Courtney Thompson- Diary From China
June 14, 2006
The Huskies left for China on June 12 to kick-off a 12-day tour of Beijing and Shanghai, including four volleyball matches. Each day, a different Washington team member will write a diary entry and post a photo gallery to share her experiences with the UW community. Senior setter Courtney Thompson writes today's entry.
Whew. I just want to start by saying WE ARE IN CHINA; it hasn't quite sunk in that we're half way around the world. Secondly, I want you to know that we are having so much fun, and are all very thankful for this opportunity.
Today was nuts- we started it off with our first meal in China in the lobby of our hotel. It was about half Chinese, half 'American,' but it got the job done. We headed straight from there to practice, which was almost comforting because no matter where we are, volleyball is volleyball. The gym felt like any other gym except for two distinct differences. One being the bathrooms; no toilets...I'll just leave it at that. And two, there was Chinese writing all over. After practice we headed to lunch at a great restaurant, and enjoyed a family style meal. It was delicious, and we laughed a lot as usual. On the way over we learned a few phrases such as, how are you, thank you, is it good or not so good, good, not so good, and your welcome. The Chinese language is pretty fun to learn because it takes a lot of fluctuation in your voice, and we've enjoyed practicing with the locals.
One of the funniest parts of today was watching our team deal with the vendors on the streets, because those vendors are relentless...they don't mess around. I've come up with a good strategy for me, I just try to make them laugh by saying irrelevant things and more often than not they go away. If you just try to run away, they will chase you waiving their goods in your face- one lady today tried to follow me onto the bus, and when our guide kicked her off she kept banging on my window. I guess she couldn't tell that I'm not much of a purse person...but it was hilarious.
After lunch we went to the Forbidden City which was completely amazing. I felt like I was in a movie, because it was so surreal- the buildings were just beautiful and so powerful. The Forbidden City is almost a mile long, and it was the Emperor's house; there was so much history there which made being there pretty awesome. We got lots of good pictures...it's odd being the `tour group' because I know what it feels like at home when you see big groups that you can tell are from out of the country, so actually being that group and having people look at you is a good perspective to have. Once again, the group was comforted when we found a Starbucks in the City...it originated in Seattle ya know.
We visited Tiananmen Square next, which is known best for the student pro-democracy demonstrators protested against Communism in 1989. Many people were killed, and ever since the square has been closely monitored by security cameras and soldiers...kind of intimidating. The coolest part was that across the way was a countdown for the 2008 Olympics...it was something like 738 days, 22 hours, 37 minutes, and 16 seconds- and made a very cool background for pictures.
Dinner was rad, the waiters were chanting and yelling stuff and even though we couldn't understand it, we enjoyed it. Dinner was hardcore authentic Chinese food, it's pretty fun to try new stuff, and funny to watch my teammates faces as we experience new tastes.
After dinner was a Kung Fu show, which was awesome- but we were all pretty pooped by the end of it. I'm about to go to bed, and I think it's 7 am back home, so needless to say our clocks are a little messed up.
China is awesome.
There are a lot of bikes.
Vendors are funny.
I am excited to play tomorrow.
My team is awesome.
Our guides are awesome.
I am tired- goodnight.