Happy Wednesday readers, hope that your week is going well. In last week’s post we visited the Three Gorges Dam. This week we are leaving is behind behind the dam and making our way down the Yangtze River. Our second to last port in China was the city of Jingzhou.
This city was visit was a bit different. We didn’t visit museums or historical sites. Instead we had the opportunity to visit a local school where Viking River Cruises sponsors a classroom. I have mixed feeling on this excursion. One we got to meet the kids and interact with them, which was really neat, but at the same time they were used as entertainment for us tourists.
Let me backup a bit. The drive to the school was through a more suburban area. Not like US suburban but not quite rural although parts were close to it. The streets were lined with locals selling everything from clothes to produce to live eels.These shops weren’t set up for tourists, these stalls were these locals daily work and source of income.
Once we arrived at the school we were directed over to this little outdoor stage next to the ping pong tables where the kids put on a couple of dance. I recorded part of the first one and you can watch it below.
After the performances we were able to actually visit the classroom and interact more with the kids. They all spoke English, maybe not fluently but a whole heck of a lot better than some native speakers I’ve met and definitely better than I can speak their native tongue. It is one thing to hear adults speak fluent English and not be surprised but quite another thing to meet kids in a semi-rural area away from most of the tourist stuff speak English well. Their proficiency definitely showed that America needs to step up its language game.
All the kids were super sweet, a little nervous around strangers but I think it just made them giggly. They were like any other elementary aged kids: full of laughter and goofing off with each other. All the kids wanted to share their snacks with us and would hold out chips or these poofy “vegetable” things, not really sure. After a lot of insistence I tried one – those snacks are not for me.
As weird as I felt about being there I really did enjoy interacting with the kids and getting to meet them. From the school we were bused back to the river boat and I stared wide-eyed at the world around me. The people of China definitely live a different life than we do here.
Here is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. It is not a a fantastic statue or building or ancient thing. This image shows the juxtaposition of the China that is and the China that it is becoming.
Also I apologize for the quality of some of these pictures. I was taking them while on a moving bus and through the windows. If you have been to China I would love to hear what you though of the country. Have a great rest of your day!