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Friday, June 1, 2012

New & Old Beijing

Lynn Hsieh

In January 2012, my friends and I joined a tour to Beijing held by the Taiwan Development Institute. It was my first trip to the capital of China, and the 10 days’ experience made a great impression on me. The old buildings of ancient Beijing city, the development of modern Beijing city, and the friends I met there in the coldest winter I have ever felt all inspired me a lot and have become a beautiful memory of my student life.

All photos by the author
It was the coldest it had been in Beijing for nearly 20 years, so we wore 5-7 layers of clothes; and still our fingers felt frozen! The center of the city is filled with high buildings, and the roads are wide and flat. There are six traffic loops around the city, mass-transit is very convenient, and bus tickets are very cheap.

Ancient Beijing city is very wide and the old buildings are traditional. What we had learned in history class and seen on TV were right there in front of us! When I closed my eyes, I could even imagine it was thousands of years ago and I was standing in an ancient Chinese palace. Traditional foods like Tomato on stick and roast duck were delicious, cheap and hard to forget.

While we were in Beijing, we tried a cool sport – ice skating. As none of had ever tried this before, we fell down a lot – but we fell down in many creative and funny ways! We also saw an ice sculpture exhibition; it was amazing for those of us from the south. There were big dragons, houses, bridges and even the palaces made from ice. We had a lot of fun at the exhibition and took lots of pictures there.

With our guide map in hand, we searched for history in every corner of Beijing city. We found lots of things that were similar to, and lots of things that were different from, what we find in Taiwan. I thought Beijing’s concrete architecture and the city planning were great, but the standard of living is lower than in Taiwan. Because life is harder in China, students there are more competitive.  Therefore, I think that Taiwan’s students are going to have to work harder or we are going to be too weak to compete with Chinese students. Finally, after this inspiring experience, we knew more about China and enjoyed our visit to Beijing city, both ancient and modern.

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