The Three Gorges Dam

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We visited the Three Gorges Dam and learned a lot about how it was built and how it controls the Yangtze River. In order to build the dam the river needed to be diverted to create a dry base on which to lay the foundations of the dam. Water is released by flushing water from the reservoir behind the dam in order to prevent silt build-up, as well as being forced through turbines turbines to generate up to 3% of the power output of the entire country of China. Some people think this flushing technique will not work with a reservoir of water this large because the silt will settle at the beginning of the reservoir, but the flushing will only disturb the water closest to the dam, so some experts worry that silt will still build up.

A series of locks and gates was also incorporated into the dam in order to allow shipping traffic through the region. The dam also allowed more trade to come to the region of the Yangtze River by increasing the depth of the river waters, allowing larger ships with more cargo to sail farther upstream.

The Terra Cotta Warriors

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We visited the Terra Cotta Warriors and learned that the tomb of the emperor buried there was too dangerous to open because of booby traps built into the burial chamber. We learned each warrior has a unique face, and it is believed that the warriors were modeled after the workers that built them. There were three pits with warriors in them. We also learned that conservation efforts were being taken to preserve and restore the warriors to their original completion.

The Amusement Park Bridge

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We went to an amusement park to see the completed bridge crossing the water in front of the beach where a boardwalk was. I walked around and took pictures of some other constructions, one was meant to represent a book, and another was a tilted bridge crossing a smaller body of water. Some of the other students went on the rides that swung you through the air.

The Xi’an Wall

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We visited the wall surrounding the city of Xi’an and learned it was fourteen kilometers long. The wall was wider at the bottom than the top and had ramparts and towers from where soldiers observed the surrounding land. We entered the wall in a walled-in area that was designed as a trap for attacking armies; it was designed so that armies would fight their way through a gate and be surrounded by archers and soldiers to prevent them from infiltrating the city.

Leg Day on the Great Wall

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We went to the Great Wall of China and I climbed up several ramparts. I did not get as far as the other students but I did make it to the No. 9 stop. An older British couple was also climbing the wall and made fun of me because I had stopped and they believed I should have been able to go farther because of my age. They told me, “At your age you should be hoppin’, jumpin’, and skippin’ up those steps!”

We learned that the wall was built on the top of a steep mountain range where we were, so the idea was that whoever was trying to attack would have to fight their way up a mountain and then fight the soldiers posted on the wall. I noticed the wall was built with the mountain rather than at a set height, so sections were taller or shorter than others, and each step was a different height.

The Board Walk

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When we were in Dalian we went to the boardwalk for a couple hours and had the chance to ride a couple of the rides and see the ocean. In total we went on three rides and quickly learned how the rides in China are a little bit more extreme. We started out by accidently riding the bumper cars which hit just a little harder than the ones we are used to in the United States. After getting a little beat up on the bumper cars we decided to ride the go carts which went pretty fast. I even spun out a couple times on the turns. The last ride, the one I the picture was the craziest of all. We thought it would be a quick ride that went upside down a couple times the ended, however, we were wrong. The ride lasted over five minutes and it seemed like it lifted you over the ocean and just when you thought it was over the ride started up again. Even though I was only able to go on a couple rides this small stop was a blast and it was nice to do something exciting.

The Red Star Restaurant

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On our last day in Beijing we went to a restaurant that we called the red star restaurant. We were still getting used to China and all of the propaganda was still a little new to us. This restaurant is where I realized how much the people of China really value Mao Zedong. The food at this restaurant was a little different and there were people singing on the stage while wearing shirts with Moa Zedong on them. This was also where we were first served a whole chicken that was chopped up and placed in a bowl. I’ll never forget how scared I was when I pulled a chicken foot out of the bowl. After we continued to look through the bowl we found a head and the other foot. It was interesting to find out that this is pretty common in china and a lot of other restaurants do the same thing. While this restaurant was a little weird at first I’m glad we went because it gave us the opportunity to see something we are not used to seeing.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum

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The picture shows pit one at the Terracotta Warriors Museum. I found the warriors to be one of the most interesting things we saw. The long history and intensive process to save them makes them that much more amazing in person. I also learned while we were at the museum that not all of the warriors have been uncovered yet because they do not yet have the technology to properly preserve them. When the warriors were initially buried they were full of color, when they make contact with the air this color is lost almost immediately. Its little facts like this that made the terracotta warriors so interesting to me. We also learned that a little ways away is where the emperor is buried. We also learned that his body hasn’t yet been uncovered because it is surrounded by traps to protect him in the afterlife.

Olympic Park

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Today we visited the Olympic Park in Beijing. We were able to see the water cube and the birds nest but we were only able to go inside of the birds nest. Most of the signs were still up from the 2008 Olympics. This was interesting to see because I remember watching the Olympics on TV when they were hosted here. It was a cool feeling to sit inside of the birds nest and think about the records that were broke there. It was very impressive to see how everything was laid out even though we were in the middle of Beijing.