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September 21, 2017

By Tessa Ratzlaff

By now we are starting to get used to the crazy, sketchy traffic, the lovely squatty potties (definitely missing the Japan toilets), and the terrible Wifi. Today, we got to see some amazing parts of China's history!

To start the day off we headed to Tiananmen Square where we first saw a massive photo of Chairman Mao on the gate. In 1949 he changed the government from a dynasty to a communist country. Then we headed through the Forbidden City, which is more than 800 years old. The only one who lived there would have be the emperor and his family, and they never left! No one was allowed to enter in, accept servants. The palaces and buildings we got to see were so detailed. We also walked through the Imperial Garden, where we saw trees that were also more than 800 years old.

It was really neat to see all the history that came from these places, and how they influenced the country of China. We got a ton of amazing photos of everyone, and some great team pictures. Since we were a large group of Canadians, people loved to look at us and take videos or photos of us. Some of the ladies loved Teanna and Katia's hair, so they would go up to them and touch it! Kayla and Tessa were blonde and tall so there were a few people who asked for selfies and videos with them as well! Most of the time they would just come straight up to all of us and start filming us. We really started to feel like celebrities by the end!

We then headed to the Beijing Tower Tea House! In the tea house we all sat down at long tables, and two of the ladies made tea right in front of us for us to taste! We tasted a GinsengOlong Tea, Jasming Tea, Pu,Er Tea, Lychee Black Tea, and an iced Fruit Tea! They all tasted amazing, and it was really cool to hear about each tea individually. Most of us bought some tea and tea mugs to bring back home because we enjoyed them so much. Afterwards, we climbed a huge flight of stairs to the top of the Beijing Tower Tea House, and saw a stunning view of the city. It was interesting to see and hear how significant Tea is to China both historically and culturally.

We then drove straight to a gym, where we played a Chinese junior pro team. They were aged 17-19 years old and their best player is on the junior national team! For the girls on the team, their goal is to eventually be on the senior pro team! We ended up losing the game 66-61, so it was a competitive match for sure! The Chinese team definitely had the size advantage this time, and they were able to move the ball extremely well! We learned a lot playing against this team, and will hopefully bring what we learned into our future games.

We headed back in our bus to the hotel, and since the traffic is so bad, we had to of course have another intense game of mafia to keep us occupied. Tonight was our last night to go to the Silk Market, so the whole team did the last of their shopping. Some of us had to return some items that didn't work, and some of us wanted to try and snag a few more deals. Most of us had a good time bartering with the sales people, but by the end the sales people were probably happy it was our last night there so they didn't have to deal with our "craziness" anymore! we are excited to head to Tianjin tomorrow, and experience the last few days of our trip!