China Team Journal

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weekend for Vacation Volunteers in China

Thought for the day:

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. "  - Ernest Hemingway

The trails of our intrepid band of 12 Volunteers separated and converged in several ways for Saturday and Sunday.

Free time destinations included Tanhua Si Park, Green Lake Park, Yunnan Ethnic Peoples’ Theme Park, a Yi Stone Village and Shilin Stone Forest, the Provincial Museum, the Kunming Exposition Hall, the Military Museum and Anning Hot Springs.

Special meals were served to the Volunteers al fresco at the Inn in the Stone Village, and at a rustic Dai barbecue restaurant near Anning. Special dishes were enjoyed by some of the Volunteers at the elegant restaurant of the Green Lake Hotel. 

Li Baokun (Chris), our Host, directs the Continuing Teachers’ Education Program at Yunnan University.  He accompanied the Stone Village/ Stone Forest Four on Saturday, and the Hot Springs/ Dai Barbecue Six on Sunday. 

Our Country Manager, Wang Bao Li was our companion to Tanhua Si Park and to Anning.

Tanhua Si Park is reached by public bus, about 10 minutes’ ride from our Hotel. The grounds of the 7-story Pagoda slope gently up from the Park’s entrance at street level.  There are sections of garden, pavilions, fish ponds, covered passageways, bamboo groves, and a grass-covered open space on a hill.  We saw drawing classes, crafts stations for young children, fish feeding and fish catching, picnicking, music rehearsals, and martial arts practice. Inside the pagoda, we ascended 7 levels and were rewarded with views of the City and of the Western Hills. 

The Hot Springs, an hour’s drive from Kunming, is in a delightful pine forest setting.  The dozens of pools come in a variety of temperatures and colors.  One of the cooler pools was the one with small fish that delicately nibbled the feet of Lester, Stella, Leon, Nancy and Bao Li. After relaxing in a couple of pools for almost 3 hours, that group headed to one of the many Dai barbecue places.  The meal consisted of grilled chickens, split and flattened, with heads still on, crispy-skinned whole fish, mushrooms wrapped in banana leaves, whole eggplants stuffed with green onions ground meat and chilies, doufu, grilled bread, soup with greens, and pineapple rice served in a pineapple shell. The seasoning, very spicy, was superb. 

All, in all, the weekend was relaxing and restorative. Now we are energized for the final 5 intensive days of classes and 2 afternoons of off-campus activities with our students!
- Dixie