I am 24 years old and today I went on a field trip.
Zhejiang University piled 12 busses full of foreign students (about 500 total) and bussed us an hour away to the small, sleepy town of Shaoxing.
Two years ago (pre-blog days) I visited Shaoxing with one of my best friends and a Chin.ese student. It has turned out that I have already visited most of the "tourism-worthy" towns within bus distance to Hangzhou, but I was still happy to go on a trip with school. It's still cool to see things a second time with different perspective.
16 out of 23 of my classmates went, and we had a jolly good time. I seriously love my class. We spend every day together and we are quite the eclectic bunch. As much as I gripe about being here, experiencing this with my multi-cutural class is probably one of the coolest experiences I will have in my life. (I know, quite the lofty stement, 'eh? But I mean it.)
Take our bus chatter topics for example: marriage customs in Germany, religion, British stereotypes of Americans and vice-versa, maternity leave customs in various Asian countries, Korean fashion, Spanish camp-style songs, and dirty jokes in every language.
After arriving in Shaoxing things got even more interesting. Chi.nese planning and 500 students from across the globe was hilarious. We were never really told a time to meet at each place we went and I have no idea what the significance was of each place we went. It was funny.
We arrived at our first stop, some guy's tomb, which was essentially a huge statue on a mountain top. We were told to 爬山, (climb mountain), and sent on our way up the 8,000 flights of stairs to the top. (mountains in Chi.na have cement stairs up them). Imagine Middle Eastern men in robes, No.rth Kor.eans with their pins on their lapels, African women in headgarb, European girls in short skirts and 4 inch heels, Chi.nese Italian men in sparkly peacoats, South Koreans with their huge, fake plastic glasses, and Americans in hoodies, all ascending this mountain at the same time.
After (sweating my guts out even in the freezing weather) meeting at the top for some photos and running into a few friends from other classes, we headed back down and climbed aboard the bus again this time destination: food.
All of us ate at the same restaurant that was reserved for us. The food choices were: strange. I'm still randomly getting a whiff of this one kind of tofu (cue: Jessica go brush your teeth). The highlight of the meal though was the duck served in its entirety. The interesting thing about eating meat in Ch.ina is that they don't let you forget that this was once an animal - whereas the meat I eat in 美国 (USA) doesn't resemble a once breathing thing. Regardless of the shape - it was delish. I think 3 of us ate the whole quacker.
After lunch we went to some nature area. I'm not really sure what it was. It was some nature place dedicated to the art of Chi.nese calligraphy. We just wandered around for 1.5 hours. At one point I saw some friends and broke away from my class. Soon though my friends needed to meet the bus and I found myself alone. Amongst 500 people. That was social anxiety I have not felt since highschool! haha. Soon I saw some people I know, though, and that was the end of that. Oh, highschool.
We boarded the bus and drove home, everyone passing out from the exhausting day.
Here's the pics!
the quacker (head to the right), before a dozen chopsticks attacked it:
some man's tomb we hiked to:
practicing writing my Chin.ese name (柯哓梅）in water on marble stone while my bestie in class, Stephanie from England, looks on: