Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Class of 1958

Our program in paper engineering has been in existence since 1920, making it the longest-running paper engineering program in the United States.   It was our recent pleasure to welcome back the Paper Science and Engineering Class of 1958 as they returned to SUNY ESF to celebrate their 50th Reunion. Many activities were available for their participation and we are grateful they were able to tour Walter’s Hall with many sharing their remembrances of their student days. Mr. George Treier mentioned recalling when his company (Xerox) donated the small paper machine.  Thank you to Xerox for their gift to Walter’s Hall and to the students who have benefit ed from their generosity.


R to L: G. Hunt, C. Hunt, R. Dykes, G. Treier, H. Parker, H. Gore

Friday, June 6, 2008

Returned to Syracuse

After 24 hours of traveling and three plane flights, we have returned to Syracuse and home.  Timothy is staying a bit longer to visit Hong Kong and Alan flew directly home to Boston.  The only remaining task is to readjust for the time difference, since China is exactly 12 hours ahead of the Eastern United States.  As I am typing this on Friday morning, my body is telling me that it is late evening and time for bed. 

With our return, the story of our international experience to China for the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering comes to a close.  However, the blog will continue with other news and events in the department.  Please stop by occasionally to see what is happening in the department.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Our Final Day in Beijing (and China)

Our trip is nearly coming to an end; early tomorrow morning we head to the Beijing Airport for our flights back to the United States (except for Timothy, who is going on to Hong Kong for a few days).  While Dr. Liu and I visited the Beijing University of Forestry, the students had a free day which they spent exploring on their own and doing some last minute shopping. 


The final challenge of the trip will be to repack the bags with all the souvenirs and gifts that have been purchased.  It has been an incredible trip for the students and the faculty advisors alike.  We wish to thank all the people that helped us along the way to make this trip possible and unforgettable.

This final set of pictures are from the streets of Beijing.  It is  quite amazing what can be transported on a bicycle other than just people (and sometimes it is just people).

 CSC_0277 (A cartload of stuff)

CSC_0278 (A baby on the back)

CSC_0279 (A boy in a car seat)

CSC_0280 (A large sign???)

CSC_0281 (A girlfriend and shopping bags)


The parks are often gathering places for the young and the old alike.  This gentleman is flying a kite on a 50 ft wide boulevard between two busy streets. 


Chinese chess is another popular game in the parks along with simply going for a walk.


For our final dinner, we gathered at a restaurant for a dinner of Beijing Duck, and of course several other dishes.  Here we are for our final China picture in front of the restaurant.


Most of us will be arriving in Syracuse on Thursday evening at 8:23 pm, flying our of Beijing and through Tokyo and Detroit.  Alan is flying directly to Boston while Timothy is going to Hong Kong for a few days before returning to the United States.  While we enjoyed our time in China, many of us are looking forward to our return. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Great Wall

The second destination today was the Great Wall of China.  At one time, the Great Wall stretch for over 10,000 km and was built to prevent invasion from the north by the Mongols.  Although it was a rainly and foggy morning, we braved the wall to make our ascent to the highest watch tower.


This portion of the wall is called the Juyongguan Pass and is near Badaling, the most popular destination for visitors to the great wall.  The wall climbs over a 1100 feet in elevation at this point in just over one-half mile.  This represents an average grade of over 40%.  The ascent consisted of steps, inclines and periodic watch towers.


Looking back from the second watch tower, you can get an idea of just how steeping the wall rises at this point from the river valley below.


The highest watch tower on this point on the wall is being defending by Dennis, Steven, and Timothy.


The views from the top were simply incredible; we could only wish that the weather had been a bit clearer.


Two hours was not enough time to explore a great deal of the wall.  If you come, you should plan on spending at least a day here exploring different aspects of the wall.

Ming Tombs

The third and final day of our excursions in Beijing took us to the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall of China.  The tombs are a large complex of many tombs in one area.  The main tomb is Emperor Yongle's Tomb located centrally in the complex.  He was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty in the early 1400's.DSC_0015

Inside the main structure was a museum that contained replicas of many of the items found in the tomb.  The centerpiece of the museum was a large statue of the emperor sitting on his throne.  


The back of the statue had the dragon, which represents the emperor.


On the centerline from the gate to the tombs and mausoleum is the Gate on the Threshold of Stars.  Only the emperor could pass through this gate towards the mausoleum, and then only after he has died.  It is considered the threshold from one realm (the world) to another (heaven).  However, passing through it on the way back (by the living) is considered to bring good luck.


Many of the trees at the tombs are over 300 years old.  This tree is the oldest tree on the site, and now needs to be supported to keep it up.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Beijing Chaonyang Theater

By Jill Reinhard

On Monday night, we went to the Beijing Chaonyang Theater to watch the Flying Acrobatics Show.  The feats perfomed were amazing!  I've never seen anything like that in my life.  The colors, the costumes, the laser, the live birds took the p erformance to a new unexpected level.  I loved the show so much, I bought a DVD.  If you haven't already seen a spectacle like this, it's a must see act at least once once in a lifetime.


Hutong Tour

The final stop on today's adventure was a tour of a Hutong.  The word Hutong comes from Mongolian which means "well" for water.  Now, the word is used to identify the traditional neighborhoods of the Chinese cities. 

In Beijing, many of these neighborhoods have been replaced by modern high-rise buildings.  However, the Chinese government is now making an effort to preserve a number of these neighborhoods.  Today we got to tour the one that surrounds the Beijing Bell Tower.  This is a high desirable neighbors due to its location near this tower.


Our tour started with a lunch in a typical Hutong home.  Our host, Mrs. Chen, made a wonderful meal that included dumplings, rice, garlic stalks with egg, chicken wings, fried noodles, pork, and a number of other dishes.  The other two men were our guides for this trip, Robin and Andy.


After lunch, we toured the Hutong by pedal rickshaw.  DSC_0383


At one point in the trip, I switched places with the driver and had my turn at pedaling the rickshaw.



Halfway through the trip we stopped to visit a factory that made fine porcelain and pottery.  This is the master potter creating a vase.


Everyone had a very enjoyable time visiting the Hutong.

Panda Bears at the Beijing Zoo

Our second stop for the day was the Beijing Zoo to see the Panda Bears.  Panda bears are primarily from the Sichuan province where the earthquake occurred three weeks ago.  While the panda bears at the breeding center near the epicenter all survived  the quake, their habitat and house suffered some damage.  A few of the pandas were transferred to the Beijing Zoo to join those pandas that were already here. 





Of course, any zoo would not be complete without the safety and warning signs.  Here are the ones that were posted around the panda bears.



Yonghe Lama Temple

Monday brought us our second day of sightseeing in Beijing.  We are getting the whirlwind tour of many places in Beijing; many of these places could be a whole day in themselves to explore.  What this will let us know is what to spend more time on during the next trip to China.



Our first stop this morning was the Yonghe Lama Temple.  This is the largest temple in Beijing and was built in 1694.  The temple is noted for being the residence of Yongzheng, who was the third emperor of the Qing Dynasty.  It also contains the largest wooden Buddha in the world that is carved our of a single piece of wood.  The sandlewood Buddha is over 16m tall and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.  As photographs could not be taken inside the buildings, I cannot show you a picture of the Buddha.

This fountain represents the seven levels of hell on the bottom just above the water.  Above that is the earth, the constellations, and on the top the house of heaven. 


The temple is currently under renovation, as the rest of China also seems to be.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tiannamen Square

After getting back to the hotel, we decided to take a walk over to Tiannamen Square, which is located by the front gate to the Forbidden City.  About a 20 minute walk through some streets in China brought us to the square along with a large number of  other people.  It was a very popular day throughout all the places that we visited:  Nice weather on a Sunday seems to bring the people out.



Summer Palace

The third and final stop on our organized tour today was the Summer Palace.  The Summer Palace was built by the Empress Dowager, the only female ruler in China Dynasty history.  Again, the dragon and phoenix motif was used throughout the grounds, which included a man-made lake, a man-make mountain, and a long covered pavilion around part of the lake so that the empress could walk along the lake without having to worry about the rain. 



She also wanted a boat that could not be tipped over by the waves (the boat was thought to represent the kingdom), so she had one built on her lake our of marble. 


The building on the edge of the lake rising up the hill was the temple where only she could worship.  It is amazing the amount of work and resources had to go into the building of this and the other buildings that we saw today.


Temple of Heaven

The second stop on our itinerary today was the Temple of Heaven.  This was where the emperor went to worship to heaven three times a year.  The first time was in the spring to pray for rain.  The second was in the fall to pray for a good harvest.  The last time was on the winter solstice to pray for the end of winter. 



It is again a very impressive and beautiful building surrounded by a large garden.  Many people come to socialize, play, and just admire the beauty.  While walking in the gardens, we saw people doing Taiji, ballroom dancing, and kite flying.  There was even a group of retired people that frequently meet to sing.  The picture below shows a man playing a traditional Chinese musical instrument, the Erhu.


Forbidden City

Today was our first day of sightseeing in Beijing.  We were met by our tour guide, Lilly, in the morning and she took us to the sights for today.  Our first stop was the Forbidden City, which is only about two blocks from our hotel.  It is called the Forbidden City because the emperor's family (especially his wives and concubines) were not allowed to leave the walled city.  Likewise, people on the insides were not allowed to enter.  We entered through the back gate of the Forbidden City, which is over a mile long.


The first part of the City (starting from the back gate) was the gardens.  These were built for the royal family to have a place to enjoy while on the grounds.  The trees in this photo represent the joining of a man and women in marriage; it is a very popular site for wedding photos.


The emperor held court in one of the office buildings on the grounds.  Those of a high enough rank were able to enter the building to speak with the emperor; lower ranked officials had to remain outside.  This picture shows the throne on which the emperor sat to hold court.


The architecture around the grounds is simply amazing.  Much of the buildings and walkways are decorated with the dragon (the symbol of the emperor) and the phoenix (the symbol of his wife), with the dragon always being in the most prominent position.  Running down the center walkway of the Forbidden City is the emperors path on which only he could walk.  Everyone else had to walk to side.  The empress, on her wedding day, could also walk on this path, but only that once.   The grounds are also paved with 18 layers of bricks to prevent anyone from tunneling under the grounds to gain entry.