There’s not much to say about the past couple of days. The weather continued to be beautiful and, as of noon today, we finished up our teaching and we are now officially on vacation!
This afternoon we took a ride down Minesweeper Lu (the road I’ve named Minesweeper Road because the terrible potholes make driving on it like a minefield) and went to QLH and hung out there for a long time, planning our upcoming trip.
Tomorrow morning we will leave the school early, get a cab to the rail station, (hopefully) get the tickets we bought online (since we still only have temporary residence permits and no passports), hop on the rail to Beijing, and spend the day exploring!
Once in Beijing we plan to see the Forbidden City, some famous back alleys and streets, the Drum and Bell Tower, and maybe even a famous, old bar street. We will meet up with our friends and stay with them for the night.
From there, we might spend another day in Beijing or we will go ahead and head to Xi’an. While in Xi’an our main focus will be seeing the Terracotta Warriors but there is a lot to do in the Muslim Quarter there so we will probably do some exploring around there as well.
We don’t have an exact itinerary and we don’t have any tickets, other than the ones to Beijing, purchased in advance so this will truly be an exploratory adventure! We are all very excited to start crossing things off our lists, to see the sites we have looked forward to seeing, and to see our friends.
This afternoon, after a wonderful nap and some noodles, we stopped at a bar nearby and just talked for a while. I had a “Black Russian” (aka Kahlua on ice) and Duncan had the best Cuba Libre he’s ever had.
When we returned to the school, we realized a massive performance was going on in the soccer fields where the Mid-Autumn Festival party was last week. We wandered over and found the seventh, eighth, and ninth graders gathered around a huge stage with phenomenal professional lighting and watched what seemed to be a talent show of sorts. There was some (uncoordinated) dancing, (interesting) singing, and some (inexplicable) acting performances but we had a lot of fun. Suddenly, the show was over and all of the kids were heading towards the gate so we decided to leave quickly ahead of the crowd. Right when we were out of the gate, we realized the students weren’t leaving and instead were lining up to do some weird kicking, hopping, line dance. We both joined in (after I scared the girl in front of me by grabbing onto her shoulders) and the kids were very happy to see us participating. One kid, probably an eighth grader, came up to Duncan, said “So cool!” with two thumbs up, shook his hand and ran away after saying, “have a good night!” I’m glad they were having fun because I definitely was.
I am not going to make any blog posts while we’re traveling but the post I make when we return to Baoding will be filled with stories and pictures from our adventure.
I hope you all have a great week!
Happy (Chinese) National Day!