Aug. 30, 2012
Junior outside hitter Carly Edwards is back with her fifth blog entry from her trip to China this summer to play for Team USA in a pair of tournaments. In this entry Edwards tells about being in the city of Beijing and about her team's visit to the Great Wall of China.
Our adventures continued as we left Tianjin and traveled to Beijing where our second tournament was held. Having a chance to get a feel for the Chinese and their pace of play left us feeling confident as we moved into a fresh start competing against new Chinese professional teams.
The very first day our group traveled to the Great Wall of China, which definitely remains a highlight of the trip for many of us. Our tour guide filled us in on a lot of information regarding the history of the city and the fact that Beijing itself means north capital and 22 million people live within the city limits. Due to the number of licensed drivers in Beijing, certain license plate numbers are restricted from use on any given day in an attempt to cut down on the pollution and congestion found among the city's six highway circles.
Upon arriving at the Great Wall we walked half of the way up and took a gondola the rest of the way. Being able to stand on the Great Wall was unreal and we had a blast taking pictures on it and walking a few miles of the Wall. Up on the wall we experienced the cleanest air we have had all trip. The air in China is very dense and thick with humidity and by the time we reached the top our shirts were soaked through with sweat.
Leaving the wall we returned to the hotel where we showered and changed for our next banquet, which was held at another hotel close to our own. The city of Beijing is known for its roast duck and we were served a traditional dinner that served many dishes containing parts of the duck. After the dinner we returned to the hotel and crashed from the day of activities.
The next morning we were able to practice as well as do some sightseeing in the area. The Forbidden City is home to the largest imperial palace in the world and was built in 1420! There are 9,999 rooms found within the palace. We were able to walk through the entire city and noted the similar architecture and open aired design. Due to the crowds our tour guide told us we needed to stay together like sticky rice. We all laughed but once in the city realized it was true because of the masses of people fighting to see the emperor's rooms built in the Forbidden City.
Following our trip to the Forbidden City our group headed back to the hotel for lunch prior to heading over to the new gym for serve and pass followed by our match verses Tianjin. The match went much better than any other one we have played because we had a better idea of who we were up against and the scouting report did a nice job of illustrating areas of weakness in their defense and how we can score. We ended up losing the match 20-25,22-25,22-25. We were so close but when it mattered we made more mistakes than the Chinese and it cost us the match.
Stay tuned for my last blog that wraps up our trip and experience playing abroad in China!
Thanks for reading,