China Team Journal

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 9

By Gael Entrikin

Thought for the Day: I have, I say, set out again
The days tumble with meanings
The corners leap up with poetry.
Whole unfilled systems litter the ice.
Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk

The day started with not only the journal report and thought for the day, but also an explanation of the eye exercises we observed yesterday. The thought for the day we should have had: Remember!!! Please understand there will be changes.

Hu Di outlined our day, including our afternoon trip to the Provincial History Museum followed by dinner at Peking Duck. Question: Can we have rice wine? (We have heard of its reputation). Hu Di’s answer, “We’ll see how you behave.” She told the story behind the Chinese idiom “Playing the lute to a cow” That certainly does not pertain to our experience here; the students are very receptive.

For the four of us at the school, much of the day followed an ever-changing schedule. Late for the first class (missed) we were later unexpectedly propelled into a make-up class. Then, as predicted, lunch. Meals are one the fixed point of every day. During one break, Dave and Michael played ping-pong in the secret faculty room.

The trip to the History Museum had to be postponed. The minivan driving us back to the hotel swung by the museum, where we saw lines, long lines, lines squiggled down the block. Hu Di subsequently confirmed by phone that if we had arrived as scheduled at 3:00 p.m., there was little chance we would have been admitted.

Peggy’s day at the La La Shou Center also went well; she had a translation student from a university who was a great help.

None the less, for most of us the day went well. A good lunch at the school, attentive “audiences” for our lute playing, a special dinner with Peking duck with a view of the Wild Goose Pagoda, and the evening water show. The air cleared enough so that stars and the moon could be seen.