Monday, June 12, 2000
Beijing, Farewell to China
Good evening, everyone! Today was our last full day here in China. This morning a few of us got up early to join a group of Chinese members for daily exercise, which began at 6:00 a.m. It was a real thrill for me to participate in this activity while everyone else was still sleeping.
After breakfast, we started out for the HuTong, which is Chinese traditional housing, of which they had only 4,000 units left in 1980 and can only be found in Beijing. The government is trying to relocate these individuals to apartments so they can restore the buildings to their traditional structure as several have been modified. If you are interested in learning more about these villages, there are apparently a couple of articles that have been written in the last year in the New York Sunday Times (around April) or National Geographics, within the last year. During our tour, we road in three-wheeled bicycle carriages, (I don't know their formal name). This was a lot of fun especially when the drivers tried to compete and race with each other. We all enjoyed ourselves.
Later, we went to Gong Wang Fu, the official residence and garden of Prince Gong, (the Emperor's brother. This property is a scaled-down version of the Summer Palace. It is lovely and very peaceful. Here we enjoyed a tour of the grounds as well as participated in a ritual, traditional tea ceremony. Liu Hui (Cindy), our host, explained the entire ceremonial process to us. It was spectacular. Many of us left with several souvenirs to remind us of this event.
We returned to the hotel for our last meal here. At which we had Rodd's favorite meal, sweet 'n sour chicken. He was so thrilled. He deserved this treat as he and I in the group are the only ones who have attempted to eat every dish served at every meal, which is considered a sign of respect to the Chinese. Because of their generous hospitality, we definitely wanted to show our respect.
After lunch and a rest, we left for the Wenshoulu Junior High School. Wenshoulu means "Long Life Temple." Here we were greeted by principal, Ms. Li, Professor Yang's sister's friend (it is very helpful to have connection within China to do business). We also had an opportunity to talk with several teachers who taught, Chinese, English, computers, geography, history, and Chinese literature. We were able to exchange ideas and gain a perspective about the education process in China versus the U.S. as well as many of the similarities in difficulties in motivating students to learn.
For our final farewell, we had a traditional Emperor's dinner in the Bei Hai Park at the Fangshan restaurant. Here we enjoyed many new delicacies, our last taste of traditional Chinese food in China. We were served 12 different types of appetizers, including cookies, 11 main course meals, which included items that contained camel, shrimp, venison, scallops, and pork. We also enjoyed many favored desserts, a variety of fruits, and melon soup. Dinner was delicious!! It seemed such a fitting end to such a gorgeous day as well as to end of our China exploration adventures.
We would like to thank Bryant College, both Professor Yang's (father and son), Professor Yang's sister, as well as the many generous hosts and their colleagues and peers, for making this opportunity possible for us.
Thank you for joining us on our journey. As this is the end, we will say "Goodbye."
China Explorer's 2000
I would personally like to thank Professor Judy Litoff, Professor Gaytha Langlois, and Ms. Katherine Karlsson, for letting me join them on their early morning adventures here in China. They have so much energy, enthusiasm, and adventurous spirit. I could have learned a lot from them.
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