Today was our first full day in China, and boy was it an exhausting one. After sleeping for 10+ hours (which is probably more sleep than I get in a week’s time during the semester) and STILL waking up exhausted, we headed down to breakfast. The food was delicious, but the highlight of the meal was the congee, a savory rice soup/pudding that I have not had since I was in Indonesia in 2010.
In addition to the congee, there was also a spread of fruit, which included jackfruit and watermelon. The jackfruit was a nice addition to the spread, and provided some very interesting texture-kind of like a kiwi, but a bit grittier. Of course, no breakfast is complete without coffee, so I had my morning pick me up and started to feel better immediately.
After breakfast and a quick program orientation, we headed for the Great Wall and made a pit stop for lunch. Our lunch was a delicious spread of authentic Chinese dishes, including some amazing green beans, fish, and many types of chicken in a dim sum style of round-table sharing. While in the restaurant, I had my first encounter with a squatty potty in a LONG time. I chickened out and decided not to use it.
After lunch, we headed to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is about an hour outside of downtown Beijing. Once there, we had the option to either take a cable car or walk up the Wall. I honestly did not think that we would be climbing a mountain when we agreed to walk instead of taking the cable car, but we trekked up nearly 70 flights of stairs to the top. Although it seemed worse than climbing Mount Everest, once we got to the top, it was all worth it. The views were gorgeous and to die for (which my legs almost did, multiple times).
After one hot, sweaty, gross ride back to the hotel, we took an hour-long break to rest before heading to dinner. We got a hot pot style dinner with a bunch of different types of fish and beef dishes. The food was delicious and it was entertaining to watch your food be cooked or the waiter spin you your very own noodles, but there was just so much that I felt bad walking away without eating it all.
Overall, today was a long and tiring day, but very worth it! I’m excited to spend the day with Chinese university students tomorrow. 🙂