In order to complete the program, we had to do a presentation about a company who has not entered China and what barriers they might face. All the presentations albeit, last minute-prepared, were top-notch. After our presentation, we received our certificates of completion.
We had some tours planned for the rest of the afternoon. First, we hit up the Lama Temple which had an incredibly giant statue of Buddha carved out of one single sandalwood tree. They had to build the temple around it after it was carved because of its massiveness.
From the Lama Temple, we all took rickshaw tours around the hutongs surrounding the Bell Tower near Houhai. I’m really glad that it was arranged for us because I don’t think I would have hired one myself. It was so fun being cycled around narrow alleyways that still look the same as they did 50 years ago. We were fortunate enough to even visit a family that lived in one of the small courtyards of these alleyways and this family has owned that property for 3 generations.
After the hutong tour, we had a farewell dinner with some more Peking duck, and after dinner, we got dropped back off at Houhai to get some drinks at No Name Bar – a very bohemian bar/restaurant that would be very difficult to find if you didn’t know how to navigate through the winding alleyways. After we drank No Name Bar dry of Tsing Tao, we migrated to another bar off of the lake and made the most of the remaining few hours we had with each other. Barret rented a three-seat tandem bicycle and I foolishly got on it with him and Ryan. Barret, although pretty incapacitated, did a pretty good job of steering us through the throngs of people (and oncoming traffic), taking us all the way around the lake, and safely back to our group. I screamed the whole way (with a lot of laughing) and don’t regret putting my life in danger because I will never have such a terrifyingly unique experience like that for a while.
Goodbyes were bittersweet with lots of hugging and plans to add each other on Facebook or visit each others cities. Even though we were only in Beijing for 2 weeks, it feels like we’ve all known each other for a lot longer and I would definitely like to remain friends with this fantastic group of people.
Thanks Beijing, it has been swell!