One afternoon we were split into groups and dropped off at a subway station with some money, a list of things to find, and a deadline of making it to the English Corner at the People’s University by 7pm. Each group also had a special mission to complete. Ours was supposed to be learning Tai Chi at the Temple of Heaven, but we were told that it was very unlikely anyone was doing Tai Chi there in the afternoon, so we just focused on the list.
We started our adventure by taking the subway on our way to finding Snack Street. We got off at the right station, but ended up walking away from snack street. We did find a Wal-Mart like store. There we found the most important item on our list, luggage locks, which we needed for locking our checked bags for our many flights in China on the Chinese airlines.
After the store we found someone who spoke English and helped us get on the right bus towards snack street. On the bus we found a Chinese student that had studied in America who helped us get off at the right stop. Once off the bus we easily found snack street. There we completed our task of taking three pictures of things we thought were strange. Not much was unique. In the middle of the street was a modern movie theater with several posters for the recent release of Da Vinci Code. Many of the shops carried clothing similar to what you would see in the States. What we found unique was the scorpions and other barbecued bugs on a stick. Before beginning our journey to find funeral money we stopped at the post office and bought stamps to check another thing off our list.
In our attempt to locate funeral money we asked several Chinese. They all seemed to be offended that we were asking. It seems to be a taboo subject, especially for foreigners to speak of. I cannot believe our Chinese guides misinformed us and sent us out on a mission that caused us to insult several people. We quickly gave up on this part of the list.
Due to time limits we ended up having to substitute plastic magnetic health balls for metal health balls. We had to entirely give up on finding paper cuts and a kite, but we easily found an item with Chairman Mao on it (a watch that soon stopped working).
Our last task was to find our way to People’s University. After almost an hour trying to get a taxi we had to call our local guide for help. We were unable to properly pronounce the street we were on, so we had to get a Chinese to tell our guide. Our guide then had the guy get us a taxi. We eventually made it to the English Corner half an hour late, but we got screwed on having dinner.