China Research

A Boring Week Leads to a Magical Weekend!!!

Well where should i begin, with the mundane week or the magical weekend… I think i will make you suffer first!! haha. Well the second week in lab sure was a bore, my project all but derailed within the first few minutes Monday morning. My Professor arrived back from Hong Kong and informed me that my project was being put on hold for up to two weeks!!!!!!!!!! There were two reasons he gave for this, first one of our lab mates was giving his masters thesis defense on Tuesday morning, and second two of my other lab mates are leaving for a three month Arctic research cruise on June 18th. Thus all lab equipment must be devoted to helping those going on the cruise prepare. So in effect i gather that i will not be starting my research in earnest until the week of June 21. This will leave me under three weeks to complete my project which is quite a tight schedule. Other then that the lab has been fun, my lab mates are great and im sad to see two of them leave in just under a week (who am i going to play Badminton with now haha).

Well lets move on to the good stuff!! On this past Saturday all the Eckerd students and Professor Duncan went to go see a tǔlóu or 土樓 in simplified Chinese characters. The translation from Chinese is earthen building. They are extraordinary structures constructed from the 15th century up until the 1950’s by the Hakka people of Fujian Province. On July 7, 2008 UNESCO added the Tulou’s of Fujian Province to the World Heritage List under the moniker Hakka Houses. These structures are breathtaking they are basically an entire village enclosed into an area smaller then a football pitch. Some of the larger tulou’s contained 800 or more people at some point during there existence.

We had an amazing tour guide her name was Miss Zhang she took us to many different sites and even took us to her home town, which was a little town which did not pander to tourists like some of the other villages. Her town used the tourism dollars it earned to enhance the experience not hinder it like some of the other Hakka villages. We all sat in her mothers little tea shop drank tea, and talked for about it an hour it was truly a wonderful experience. She was also a wonderful tour guide as she took us to four different Tulou sites and gave us great insight at each location.

The tulou’s were an interesting mix of old and new. We went to one in which no commercialization had occurred and we went to others that were basically tourist traps in old buildings. It definitely shows how China’s rush to modernize has been both good an bad. I hope these communities are able to survive as more then tourist destinations. The Hakka People have a wonderful and unique culture and they should preserve as much of it as they can!!!!!!!

Now the final touch to an amazing weekend occured sunday morning around 4 A.M. Beijing time. THE UNITED STATES TIED ENGLAND IN THEIR FIRST GROUP STAGE MATCH. I stayed up to watch the game and was elated by the result. England has arguable the best team in the world cup, and the US a team full of no names tied them. I bet most Americans can name three players at best (Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, and Landon Donnovan). Well as a huge football fan (yes football not soccer) i could not be happier i wish the US team my best and hope they can advance far beyond the Group Stages. Well that’s it for this week  keep tuning in for more up dates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!