Tuesday, April 12, 2005

From my hotel window, I saw the sun rise thru the veil like Beijing haze one more once... it was magic.
Zia Jian and Xie Xie, Beijing. Min tian jian. Wa hwe la la in Mei Guo and I hope wa hwe la la to Zhong Guo (translation: good bye and thank you, Beijing. I will see you. I am back in America and I will be back to China...or I think that's what I am saying!!)Posted by Hello

Our last group shot on the morning of departure. Everyone had mixed feelings, we wanted to stay and see more but we were also a bit homesick.  Posted by Hello

On our very last (whole) day in Beijing, we visited a silk factory. Here is the group learning the difference between a good quality silk worm cocoon and an ok quality silk cocoon. Posted by Hello

This machine threads and spools the silk from the cocoons. Cool, huh? Posted by Hello

Sara and Allison making the silk cocoons into soft thin sheets. With 150 of these ethereal silk spider web sheets, they make the most amazing bed spreads. Posted by Hello

This is the finished product. The softest and most dangerous bed covers in the world...I would never get up to get to work if my sheets were this soft. Posted by Hello

On our last lunch together, (Day 7..I think) we ate Pekin Duck. According to our tour guide David, there are 3 things one must accomplish when traveling to Beijing: Climb the wall (check), see the Peking Opera (check) and eat Pekin duck (hat trick!!).  Posted by Hello

Here is what our Pekin Duck dinner looked like. They served the sliced duck in the cute little duck shaped platters (see picture). They served the head as well which made our two vegetarian travelers turn all sorts of colors. In this picture, Brad and Ben are trying to cope with this feast. No matter how much we ate, we never seemed to make a dent on the food. See for yourself (from the bottom and clockwise: Pekin duck, deep fried chicken with lemon sauce, brocoli and pinenuts, I think some sort of pork dish, in the middle you see sliced beef, bean paste sauce, pink lotus root with shallots I think, steamed bokchoy, fish with Chinese cabbage, green beans, next to the Pekin duck deep fried shrimp...and that's just the food on this side of the table) Posted by Hello

I had a chance to stroll through Beijing's antique market on our last day. The kids all rolled their eyes when I asked if they wanted to come with me! So they all returned to the hotel and I got to hang out on my own for a bit. It turned out to be one of my favorite outings cause of all the old fashion tea shops and tiny little traditional Chinese medicine apothecaries. I saw beautifully carved antique furniture and all sort of odds and ends that came from old Buddhist temples. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Today we visited an award winning master painter. He told us about life in the Hutongs. His favorite paint subject is the Lotus blossom.  Posted by Hello

We got to tour the artist's house. Here is Zach standing in the kitchen. To Zach's left is the stove, to his right, the sink and behind him all the counter space in this kitchen! Posted by Hello

Patrick was fortunate enough to purchase this painting called "Cranes in the Fall" from one of the Hutong District Hidden Dragons (humble and harmless on the outside an very powerful and moving on the inside) Posted by Hello

We were privilege eat lunch at the home of a Chinese family. The hosts taught us how to make dumplings and we were each able to make and eat our own. In this picture, you can get an idea of how fast she could roll those dough balls into beautifully thin and perfectly round dumpling wrappers. Traditionally, in China, dumplings were eaten when there was a successfull harvest season because farmers could afford the ingredients (flour, eggs, very little pork, green onions or scallions). They are eaten especially during the Chinese New Year to signify wealth. Posted by Hello

If I had my way, I would travel the world visiting the smallest and most remote kitchens and learning all their culinary secrets. Learning to make Chinese dumplings in a real Chinese home, from a real dumplin' pro was the closest I have come to realizing that dream!! Posted by Hello

In this picture you can sort of see our finished dumplings. Patrick's dumpling was so ugly and so very bad that the host said she couldn't possibly put it in the boiling pot!! (she was kidding) But Patrick, that was one sad lookin' dumpling. Posted by Hello

Her name is Willow and she told me (thru an interpreter) what it was like to go thru Mao's Cultural Revolution. I was incredibly touched by her testimony and it shamed me to realized that my generation has it so very nice despite all our whinning!
To any World Study student reading this entry: You can earn extra credit by researching the Chinese Cultural revolution and presenting your findings to your class. It is a fascinating period in history.Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

In China, all school kids "drive" their bikes to school. Some of our epals ride for an hour to go to school everyday!!! Posted by Hello

These are our epals from Beijing No. 5 High School. This high school is a model school and sponsored heavily by the government. The students are scouted from all over Beijing for their academic prowess. 100% of these students will pass the very rigurous college entrance exams. 100% of the students will be accepted into college and complete degrees in China's most prestigious universities. 70% of the students will choose science degrees!! The school has its own science observatory and very high tech physics and chemistry research centers. If you want to see more pictures of this very cool school click on their website http://www.bjno5.cn  Posted by Hello

Zach and Patrick showed off their skills to their epals on the basketball court. Posted by Hello

Allison was impressed by how friendly her epals were. Posted by Hello

Ben is partial to Asian women. Meeting his epal was an awesome experience. Posted by Hello

Christy's epals thought it was awesome that she looks like Avril Lavigne. They loved her dyed hair tips because they are not allowed to dye their hair or wear jewelry to school. Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 09, 2005