Happy Easter everyone . . .

Thanks for your patience as we coordinate communications from China.

The group has arrived safely in Xi’an. Another chapter to be written in the Journey East travelogue. First, we have pictures of the visit to the Yellow River. You’ll also see a photo taken at the farewell banquet in Qufu and sights at Tai-Shan..

I guess that I am just fascinated by the Yellow River. Knowing the significance of the river in Chinese history and the destruction, misery and death that have resulted from it's flooding plus the benefits of the silt brought down from the middle reaches in Shaanxi Province just captivates me. I hope that we will be able to show the students the river near Baotou when we get to Inner Mongolia. It is quite different there than it is here. The Yellow is one of, if not THE, most silt-laden rivers in the world.

By the way, Jinan is a very neat city. There are many universities and is has a very vibrant feel to it. The new construction here is amazing, to say the least. I couldn't count the number of cranes hovering over new apartment buildings that are going up all over the place. It is not hard to see the facts behind the headlines on VPR that refer to China's consumption of an extremely disproportionate amount of the world's steel production. The number of "I" beams and re-bar that are being used here is mind-boggling. Construction goes on, in all of these sites, 24 hours a day. What incredible will we are witnessing. Got to go to bed. Tires me out just thinking about it. Tom

Here is Tom’s report from Xi’an and some photos. We expect to see more photos soon of the Terra Cotta Warriors. This is the last major sight-seeing stop before going to Inner Mongolia, where the kids will spend several days working with students in Hohhot. Many performances ahead and a chance to create some life-long friendships.

Hi, I'm sending this from the Bell Tower Hotel in downtown Xi'an; a posh place, to say the least. There will be many more photos after we visit the Terra Cotta Warriors and Huaqing Hot Springs later on today but this is what I have for now. We visited the Old City Wall yesterday afternoon; very new compared to most of the historical sites around here, which date back to 2 thousand years and more in some instances. The photos should give you some sene of the dynamism of this country. I love Xi'an; the architecture, the ambience, the pace. Qingyun, our AFS teacher comes from a very beautiful place indeed. It is a jumping city. By the way, Happy Easter to all!!


At some point during this journey, a moment will “happen” to these kids. These reports continue to share those special moments. Conor shares his . . .

This was a Sunday “per se”– a day of rest. Despite the 5:45am wake-up call and the trip back to the “Witchitaw” airport, it was a relaxing break from the day-to-day ‘on bus-off bus’ routine. In an overview, we visited the Xi’an City Wall. With turrets every 120 meters and four-foot battlements, it is quite an awe-inspiring sight to behold.

Over all, I feel the trip is going quite well. No one has died yet, despite some of the [intense, seemingly near-death] bus trips, and we all still have our limbs. During all of the daily commotion, there was a distinct point where the purpose of this journey hit me:

We were doing a run-through of the play, and Dan (Rosow) was playing his trumpet solo with phenomenal precision. I was outside listening, watching this old woman stop, confused and intrigued by the strange noise coming from the hall in which we were rehearsing. That was the exact point I realized how amazing this experience really is. We truly are bringing something very new and introducing it to an already wonderful culture. In return, we are gaining friendship and knowledge. While I am missing home, my dog, my friends and family, I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

-- Conor

As you spend time with your family today, we hope these photos and reports from Tom help bring you closer to your kids and spouses in China. We wish you all the very best today We are just about halfway through this marvelous adventure with so much more to see and enjoy.