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2014 WCE April China Student Trip Report

WCE will post emails and pictures from the 2014 WCE China Student Trip while the trip is in progress! Please encourage your friends to view the WCE Web Site and follow the trip!!

2014 WCE China Student Trip

4/5/2014 Saturday (Seattle) Today our 16 Member China Student Delegation led by Ms. Meghan Delaney (Eastlake HS Staff) and Ms. Patti Matthew (WCE Staff) departed from Seattle, will transfer planes in Beijing, and arrive in Guangzhou for their tour of China. There adventure has begun! This Student Delegation will visit Guangzhou, Xi'an, and Beijing, China. The Guangdong Education Department will host a School Visit at Guangzhou No. 21st School and a City Tour with Local High School Students (who speak perfect English) in Guangzhou, China. The students will also visit Gaoxin Greenwich School in Xi'an for a Friendship Exchange. Pictures and emails will be posted on this page during the trip.

4/6/2014 Sunday (1:50 AM next day 10:50 AM Seattle Time) Jessica Chen (our exceptional China Tour Manager) has emailed to say that our Delegation has arrived safely in Guangzhou! They are gathering their luggage and will travel by bus to The China Hotel where they will check in and get a well-deserved night's rest. Tomorrow after an outstanding buffet breakfast the group will visit Guangxiao Temple and tour Haixinsha Square. In the afternoon they will meet local Chinese High Schools students to tour Guangzhou city and shop together! Encourage family and friends to view this web site for daily updates and pictures!

Jessica has sent a photo she took of the group at the Guangzhou Airport upon their arrival.

4/7/14 Monday (10:30 PM same day, 7:30 AM Seattle Time) We have received an email from Peter (our outstanding Guangzhou guide): "We had a great day today! In the morning, we went to visit Haixinsha Square the opening ceremony pavilion of the 16th Asian Games held in Guangzhou in 2010. It is also the new CBD (central business district) of Guangzhou. At Haixinsha square, we saw the newly- built Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou Theatre, the 600-meter high Guangzhou TV tower, as well as the new Guangzhou Library. All these buildings have been built recently in the last 7-8 years and they witness the development of Guangzhou very well. Next we went to the Guangxiao Temple. It's a Buddha temple and we learned more about Buddhism there. This is really an interesting place! For lunch, we tried our first Cantonese style food. It was delicious and using chopsticks to eat was challenging and interesting. In the afternoon, we met with local students from a local High School and traveled together with them. We visited the Five-Ram Statue and Guangzhou Museum. We not only learned more about local culture but also made new friends! Then we went shopping together. Having local students help us bargain was lots of fun! It was a great day! Tomorrow, we will go to Guangzhou NO.2 Kindergarten and Dr.Sun Yat-sen's Memorial Hall. We are really looking forward to seeing these things!"

We have also received an update of the day's activities from Patti Matthew, our WCE trip leader: "We had a wonderful first day over here. The weather was overcast, but a nice breeze and best of all, no rain! We arrived at the hotel about 2 AM, so the 9 AM wake-up call was well deserved. Everyone had a good night's rest, followed by a great breakfast. Our day started where Guangzhou hosted the 2010 Asian Games. There is the 5th tallest structure in the world at over 1900 feet. The overcast was low, and we weren't even able to see the top of the tower. Our next stop was a Buddhist temple. A few of the students described it as very relaxing and serene. We then went to lunch with at least 14 different courses, all of them good and unique to Cantonese cuisine. Our students were waiting for us to meet up and go to the Five Ram Statue, which is one of the things Guangzhou is famous for. The students' English was very good, and they also assisted us on our shopping venture at the Up-and-Down Nine Pedestrian Street. We had another fabulous meal at another one of Guangzhou's famous restaurants, only 13 courses this time! Tomorrow will be another busy day with more touring and a visit to the kindergarten. It will be hard to not take those children home with us."

4/8/14 Tuesday (11:00 PM same day, 8:00 AM Seattle Time) Peter (our outstanding Guangzhou guide) has sent us our daily update on the group's activities. "Today was a really full day! We went to Guangzhou No. 2 Kindergarten in the morning. We learned more about the Chinese education system and the way of life for Chinese children. The kids were so cute and we really enjoyed our time with them. It was hard to say good-by. Then we went to Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Memorial Hall and learned more about the great pioneer of Chinese revolution. For lunch, we had a traditional Chinese hot pot! We put all the ingredients in our own pot and boiled them and then enjoyed the food. It was fun and delicious! In the afternoon, we visited the Guangzhou Vocational and Technical College of Sport. We were able to watch local athletes training and we were very impressed! We play ping- pong with athletes at the school, and we also enjoyed a Kong Fu show from the athletes. Through playing together, we came to know each other and understand each other better after the games. We also had dinner at the school. During the dinner, lots of communication was done. We all enjoy the time chatting and having fun together. Tomorrow, we will learn Tai Chi and visit Guangzhou No. 21st School! We are looking forward to meeting the students and learning and communicating with them!"

Patti Matthew, our WCE Trip Leader, has also sent an update of the day's activities. "Today was another great day. We started off with going to the kindergarten. The little students were such a joy to be around. They performed for us and then we either did arts and crafts in one room or played with others in another room. We then went to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Memorial Hall and learned more about the man that helped shape China in becoming the country it is today. They say he is to China as Washington is to the United States. We followed that up with an amazing hot pot lunch and then a tour of the sports college. It was awe inspiring to watch athletes as young as 5 training to possibly be an Olympian one day. We watched table tennis, badminton, gymnastics, weight lifting, diving, track and field, trampoline, and martial arts. These athletes are truly gifted. The students then had a buffet dinner in the dining hall with the athletes. The students all said it was the highlight of the trip this far. All of the students ended their evening with a swim. All in all, it was a great day!"

4/9/14 Wednesday (11:50 PM same day, 8:50 AM Seattle Time) Peter (our wonderful Guangzhou guide) has sent us another update: "We had a very happy and full day today. We got up early to learn Tai Chi. All the movements and skills are so cool and it actually helps with health a lot. We not only learned how to do Tai Chi but also learned the culture and manners in Chinese Martial Arts. It is really special and interesting to experience Kong Fu in the Kong Fu kingdom. In the morning, we went to the Chen Clan Temple to see folk arts and local style buildings. They are with strong Chinese characters and very nice and vivid. We also learned paper-cutting there. We had a really joyful and knowledgeable time. Then we went to Lichi Bay where local people used to live and had a look at what their life was like. The scenery was really beautiful. For lunch, we tried dim-sum in a very famous restaurant. It was really tasty! We also learned more about Chinese eating culture there. In the afternoon, we went to No.21 Middle School, one of the best schools in Guangzhou and met with the students for a class meeting. We learned how to do calligraphy together and enjoyed their shows. In the evening, we went for a boat cruise on the Pearl River for a farewell banquet. The scenery was great in the evening when all the lights are on! It was really a nice trip today. Tomorrow, we will leave for Xi'an. We are really looking forward to visiting the ancient city!"

Patti Matthew, our WCE Trip Leader, has just sent an update of the day's activities too. "Things continue to go well. Today the students practiced the art of Taiji with a master of this art. We then went to the Chen Clan Academy and learned more about some of the ancient folk art of paper cutting and hand painting. They have local artists that still practice these arts at the academy. We then visited Lichi Bay with the beautiful park and walking area. This was followed by a delicious dumpling lunch at the famous Panxi restaurant. Our visit to the 21st Middle School of Guangzhou was a great experience also. There the local students gave us a very good tour of the school, taught us more of Chinese history and performed for us on traditional Chinese instruments. We then performed for them a song from the movie Frozen and taught them a dance. They also taught us Chinese calligraphy and then we had some sports competition with our new friends. It was hard to leave so soon. The banquet and dinner cruise ended our last evening in Guangzhou. It was a beautiful and warm night as we traveled up and back the Pearl River. The lights were amazing and the food was a bit Western with Chinese mixed in. Tomorrow our next adventure in Xi'an begins!"

4/10/14 Thursday (11:00 PM same day, 8:00 AM Seattle Time) Peter (our guide from Guangzhou) has traveled with the delegation from Guangzhou to Xian and has sent us an update of the day's activities: "Today we left Guangzhou for the city of Xi'an. It is pretty different from the city of Guangzhou. We first visited the Ancient City Wall. It is gorgeous and we learned more about people's life and their work, who are from 600 years ago. We really enjoyed this! We also rode bikes on the Ancient City Wall. That's a unique and interesting experience! For supper, we tried the dumplings feast. There are more than 15 different kinds of dumplings with vivid shape and they are really tasty. After the dinner, we watched the Tang Dynasty Style Music and Dance Show. It is also very impressive! All the movement and music is great. It really feels like ancient China. Another highlight today was Ms. Delaney had her birthday and we celebrate that with her! Tomorrow, we will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. We will also learn Chinese calligraphy. In the afternoon, we will go to Xian Gaoxin Greenwich School and have a Friendship Exchange with local students! It will be a knowledgeable and exciting day!"

Patti Matthew, our WCE Trip Leader, has sent us an update on their first day in Xian too: "We arrived in Xi'an to a cloudy day and a few raindrops, but much cooler than Guangzhou. A perfect day for a bike ride on the wall surrounding the ancient city! Everyone, adults and students alike made the trek. We had a few sprinkles while riding, but nothing that would deter all of us Washington people! It was wonderful to stretch ourselves out after the plane ride and being stuck in traffic. Speaking of traffic, it is an experience in itself! Xi'an drivers are a bit crazy, but we have the best bus drivers that keep us safe. We then went to the Tang Dinner Show. Before the show started, Happy Birthday started playing over the speakers for our very own Ms. Delaney! Everyone in the theatre applauded for a very surprised Meghan. The dinner was over 14 kinds of dumplings that were different in the manner of shape and content. It was a great dinner! The show was beauty in so many forms. The musicians performed on traditional instruments and the dancer's traditional dance from the Tang dynasty time. We then went back to our hotel for a much deserved sleep!"

4/11/14 Friday (11:15 PM same day, 8:15 AM Seattle time) We have received our daily update from Peter: "Today, we had another rich and full day! In the morning, we went to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Temple. We had really good quality time there, learning more history and enjoying stories about Xi'an City. In the Temple, we saw real monks and learned more knowledge about Buddhism. Then we had a Chinese lesson! We learned the common sense of Chinese calligraphy and how to write it. It was a good lesson and full of joy. Now we know more about Chinese writing culture and how to do it! In the afternoon, we went to visit Xi'an Gaoxin Greenwich School. We spent a great deal of time there, not only playing games with the students but also having lessons and participating in a PE class with them! After communicating and exchanging, we know each other better and have new friends! Tomorrow, we will visit the legendary Terra Cotta Warriors and Muslim Street! We are looking forward to it!"

Patti Matthew has also updated us: "Today was a great day with 3 very different experiences. First we went to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The pagoda is over 1500 years old and still intact. There we learned more about Buddhism and practiced Chinese calligraphy with a teacher. He also made each of us our name on rice paper and told us what it meant in Chinese. In the afternoon we went to the Gaoxin Greenwich School where we played a game of musical chairs and a chopstick game to the tune of Row, row, row your boat. Both games were very fun! We then taught them a dance. After their presentation about their school, we were invited to go to a classroom or to the gym to play badminton. It was a very good time. After dinner we went to have a traditional foot massage. Oh my goodness! What a treat. It should bring a very restful night's sleep."

4/12/14 Saturday (10:45 PM same day, 7:45 AM Seattle Time) We have received our daily update from Peter (our wonderful guide) who is in Xi'an with our WCE Delegation: "Today, we had another long and rich day! In the morning, we went to the legendary Terra Cotta Warriors Museum! It is so amazing to see hundreds of different warriors and learn relevant knowledge about them. There are three pits and we visited each one. To finish, we went to the museum to see more relics they have found nearby. They are great, especially considering the time when they were made. It is so breath- taking that we just don't realize that time passes so quickly. In the afternoon, we went to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. There is a really nice view there. We also visited the Xi'an Museum. All the relics are really interesting and we learned more information about the local people and their lives. We really enjoyed ourselves! Our next visit was to Muslim Street. It is interesting and beneficial to see the life of Muslim people in China. There are really cool things there, too! We had a good time all day. Last but not least, it was Samantha's birthday today. We prepared a birthday cake and a Chinese gift for her. It is really special to celebrate her birthday in China and we all had a good time! Tomorrow, we will visit Beijing, the capital of China. We are all very excited about that."

Patti Matthew has also sent an update of the day's activities for us: "Today was a really great day. We saw what is considered by some as the 8th wonder of the world, the Terra Cotta Warriors. It is hard to believe that these soldiers were only discovered 40 years ago. It was amazing to see them! After that we had another delicious meal of Chinese food. The cuisine in Xi'an is different than Guangzhou in the seasoning and variety. We then went to the small goose pagoda which was also about 1500 years old. It was 15 stories tall and very beautiful. After that we visited Muslim street. We learned that there are over 100,000 Muslims living in Xi'an. It was full of wonderful smells and sights filling our senses. Another wonderful dinner followed where we celebrated another birthday. Tomorrow we leave for Beijing where we will start our final phase of this trip. More tomorrow!"

4/13/14 Sunday (11:00 PM same day, 8:00 AM Seattle Time) Our WCE Delegation is now in Beijing. Peter (our Guangzhou guide) who is traveling with the group has sent us the following update on the day's activities: "We had a wonderful and nice day today! We left for Beijing in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited the Summer Palace. It is so large and the architecture is so awesome that we just didn't want to leave. We also took a boat cruise in the Palace's lake, Kunming Lake. It was a good time and a nice enjoyment when we took the boat ride. The buildings inside are really Chinese style and the scenery is so beautiful. For our first dinner in Beijing, we had the famous Peking Duck for supper! It was so delicious and we all ate a lot. The other dishes served together with the duck were also very good. We had a long and colorful day today! Tomorrow, we will go to visit the Great Wall! Really can't wait!"

Patti Matthew has also sent an update of the day's activities in Beijing: "We started our third phase of our trip today when we landed in Beijing. We had lunch, checked into the hotel and then headed to the Summer Palace. It is a beautiful park and lake with many buildings that was the summer home for the Dragon Queen. She was not a pleasant person, but made a beautiful landmark. Andy our guide in Beijing talked to us about Ying and Yang, and Feng Shui and the importance of both in Chinese culture. We then headed for a traditional Peking Duck dinner. There were a total of 15 courses! It was an amazing dinner! We were able to have free time at the hotel this evening and there were groups swimming, playing table tennis and enjoying the beautiful grounds. Tomorrow we conquer the Great Wall!"

4/14/14 Monday (10:00 PM same day, 7:00 AM Seattle Time) Today our WCE Delegation climbed the Great Wall of China! Peter has sent us the following update from the day's activities: "We had a happy and full day today! We went to the Great Wall in the morning. Chairman Mao said 'He who never climbs the Great Wall can't be called a hero", and we are heroes today! The Great Wall is very steep and hard to climb but we all try our best to get to where we can get. We've conquered the Great Wall! It is a really interesting and healthy trip to visit the Great Wall. In the afternoon, we visited the Walk of the Spirits of the Ming Tomb. The architecture there is great and grand. We had a good time there and we learned more history and some stories about the past dynasties. Another highlight of the day was going to the silk street market for shopping. We looked for what we are interested in and bargained with the salesmen. We really found some cool stuff there and we really liked the experience there. For supper, we went to the pizza buffet! It is the same as and a little different from pizza at home. We and our stomach all had a good time. Then we paid a visit to the Bird Nest and Water Cube, built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The lights were all on and it is was just beautiful. Tomorrow, we will go to the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It was another wonderful day on our trip!"

Patti Matthew has also sent us an update on the day's activities: "Today we all conquered the Great Wall. It was perfect temperature for a hike! It will be something to be remembered for a lifetime. When we left there we went to a jade factory to see how the craftspeople made the different articles of jade and the difference between the colors. Then another delicious lunch and we were off to the Walk of the Spirits. It was in the vicinity where 13 of the 16 Emperors of the Ming Dynasty are buried. We then went to the Silk Market where many bargains were had. The students proved to be great negotiators! We followed it up with a pizza dinner. The food was really good with pizza and traditional Chinese food in the buffet. After that we went to the Birds Nest and Water Cube at the Olympic Park. They were beautiful lit up in the evening. There were so many people out walking about under the beautiful full moon. We have another full day tomorrow!"

4/15/14 Tuesday (11:59 PM same day, 8:59 AM Seattle Time) Peter sent us the following update from the day's activities: "We had a wonderful and nice day today! In the morning, we went to the largest square in the world, Tiananmen Square. The buildings there are all grand and we finally see what the "heart of China" looks like. All the architecture there is worth seeing and enjoying and we know for sure what "people mountain people sea" means (crowded). We also visited the World Cultural Heritage Site, the Forbidden City. This is really a royal trip! It is educational and enjoyable to see the place where emperors lived. The buildings inside are really impressive. In the afternoon, we went to the Temple of Heaven. It's was another Chinese culture time. The buildings inside are really Chinese style and the scenery is so beautiful. In the evening, we went to watch a Chinese Acrobatics Show. It was so amazing. All the movements and activities they perform are challenging and exciting for people to watch. We all loved it! We have had a long and colorful day today! Tomorrow, we will go back home. The group is sorry to leave China. They hope they have another chance to come back again!"

Patti Matthew has also sent us an update on the day's activities: "Today was a good day for our last full day on China. We started off the morning at Tiananmen Square. It was huge with so many people. There was a line to view Mao's body many blocks long, about a two hour wait. We then crossed over to visit the Forbidden City. It was beautiful! We then ate at a local restaurant that served mostly locals. It was one of the best lunches we had the entire trip! We then went to a Chinese Silk Market where we saw how silk is made. That was fascinating! Our next stop was the Temple of Heaven. The architecture is incredible and buildings beautiful! Dinner followed and then off to the acrobat show. They were phenomenal! We finally arrived back at the hotel to prepare and pack for our flight home tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a full day with a visit to a local tea house where we will learn about the importance of tea in the Chinese culture. We will also visit a local supermarket and have our last lunch in China. It has been a wonderful trip where many memories have been made!"

4/16/14 Wednesday Peter (our Incredible guide) has sent us the final update for the group on their morning activities before their flight home: "Today, we are heading home! The days in China with the group just passed so quickly. Everyone started to miss the people and everything here even before we leave. We have really learned a lot and had great fun here. This will always be a really pleasant and unique memory. Last but not least, today, Shealan celebrated her birthday here in Beijing!"

For Parents Meeting the Delegation Today: First check online at global.hnair.com and check the Flight Status of Hainan Airlines Flight #495 (or call Hainan Airlines at 1-888-688-8813) to make sure the flight is on time. You can meet the delegation at International Baggage #1 or as the walk up the stairs from the South Concourse. Remember they will need 45–60 minutes to clear US Immigrations and US Customs after their flight arrives.