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JE 2008

China time and date:


Gorgeous Gorges!

Welcome back everyone, for another exciting episode of JE 2008! This is the first full day in Chongqing. We’ve got photos!.


tn_Friday, Chongqing 046But first . . .for the most part, the gang is spending a few days as “tourists” to help them get acclimated and used to being in China. Many of these kids (I will refer to them throughout this journey as “kids,” because it is easy. They are a fine group of young people.) have not traveled much, let along a foreign country. This preliminary phase of the journey helps set the stage for when the tn_Friday, Chongqing 047touring stops and the performing and collaboration begins. By that time, the gang will be more used to China, its ways, its food, and its people. Plus, and more importantly, they will have had a chance to get used to each other!

We are going to start the day with some pictures of Mike teaching Lena and Lauren the proper way of using chopsticks. I still remember Kim using chopsticks for months after returning from her journey in 2002. She still uses them when she eats Chinese food!

Look at all that food . . .

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Tom mentioned that the flight from Shanghai to Chongqing is about 2-1/2 hours. He said that a week ago, most of the kinds would be leery of such a long plane ride. After the 14 hour trip from Chicago to Shanghai, this short trip was “a piece of cake!”

We have another student report, so let’s get right to Greg Edgar as he shares his thoughts about the journey so far. Edgar . . .

Greg Edgar – Chongqing, China - 3/28/08

As I traverse China I am blown away by the sheer magnitude of its uniqueness and difference from the United States. This is truly a place of wonders, where ancient ideals and modernization collide. Since I arrived in this country, I have been bombarded with all sorts of new experiences. From tasting new foods to witnessing the many exotic artifacts of the past in Zhujiajiao. China has amazed me in infinite ways over the past three days.

Today we arrived in Chongqing, a city that is ripe with both agriculture and construction. Legions of cranes pull tons of steel, all for the construction that is rampant throughout the city. Lush trees and plants coexist with manmade structures, creating a symbolic sense of harmony between humans and the natural environment.

After checking into an extremely extravagant hotel, we headed for the General Stillwell museum. This museum provided extensive information on General Stillwell’s involvement in the brutal war that occurred in China during the 1940s. We then had dinner at a nearby hotel that led to a rather traumatic experience for me. I was eating a spicy dish and began to feel a bizarre and new sensation emanating from the back of my mouth and tongue. It was weird, unpleasant, and lingered for ten whole minutes. Needless to say, I will avoid this particular dish henceforth.

All in all I am enjoying Chongqing, with its warm and humid climate. I am looking forward to what the future will hold for my 22 comrades and me.

The gang has been in China for basically four days. The immediate impact this country has had on these kids, and will continue to have, is incredible. Even after thirty days, as much as the group will be wanting to come home, they will be yearning for more of China. Some will find their way back in the coming years. Some maybe for good.

As you look at all the fantastic photos, you’ll notice that you rarely see Tom in any of the of them. Why, you ask? He’s the one “behind” the camera. You’ll get a chance to see his big smile later on at the various welcome banquets and ceremonies. But as long as he is behind the camera, we know we’ll continue to get these great photos. Thanks Tom!

Okay folks. We’ve got more photos today, so let’s get it on! From the looks of things, the gang is having a pretty fun time. You can just hear the laughter when look at these photos! Oh, and then there’s the hotpot . . .

tn_March 29 045Oh the hotpot. You can see from the reactions, the hotpot was hot. Tom said the hotpot was certainly hot, but “not unbearably so.”

So, does anyone know what hotpot is? I see a hand going up. Yes, you, with the multi-colored mirrors on your hobnail boots. Yes, what is hotpot?

Chongqing people consider hotpot a local specialty. And this link will surely tell you more than you wanted to know.


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Yumm-o! Looks like the hotpot caught a few by surprise! Tom said the group attended an “excellent dance performance at Huanyadong Culture Center.” Here are a few photos from that performence. The colors in all of the Chinese performances are always so bright and powerful. If you listen very closely . . .

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Speaking of listening very closely . . . we have something new to share with you this journey: audio files. That’s right, instead of just seeing the action, you can hear all about it!

Mike is recording “sounds of the journey” with interviews of students and others along the way. Some of the recordings are taken while on planes and buses, so there will be some background noise. I think you’ll find this fun and exciting. Plus, for parents, this is a real bonus!

The files are rather large and I’ll put the file size next to the link so you’ll be able to gauge your download time. I know some of you are on dial-up and these downloads can take a while.

So, kick back and listen to the “sounds of the journey.”

See you later.

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