Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Our day was full of new adventures and experiences. We started with a visit to the Jiaotong University in Beijing. I thought it was fun to be on campus in a foreign county to take in the atmosphere and observe the attending students. As we made our way around we spoke with the students and explored the cultural differences between a university in Chin and USU. A few young ladies were as surprised to find out that it was not uncommon for students in Utah to get married in their early twenties while still attending university as I was to hear that it is almost unheard of for students to get married till after completing their education.
After the visit to the university we made our way through the crazy traffic of the city to Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. It was impressive and daunting to observe the great structures. They were so big that it is hard to imagine the time and all of the work that went into bringing them into being.
Next we went to the Silk Market—a shopping mall of sorts that has anything from luggage to iPods to fine tailored suits. Unfortunately upon entering the parking lot the odds and bad traffic of China caught up with us… A man riding his bike cut in front of our turning bus and was hit. Fortunately he was not severely injured. Next the most interesting thing happened, the bus driver got out and the matter was quickly solved with an exchange of currency instead of insurance information-- all while a police officer stood there looking on.
After such excitement we made our way inside the market. As everyone found something that they wanted we started our own negotiations. I found it extremely fun to play the game and barter with the shop keepers to get the best possible price. It was crazy to see the energy and effort of the shop keepers to get and keep customers as there were other shops offering the same products and services.
I went home exhausted. I think that the bartering experience was my favorite for the day. It was a true representative of economics and how trade only takes place when it is beneficial to both parties involved.