Saturday, June 28, 2008

NSF EAPSI orientation week

As Anna mentioned already, I went on a week-long orientation for the NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) program last week, and I thought I would share some pictures! In addition to Chinese language and culture training, the other EAPSI participants and I were introduced to a number of institutions to learn more about the state of science and technology development in China. Officials from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Tsinghua University (one of the top universities in China), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences all extended their welcome to us and they each gave us an overview of their program. The best part of the orientation week, however, was the day trips to the Great Wall, the world's most famous Peking Duck restaurant, the Laoshe Teahouse (a teahouse with live performances), the Capital Museum, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square.

Tsinghua University.... the campus was beautiful and it was just nice to walk around.

Great Wall.... I have to say that going to the Great Wall was somewhat anticlimactic, because I guess I had never imagined myself on the Great Wall before and in my mind, I never thought of it as being just a wall. It was only when I was walking on it that it hit me. It was still neat to think that each and every brick was laid down by hand though (actually, the brick kind of reminded me of the Graduate College at Princeton...). It was a foggy day when we went, so we couldn't see very far, unfortunately. Nevertheless, it was still a good hike. I was fine going up, but I was kind of scared coming down... it was VERY steep.

Feast at the Peking Duck restaurant.... the most food I have ever seen in my life. The dishes just kept coming... although that seems to be typical in a Chinese dinner....

Laoshe Teahouse.... impressive. The live performances were excellent. The most impressive one was of a girl who was able to spin a variety of heavy objects with her legs.... (see photos)... I also liked the performance when two men put on a whole show by making realistic sounds of a train, a horse, birds, an airplane, etc. with only a microphone.

Capital Museum.... my personal favorite! Lots of really cool stuff and I feel like one can really learn a lot about ancient Chinese history.

More to come...

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