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Detailed Itinerary



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JE 2008

China time and date:


“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

tn_Shanghai 6That’s right, Dorothy, we’re in China! I hope you all are well rested because we have a few busy days ahead of us! We’re just getting started here, so tighten up those bootstraps and let’s get today’s page underway!

Shanghai welcomed our group, allowing them tn_Shanghai 5all to get settled after a long and tiresome plane trip. The gang will say goodbye to Shanghai for now. But, they will return the end of April for a couple of days of shopping and preparing for their trip back home.

For those of you not living in southern Vermont, we went from 50 degrees yesterday, raking the yard and looking at flowers popping up tn_March 27 Day 1 in Shanghai 002through the ground, to at least 2 inches of snowfall this morning! It’s a mess out there right now! Spring in Vermont -- gotta love it!

So now it is off to Chongqing (pronounced Chung-ching -- thanks Susan!) where the group will stay until next Friday, the 4th of April. But, before we get into all of the Chongqing info and activities, let’s finish up the group’s stay in Shanghai.

Here is our first student report today, from Alyssa Dolan. We should be getting more photos from Shanghai later as well as some from the first day in Chongqing. Listen up, everybody! Okay Alyssa . . .

Alyssa Dolan, Shanghai, China 3/27/2008

I woke up early today and just looked out the window and watched the city for a while before taking a shower and heading down to breakfast. I tried a few new things including, what turned out to be, fermented goat cheese, which I didn’t like very much. (actually fermented bean curd (TC) .I love the dumplings, which are much better than those we make at home, of course, because they are made by “pros.” We drove to Zhujiajiao after breakfast, about an hour and a half drive outside of Shanghai. It’s fun to look out the windows on the bus and watch the people drive. It’s also fun when they notice you watching or taking pictures because they will point us out to whoever else is in the car and smile and laugh and wave at us. One car had four guys all pointing, yelling out the windows at us. One of them actually stuck his head out the window and waved both hands, yelling.

Some people don’t notice us watching but they’re fun to watch anyway. One guy sat there eating and spitting seeds out the window. One girl had lime green seats in her car and was talking to her friend and waving her hands around everywhere. Her hands obviously were not on the wheel but she didn’t crash. It is surprising how many accidents there aren’t considering the fact that so many drivers are talking on cell phones, spitting seeds out windows or turning all the way around looking at us, waving and not paying attention to the road.

The first thing that happened at Zhujiajiao was that a crippled beggar came up to us and went from person to person asking for money. There were lots of beggars. At one point, the same old woman came up to me four times. “I really don’t have any money, I’m sorry,” I told her as I started to follow my group. “You have, you have!! Please” she shouts” following me. “No, really, I don’t.”

We haven’t changed money yet so I really wasn’t lying. The next thing we saw was the guide, Dillon. “You may call me Dillon,” he told us. “D-I-double – L – ON” Dillon!” The first thing he showed us was the most famous bridge at Zhujiajiao, “built by a monk a very long time ago,” Dillon said. “I forget the year,” he said. It was hard to pay attention because everyone was excited, talking and taking pictures. It was hard to hear him over everyone else. The little microphone he had didn’t have much of an effect.

We walked through lots of narrow streets and saw some shops. Many people came out of their shops; “Come have a look.” There were also lots of dogs and many little kids running around with their mothers or fathers. They are so cute. I took lots of pictures, of people, mostly. The ones of the kids are my favorites.

The parents are so excited to have their child’s picture taken. They would push them in front of the camera. There was one little girl who was asleep in her stroller and I took a lot of her. Her father woke her up and told her to wave to me as I took another one.

As we walk on, we see many, many people doing different things. One man is making neat little birds and things out of grass, leaves and bamboo; a man is playing the bamboo flute; a woman is sitting with two baskets of fruit. These people are still sitting here playing or weaving hours later when we come back through.

We pass a wall that reads in both English and Chinese “The shop belongs to the disabled who want to make living. Welcome any one of you to devote your charity. Thank you.”

There are people in boats on the water. One family, not Chinese, asks us where we are from “Vermont,” Carol tells them. “Oh, we’re from Canada.”

We saw more bridges. As our guide in Shanghai told us,” You have not really been to Zhujiajiao if you have not crossed the bridges.”

We saw the pavilion of Lion, which happens to be a “rockery area.” ??

There were lots of signs saying funny things, such as “rockery area”, “Way Out, “Caution: Danger” or “No Touch.”

We ate lunch at some point where I tried many new foods such as Tofu, Lotus, some spicy things. Tom has been insisting that every spicy thing that we have had is mild compare to what we’ll eat in Chongqing, our next city.

Tom told us many times as they brought out dish after dish that “this is the last thing.” But then they would bring out more and more and more. There was so much food.

Later, we saw some trees covered with red ribbons; “people’s wishes,” Dillon told us.

We went through a park, filled with people watching an opera. I couldn’t understand it but it looked really cool. I would like to have stayed but we could only watch a little bit. The costumes were really nice and the stage was lit mainly by sunlight. There were also four big spotlights, a big cloth backdrop and a little scenery.

On the bus home I just took a lot more pictures of people driving or on the sidewalks. There were people working in the rice paddies, more crazy driving a more waving, happy faces. Lots of bikes, motor bikes on the roads, sidewalks, everywhere; crazy.

Back at the hotel we had an hour to rest before we headed to the park down the road for a rehearsal where we sang “Country Roads, Take Me Home,’ “Wasted On The Way” and “Stand By Me.” We didn’t sound very good but drew an audience, nonetheless. Guess we need some rehearsal time before we perform.

Dinner on Thursday night; Taylor and August had a hot pepper eating contest. They each had about five and looked ready to cry. They called it a tie. Again, “mild compared to Chongqing.” I’m getting scared about Chongqing; the first time I’ve been scared this whole trip. Oh well.!!





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Fantastic report. The food will be a common topic of discussion. I see now, along with the dumpling contest (later on in the journey), we have a ”mild” pepper eating contest. Hot peppers coming up!

I can’t get over the size of that billboard (bottom row, left)! And those cool gondola-type boats, what a great way to get to work. Looks like a performance in the park. Cool!

Speaking of performances, one of the purposes of the group’s visit to China is to perform for China schools and general audiences. When they visit Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, they will collaborate with students there and perform together.

During the trip, the students will look for every opportunity to rehearse individually and as a group. Below are some shots of Mike Roberts (Musical Director) leading the group through a practice session, as passersby stop to watch and listen (that is what they are doing, isn’t it?).

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And here are some photos of the kids at the airport waiting for their trip to Chongqing:

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So, Chongqing. The JE program first visited Chongqing in 2007. Chongqing is located about 900 miles almost due west of Shanghai.
Chongqing is known for its plentiful natural resources. It has more coal reserves than any other place in China. It has an abundance of natural gas and strontium. What was that? Strontium? Do you know what strontium is? Neither did I, so I checked it out. Very cool.

This year’s itinerary has quite a few activities scheduled for the area. The first one will be the General Stillwell Museum. This is one of Tom Connor’s favorite history figures. Here’s a little bit of history of General Stillwell:

    “General Stilwell Museum is housed in the former VIP guest house of the Guomingdang and residence of General Stillwell.

    “General Stillwell was an American General sent to China to help fight the Japanese in World War II.

    “During World War II, American pilot volunteers organized a squadron renowned as the invincible 'Flying Tigers' to airlift arms, weaponry and other war-time goods to help China in its struggles against Japanese aggressors. The US volunteers opened up a historical air corridor from India to the cities of Kunming and Chongqing in southwestern China via Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).

    “The Flying Tigers flew out of Chongqing and the Japanese looked for months for an airstrip but could never find one. In the Yangtze River, there is a permanent sandbar, this is the 'airstrip' the Flying Tigers used. The Japanese never figured anyone would use this sandbar for an airstrip.

    “Since 1991, the Chongqing Municipal Government has turned it into a museum, housing exhibits on General Stillwell and Americans in Chongqing during World War II.” []:

Pretty neat-o, eh? Well, stick with us folks, there is a lot in store for us during this Chongqing stage of the journey. We’ll leave you with a group shot at general Stillwell’s monument. Enjoy!

Friday, Chongqing-stillwell group

Here’s Tom Connor (Program Director) reflecting on the visit to the General Stillwell museum:

    We have students, Bo Attley included, whose grandparents fought in China during the Second World War or, as the Chinese call it, The Anti-Japanese War Chongqing, the wartime capitol of China, was bombed repeatedly, whenever the skies were clear, by the Japanese. The very steep hills in the city, of which there are many, are absolutely honeycombed with man-made caves that held hundreds, perhaps even thousands of Chinese during these bombing raids.

    Questions that occurred to me as I studied our kids' reactions to the museum included:

    • Should they know this stuff?
    • Can you hope to understand a people who you are living on this increasingly small planet with if you don't have a clue as to what made them who they are?
    • Can you really know a people if you don't know their history?

    The whole experience at the museum has really raised some questions about what we teach, what we want kids to know, and what they ought to know to be knowledgeable people who make reasoned decisions.

And with so much of this information so readily available today, via the Internet, the teacher’s role becomes even more important by helping kids use and understand all of this information.

Okay folks, back to work. Now, where did I put that snow shovel . . .






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