Day 6

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Today was our day to visit our sister school Xingcheng Garden PS. Whilst it was cloudy this morning there was no rain which was good. Breakfast here at the Metropark was good, although I’m not sure ice creams are breakfast food. The hotel is beautiful except I always turn the wrong direction coming out of the lift to go to my room. I need to stick to going up one set of lifts!

We arrived at the school and went into the board room, it was good to see the students that came to Australia last year. We also had Big Hill with us. We watched a video about the school which actual featured some our school students. We had dumplings and after filling us up we were told it was only a snack, lunch was to come. We were worried we wouldn’t be able to walk we were already that full.
We ventured out to see the whole school recess exercise. The school has 1601 students and in the yard at that time there were about 1200 students doing exercises at the same time following the leader who is a student chosen by the PE teacher. We then went to a calligraphy lesson which was quite challenging, but the girls did well. The school is set over 4 levels and they have around 45 in each class. After a delicious lunch we headed back to the hotel where the girls got picked up for their homestay.
For me the afternoon meant that I got to float along with the other schools as I didn’t have the girls to look after. I took the opportunity to ditch the uncomfortable Team China polo. We headed to Tiger Hill which is the burial place for a former King. There was some pretty impressive bus driving to get us into some tight spaces. The pagoda (tower) is over 1000 years old. It is a very beautiful place but also sad as there is a rock there called the 1000 people rock. On this spot it is said that the King gathered the 1000 workers who built his secret tomb and then killed them so that nobody would know where his burial place would be.

After this we went to the ancient street. This is an impressive street with the buildings built on the water like Venice. In fact Marco Polo once visited Suzhou and called it Oriental Venice. The street had a mixture of souvenirs and food shop, I managed to fine a Starbucks along there. After an hour or so we got to experience the chaos that is driving on the roads here.
As the girls were off having a fantastic time with their homestay families I got to catch up with a friend who lives in Suzhou. The taxi ride home was an hair raising, especially with the combination of speed and no seat belts in the taxi. The whole trip cost around $2.60 Australian.

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Day 6 – Georgia

We left the hotel to go to Xincheng Gardens Primary School, our sister school in Suzhou, this school is also Big Hills sister school. We went to the Conference Room and met up with Peter, Sophie, Angela, Wendy and the students who went to Big Hill last October-December. We then were given what I’ll call “Welcome Presents” which were bookmarks (that’s going to get lots of use), and some of the students had bought presents, which Sophie did. She gave Phoebe and I a little purse each. We then had a tour of the school, we first went to the Ancient Biology Room, it was really cool with fossils and skeletons of dinosaurs and animals from back then. We then went to the art gallery, some of the students there are very good artists and photographers. Then we went outside to watch the morning exercise. It is very cool to watch. We then went back and had morning tea, which was dumplings and some white tea. When classes restarted we went to a calligraphy class, it was very cool to watch and even more fun when we had to pair up with a student and they taught us how to do it. I was ok… (I think.) Anyway, then we went back up and had lunch before leaving to go back to the hotel before getting picked up for the home stay.

When Sophie and her mum Jessie turned up, Phoebe and I were ready to leave, but first we waited for Angela’s dad (Angela had gone with Sophie and Jessie). We then went to Pin Jiang Road, were we walked along until we found the art gallery. We went inside and we then waited a bit before we could sit down and have a shot at Chinese Painting. We traced over a lotus flower. We then walked until we reached the Pottery, where we were able to start straight away. The potter was walking between the 6 of us (Sophie, Phoebe, Zoe, Ebony, Angela and me) and helping us create bowls and vases, it’s very difficult and very messy. After we all finished we left and got on this small boat for a river cruise (Pin Jiang Road is next to one of the rivers/canals). It was a little bit rocky, and we took lots of photos and at the end Angela used her dad’s phone to play Starving by Hailee Stienfield ft. Zedd. We then got on these bicycles with carriages to fit three of us kids on the seat. The men riding the bikes rode us down to the end and we then went for dinner with Sophie and Angela’s friends. After we’d finished eating we went outside and Zoe and Ebony were doing gymnastics and I was dancing. Sophie, Angela, Jessie and their friends really like watching it. We then went our seperate ways and promised to meet up with them tomorrow morning at 8am. {I think I forgot to mention that Xincheng Gardens start at 8:00am and end at 3:45pm. Sophie said that there are seven classes a day.}

Day 6 – Phoebe

Today we woke up and had breakfast at 7 because we had to go to the schools today. Our school GSPS went with Big Hill to our sister school. When we got there we went into a conference room and had a chat about the school and who the other Chinese students their are. They were just the students who came to our school and Big Hill.

Then we had a look at their art gallery. It had lots of different artwork and prints. After that we went to the Fossil Room with all sorts of different fossils. Then we went outside and watched the school do their morning exercises. Then we came back to the conference room for a rest.

After that we then went to an art room where people learnt how to write the Chinese characters properly. I had a go but I wasn’t very good, but I did learn how to write my name.

Then we went back to the conference room for lunch. And then after lunch back to out Hotel to rest before we go to our homestay.

At 1:45 our homestay Sophie and Jessie came to pick Georgia and I up. Then we went to a very old part of Suzhou. We we had a look around but then Jessie (Sophie’s mum) had organised that Ebony and Zoe come with there homestay (Angela) to do the afternoon with us. So that was nice.

Firstly we went to a traditional Chinese drawing place and copied a flower. Then we went to a pottery place and made a bowl, which was really fun, because we could use the spinning thing to help mold our design. After that we went on a boat through the canals altogether, which was fun. And when we were walking around we saw other people from Team China which was funny. Then we went on a bike with a seat on the back and had an icecream while we were on the ride. Then we went out for dinner at the same place as last night, then we came back to Sophie’s and watched a bit of a movie and then off to bed.

 

Day 5 – Suzhou Here We Come

I ventured out and had a quick run along Suzhou creek where I was fortunate enough to see lots of Thai Chi including someone doing it with swords. We packed up our bags and Skype to school. I noticed how cold everyone looked!!! But don’t worry it rained here and by the time we got to Suzhou it was pretty heavy. It was a shame it was raining as we missed some of the great scenery as we come into Suzhou. The breeze was cold so we got some $3 jumpers at Decathlon.
Our lunch was in a restaurant and we got to have the famous Suzhou Squirrel Fish – yum

Next it was the Number One Silk Factory and the students enjoyed it more than I thought. A few did some shopping, even bought a tie for myself so, I’m sure I’ll get so much use out of it (lots of sarcasm there).

We checked into our hotel and it was a huge upgrade on the good old Park Hotel. The rooms are huge and the views from a few are sensational. Every one is looking forward to the school visits tomorrow

Day 5 – Phoebe

Today we Skyped our school and they asked us a few questions. After that we went to Starbucks to have a drink, I had the Popcorn Frappe. Then breakfast and up to pack our bags to go to Suzhou. I sat next to Charlotte. It was raining all the way there and mainly for the rest of the day. For lunch we had lots of new Chinese foods. I really liked the lemon chicken. Then we’re going to go to the Tiger Hill but it was to wet to walk around, so we went to the Silk Factory instead. That was really cool watching the silk form.

After that we came to our Hotel and found our rooms and they are massive.

Th we went for dinner to an all you can eat place and it was actually quite nice. Then we came back for bed.

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Day 5-Ebony

In the morning Zoe, Georgia, Phoebe and I went to Skype our school witch is Golden square primary school, so that meant we had to wake up at 7:50 and get ready to Skype, I and the other girls were really tired because we had to wake up really early in the morning witch I really wanted to sleep in that day. At 10:00 in the morning we got ready to catch a bus to Suzhou, it was a hour and a half, on the bus I was sitting next to Bella and we were in the second row, I was sitting on the window side witch I was happy about that because I have not been on the window side for the whole China trip so far. For lunch we had a mixture of all kinds of food, once everyone on my table had finished eating we all hoped back onto the bus ready to go to the silk factory, when we got to the silk factory a lady told us how the silk is made out of and how to make it, some bits of the silk looked easy to make but other bits looked really boring or hard to make, after the silk factory we went back to see our new hotel rooms and then we went out for some dinner.

Day 5 – Georgia

We got up at 7 for Skyping school assembly. There were some great questions from kids. We then had breakfast before heading back up to our rooms to finish packing our bags and check everywhere before getting on the bus. We then began driving to Suzhou. The drive took 1:30 minutes because we didn’t catch the traffic. If we had, it would have taken 2 to 2:30 hours. We then went to a mall to have lunch, but first because everyone except me and another girl hadn’t packed their jumpers on their backpacks, we went and got them all jumpers. Then we went up and had lunch. It was delicious, especially the dumplings. We then went to the Silk Factory/Museum instead of Tiger Hill and this water town because the rain was pouring quite heavily. The first thing we did was sit down in this information hall place, while our tour guide told us about the life of silk worms. They are born, then they eat for 5days, 5nights, then sleep for 8 hours, shed skin, then repeat for three more times. They eat mulberry leaves. Then they weave a cocoon, which they use to turn into a moth. Then the moth mates and has eggs before dying shortly afterwards. The workers find the cocoons, which they then find the starting thread and then hook it up to this machine, which makes reels of silk, each one made up of 8 cocoons. They then re-reel it, before stretching it to the desired length.

Then we went back to the hotel. We are staying in Grand Metropark Hotel, ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. We then found out our rooms before going up and staying up there until tea time. We went to a nice restaurant. There was dumplings, rice, some chicken, and for dessert, watermelon. Then we went back to the hotel after a very long day.

Day 4

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Some weary students emerged this morning but after a good breakfast we were right to go. We headed for the Insect markets. Here you can see a huge variety of animals. Coloured frogs, crickets, squirrels, dogs, cats, fish turtles, things I had no idea what they were. It is noisy and a bit smelly but most of the students enjoyed it although they did admit it seemed a little cruel. We wandered a few interesting streets and ended back at the metro.

Our next destination was the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, which covers 5 levels showing the history of Shanghai and its plans for the future. The highlight is the huge model of the city. It is extremely detailed, even lighting up the streets and buildings. The museum had added a few more interactive displays since last time I visited. It was good to see that the students tried to take in some of the information around the building.

Lunch was Yang’s dumplings which we took to the park. It was very busy being a Sunday and soon a crowd formed to watch us eat!

The afternoon was spent at the Science and Technology Market (yes Science Mrs Hancock). It was interesting that the vendors were more aggressive in trying to get you into their story. Mr Delaney and I used Chen to our advantage to get some headphones. One vendor got angry with Ms Daley and I when we tried to bargain a price and stated that our friend paid that. He basically told us it was impossible and got very upset. We left but he still tried to do a deal even though he was annoyed with us, No Deal! All up it was a very productive shopping trip.

For dinner we hit a food court and tried a restaurant. They had not much English and our Mandarin isn’t too good so we did some charades to help us out. Zoe and Georgia were brave and tried some chicken feet. After dinner we wandered along Nanjing Rd and was horrified to find that M&M World was CLOSED. The whole huge department store was shut down.

Typing this on the way to Suzhou so will load pictures later when I have wifi.

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Day 4 – Zoe

Today we went to the insect market, it was lots of fun we saw cats, dogs, fish, guinea pigs and so many others but the main animals were the crickets in China people use crickets for fighting my favourite animal that was there was the squirrel, it was really hyper. After the market we went to the planning museum I loved the the 3rd floor because it had a model of all of Shanghai it was so
cool, the 4th floor was awesome as well because it had all these games there was a driving one and a bike game they were heaps of fun. Then we went to the park and ate dumplings for lunch after we caught a train and went to the markets I bought heaps of stuff for me and for my family.
After we went out for dinner a dessert I had a chicken foot and it looked kinda creepy but tasted fine then we got ice cream went to the hotel and went to bed.

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Day 4 – Phoebe

Today we woke up and had breakfast, the caught to subway to the insect market. At the market there were all sorts of animals, mainly fish, crickets, dogs and cats. But there were some guinea pigs and baby mice  they were so cute, there were also rabbits.

After that we walked to the planning museum and had a look around. Up the top there was a version of  Shanghai but smaller. It was so cool. There were also different games you can play that are about Shanghai. For example there were question games, visual games and a bike game.

Then we had lunch, for lunch we had dumpling at the gardens/park. We had lots of photos at lunch though.

Then we went to the tech market, and I brought a few stuff for me and gifts for others. I brought a phone case, Nike slides and gifts for family and friends.

Then we came back to the motel for an hour. Then went out for dinner. For dinner we went to this Chinese place but it had Mexican food. I had this spicy chicken I ate half but then it got to spicy and gave the other half to Zoe. Zoe tastes to spice at all, so she was all good. I had some rice to finish it off. But what we all thought was soy sauce, but it was this really spicy sauce. So everyone really needed water. And this lemonade drink we got. It wasn’t lemonade it was just tap water with a tiny lemon in it and we can’t drink tap water so no one had any water and we were like dying.  Zoe and Georgia grabbed a chicken foot and I ate a bit of Zoe’s. It tasted okay but not my favourite.

Then we walked around looking at all the lights then came back and went to the motel for bed, but we had to pack our bags before that.