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China Blog 2019

Day 1

It’s been a long day but we have arrived safely at Beijing Airport. Leaving all our families this morning was hard and so many came to see us off. Getting through customs was very exciting with a few of us looking suspicious enough to be searched! Lydia even got to experience the full body scanner!

The flight was smooth and speedy and we even managed to cut our expected flight time from 10 hours 10 minutes to just under 9 and a half. We were well looked after on the flight and our tour guide Lili was there waiting for us when we passed through baggage. Her English is fantastic and she has been introducing us to China with a guided tour on the mini bus. We are the first people to use the mini bus and it is so posh that we feel a little like celebrities!

We are on our way now to our first sight seeing adventure: The Great Wall. It’s 7 in the morning here and the sun is up!

Bye for now
Rudheath in China

Day 2

Waking up in Beijing this morning, the sun is already shining. We arrived at our hotel yesterday afternoon after a busy day of sight seeing tired but after a wonderful first day in China. The Great Wall was breath taking and such an honour to be walking on one of the seven wonders of the world…..although Emma practically ran up the hundreds of steps!

After lunch in a local restraunt…they really put on a spread for us….we were off to Tienman street where we experienced various local shops and culture. The air feels very different here: it’s dry and warm and it feels like you’re walking in summer haze. The blossom on the cherry trees is in full bloom and the streets are lined with them: it’s so beautiful.

Back at the hotel we were well fed again with delicious cuisine and everyone is trying new things….although we did take a walk to a local supermarket after tea and stock up on some biscuits!

We’re about to have breakfast and then it’s off for another day of adventures. Can’t wait!

Day 3

What a day! After our breakfast this morning, we were taken to Tiananmen Square where we learnt all about the history and politics of China. We saw where the Emporors have lived and walked around the palace and gardens. It was so big! Everywhere we went people wanted to take our pictures and lots of young Chinese were very excited when they saw us.

We went into the Forbidden City and saw the most beautiful buildings and temple gardens.

We were then extremely fortunate to be taken to a local home where we experienced traditional home cooked food. We were taught how to make dumplings!

After lunch we were taken to Silk Road Markets where we all had to try our hand at haggling! Very different to in England…they expect you to knock the price down and we all got some great bargains!

For dinner it was off for Peking Duck! One thing we have learnt is that they enjoy trying to fill you up! There has been so much food!

Tomorrow we fly to Wenzhou where we will be staying in a hotel near to our sisyer school.
Can’t wait to see a new city!

Day 4

Another very exciting day here in China. We awoke this morning in Beijing but are going to sleep in Wenzhou! We transferred to the airport after breakfast and we couldn’t believe the sheer size of it. After checking in we had to take a train to the gate as it is so large you simply can’t walk from one area to the next. We were treated to pizza chips and nuggets at the airport! A little taste of home.

The flight was a short one, only two hours and the plane much smaller than what we flew in on but it was a good journey.

When we arrived we checked in and went out to dine. We were amazed by the restraunt…each table had it’s own room! The food was absolutely amazing and as usual.. we were very well fed!

Tomorrow we are off sightseeing on a small island famous for its temple. Can’t wait to explore….

Day 5

Wow! What a day. The experience we have had today has been incredible. I’m actually feeling quite emotional.

This morning we were taken to Jiangxin Yu island, a small area of land in the centre of a very famous and extremely large lake in the centre of Wenzhou. We visited holy temples and walked around in beautiful scenery. It was so harmonious.

We are beginning to become accustomed to people wanting to take our picture but as this area does not see many tourists, it was even more prevalent walking in the local parks. Our students had queues of young Chinese lining up to take selfies with them and people were asking us for photographs with their babies and toddlers. This, coupled with having our own private bus mrans we are definitely feeling like celebrities…Mrs Roslan will have to roll out the red carpet for us all on our return! It has been quite a unique experience!

This afternoon we were taken to a local park and then shopping. The street was half a mile long and lined with bargains! Our guide has been exceptional and stops regularly to give us facts and information as well as helping us navigate the very different customs.

We ate lunch and tea in very luxurious establishments. The food has been incredible! Each meal time we have sampled several different dishes and although some have been favoured more than others, everyone is sampling and experimenting with different dishes.

Tomorrow we go to our sister school. We will do a traditional Chinese lesson learning calligraphy and paper cutting and even learn how to use 3D printers. We will also try our hand at Kung fu. Watch out everyone!

Day 6

Today we were welcomed into our sister school and what a fabulous environment it was! Firstly we were shown in a guided tour and two students had been selected to show us round. We were given ear pieces to wear on our tour which made us feel very special. We had an official ceremony with speeches and exchange of gifts, it was a very formal and dignified occasion.

In the morning we were able to try traditional Chinese Caligraphy which and the students were all amazing. We learnt about the art of writing and how to write certain words before practising ourselves. We were then shown how to use the 3d pens which were so stare of the art before making key chains and even playing on apps which had been made by the students!

In the afternoon, we had a kung fu lesson and the students were delighted to take part in Chinese games afterwards.

At the end if what had already been a momentous day, we were taken for a banquet by the school’s principal and deputy. We had never seen so much mouth watering food! Lobster salad, whole crab, king prawn and scallop, beef, duck, chicken and even Peking Duck too! Along with noodles, several vegetable dishes and fruits, it was like nothing experienced before.

Tomorrow we will go to a different campus as the school has a split site. We are making model cars! We are so excited to see what another day will bring.

Day 7

This morning we travelled to a different campus of the school where the students gave us another very warm welcome. We were greeted by welcoming speeches and the students all introduced themselves. They were a little confused by Daniel’s roller derby but I think they understood by the end!

We were taken to a Chinese history lesson about The Silk Road and lots off their students had presentations which they had prepared. Grace and Alex also showed their work back to the class. The students asked some questions but the main one was – how are you so tall? They gasp when Alex stands up!

After this we were buddied up to make model cars, a very popular class here. They were then able to race around special tracks which included speeding over a very tricky ramp! We all managed it quite well…after some practise!

Lunch was incredible! They are the only school in the city to have a Western Chef and he made Spagetti Bolognese, Salad, Soup, Chicken wings and chips especially for us. As if that wasn’t enough, he then brought us all our own steak! It simply melted in the mouth.

After lunch, we took part in traditional silk flower making and all our efforts turned out splendidly. It took some patience but the results were well worth it.

The final lesson today was football! The students who had been selected to play with us were so excited and as well as warm up games, there was a superb game played between our schools.

The weather has been cooler today with a little rain this morning but luckily it dried up in time for the big match.

Finally, we were taken for a banquet…as it until you see the pictures. We were each given our own flaming bowl and served 20 different meats and seafood on ice which we cooked in our own bowls. As we waited, dry ice was poured over the food to create a spectacular show. It really was out of this world!

Tomorrow is our final day in school and tonight we are going to practise for our performances. Can’t wait!

Day 8

We can’t believe today is our final day in the sister school. Tomorrow we leave this beautiful city to travel to Shanghai. It will be difficult to leave after the wonderful and warm welcome we have received.

This morning, we took part in a traditional maths lesson. It was very difficult algebraic fraction equations which they study in primary school! Then we took part in STEAM, (in China, they add Art to STEM). Before lunch the students took part in a cookery class where they made a vegetable curry. They used traditional large woke and a range of fresh ingredients. The smell was enough to make anyone’s tastebuds tingle!

After lunch we made miniature shoe keyrings using traditional leather sewing methods. We also had a very fun music lesson, using rythym to introduce ourselves.

Finally we took part on our farewell ceremony and lots of Chinese students performed for us. They were clapping and singing along to our performances and as there are over 3000 students, too many to fit in one space, they live video streamed the show to all the classrooms!

At the end of the day, we went in small groups to different family homes. We were all given such a welcome and they had clearly done so much to prepare for us. It was very humbling.

Tomorrow we have an early start…it’s off to Shanghai! Everyone is so excited…..three cities in ten days! Can’t wait to see even more of this beautiful country.

Day 9

Today has been our final day in this amazing country. We are on our way to the airport and although we are excited to see our families we are also reminiscing over everything we have acomplised, witnessed and enjoyed. This has been the trip of a life time and none of us are quite ready for it to be over.

This morning we took the fast train to Shanghai. Despite the early start this morning, the scenery was far to impressive to sleep. Shanghai was breath taking. We have never seen such a skyline. We visited The Bund first, a famous viewing platform where the spectacular buildings could be appreciated. After a quick stop it was off to Yu Gardens: a beautiful example of traditional Chinese pegodas in tranquil surroundings.

We were then given some free time to browse the bazaars….several narrow streets packed with a multitude of gifts, food, silk and other small shops. It was wonderfully atmospheric.

We are almost at Shanghai airport for the first leg of our two part journey home. We will have to transfer at Beijing later on tonight without our guide but the students are so organised and helpful, I’m sure we will be arriving home safely very soon.

Can’t wait to see you all with our gifts!