China Blog: Cristina Visico

June 2, 2008

BEIJING, China -

June 1, 2008 (Beijing, China)
Hey Everyone! We are still in Beijing, but we put our rackets away and were tourists for the day. I must say, our legs are burning just a little bit from the hike we took at the Great Wall, but our schedule is really busy and every minute is used so there is no resting.
We started our morning with a tour to the Summer Palace which was absolutely beautiful. Then, we headed to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. The buildings and landscapes were incredible, but after lots of walking, we couldn't take it anymore. We were all exhausted so Morten (Christensen) took out his Starbucks map and we headed to the nearest one. After grabbing some coffee and walking around Soho Pub Street, we were ready and energized for the real fun to begin.
While at the Forbidden City we had decided to set up a bowling match. We split the teams in half with Amanda (Augustus) and Peter (Wright) as the captains. Amanda's team included Steph (Kusano), Daron (Moore), Claire (Ilcinkas), KJ (Kallim Stewart), Eoin (Heavey) and Zach (Gilbert). Peter's team had Pierre (Mouillon), Geoff (Chizever), Morten, Boj (Bobusic), Susie (Babos) and myself. Peter was a pro! He must have been a PBA bowler before his tennis career. Of course, our team killed Amanda's team so they have to carry our bags to the airport tomorrow morning. Well sadly, this is my last blog from Beijing. The next time, you'll be hearing from Shanghai. Bye bye Beijing. So long for now.

May 31, 2008 (Beijing, China)
Day two. Hello again from Beijing! Woo what a day! Today was busy from the minute we woke up. We started our day playing against the Tsing Hua University Tennis Team. We not only had a great time playing matches, but we also had a Cal clinic going on. We had coach (Peter) Wright and a few players teaching and feeding balls to the Tsing Hua students. By the way, it is Berkeley week at Tsing Hua and there was quite a contingent from Berkeley, including the Vice Chancellor, the Men's Octet, and other university representatives.

Everyone really enjoyed themselves at the tennis courts, and at the end of the day Cal came out on top by beating the Tsing Hua team, 5-1. A little side note, Susie (Babos) and I played our first doubles match ever in our four years together! We may have won, but now, we understand why the coaches never put us together. We also got to see Boj (Bobusic) ride a bike to the doctor because she has pinkeye. Both of her eyes got infected.

After tennis, we all had a great meal which consisted of China's famous Peking duck. It was incredible! Peter called it a 'Chinese burrito'. After lunch, we took off for our journey to the Great Wall. I now know why they call it one of the Seven Wonders of the World. When we got there, we were in for a treat but we didn't realize that we would have to climb about a billion stairs to get to the top. As we started our journey, it reminded me of the fire trail, but about 10 times harder. We were all dripping in sweat! Brilliantly, Steph (Kusano), Claire (Ilcinkas), Geoff (Chizever), Pierre (Mouillon), and I decided to scale the Great Wall in sandals (Tip for future Great Wall tourists: NEVER wear sandals!)

Eventually, we all made it to the top and it was a great feeling for all of us to get up there and see the most amazing view. The way down was a breeze, but when we got back on the bus, we all passed out. After a little nap, I was awoken by Geoff and Boj singing. The next banquet, they are going to need to do a duet. Major potential there; just kidding. We decided to take a little detour before dinner and make a pit stop at Starbucks since Morten (Christensen) and Amanda (Augustus) are addicted to coffee. Morten is so hooked that he has a map of all of the 62 Starbucks' in Beijing. After Starbucks, we decided to change up our dinner plans and headed to Thai Hut. After a few bites, Susie's nose was sweating and Steph's face was bright red and numb. So far, I must say it has been an awesome experience checking out the big city Asia life. It is definitely a culture shock for us. Well that's all for now. We miss you Berkeley!

May 30, 2008 (Beijing, China)
Ni hao Berkeley! After a 13-hour delay, our flight arrived in Beijing. The turbulence as we were landing was so bad that Susie (Babos) wanted to throw up. She couldn't though, because the guy next to her had already stolen her bag. We were all a little dazed from the long flight, and arrived at the hotel just in time for a welcome dinner with the Chinese Minister of Education, our host Herman Hu, and several coaches and players from the Chinese National men's and women's tennis team.

We woke up this morning ready to start the first full day of our trip. We had a 6:15 a.m. wake up call, a hearty breakfast, and then sat in Beijing rush hour traffic for an hour and a half. It's pretty hot and sunny here, but really windy. It reminds me of Tulsa. We got to the tennis courts and had the chance to play against the Chinese National Team. We had a ton of fun meeting the players and exchanging gifts. We all had challenging singles and doubles matches, but afterwards, we all had an amazing lunch together.

After a full morning of tennis, we started our day of sightseeing. We began our journey by visiting the Temple of Heaven. After learning a little bit of Chinese history, the real fun started at the shopping market. With an hour to shop and hang out, Pierre (Mouillon) and Eoin (Heavey) each got a pedicure. I'm sure the women doing their feet were really enjoying themselves. The girls of course, went wild at the hand bag section, making use of their bargaining skills. I guess it must be our determination and will power that got us those great deals. Geoff (Chizever) didn't really get the bargaining concept because he bought a fake shirt for more than the price of a real one. Haha. In the mean time, Boj (Bobusic) got a terrible eye infection and it only got worse. We're praying it gets better by tomorrow.

After shopping Eoin, Geoff, and Pierre decided to make their day a little more exciting by bungee jumping. Ummm yeahhhh. You all will need to check out Youtube for that video. Guaranteed, you will be entertained. After all the walking, laughing, and sightseeing, we were exhausted. We ended our night eating dumplings and came out of dinner feeling like dumplings. I think it's time for me to take a shower and head to bed because tomorrow, we are playing against Tsing Hua University and then going to visit the Great Wall! It should be exciting! Alright, that's it for now! Zai Jian!

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