Thursday August 9, 2001
The health of the group continues to be good, aside from a couple colds and stomach problems.
The students are in the home stretch now, working on their research projects for Professor Sehrt's class, which are due on Tuesday. Most students have finished their research and are now in the writing stage. The students are also preparing skits for their last Chinese class; the skits will be performed next Thursday. Also, on Tuesday, for Professor Sehrt's class, we visited the Beijing Jeep factory, a joint venture between Daimler/Chrysler and a Chinese state-owned car production company. We got to see all facets of the production process, and also got to talk with one of the officials about the company's management structure.
This past weekend we went to Qufu and Taishan in Shandong province. After taking an overnight train on Friday, we visited Qufu on Saturday, the birthplace of Confucius and the hometown of his descendants. There we visited the Confucius family home, the Confucius temple, and the Confucius forest and cemetery. We were stuck in the rain most of Saturday morning, but in the afternoon things cleared up and turned into a typical hot and humid Chinese summer day. At night, a few of us went bowling while others explored the local night market and commiserated with the locals.
On Sunday, we took a bus to Tai'an, the city at the base of Taishan, one of China's five holy Daoist mountains. We visited the temple of the gods of Taishan in the morning. After lunch we set out to hike Taishan and its 6000 steps. About half of us climbed the whole way, while others stopped at the midway point and took a gondola to the summit, at an altitude of 1545 meters. It was windy and chilly on the summit, but became hot and humid again after descending only a couple hundred feet. All of us took the gondola down where we headed to a dinner that featured an ethnic dancing performance. After dinner, we lounged around in a nearby hotel while waiting to catch our 11 P.M. train back to Beijing.
Make sure to check out the pictures from the trip, which have just been posted on the website (sorry for the delay; I have been experiencing some problems updating the website lately).
The last update from Beijing will come before we leave for the Silk Road trip next Friday. After that, I will be updating from back in the U.S.!