MS China – Day 11

Shanghai •  Afternoon • By Francie

Even though today was shortened by the plane ride, we had a very adventurous and fun end to our trip. After we landed in Shanghai, we headed to Shanghai Tower. When we arrived, everyone looked up in awe at the 632 meter high building. We walked inside and were told to find 2 facts about the Tower to share with the group. They were on either the history or any interesting fact, such as it’s the 2nd tallest building in the world. After, we headed up 128 stories to the top of Shanghai Tower. On the way up, everyone ears were popping because it had the fastest elevators in the world, getting up to 46 mph. On the top, there was a 360 degree view of the entire city of Shanghai. Most people thought the buildings around us to be slanted because the building we were in is twisted. Once everyone had had a chance to walk around, we headed back downstairs to the souvenir shop where people bought magnets and such. We headed outside and took one last look at the tower and hopped on the bus for dinner.


Shanghai • Evening • By Harper

After the skyscraper we went to dinner with hungry stomachs. We went to a nice restaurant for our final dinner in China. At the table we were all beginning to talk about how we were going to miss using our chopsticks and having Lazy Suzans at the table but then the food came out and it became a war zone that consisted of trying to grab as much food as possible with our chopsticks.

After dinner we headed to our final activity in China which was the boat tour. We represented America well by dancing our hearts out on the boat deck and even a little girl came up and joined us on the dance floor. In all it was not just a perfect night but a perfect trip.

MS China – Day 9

Muka Village • Morning • By Cameron

In the morning, we went to Muka village. This village was very unique for two reasons. One reason was that the village was half old and half new. This is because in the 2008 earthquake some of the village got destroyed and rebuilt. Some of the other parts of the village survived the earthquake. Another reason why this village is so unique is because it is right below a huge mountain. This is odd, because it makes this village very vulnerable to earthquakes. At the village in the morning, we helped out with the garden.

In the garden, we planted some pumpkin seeds at the farm. The first step was to dig some holes. This is so we can plant the seeds. Next, we placed the seeds into the lowest points of the hole. Finally, we placed the soil back on and covered the holes.

Muka Village/Chengdu • Afternoon • By Alex M.

After we had a great lunch in the Wenchwan village, we went to visit an old abandoned village higher up in the mountains. The village was built entirely of stone. The village has been there for thousands of years. It also survived an 8.1 earthquake 10 years ago. They moved all of the residents down the mountain for safety reasons after the earthquake when the Chinese government were rebuilding.

After that we drove back to our hotel in Chengdu. The teachers delighted us with a foot massage at the end of the day as a treat for our good behavior. It was a good experience for most of us. Overall it was a good day.

MS China – Day 10

Chengdu • Morning • By Jake

We woke up yesterday morning to the sound of rain drops gently hitting the hotel windows. Breakfast was well prepared with a surplus of flavor in each bite.

The expedition then walked to a variety of shops, each containing similar items of overpriced golden Buddhas. After 30 minutes of free-time, we travelled to a gorgeous street market. The market contained every souvenir from A-Z. As most of the group rushed to Starbucks, some members split off to find long-lasting memories, captured in souvenirs. While we walked around the city-market, there were shops containing things like dream-catchers, spices, shadow puppets, water bottles, necklaces, and many more.

After we left the market, we traveled by subway to the infamous People’s Place Park. This park is popular because it is used for the Marriage Garden. This is when adults arrange an advertisement for their children to get married, based off things like height, weight, occupation, and personal traits.

We gathered into our four person groups and played Mahjong. Mahjong is a game like Rumicube where each person must collect and discard tokens until you have 4, three token matches, and 1, two token match. Mahjong is the most incredible game, and the local Chengdu citizens came to help us beginners. After many games of Mahjong, and an experience of a lifetime, it was time to head to our food-tour!

Chengdu • Afternoon • By Megan

The afternoon started off with heated games of mahjong at the local tea house in People’s Park. Mahjong is a Chinese tile game where you need a “Mahjong” which is when you have four sets of three like tiles and one pair of two like tiles to win. We were all served jasmine tea in a traditional Chengdu tea cup.

After a few games we split into groups and began the food tour. My group’s first stop was a small restaurant with about four tables. Here we ate a few variations of beef all served in a very delicious broth. We started with cow heart and this was by far the groups favorite. Our second dish was plain beef. The third dish was cow stomach which was very chewy and had a interesting aroma. The fourth and final dish was cow penis. I think that is enough said.

From there we moved to the street market. At the street market we tasted Chengdu pepper corn, sausage, pickles, and the most interesting rabbit head. We had to first crack the rabbit’s jaw, and then from there we ate the cheek and brain meat. Our next stop was a street vender who sold pancake like crepes filled with different toppings, some sweet and some savory. After that our last stop was a traditional dumpling restaurant. Here we ate spicy and regular pork dumplings. From there we went to our final meal of the day; hot pot. On the middle of the table there was a giant bowl of boiling chilly water, and a bowl of boiling broth. We then added meat balls, pork, bean spouts, tofu, goose lung, and rabbit kidney to the boiling pots. After the meat and greens were cooked we dunked them into sesame oil to cool them off (the spice and the temperature). After dinner we walked back to the hotel, and completed reflections.

MS China – Day 8

Chengdu • Morning • By Grace

Today started off with breakfast at the hotel and a bus ride to the panda research center. Once we started to leave Chengdu all I could see out the windows were canola flowers. The bus ride took about an hour and then we arrived at the center. We were immediately sent into the office areas where we received jumpsuits and gloves. Then we were told to clean out the panda’s enclosures. There was a small gate in between the pandas and us where we got to see them extremely up close and personal. We also walked around and visited the pandas. Then we fed the pandas carrots and other healthy snacks. I got within one foot of the panda I was feeding and the only thing in between us were metal bars. I felt special to be able to not only get up close and personal with the pandas, but also to be a part of the conservation efforts to help save pandas. We then ate lunch with the keepers and other staff before playing several rounds of Mafia and then loading back onto the bus.

Wenchuan Village • Afternoon • By Meghna

After our hearty meal, we headed for the town Wenchuan. Through the bus windows we saw field after field of bright yellow canola flowers and huge jagged mountains. Finally, after many bus games, we arrived at the hotel. After a much needed rest we headed out to explore the town. Our tour guide, Jordan, told us all about the town and it’s history. For hundreds of years the Qiang minority group has lived on the foothills of this town. Their rich culture shapes much of Wenchan today. Their clothing is especially extravagant with long dresses detailed with colorful flowers and lace.

After learning many interesting facts and anecdotes about the history of Wenchuan, we broke up into groups to explore the city. We found many little stores and tried lots of fun snacks. We eventually found ourselves in an authentic sichuan market. They had tons of crazy foods like cow heart and pig ears.

Following our exploration we went for a sichuan dinner. The food was super spicy but still delicious. While walking back to our hotel we passed an area full of people dancing and decided to join in. Apparently these people do the same 90 minute dance every night and, unlike us, have the choreography down to a tee. We followed along with the graceful moves of the locals as they laughed at our flailing arms and two left feet. However this was my personal favorite part of the trip. We truly dove into the culture and spent a night with the people of an amazingly cultural and awesome town.