Long time no hear, sorry about that. Internet here is difficult to access. More importantly we have all been so busy having a fantastic time that we have rarely got back to the hotel before 10pm, by which time energy levels have dropped to insignificance. Non the less, here is a bit of catch up as to what we have been up to over the last few days.
The fun continued in Haining today with a visit to the old town of Yanguan. A walk through 14th century China where every effort has been made to continue many of the craft traditions of past times. The kids enjoyed the sights sounds and flavours of the area and attracted plenty of attention. Lots of them being asked to pose for photos with locals, naturally the overly shy nature of our guys made that a bit of a problem (he thinks not).
Missed out on the tidal bore this year due to other items on the menu but kept busy anyway. The chant of “shop – eat – travel – experience” became
SHOP – SHOP – SHOP – SHOP
for a little while when we visited the Haining Leather city, leather being a central feature of Haining this is literally a city, we focussed on one of about five major centres; four storeys containing hundreds of shops all selling leather goods. I got talked into buying another air of shoes, I think the Deputy Principal Haining considers it his job to take me to his friends shop to get a good price on a pair of shoes, so far, three visits three pairs of shoes. This year provided a little extra entertainment as the shop owner spent most of the time on the phone apparently talking to a workman whose work had been, shall we say, below par. He made his displeasure very clear, very loud, very animated, and still managed to sell me a pair of shoes I didn’t really want, but it kept everyone happy so all is well.
2 hours later we were all nicely shopped out for a while. Then off to the new International Campus of the Zhejiang University. This campus is designed to cater for a complement of 8000 students from all over China and the world, all subjects will be covered and students attending will need to achieve an entrance level equivalent of 97 ATAR – welcome to your future competition kids. Most significantly, while we at MRSHS have spent over 2 years planning the new classrooms and are looking forward to a two year build. The entire campus here was planned and built in, you got it, two years and is now up and running. I won’t repeat Andrew’s comments on learning that, this blog may be read by those too young to understand some of the words.
Next stop, another small shopping precinct featuring local crafts, more importantly the students got to meet the Haining students they will be teaming up with tomorrow for our formal visit to the school. This proved a great hit, within minutes of meeting their hosts we adults were forgotten and forsaken, kids are the same the world over I guess. Host students showed our guys around, we got a chance to wander in peace. As the evening drew to an end we gathered in a small community square area where a group of people from the local community ethinic group had met to practise their form of dancing – a sort of aerobics meets square dancing. Predictably our kids weren’t happy to simply sit and watch, they joined in much to the delight of the dancers and onlookers. I’m not sure if we did much to improve the quality of the cultural dancing but we attracted a hell of a crowd almost instantly. Interestingly, aside from giving a lot of photo opp’s, we noticed the instant presence of a police SWAT team. I guess they are not too keen on sudden unexplained crowds gathering here. They were however very pleasant and clearly realised that an innocent cultural exchange was taking place and just kept an eye on everything.
A great way to finish the day. But yet another 10pm finish.