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The sights – and sites – beyond Beijing

July 23, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: Throughout the summer, ASU students studying abroad will be writing back to the states about their overseas adventures. Fostering international student experiences is just one part of ASU's commitment to making a global impact.

Danica's blog:
Last weekend was our first time outside of Beijing for more than a day trip. Because the program I am doing focuses on language education, pretty much everything we do is centered around Beijing Language and Culture University, where we have class everyday. But this past weekend we spent a few days in Xi’an, one of China’s former capital cities, and the excursion went really well!

We got there on an overnight train, which was surprisingly comfortable and also very convenient. We boarded at night and woke as we were arriving in Xi’an, well-rested and ready to start the trip. Definitely a great way to travel, and something I plan on utilizing more when I return to China in the future.

Xi'an was a beautiful city, with a lot more park and plaza areas than Beijing, and there was so much to learn about their extensive history. The weekend was jam-packed with activities so we got to see a lot in just a few days, including Xi'an's giant history museum, the city wall, a Muslim district, the Wild Goose Pagoda and the famous (兵马俑) Terra Cotta Warriors.

One of the days we also took a bus out of the city to hike Mount Hua, a beautiful mountain that gets it's name because the five peaks together resemble a 华, or a flower. Unfortunately, the day we went it was extremely foggy so we didn't get to enjoy the scenery as much as we had hoped. We still had fun hiking around in our ponchos, however, and practicing our Chinese with other visitors on the mountain.

Another one of my favorite parts of the trip was a performance we saw called 长恨歌, which tells the story of an Emperor and the woman he was in love with. It took place at an outdoor theater, complete with a stage that was built into a lake and a striking mountain as the backdrop. The show combined dance with state-of-the-art technology, most of which was also used in the 2008 Summer Olympics. We went in not really knowing what to expect and were amazed by the moving stage, flying actors, and the use of fountains, lasers, fireworks and fog. At one point the entire mountain behind the lake lit up like a starry sky and a fake moon rose behind it. It was an incredible show!

Danica Harvey, an international letters and cultures major with an emphases in Chinese and economics, is a student in the Chinese Language Flagship Program and will be a junior this fall. She is studying abroad in China this summer.