Day 5

We woke up in time for breakfast, a great feat for mankind and a giant leap for the volunteers. Breakfast was scrumptious as usual, but with a side dressing of Kael who refused to sit with us and eat, and instead settled for watching us and walking around. Nancy said her goodbyes in the hope that she would get better sooner. We then proceeded to wait for the bus. When we hopped onto the bus for just one yuan, we had to squeeze ourselves among the other travelers. There was barely enough space to wiggle about and yet the bus kept accepting more travelers. How we all managed to fit I do not know, but I am sure that the bus was sizzling hot with so many crammed human bodies. After 15 stops, we met up with the school’s art professor, the dance teacher and her son. We paid for the admission ticket and stepped into the world of old China. It had been the summer home of Kangxi Emperor. The park seemed endless, complete with hundreds of elegant buildings and a river. I will not try to describe how beautiful the park was because I would never be able to but just be sure that it was most definitely worth the 28 hours that it takes to travel to and from China from Newark. What was definitely a treat was getting to watch Indira and Mr. Lamont trying to get a flash mob going with the new Mongolian dance that we had recently been taught. Alas, my poor dancing skills and my shyness handicapped me from actually joining them, every one else took pictures and laughed. We ended the tour of the park with lunch calling to us. I had dumplings for the first time in my life. It was dumpling heaven Vicky ordered more than six different dumpling plates. The KFC about 50 yards away no longer tempted us. We said goodbye to the teachers and took the bus back with Kael. We packed up for the weekend and played BS with Mr. Lamont while waiting for our host family children to finish school. Indira, Vicky, Grace, and I took a 30 minute taxi ride to her home out in the outskirts of the mountains. (Grace is the English name we gave to our host) We met two of her grandparents, her dad and her little brother. Her mom works in the city and comes home twice every month. We were given a room with an enormous bed which Grace, Indira, Vicky, and I were supposed to sleep in. It was ROCK hard, so were the pillows, which seem to be filled with sand. Shortly afterwards we had dinner. To our surprise the food was just as good as the food we received in the #3 school, they even made some of the same dishes. Later we found out that all the vegetables were home grown. After dinner, we were introduced to the bathroom which was nothing more than a stall outside the house with a hole in the ground and a tube leading out of it. Night fell and we walked down to the town square in which the older women gather around and dance. We received many stares as we were the first foreigners to have come in a long time. We were told by Grace’s grandfather that the last foreigners to come were Japanese. We left the square before the third dance started, but not before we were approached by a mob of people commenting on how big our eyes were. What was the funniest thing of all was how everybody thought Vicky was American and they let her know that her Chinese is not too bad.’ We went back home and got ready for bed.






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