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

China time and date:


Bring Me Food!

Hey everyone!

Now that the group will be settled down for a while, they should be able to manage the food a little better. By now, everyone should have figured out what they like, don’t like, or what their limitations are. And then there are those who don’t what their limitations are and are ready to find out. Yes, I am speaking about the famous “Dumpling Record.”

There is a lot of buzz about this record. Riley Lucier set the record during the JE2005 trip. The Claire Zukas devoured the record last year, JE2007. There has been some talk about there being some serious contenders on this journey.

We’re not sure when, or where, the challenges will take place, but you can count on Journey East Central to be there. If, and when, the record is broken, we will interrupt regular scheduled programming to bring you the news. Even if it is during American Idol, or the NCAA Tournament, this is just too important!

To help you prepare for the return of your dumpling-hungry kids, here is a cool dumpling recipe page for you to get started. What, you don’t know what a dumpling is? Well then, go here to find out!

Alright, now that we have that squared away, we can get on with the other JE news. As you know, the group has arrived safely in Qufu and are preparing a big week of events, including the chance to perform before thousands of Chinese students and public.

We have some photos, a report from Tyler Gervais, and a new sound bite. Let’s start with Tom as he gives us an overview of the Qufu phase of JE2008:

    Students clearly feel pretty at home in Qufu already. Great dinner tonight with lots of dumplings, which they have not had many of. Bo looks like he would like to challenge Claire or Riley for the record, which is actually a matter of some dispute. We'll hope to get some clarification on the actual record before we leave here. We showed the kids the place where they could wash clothes and toured the campus a little after dinner.

    They are meandering around as I write this, trying to scope it out. We are sleeping in tomorrow and then have a rehearsal in the afternoon. There is a painting and calligraphy workshop on Sunday morning, another rehearsal on Sunday afternoon and then a joint performance with students from the Attached Middle School on Sunday night. I told the kids to expect about 2,000 people in the audience. They are definitely getting more comfortable performing in front of crowds, which is great because we will have some very large ones from here on out. [Tom]

Cool. A chance to sleep in. Aaah. Finally. At the pace this group has been going, they deserve a break! Let’s check out some photos of the first meal in Qufu.






More Food, please!







We also have a new sound bite for your listening pleasure. This Maggie talking about the first night in Qufu.

And here’s Tyler Gervais bringing us up to date on the arrival in Qufu. Take it away Tyler!

Tyler Gervais, Qufu, China 4/4/08

Laconic might be an appropriate term to describe Tyler, who has dealt with the adulation of young Chinese girls from Chongqing to Chengu and now Qufu with utter aplomb.

“Today is my day to write. We left Chengdu and our very nice hotel; the nicest that we have stayed in. It had large plasma tv’s and very nice rooms, overall. After breakfast we left to go to the airport and I realized that all airports look the same. The flight that we took from Chengdu was so short compared to the flight from the U. S. to Shanghai; it was nothing. (Tyler is fast becoming a seasoned veteran of air transport) When we got low over Jinan and Shandong Province I realized that the landscape was very different.

The first thing I noticed was how dry the land was. They were still able to grow winter wheat but the places where there was not wheat looked like a dried-up lake bed. Between Chongqing and Chengdu it seemed as though there was water everywhere; rice paddies all over. Here in Shandong from Jinan to Qufu there is very little water. We haven’t really traveled very far yet but there is so much difference in everything.

Looking closely out the bus window you can see some pretty interesting things. During the first part of the bus ride I saw many burial sites like the ones in the movie “To Live.” There were so many and many of them were right in the middle of growing wheat. I also saw lots of people at them with food and families walking in the field with baskets, most likely going to or leaving a grave. (These are very sharp observations by Tyler. This is a holiday period when Chinese visit the graves of their departed ancestors.) It is interesting that they still do stuff like they did in “To Live.” It seems like cities have modernized but villages haven’t really gone anywhere.

They have started modernizing around here (Qufu) and there’s construction everywhere and lots of truck. When we were driving here there was a big traffic jam on the side of the highway heading toward Beijing and the vehicles were almost all overloaded trucks. There were some cars but most of the ones that we did see were on car-carrying trucks. Very few were actually on the road. I guess that driving trucks is a good business around here. Most of the trucks don’t seem to belong to a company but to just one person hoping to find something to transport. I don’t know if that is true but it seems like that to me.

We are on the campus in Qufu now and it’s weird to be in a hotel on a campus. Breakfast will always be at 8:00 A.M., lunch at 12:00 P.M. and dinner at 6 or 6:30. I’d better check so I don’t miss it. It’s a lot different than what I am used to because usually they would bring the dishes out slowly and breakfast was a buffet. Here, when we get to the restaurant, all of the food is already out on the lazy Susan.

It’s Saturday morning here and we have some free time so I wrote this. I really like China and everything is different every place we go. Qufu seems rad but really haven’t been here long yet so I guess we’ll find out. I hope that all is well in Vermont and elsewhere where people are going to the site. Hope you’re having fun at school. See you. I’m going to check this place out.

Tyler, and the rest of the gang, are going to like it in Qufu. It is a comfortable place to be. We can look forward to some very insightful photos and reports while they are here.

We can look forward to more photos to start the day tomorrow. Did you see Bo Attley’s article in the Reformer this morning? Check it out -- front page of the “Towns” section:

This is a big week, everyone. There will be a lot of exciting news and photos from Qufu as we work our way to the midpoint of then journey. In just a few days we’ll be making the turn and things should get a little easier for parents. There is still so much to talk about, learn, and do.

During stretches between updates, take some time to go back to the beginning and see how far we’ve come and much has been accomplished. You’ll be amazed!

Enjoy the weekend!





















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