooftop bar that overlooks the Forbidden City. (Will post pictures once we get back…… maybe tomorrow morning)