Student News

Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall: China 6

Christina Kopp – June 16, 2014

A few days ago, the group visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and yesterday the group had a chance to climb the Great Wall. Brian Persons ’16 describes his experience in Tiananmen and Ceci Swenson ’16 reports on the group’s trek to the Great Wall:

Brian: Today the group visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. While the Forbidden City was breathtaking, many of the people on the trip got hassled beforehand buying sovereigns at Tiananmen. For example, I bought a book for 100 yuan and Ballard could have bought the book for two. It was a good learning experience. I learned that in certain places I need to negotiate a better deal. All in all it was a good day having seen an emperor’s palace and a place of democratic protest. 

Photo Credit: Miriam Singer

Photo Credit: Allie Roberts ’16

Ceci: For the first half of today we went to the Great Wall. Some of us expected the walk to be fairly easy with rolling hills. However, we were presented with a steep climb and very hot weather. We were all astonished by the size and intricate detail of the Great Wall. We also found the wall’s length unbelievable. Because the wall is over 2,000 years old, many people were repairing the steps.  The building and restoring of this monument showed the power and prevalence of China throughout ancient and modern history.  Gene said that, like many of us, “I felt really accomplished when I got to the top” 

 While many of us were exhausted and had to take many breaks, Will said “I think it is beautiful and amazing because it goes on for so long. It is cool to see how it follows the terrain and goes up and down with the earth. It was interesting to see the oldness of the wall next to the newness of the smog.”

 Brian also said, “It is ironic that the point of the wall was to keep out invaders, but most people that are there are from different countries.”

Kento quoted the fans that are sold all over the place: “You’re not a true man until you climb the Great Wall”

 Incredibly enough, on our way back to the bus, we ran into Choate’s chamber orchestra and choir performing a concert.  What were the chances that on the same day and at the same time we would be at the same spot on the Great Wall of China? 

 In the evening, we went to a children’s Kung Fu show. Beside the masters of the martial art, there were pandas learning their skills. This show demonstrated an ancient skill being presented in a new and modern way. Overall, today we saw many ancient symbols of China being preserved and utilized in the modern world. This opened our eyes to the richness and depth of the Chinese culture.