Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

With Glorious Respect and Social Morality from Beijing!

Hello all!

  We have arrived safely in Beijing, China. There was a bit of confusion with the flights, thanks to United Airlines' innovative and consumer-friendly policy of 1)cancelling flights at 5:30 in the morning, 2)failing to notify the passengers that the flight was cancelled, and 3) putting said passengers on an earlier flight without their knowledge. Not to worry, the situation was resolved and we had a joyous, tearful reunion in the Beijing Airport. Mike did the lion's share of the crying, as usual.

  First impressions: driving into the city, it could have been anywhere in America. Granted, anywhere in America with signs written exclusively in Chinese. Though I imagined columns of green-clad troops stomping up and down the hallway outside of my hotel room door, the people we have met have been on the whole, very polite and mostly unarmed. The mountains that cradle the city have been, as expected, very polite and fairly tall. Beijing is a city pregnant with expectation: one is left with the impression that at any moment, someone will fire the starting gun and everyone will sprint to their designated place in the great game of globalization. Incidentally, our lack of familiarity with the tonal nature of the Chinese language provokes varying responses to our attempts to say "Shi-she," or what we believe to be "Thank you." Based upon some of the looks we've gotten, it seems entirely possible that "Hello, I'm pregnant with expectation!" could be what we are saying.

  Team GQKMSC is currently in an internet cafe, busily typing away and attempting to stay in contact with the outside world. Worn out from an exhausting day, which included both a trek up to the highest point of the Great Wall of China and a dinner meeting with a former Chinese diplomat, we are attempting to fire off a few e-mails to loved ones and catch up on some news before our time expires. With one day done, the team is optimistic, inhumanly strong, and gloriously prepared for the glorious challenges waiting for us in the glorious parts of the PRC we have yet to gloriously visit.

  Friends and family: e-mail us, ask us questions, send us lavish gifts and operas composed in our honor! Take care, and keep reading.

  As they say in Beijing, "I am pregnant with expectation!"