Monday, August 18, 2008

Beijing Update #2

Ni Hao!

It is currently 8:33AM TUESDAY, August 19th. We have had a blast in Beijing thus far and we haven't even gotten to any Olympic events yet.

On Sunday we went to the Great Wall. It was really amazing. Of course, my plan from way back when was to walk up a few steps to the Great Wall and then stand in amazement that I was there and then walk back down to the bus. I told CC and Lisa this months ago, but for some reason they didn't believe me. My plan was aces because at the end of the day I wasn't sweaty and near death. CC and Lisa on the other hand....well...

I made it to the second tower of the section of the Great Wall section we went too. CC and Lisa decided to keep going. CC quit at the third tower when her lungs began to fail. Lisa called CC a 'punk' and said she was going to keep climbing to the top. Lisa made it to the fourth tower (there were about six towers) before she lost feeling in her right hand and her left leg disintegrated. Both CC and Lisa came down from the steep portion of the wall covered in sweat and looking like they had been deserted on some far away island for 8 years. It was hi-larious!

Yesterday we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It was pretty spectacular as well. TSq. is just this huge empty space with very famous Chinese landmarks like General Mao's mausoleum. The Forbidden City really is a city! There are something like 9000 palace rooms, an outer court, an inner court, garden, etc. Really, more of that place should be forbidden because it was so tiring to walk through it. It took us about four hours to walk around 1/10th of that place. So exhausting!

We're also really tired because we are something like celebrities in Beijing. EVERYONE wants to take our picture. At the Great Wall, all three of us were in different sections and separated from each other at some point, yet we all had the same experience-- random Asian people (Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, you name it!) asking to take pictures with us. It usually goes something like this...

Reese: [fanning herself on the Great Wall]

Random Japanese Girl [stands next to Reese and puts her arm around Reese]: 'Hello!'

Reese: 'Ummm...hi...'

Japanese Girl: 'Picture? Yes?'

Reese [laughs]: 'Okay.'

Japanese Girl: 'Smile!'

Her Friend takes the picture, then the Japanese Girl gets on the other side of Reese and takes another picture.

Japanese Girl: 'Thank you!!'

Reese: ' problem.'

This EXACT same experience happened to CC and Lisa. It was a thousand times worse in Tiananmen Square. We would pose for our own pictures and a ton of people would run toward us and start taking our pictures. So far TWENTY-FOUR people have ASKED to take pictures with us. This number does not count the gazillion people who just snap pictures of us as we walk down the street. At one point in our tour yesterday, it was like the Paparazzi were stalking us and our tour guide had to come rescue us from the all the people who were trying to to take our pictures. He literally had to pull us by the hand and tell the people in Mandarin 'no more pictures!' Ha!

Oh, and just to show you that Americans are not as color conscious as we think, the white people on our tour group were ASTOUNDED that Asian people would want to randomly take pictures of us just because we are Black Americans***. Literally, they couldn't believe it and a few, I think, thought it was racist behavior on the part of the Chinese/Japanese/Koreans. I mean, some seemed to be a little offended FOR us (not to be confused with jealousy). We weren't offended at all.

Anyways, today we're going to do a little shopping and then we're going to the Birds Nest stadium for track.

Anyways, I hope all is well with everyone. Another e-mail will be forthcoming in a few days!

Peace and Love,

Reese xoxo

***We've seen a few Africans. We noticed that no one was hounding them for pictures. I think the Asian people here seem to be able to distinguish Black AMERICANS from Africans. Black Americans are more rare I guess. FYI.



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