Stories from the Field
Our Adventure Begins in Shanghai
June 28, 2016
Welcome to the most populous city in the world! For the next couple of days we’ll be exploring all Shanghai has to offer: golden Buddhist temples, several of the world’s tallest buildings, tree-lined alleyways of the French Concession, and the wonderful cuisine of Shanghai, including soup dumplings!
This was our first day in the city, and we’ve done an incredible amount of walking. From the popular Nanjing East Road, we headed to the Urban Planning Museum, where we saw a scale model of the entire city.
It’s monsoon season so we got a little wet, but our spirits were high as we walked to Huaihai Road, Shanghai’s Broadway Boulevard, and enjoyed all sorts of different foods, from a Hong Kong-style lunch to the unique and spicy specialties served in Yunnan province at Lost Heaven on the Bund. We’re literally soaking up the best the city has to offer 😀
Enjoy the pictures — you’ll be hearing more from us soon!
The Edge of the Gobi
July 11, 2016
We’ve arrived in Dunhuang, the gateway to the Gobi Desert, and it feels like a fusion of America’s Wild West and China put together. Two thousand years ago Dunhuang was the border town between nomadic tribes and a recently unified China. Now it is a small, yet bustling town with history and night markets.
We explored one of the must-see historical sites today, the Mogao Grottoes! A testament to the artistic ingenuity of mankind, Mogao exhibits over 1,000 caves, small and large, with well preserved Buddhist frescoes. The students’ favorite part was seeing the six-story tall sitting Buddha and the lying Buddha with his surrounding disciples.
Then, we spent a day riding camels through the megadunes just outside the city. Dunhuang is undergoing desertification, and the sand dunes of Dunhuang, dubbed the Mingsha (Singing Sand) Mountain — named for the sound of wind as it blows over the dunes — are slowly encroaching on the city.
We spent the next evening hiking out to a remote area of the dunes and setting up camp. Despite a sandstorm the previous day and rain in the morning, we pushed on and experienced wonderful weather as we camped in the eerie silence of the dunes, under a vast swath of stars.
The next day as we got off the plane in Beijing, we headed to Great Leap, an American food establishment and ruminated over our burgers the strange and surreal reality that twelve hours earlier we were at the edge of the Gobi watching the sun come up over the dunes…
July 1, 2016
We’ve arrived in Sichuan Province! The views are gorgeous in Wolong, the location of the giant panda reserve.
China: From The Great Wall to Pandas
July 10, 2014
Students on our China expedition have been busy- traveling from Beijing, to the Great Wall, to the Wolong Panda Reserve. Below are some highlights, in the students words: