OCDF Culture Camp 2
Arriving back in Beijing at 1 PM, we returned to our apartment at the Friendship Hotel to unpack and then catch a taxi to take us to the Wangfujing Shopping Street. Wangfujing is similar to New York's 5th Avenue, Chicago's Miracle Mile, or Houston's Westheimer Galleria. It is a large shopping district located just east of the Forbidden City. Helping us to find the best shopping was Melissa. Melissa is participating in an exchange student program and we are hosting her this year in Houston. She and her family live in Beijing and we had the honor of meeting them for dinner during week 1. Melissa enjoys shopping and knows all the best places to go in Beijing. She helped us find some toys and new school backpacks for the girls and several things for ourselves.
On Monday we learned about Chinese medicine by studying some basic terms. We visited a Chinese pharmacy (above) that has been in operation for several hundred years. While there we were examined by a Chinese physician and spoke with the staff about the health benefits of different kinds of tea.
The pharmacy is in a very pretty section of Beijing just a little to the west of the Forbidden City. There were lots of shade trees and many older buildings.
Our Schedule for Week 2
Monday AM - Chinese medical concepts and terms (Basic), visit to ancient Chinese Pharmacy, meeting with a Chinese Doctor.
Tuesday AM - Chinese geography. Chinese knotting craft
Wednesday AM - Kids learn about Chinese inventions, adults meet with a Confucius scholar, everyone visits the Chinese Science and Technology Museum.
Thursday AM - Chinese animal names, visit to Beijing Zoo followed by visit to Purple Bamboo park. In the park, kids learn about origami (paper folding) and adults have a lesson with a Tai Qi master.
In the afternoon we visited the Temple of Heaven. This complex has been restored recently in preparation for the Olympics and it is wonderful. The paint and tile colors are brilliant - deep Chinese reds with accents of blue and gold. The temple is set in the middle of a large park that was full of activity. Impromptu singers and artists combined with exercise classes, tourists, and students into a curious group with all enjoying the magnificent setting.
After the temple, we went to the Hong Qiao Pearl Market. This is a five story building filled with jewelry vendors offering pearls, jade, gold, and watches. The shops on the top floor were the most exclusive and expensive. Descending to the ground floor, the merchandise became less expensive and the price was more subject to negotiation.