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EF Group Excursion

Update 12/21/06: Pictures added!

Today was an exceptional day. Though it was our day off, we had scheduled a group outing with most of the teachers and staff. The plan, as announced to us, was “Go up a mountain (hill), go down the mountain, ferry to an island, have a barbecue, and go home.”

Being far and away the most experienced at such things, I was put in charge of the food. We decided that we weren’t going to mess around: we were going to have sausages, pork, chicken, bread, and lots of veggies. When we went shopping, we found that although there were many forms of sausage, none were recognizable to our Western eye, and so we just got 2 or 3 of everything in hopes that some of it would be tasty. We ended up with about 10 lbs of sausage, 4 lbs. of pork, and 2 large whole chickens. This is to feed 14 people, mind you. We also got about 40 rolls, 6 or 8 baguettes and maybe 10 lbs. of veggies. No, I didn’t do that part of the shopping.

At 9:00 this morning we loaded everyone and everything into a chartered bus, and headed off to the mountain. It was a bit of a drive, but we only got lost once. We parked the bus at the base of the hill (probably a 500-ft climb), and headed up. It was incredibly foggy, so I apologize for the haze in most of the pictures.

At the top of the mountain was a Buddhist monastery. We explored it for quite a while. The pictures basically speak for themselves.

SchoolTrip 020

School Trip

Buddha!

After we had explored the monastery, we headed back down to the bus. Load back up, and head for the ferry to the island.

When we got to the ferry station, we found that we had missed the ferry by a few minutes, and there wouldn’t be another for an hour. However, there were some locals who offered to take us to the island on their small speedboats. So we headed down a precarious path to the water’s edge. It took 4 boats to hold our whole group. They then headed at high speed out through the congested shipping lanes of the Yangtze River, dodging between massive barges and cargo ships. It was quite nerve-wracking, but great fun.

It was about an 8-minute ride to the island. There, we were met by some small buses, who took us on a meandering course through the island. It was quite remarkable, because it was the Chinese version of a “rural” community. It was quite rundown, but fascinating. We ended up on a sandbar near the water, and there we set up our barbecue.

It is worth pointing out that it was perhaps 55 degrees, overcast, misting, and windy. Far from ideal BBQ weather, but we weren’t going to let that stop us. We set up the grill (we’d had it custom-made at a local metal shop), and set to cooking. While we didn’t manage to eat everything, we made a good showing for ourselves.

As we were cooking, we explored around us a bit. The first thing we noticed were camels -CAMELS- in a pen. Nobody had the nerve to actually mess with them, but it made for some interesting speculation as to why exactly CAMELS were on an island in the Yangtze.

Hello Mr. Camel!

Then we noticed that one of the many fish farms nearby was being harvested. Having never experienced a fish farm, we went down to investigate. And we ended up helping them harvest their catch for quite a while. It must have been quite bizarre for them, to have these foreigners appear out of nowhere and gleefully help them with their chores. Anyway, it was quite an experience.

School Trip

On the fish farm

After we’d gorged ourselves on food and cleaned up our mess, we headed back to the school. On our walk home, we came across a few folks standing around a tree, which a kitten had unwisely climbed. I climbed the tree to try to get it down, but it only climbed higher. Oh well.

Now we’re home, and exhausted. A great day.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Aunt Jann | December 11, 2006 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Sounds like quite the adventure! Thinking about you – be safe!
    Love, J,B,B and CP

  2. Mean Aunt Pat | December 12, 2006 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a day! How were the different sausages?

  3. eosha | December 12, 2006 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    They were all pretty good, but none of them quite satisfied the craving for a good bratwurst…

    -Sam

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