Celebrities and monkeys...
Trip Start Apr 06, 2012
19Trip End Apr 25, 2012
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Today started at 7am. We all met at the school to board a bus in order to visit another school in a nearby area. The school, Huajie Bilingual School, has around 5000 students from Yr 1 - 10. All the students board at the school. The school had NEVER had any foreigners at the school before and were very excited to be having us for the morning (we heard later that the students had had difficulty sleeping the night before as they were so excited by our impending visit).
We arrived at the Huajie Bilingual School at around 8:30am to a rousing reception from some students and staff. From there we were taken to a room where we had some formal introductions from the principal, exchanged gifts and the students were also assigned their buddies for the morning
Next on the agenda was a tour of the school. We visited some very cute yr 2 students who said "hello" very proudly as we entered their classrooms.
A visit to a yr6 class was next where we heard some of the students learning English from a book. Some of the students read very well.
The next stop on the tour was a Yr 9 class. They were also being taught English as we arrived (coincidence???). They were very happy to see us and were excited when the MHS students joined their tables to help them with their studies. Some of the students were treated like rock stars with many of the girls and boys giggling excitedly when our students spoke to them.
After English was fitness. Twice a day all the students come outside to jog around the school athletics track. All the MHS students joined in reluctantly with this activity. They were not very happy when Mrs Mahony and Mr Turner suggested that they should try and get this activity started at Mitchell too.
Art was next and the students enjoyed some traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. The painting of the Great Wall (see photo) was beautiful and was given to the school to take home as a memento of our visit.
Next was table tennis. All the students practised their skills on the many tables in the special table tennis room. The students take this sport very seriously. There are photos of many of China's best players on a wall outside the table tennis room. Mr Turner tried his skills against the Principal but was soundly defeated (he says that he let the principal win as a matter of honour to the school...but really his skills are very lacking!)
After a range of different activities it was time for lunch. The school had tried its best to cater for "western" tastes providing hot chips, chicken legs, spring rolls and bread and jam along with traditional Chinese fare. It was a welcome sight for many of the students and was very much appreciated.
It is amazing the bonds that form even after such a short time. Many of the students were very disappointed when we had to leave after lunch and expressed their desire to return
Our next stop for the afternoon was Monkey Mountain. This is actually the area where the legend of Monkey, the TV show originated. On arriving at the site we ventured up to the bus which was to drive us to the top. Some people walk but it is a 4 hour walk up hill. Mr Turner found a new friend along the way when he stopped to pose for a photo with a monkey. He was not the only one who found new friends however. Many of the students were stopped to ask if they would have their photo taken with complete strangers...the celebrity idea of the day continues.
The bus ride took about 15 minutes around some pretty tight bends. On arriving at the top we ventured to monkey mountain where we came across a large group of hungry monkeys. They were more than happy to take food from you and were sometimes keen to jump on you as Patrick and Tionee found out. The view from up the top of the mountain was also spectacular. The persistent smog cut down visibility but it was still breathtaking.
What goes up must come down and for the next 90 minutes we walked back down the mountain
Tomorrow we head off early for our next school. Fenxian. Who knows what adventures await us there?
The next town we go to is not as modern as the others so far, so there will be a blog entry tomorrow provided there is web access available.