Our CEO Travels to China
The inspiration for our journey to China are the past 13 years where are our high school scholars who are required to complete a two-year Mandarin course and learn the language, and acquire knowledge of Chinese history, culture and art. They prepared presentations for our trip and I looked forward to sharing our experiences with them upon return to NYC. The President of China, Xi Yinping was quoted in an article that appeared in the China Daily where he hailed US high school students’ from an Illinois high school who are learning Mandarin and wrote a letter to Mr. Yingping. In his response to the letter, he encouraged a greater communication between students in the US and those in China calling for a “…a deeper friendship between the people of our two countries.” This further affirmed our decision to continue offering Mandarin as part of the curriculum is intended to teach our scholars to have a better understanding of the Chinese people and to gain more friends across the globe.
We literally flew into the future on a flight path that would take use North West over the Arctic Ocean toward Russia and the Behring Sea. After a 13-hour flight, we arrived to Bejing, China exhausted, and were greeted by a hotel representative who spoke mostly Mandarin and guided us through China Customs and to an airport limo that awaited. Our driver spoke limited-English, pleasant and appreciated my attempts to communicate with my limited understanding of Mandarin. We arrived 40 minutes later to our hotel and started adjusting to a 12-hour time difference and the fact that it was already the next calendar day.
We visited four UNESCO World Heritage sites over a period of 7 days. Our first excursion was a 4-hour walking tour through the Forbidden City, home to 24 Emperors from 1507-1967. The preservation of the beauty and culture, of the Ancient Palaces, was by far one of most impressive sites that represent China’s history and formation and the end to imperial ruler and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China founded by Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zedong). We ended our evening with a very popular Bejing Acrobatic Show at the Chaoyang Theatre.
Our visit to the Great Wall of China at Badaling, did not disappoint and surpassed expectations. As we approached the mountaintop, it was clear why this world heritage site is indeed considered, one of the 7 wonders of the world. The landscape and mountains surrounding the Great Wall and the architecture of the wall itself were breathtaking. After approximately 1 million workers and 2000 years, the wall was completed by the Qin dynasty before the Manchu invasion in 1644. The wall stretches across 400 miles wide. The throngs of people various parts of the globe and from throughout Asia and abroad visiting this site contributed to an amazing experience. The Temple of Heaven reflected the ancient history and place of worship for 24 Emperors. The intricate beauty of these ancient structures and architecture are well preserved. The Summer Palace are Imperial Gardens built during the Qing dynasty as a refuge for the emperors and their families. Sitting on 500 acres of land are pavilions and temples on Longevity Hill overlooking Kumming Lake.
We traveled on the Bejing Subway, although a challenge at first, as all writing was written in Mandarin, we figured out the lines and connection points. The train system was clean, fast and safe, with guards at every station and in each car. There are approximately 30 million people who live in Bejing as compared to the 1 million that live in New York City, so it was quite impressive how orderly and efficient large crowds move in and out of the trains. The Panda House was a change of pace and relaxing as climbing was not required. We came across Swan Lake, an unexpected surprise, with a peaceful lake filled with a dozen swans, storks, ducks and a lake framed by weeping willows and cherry blossoms. It was beyond imagination and felt like walking into a Chinese painting.
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Posted: May 7, 2019