Day two had a very different pace to it. We were not doing any tourist visits but instead we went to the Central University of Finance and Economics to learn about big data and what college is like in China. We listened to a lecture about methods of collecting data and using it which was mildly interesting but more interesting was talking with the local students. What struck me the most was the differences between Pitt and their university. I learned that parties are not very common on their campus. One student said that most people just pick up a book and read or watch T.V. with their friends. The campus itself was also very different than at Pitt. Like everything in Beijing, their university was very neat, orderly and quiet. This is probably because their campus is a way outside of the central part of Beijing. Even though it was a bright and sunny day nobody was studying outside. Why is that? Well one student told me it’s because of the large amounts of smoke coming from the factories around the city. The orderliness and cleanliness gives Central University a win in the first round.
Their library was by far the most impressive building on their campus. Hillman is nothing compared to this. The architecture was well thought out and beautiful. To get a seat in the library you must go to a computer and reserve one for yourself. This is a great idea because instead of wandering around the 4th floor of Hillman trying to find a seat, you can immediately see if there is an open seat. They had superb lighting and a large amount of potted plants to make the building extremely comfortable. After exploring the library, we went into the basement where there was a photo gallery with many awesome photos. Central University certainly wins this one.
Compared to Market their cafeteria was much more impressive. Instead of greasy meat cooked in vats of oil, they served us some of the best chicken I have ever had. They had an array of pumpkin, pancake bread, asparagus, shrimp and more. It was all mouthwateringly delicious. Central University takes this round as well.
Finally, we all played jump rope and a game with a hoola hoop. The jump rope was fun, but I completely failed at it. When I got to the spot where I was supposed to jump, I froze up and forgot to jump. Oh well. The other game we played was much more enjoyable because it was new. The way you played was everyone would hold hands in a circle and the whole team must bring a hoola hoop around their body and pass it onto the next person in the circle. My team won and we received very professional certificates boasting that we won the competition.
Once we returned from the Central University me and two of my buddies, John Christiano and Jake Hanzlik, went to a place called Snack Street. We had to take the subway in a place where we couldn’t even read the language during rush hour. Needless to say it was a blast. The ticket machine was in Chinese, so we had no idea where to go but eventually we figured it out. Snack Street itself was a colorful bazaar with many different places to eat and buy groceries. We ended up going to a restaurant that had pictures on their menu so that we could order something. John pointed at the pictures to the waitress and we ordered some food. The three dishes we ate ranged from delicious to I can’t even try this. The good meal was chicken in a yummy sauce and the awful meal was some kind of cold, rubbery meat that we thought was better to leave be. We paid and left for a walk.
We walked over to a waterfront where there was a bunch of action. There were people dancing to good electronic music and playing jump rope in the street. A man was flying an extremely long kite that must have been around 100 feet long. We wandered around for a little while longer before we were exhausted. I looked at my watch, 8:00pm. Jeez it’s still so early. But I was exhausted from adventuring all day and moderately jetlagged, so I passed out at 8:30. Day two had a much different pace than day one, but it was still just as fun.