On Wednesday, January 27, 2015, I departed from Toronto Pearson Airport for a ten-day trip to China for the Yale Young Global Scholars- Beijing program. On the trip, I participated in lectures on ISIS, public health, law, and China’s economy, listened to panels conducted by past and present Yale students, took part in biology-based seminars taught by current Yale students, and worked in a group to complete and present a final project, all while having fun with newfound international friends; it was an experience I will forever cherish.
Before the program started, a little under half of the scholars went on some excursions. We visited Tiananmen Square, the Bird’s Nest at the Beijing Olympic Park, the Forbidden City, and the National Museum of China as well as eating out at some exquisite locations (one of which consisted of taking pictures with a group of children and some of them actually being frightened by me). However, one moment stood out from the two days we spent exploring Beijing. Here is a “report” of sorts about my favourite part of the sightseeing:
The 28th of January, we went to The Wall. The day decided to be quite cold, but being Canadian, that wasn’t too much of a factor. After an hour and a half bus ride from the hotel at which we were staying, we reached the site. The antediluvian walls embodied thousands of years of history, and every nook and cranny brought upon legitimate astonishment. Everything from the little openings in the bottom of the bulwarks to the cemented cannons to the steep walkways enthused me; the cultural infusion was on another level.
I like to think I am pretty fast. To be fast, unless the possessor of aberrant qualities, you have to work. Calve raises and not much else is a daily practice that hasn’t done me wrong yet, especially since short distance is my forte. Climbing the Great Wall, however, left me heaving as I subsequently regretted my decision to embark on foot instead of forking over a hundred RMB to ride a gondola. My calf muscles bulged, the burn similar to that after a cross-country run; tenfold. Fortuitously, the spectacle that is the Great Wall kept me mesmerized throughout; fatigue was all but succeeding in suppressing my appreciation for these walls.
Walking down was by far the easier of the tasks. Flying down the steps, it took half the time it took to struggle my way up. If these walls could talk, they’d probably poke fun at my physical shape; but the clear euphoria evident in these photographs clearly depict my lack of care towards the inanimate’s opinions. Besides, aren’t we all permissible to let loose on vacation?
More is to come from my Beijing journeys.