China Interim Trip 2007
Day 15: Last Day
Today was our last full day in China and it was a memorable one. We started out the day in the small town of Zhujiajiao. Zhujiajiao is a typical “water town.” A town that was built along the canal systems used in early China before the proliferation of roads and railways. We spent the morning exploring the town through its different districts. We also walked through the grounds of the Ke Zhi Yuan, the largest private garden in the Shanghai region. The highlight of our visit was a pleasant and relaxing boat ride on the small canals that run through the village. It was nice to be able to take a break from the historic side of the trip and be able to take in the scenery of the local village. This little excursion was short lived because we quickly went back to our scheduled day. Once we got off the boats we took a short walk through a small street market before we came upon the Da Feng Che Restaurant. The Da Feng Che is famous for its shanghai style foods including the wonton soup dumpling and the steamed crab and pork dumpling. After lunch we had a very flexible schedule in which we chose to do a little shopping. WE stayed in the Zhujiajiao market area for a bout 30 minutes before heading back over to the Tao Bao market. From there we headed over to have dinner at the Meilongzhen. A popular local restaurant with a history of over 80 years. after dinner, our group saw a preformance by the Shainghai acrobats. The entire show kept us on the edge of our seats it was so entertaining and exciting. There were many moments when the whole audience would be struck with awe because of unbelievable preformances or because something almost went terribly wrong. Some of the stunts were so extreme that it appeared the acrobats might fall and/or injure themselves severely. For example, there was a spinning wheel suspended above the ground on which the preformers would walk on as it turned. When they attempted to do this blind folded, some lost their balance temporarily and appeared as if they would fall off. Why these men and women would risk their lives just to amuse an audience is beyond comprehension, but they continued over and over again. But the highlight of the show was definitly when they had multiple motorcyclest drive into a large orb and drive around. They started with one person and slowly made their way up to eight. I for one know that every time they added more bikes, the more I became amazed but worried at the same time. It was a wonderful way to end our trip to China and I know I speak for all of us when I say that the trip changed my life.
J.L. and A.S.
On our first full day to Shanghai we woke up and listened to the esteemed Patrick Cranley, an American expert in Shanghai’s history. The morning was spent touring the historic British bund section of the town (bund derives from Indian meaning embankment). Outside the original Shanghai walls, (now torn down) the bund was built by the British to serve as a station for British traders. Soon many other foreign powers took active roles in Chinese government and set up stations in Shanghai. We saw all their historic buildings and how they contrast to the modern day skyscrapers. Seeing the beautiful architecture across from a steel sixty-story building was quite a sight for all of us. After a traditional Shanghai lunch, we were able to travel to the Shanghai museum to see some of China’s finest artwork and bronze. Using an audio tour we were able to type in the number of the piece of artwork and listen to the history of the piece. After the museum, we went to the Tao Bao Market, a three-story market that sold a variety of pirated movies, fake Rolex’s, and other interesting items. For dinner, we were able to actually go to a family’s home. The family that Peter and I visited had a comfortable four-room apartment. We were lucky to have a fourteen-year-old boy that spoke almost perfect English. He played computer games, Chinese chess, and a lot of the things that a normal American boy would do. The food was great and I had a lot of fun. Tomorrow will be our last day in Shanghai, and Peter and I will miss the amazing history and culture China had to offer.
P.S. and C.R.
Today the day began with one of the greatest early morning walks that we have done so far. Even though the walk at 8:30 am was mandatory, we are confident that most of the students would have decided to look around the hotel. As the name suggests, the Hotel of Modern Art was decorated and built by 5 different architects/artists and so many of the rooms and floors are very different from each other. The walk lasted about 45 minutes where many different works of art spread out across the entire hotel were seen. Following the walk we took an art class where we were divided into three teams, given the same tools, and put to work on a project of our own. It was very fun, and through experience we learned small yet useful techniques in art such as those involved in drawing and sculpting. At the end we were disappointed to hear the usual ‘all of the projects were great,’ however that did not stop us from having a great time in the morning. Briefly after, still in the hotel, we had a very unique and well organized lunch. The round tables were so large that it only took two tables to seat us all. We had individual plates, including salad, soup, and a never before seen entry. Right after eating our unique individual plates, we settled any accidental charges made to the hotel. We then took a quick 30-minute bus ride to downtown Guilin. There, we visited the amazing Reed Cave. The detailed picture of the cave still remains in my head with all its unimaginable wonders. Everything on the cave needs to be seen in order to believe it; I couldn’t believe what I saw until I actually did see it. After learning so much about the Reed Cave, we took our last art lesson in Guilin. Classical Chinese painting, taught in the Teachers College, was really fun but hard because it takes so much skill, as our teacher taught us, and practice. The class was great and I left that class knowing extra things like what other colors are used in painting or how a brush is held or how a painting is finished (a painting is finished by writing a short poem relating to the work). This was our last class in Guilin. Guilin has been the most beautiful city we have visited in China. When the class ended, we quickly left the Teachers College in order to get to the airport on time. The ride to the airport was smooth and short; we got to the airport in less than 15 minutes. As we were about to get on our flight towards Shanghai, some people started discussing about if his bag should go as checked luggage or as a carry on so the line stopped and stayed still for like half an hour. Only after the man agreed to check his luggage did security let us pass into the plane. This flight was the best we have had so far - a smooth take off and a calm landing. While on the airport, we voted to eat at the McDonalds right next to the airport. The food was amazing because after not eating American food for a little bit more than a week, we were desperate for familiar food. The food was great. There were no problems on the way to our famous hotel: The Portman Ritz-Carlton. Out of all the hotels we had stayed in, this one definitely has to take the number one spot because of all its luxuries and comfort. The Portman Ritz-Carlton is an amazing hotel unlike any other. With its forty-five floors and great view, it possesses an incredible karma.
F.S. and L.J.
January 15, 2007
This morning, a part of the group took the early morning option of taking a breathtaking tour through the Hotel Of Modern Art’s enormous Yuzi Paradise Sculpture Park, which is literally translated as ‘The Fool’s Paradise.’ We were greeted with seven 2-ton granite blocks, each representing a day of the week. All 100+ sculptures found in the park were made on-site. Each of these sculptures was unique and could be interpreted differently by each person who observed them. Our guide, Wallace, told us that we could climb on the exhibits; the person who seemed to be the most excited to hear this was Mr. Lambert. Giant shoes, granite sofas, and peaceful dinner scenes greeted us as we ran further into the immense park. After our adventure in the park, everyone was excited to explore the paradise further the following day. After a delicious breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we left the hotel and set out for the Li River cruise. We spent the next two hours on the stunning Li River, which is surrounded by the ethereal limestone pinnacles that the city of Guilin is most famous for. We had a traditional Chinese lunch ‘a la boat.’ This meal consisted of fried river-shrimp, soft-shell crab, candied water chestnuts, and traditional tofu noodles. While admiring the beautiful scenery, we were greeted with a familiar ‘HELLO! HELLO’!’ We looked down and saw a vendor on a raft attach himself to our boat and begin to show us a giant fan. After this experience, all the other vendors we had previously encountered didn’t seem so intimidating. Following the cruise we drove back to Yangshuo and selected our bikes for a scenic two-hour bike ride. After navigating through the busy Guilin streets, we reached the open countryside roads, flanked by the familiar limestone pinnacles. Every one of the students went on this picturesque journey. It was nice to have everyone else there to keep us company on this long but beautiful ride. We stopped at a water buffalo farm and four or five of us went into the pen to see them up close. A few miles later, we saw a water buffalo crossing the road and it started walking towards Abbey Hickman, who immediately stopped her bike and let it cross in front of her. Though it was more then twice her size, the buffalo was more scared of Abbey than she was of it. On the bus back from the ride, we were told to bring a writing utensil to dinner, an obvious sign that we would be taking a quiz. Following the quiz, we had a wonderful Chinese-style barbeque.
After the meal, the hotel coordinator, Winnifred, told us to write down a wish on a paper mache balloon. Everyone wrote their wishes on the two balloons and went outside into the park to watch them float away. This is a traditional Chinese ceremony, the releasing of the balloons symbolizing their arrival to heaven. The first balloon was released and we watched as it peacefully floated away. The second balloon was released and suddenly a huge fireworks display started. Mr. Lambert grabbed his wife and yelled, ‘RUN!’ before he realized that they were not in danger. After this 5-minute fireworks display, we went back to the hotel and prepared for our last night in the spectacular Hotel Of Modern Art. You could say we left the beautiful landscape of Guilin ‘with a bang!’
January 13, 2007
This morning we started our day off by visiting the residence of a famous botanist by the name of Joseph Rock. He introduced the world to the Naxi people and their customs through his reports to National Geographic and he is still regarded as an important historical figure in the Lijiang area. On the way to the house, we took a quick pit stop at one of four remaining statues of Mao Zedong in all of China. Soon afterwards, we arrived at the Naxi village of Yuhu. The village was a very typical rural village with many old buildings some dating back over 800 years! Joseph Rock’s house had been nearly completely converted to a museum with many photos and items he had used during his time in China. Afterwards, we headed out to the village of Baisha where we were treated to a very well known Chinese doctor named Dr. Ho. He was a very lively man with a good command of the English language and a superb knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine. He told us a story about a man from Oklahoma who did not receive any chemotherapy and who had his cancer go into remission after taking some of Dr. Ho’s herbs. The most admirable thing was that he did not ask for payment of any kind from him or any other patients. Soon afterwards, we were all eagerly waiting in line for tea and other herbal remedies from Dr. Ho, ranging from cures for cancer to quitting smoking. It was simply amazing how many remedies he had. We took such a long time getting the herbs that we missed lunch and several other things planned on the itinerary. Once we returned to the hotel we were told that we had around three hours to kill before dinnertime - we could spend it in the old town, a UNESCO site. Most of us took a quick stop at the local Kentucky Fried Chicken nearby the hotel for lunch. Everyone was blown away at the quality of the food and especially the spices that were on the chicken. You cannot even compare the food in China to the food in the United States, just unbelievable. Later, some of us took a trip to the DVD store that was just 2 minutes away from our hotel. Let’s just say the owner was a very happy man after we left the store. The highlight of the day was dinner; the woman who owned the restaurant was a celebrity known as Namu. According to Gerald, our tour guide, she is most commonly compared to Cher. Remarkably, she even resembled her looks in some way. Her restaurant was fantastic, the most contemporary restaurant we had been to in China. With stylish Western-looking bars and beautiful Chinese decorations adorning the walls, Namu’s restaurant was a surely a sight to behold. Her story was equally as remarkable. She grew up in Naxi society and ran away from home at the young age of thirteen. It took her seven days to reach Lijiang and at the time she could not speak a word of Mandarin Chinese. She eventually traveled to Shanghai and worked as a singer for some time. Since then, she has written over a dozen successful books and is well known all across China. The food she served was a very traditional western meal of pizza, French fries, and cheesecake. In the middle of the meal, we celebrated the birthday of her niece and were even treated to traditional Tibetan music. Abbey even got up and sang a song in from of the entire group. Needless to say, we were all impressed. Later we returned to our hotel and were briefed on our plans for tomorrow’s great advent
A.H and K.G.
January 12, 2007
Following our early breakfast, the majority of our party took the advantage of a morning walk into the Old Town and up to the Wan Gu Lou Pagoda, a tower which the residents of Old Town consider to be a guardian that wards off disaster. Despite an increase in altitude, the beautiful mountains and villages that served as magnificent photo opportunities made the journey worthwhile. The students who participated in this walk were given the opportunity to perform the Buddhist ritual of burning incense while bowing three times on the floor of the Pagoda.
After returning to the hotel, we departed at 9:15 AM with the Rural School as our first destination. The Rural School has been in operation since 1931 and currently teaches 172 students on the elementary level. Although recently having constructed a new facility using donations, their primary lack of funding was in their athletic department; both their soccer balls and basketballs were worn out. Entering the school, we presented to the principal many shirts and shorts for the children to play their sports in, as well as a new football for the students to enjoy. After a brief demonstration, the children were eagerly running back and forth passing amongst one another. Although mostly boys swarmed the football, other Kinkaid students had brought small trinkets and jewels for the girls to enjoy. It was quite heartbreaking to leave these adorable children behind with what we would consider to be so little; however, we are hoping to touch the hearts of those at Kinkaid in order provide more support and necessities for the children at the Rural School.
From the school, we continued to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, a 28-mile gorge split by the Yangzi River. The gorge receives its name from a local legend that at the narrowest point, a tiger could leap from one bank to the other. Although we did not hike the entire distance of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the surrounding marble cliffs and the clear, pacific waters of the Yangzi River allowed for a magnificent photo-op. Also, unlike Xian, the lack of pollution in the air allowed the sun to shine radiantly, adding to the already breathe-taking landscape.
We then concluded our day with another beautiful photo opportunity: the ‘First Bend’. Besides the fantastic view of the wheat fields and Yangzi River, the Chinese consider this site to be of great importance due to the positioning of the surrounding mountains. Because of their location, the Yangzi is prevented from flowing south into Northern Tibet, keeping the river within Chinese borders. Without a doubt, today was one of the most memorable days of our trip thus far.
A.S. and M.B.
This morning was our last day in Xian. It was particularly smoggy today, so when we landed in Kunming after a two-hour flight, everyone was astounded by how clear and cloudy it was. Though we enjoyed the brief preview of sites and sounds of Kunming, we then took a one-hour plane ride to Lijiang. Lijiang is situated on the northwestern part of the Yunnan juts east of the Yangzi River. Its mountainous and ideal climate makes it a perfect scenic location to visit after Xian.
The day began with a lecture on the Terra-Cotta soldiers presented to the group by professor Wang Xueli. He served as a director of the excavation process for eleven years before he moved on to other projects. He possesses considerable knowledge on the subject, having traveled world wide with a portion of the exhibit and publishing a series of books on the Qin and Han periods of Chinese history. Regardless of the 7: 30 start, the discussion was highly successful, providing knowledge that would be useful throughout the day. As a side note, one should know that throughout the day students dealt with the worst pollution and smog any of them had ever witnessed or heard of in their lives. The smog blotted out the sun so significantly that you could stare right at it without hurting your eyes. In addition, nearby buildings and other objects that would normally be readily visible were shrouded in a thick white haze obscuring vision. The entire city is still powered by coal and as a result the air smells like a campfire along with the other conditions. All of these issues are due to the city’s dependence on coal; however, apparently the government is taking steps to reduce these issues. The ever-present conditions provided a distraction to the days activates, yet not even the foul air could dampen the brilliance of the Terra-Cotta warriors. The Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Excavation is one of the greatest archeological discoveries in the world. The Terra-Cotta Warriors are found in three underground pits. Pit one is the largest pit. It contains the emperor’s army, an entire division of the ancient imperial army represented by Terra-Cotta statues. Pit two is a military camp and training field. Pit number two included the broken pieces of Terra-Cotta warriors, horses, and the remains of ancient chariots. Pit three represents a military headquarters for the emperor. There is a fourth pit, which is empty but believed to represent a battle scene. The Terra-Cotta warriors are made of clay placed into molds and fired in a kiln. They were destroyed during the peasant rebellion when armies broke into the pits and set the structure aflame. The first pit containing the imperial army was found in 1974 by farmers digging a well. The site was searched and excavated revealing broken fragments of The Terra-Cotta. The statues were pieced back together like a puzzle, and now look completely restored. The soldiers are of different ranks and range from charioteers to archers. The purpose of the Terra-Cotta warriors and horses was to help the emperor in the afterlife. Ancient Chinese believed in life after death and for a happy afterlife the emperor needed everything to be successful. Afterwards the group proceeded to a local mosque located in a traditional Arabic portion of the city. We were met by the presiding Imam who acts as the spiritual and leader for the mosque and many of the 60, 000 Muslim’s living in the city. Ma Liangji has been leading the mosque since the days of the Cultural Revolution. He is an affable man who personally reminds me of the Dali Lama from the perspective that he is quick to laugh and he spoke continually of the peace and harmony that could be achieved in our world. He further believes that we students represent the hope of peace for the future. After a brief introduction, he told students a story from the destructive days of the Cultural Revolution. The Red Army was moving about the city destroying all signs of tradition and religion. After being left alone by all his followers, he single-handedly welcomed thousands of soldiers into his mosque before using their curiosity against them along with a clever batch of reverse psychology to protect his mosque in its entirety. A fifteen-course dumpling dinner concluded the day in Xian. Although some were daunted by the variety of ingredients in the dumplings, it was overall a good look at traditional Chinese cuisine.
N.H. and T.B.
Day 6 Nee-hao!
Today we didn’t do much compared to a usual day because half of the day was spent traveling. We went on an unusually fast flight to Xi’an, which happens to be loaded with rich Chinese history. Xi’an was actually the capitol of thirteen Chinese dynasties. We met our new guide and bus driver who are very nice. Although, we will miss our old friends in Beijing, especially our tour guide Sunni! After having lunch at the airport, we toured an archaeological dig from the Han dynasty showing the remains of the outskirts of the emperor’s tombs where his 100,000 treasures and afterlife possessions were stored. These included animal figurines to represent their food, eunuchs, men and women originally with silk outfits, and lots of wine. These possessions included a miniature army each with their own face shape and expressions, which showed that the people from the army were from all over China. This dig helped answer many of our questions about the ancient dynasties.
-- A.H. and A.C.
Day 5: January 8, 2007
After breakfast at the hotel, we departed at 7:45 AM from our hotel in Beijing to the Peking Opera Training School. After a short ride we were there. At first glance, the school does not look very well kept up. The paint on the walls was chipped and most of the equipment was very old. Upon arriving, we were greeted by the ‘headmaster’ of the school. We then were taken to a class of young male children training in acrobatics. They put on a small show for us. It was amazing how much control the younger kids (probably around eight) had over their bodies. We then proceeded to go to dance classes for boys and for girls, which was equally amazing. Then, we went into a room were three young girls sang for us. Having previously seen a Peking Opera performance, these young girls’ voices sounded the same as the adults. The whole experience really gave a sense of how much work it took to become a professional Peking opera performer.
From the Peking opera school, we headed to the Temple of Heaven where the emperor would pray for things such as a good harvest. The area surrounding the Temple of Heaven seemed to be a gathering point for many Chinese (mostly seniors). They were playing cards, physical games, etc. Then, we got to see the temple. The architecture and design of the temple was breathtaking and well thought out.
Then, we went to the Hong Qiao market. The Hong Qiao market sells everything from knock-off items to the finest pearls of Beijing. Buying things in the market gives you the satisfaction of knowing you probably saved at times 300% on an item because of the cost difference between U.S. and Chinese goods.
Following our lunch at a Shanghai-style restaurant where the waiters dressed up like eunuchs and concubines, we went to the Summer Palace, which is the largest example of an Imperial Garden in China. The enormous palace and its land surround the Kunming Lake that is currently frozen. Today truly was fascinating and unforgettable.
J.R., D.B., and W.C.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we convened at 8:30 in the lobby to begin our second day!! After two presentations, Hunter’s (The Great Wall) and Taylor’s (China after Mao) and an hour and a half bus ride, we arrived at The Great Wall of China outside the city of Beijing. Cable car vs. climbing - the 1200 step hike loomed as our first decision for the morning. As we filed down from the bus, numerous venders accosted us, hawking their treasures and attempting to bargain their trinkets, but we just walked by knowing we would have time to purchase later on our way back to the bus.
Twenty-five Kinkaid students, the Lamberts, as well as Gerald, our tour guide, undertook the long strenuous trudge up the great wall while Lauren and Kendall accompanied by Mr. Wey viewed the gorgeous scenery through the cable car. Technically, the cable car passengers were the first to fully appreciate the lofty views, but the rest of us climbers eventually caught up. Panting and sweating on the ascent, we approached the viewing point, thinking every step was worth it. An ineffable view greeted us to speculate upon the enormity of such an architectural feat on such a brilliantly clear blue sky day. Franco and Neil won the race to the zenith, recording a climbing time of 15 minutes. The rest reached the top in a respectable 25 minutes. And we thought we were all in such great shape! Although not considered one of the ancient wonders, it is considered a modern wonder of the world. Exhilaration best describes the collected emotion of the moment. The group even saw some other tourists toasting and drinking champagne to celebrate their climb; we only had water! Because the altitude was high and the air so dry, we sipped to keep us hydrated.
Everyone jumped at the chance to bobsled down the mountain! Donning my long pink down coat, which impeded my downhill speed, I felt like a toddler’s bowling bowl as it dragged along the sides. Thank heavens for modern washing machines, but maybe Mom will appreciate that I brought home some Good Earth from China as a personal souvenir. At the bottom, everyone had the chance to bargain and purchase items from pipes to shirts to artwork to stamps.
Lunch was our next stop. We enjoyed sumptuous chicken, yummy green beans, and they even served hash browns at the end of the meal. One has to be quick with his chopsticks as the lazy Susan spins around the table. After eating and exercising, nature beckons. The bathrooms have definitely been a cultural experience to say to the least. As we left for the bathrooms, us ladies quickly realized that barely any toilet paper was to be found in the sticky and dark bathroom. Yuck. Oops, I had used the last four squares... Thankfully, Mrs. Lambert and Sunny, our Beijing tour guide, came in the nick of time and brought us some Kleenex. We don’t leave our room without it now!
Next, our bus took us past the Ming Tombs. We soon began our kilometer-long trek down the Sacred Way, passing a series of granite statues such as dragons, elephants, and military officials. These figures guarded the passing emperor en route to burial in the surrounding mountains. The entire experience passed rather quickly, reaching the final mausoleum in less than 25 minutes. However, the guys did not hesitate to take advantage of some fallen snow as they initiated a snow fight amongst themselves. Soon after, it was time to load up the bus and head to dinner.
Our dinner at the Qianmen Hotel included some new and intriguing dishes. But unlike our lunch, most of the food remained once it was time for us to leave. Our evening activity, the Peking Opera, was conveniently located in the same hotel as our dinner. The performance of Jing Ju related little to American-style. Shrill voices, elaborate costumes, and captivating acrobatics were all part of the spectacle. As we sat at tables and drank tea, all of the actors preformed while we sat open mouthed through the tumbles and kicking of long sticks back to their colleagues. Absolutely amazing! And we even are offered a chance to see the grueling training tomorrow at the school. Yawning, everyone climbed onto the bus ready for some sleep.
K.S. and L.H.
Day 3- Beijing
Jan. 5, 2007
After we arrived in China, we met our tour guide, Gerald, and our Beijing tour guide, Sunny. We took a long trip to our hotel where we had our first official Chinese meal. The next morning, we had an optional choice to take a Taiji lesson at a local park. Although it was VERY cold, Mr. Guo, the Taiji master, taught us a 24-step routine, which kept us active and warm. Later, we went to the Tiananmen Square where we had a chance to take pictures in front of the south entrance of the Forbidden City and in front of a monument dedicated to their soldiers. There, we had our first chance to bargain with the wandering salespeople, who were very persistent. We then walked in an underground tunnel to get to the entrance of the Forbidden City. We separated into two groups and had a tour of it. It was very beautiful and the buildings were filled with the Chinese lucky colors - red, blue, yellow, green. Afterwards, we ate at a small restaurant that was suggested by all the locals. The food was very different, in a good way. According to the food critics in our group, the rice here is much stickier compared to the rice in America. The vegetables are also cooked to where they still have a nice crisp to them, and aren’t all soft and mushy. We also learned that the sauce-covered meats are a Beijing way to prepare it. After we finished eating lunch, we took Pedi cabs (bicycle carts) to visit a Ching dynasty home, where the owners kindly let us in and answered many of our questions. When she was asked if she’d rather live in her present home or a city home, she answered her present home because the neighborhood she lives in now is very peaceful and there are many convenient locations like the school and stores. It was a very interesting experience to actually meet a Beijinger. After this we, we returned to our hotel to receive a Chinese Calligraphy lesson. Mr. Yang taught us some basic calligraphy strokes. He also taught us that the Chinese words represented pictures in the past. Now they have been refined. We all learned to write China in Chinese. Lauren and Ben wrote the best ‘Chinas’ and won two prizes. Right after this, we went to eat Peking duck at a famous Peking duck restaurant. The restaurant was very grand. We were allowed to see the chefs cook and drain the ducks. Many of us found it very interesting. The Peking duck tasted delicious and we all enjoyed it. Last but not least, we went to the Red Theatre to watch a performance of Shaolin monks. The plot of the play was about a little boy becoming a monk. The performance showed their monks abilities they had learned such as fighting, back flipping, and cart wheeling with their heads. Although a lot of us felt lethargic from jetlag, all the excitement of our activities kept us wide awake.
-- By: S.h.C. and I.W.
Days 1 & 2
The day began very early, around 4:00 for some, as Kinkaid prepared for it’s eighth visit to the People’s Republic of China. A very rainy journey to the airport was the first step for the group of 2007. Everyone made it to the airport by 6:00! What could this possibly mean about the traveling skills of the group.
Departure from IAH was at 7:51. The Friendly skies, as always seems to be the case, didn’t have quite as many workers as needed and everything was very, very slow at check in.
Somewhere between Houston and San Francisco I drifted back to previous trips and those that journeyed with me Moss, Alsup, Peacock, Avery, M. Miller, M. Saltman, S. Saltman, D. North, M. North, Newton, Ellis, Lovett and today S. Lambert and K. Lambert. In all of these trips we have never lost a chaperone. I wonder what this trip will have that will make it as unique in its own way as all of their others. Some thing that will not change is our best friend in China Gerald Hatherly. This will be Gerald’s sixth trip with Kinkaid and frankly I know it would not be the same without him.
Our flight to San Francisco was very uneventful and our trek from domestic flights to international was very efficient. No students or passports were lost in the City by the Bay.
For all of our geography buffs we departed San Francisco 12:15, Houston time flying straight for Anchorage, Alaska. We crossed the International Dateline just south of the Bering Strait and saw land, must be Russia. We turned south flying over Khabarovsk and on to Beijing.
Exciting days and many adventure await the group. Please consult the web page daily for updates.