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tn_Children's Palace , Guild Hall and Downtown 140
JE 2008

China time and date:

 

Three weeks to go!

Snow?! Winter just doesn’t want to let go here in southern Vermont!

At least it looks like a great day for the JE gang as they travel to Jinan and then off to Qufu -- 60 degrees and clear! Sounds good to me!

It’s Friday and another week under our belts. This is a good time to talk about the next stretch. The next week is a tough week for parents. The buzz of the first week, or so, is now past us and the end looks so far away. But just remember the amazing adventure your kids are having each and every day.

The kids will bring home the stories of the people and their firsthand experiences with China’s culture and society as it “really” is. Most of it will be magnificent and awe-inspiring (Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu) and some will challenge the group to ask some pretty deep questions about life. These kids will be dealt a lot of emotional experiences during this journey. This is not only a Journey East, but for these kids, a journey within!

tn_CHENGDU TO JINAN TO QUFU 012Okay, so let’s talk about what lies ahead. The group is on their way to Qufu (see the map). Qufu (pronounced (choo-foo) is the birthplace of Confucius.

But first, they’ll take a 2-1/2 hour flight (another short flight!) to Jinan. From there, they’ll take a bus ride to Qufu. They plan on being in Qufu for the next week, leaving on Saturday, the 12th. Qufu will finally offer some rest time for this very busy group. Just look back at the first 10 days of this journey -- it’s been action packed! Where do they get the energy? Must be that Chinese food!

Let’s check out some photos of some tired travelers and get a status report from Tom.
 

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You sure can tell this is a travel day, can’t you? Here’s Tom:

    tn_Old friends, Xing Chunlei and Hu JiaPretty much a travel day. We left the hotel in Chengdu and parted, sadly, with Hill, our guide who traveled with us all throughout Chongqing, Dazu, Leshan and Chengdu and with Mr. Li, the gentleman responsible for all of our activities in the aforementioned places. We are indebted to Mr. Li for the outstanding arrangements he made for our group.

    This was the first Journey East program to venture outside of Chongqing and into Sichuan Province and the experience was just fantastic. The Giant Buddha in Leshan, the incredible scenery on the ride from Dazu to Leshan, the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, the performance at Longquan High School and the interaction with students and teachers there were unique and will not be forgotten.

    tn_Chengdu AirportWe headed to the airport at 8:30 for a noon flight to Jinan of Shandong Province and, although feeling a bit wistful about leaving Chengdu, were anxious to see a different part of the country and looking forward to making new friends in Qufu. The flight to Jinan was a little bumpy but we all arrived safe and sound.

    The temperature when we arrived in Jinan was a very comfortable 73 degrees. Rumor has it that it is snowing in Vermont [I’m sorry, they needed to know!]. We are most happy to be here, thank you.

    The two and a half hour ride to Qufu was an eye opener for most of us. We left lush, green, Sichuan with water and the ever present rice paddies and found Shandong to be dry as a bone with very little water in evidence anywhere. We did see winter wheat fields in every place where it was possible to plant. Terraces with stone walls were a common sight. There are many stone walls in Vermont, most built in the 1700s and 1800s. The stone in these terraces, of which we saw thousands, have been constructed and maintained over many centuries by generations of Chinese. Quite an impressive sight. [Tom]

Here are some photos from the bus ride to Qufu.
 

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Now that the group is safely in Qufu, let’s get a small glimpse of what Qufu has to offer, two of Qufu’s main attractions are the Temple (built around the house that Confucius grew up in) and the "Forest" (the Kong family cemetery). Over one hundred thousand of Confucius' descendants are buried here).

In Qufu, the group will visit schools, participate in workshops (calligraphy) get a chance to meet and study with other students, perform their show at least three times, learn about Confucius, and on and on. Qufu is the beginning phase where the kids transform from being tourists to being visitors and exchanging cultures with the Chinese people.

Andi Anderson, Chaperone JE 2007 (and twice a Journey East parent!) reflects on their visit to Qufu in 2007. Andi . . .

    So off to Qufu. What a relaxing time they will have there. There’s actually two washing machines and a common clothesline, so for those who haven’t figured out how to wash in the sink, it’s a blessing. It does eat socks though, but you can find them outside where the drain goes. (funny the strange moments that come back to me)

    The kids have so much more freedom in Qufu. It is a beautiful campus with waterfalls and ponds and statues and wonderful trees budding. It is gated and the kids can pretty much wander in groups, for wonderful long walks.

    It is so cool to watch the older generation. Many of the students and teachers have their parents living with them and taking care of their child. The campus is full of grandparents walking their grandchildren around. They are very delighted to talk to the JE group. Many want to practice their English.

    I remember once, while we were eating lunch at our dining hall, one of our JE kids needed something from the dorm. I jogged the mile back to the dorm and I was approached by a grandmother who wanted her granddaughter to talk with me. Of course I couldn’t ignore her and listened attentively trying not to look rushed. She then broke into song after song for me to hear. It was a tough moment. I needed to get back for our JE kids, but I wanted to hear every word this little 7-year-old was saying. I finally nodded respectfully and took a picture (lucky I had some stickers to give in my pocket) and took off at a full run once around the corner! [Andi A.]

Great stuff, Andi. Thank you!

Among the many fun things the kids will see during their journey are the signs with English translations. Tom always seems to find some unusual ones each journey. This one is no exception. We leave you we leave you with . . . (automatic flush)
 

 

toilet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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