The Stone Forest and New Friends
We had a very busy day in Kunming today. We left school at 8 am this morning and headed out to the Stone Forest, a national park founded in the 1930’s with some truly unique Karst (limestone) pillars.
We got to ride on a battery powered cart up to the forest.
Group in the park. The geological formations were quite impressive. We had fun exploring some small paths that wound through the peaks.
A view looking out over part of the forest.
Our crew in front of the calligraphy of the founder of the park. The characters are 石林 shilin (石shi means stone and 林 lin means forest.)
We got to spend part of the morning with just a few fellow sightseers (yes, those really are all other people there.) There is a saying in Chinese 人山人海 (literally people mountain people ocean) which means to be crowded with people. Today was a great example of this phrase.
Niles made a new friend while we were at the Stone Forest.
After lunch, we headed to Yiliang County Number 1 Middle School (which in America would be a high school grades 10-12). The school has a huge new campus and 3,300 students. Each class has an average of 80 students in the room! A bit different than Gould! The students were very excited to meet us and we had a great afternoon of doing art projects, watching and being part of a talent show. (I have video proof… if you bribe me well enough I just might be willing to show you 😉 )
First we went out to make plaster statutes. It was a fun (and somewhat messy) process… sorry to everyone who has to do laundry in a few days.
The groups starts by washing out their bowls to make plaster.
Hayli gets help from the art teacher.
Colby and Hayli get the plaster into all the parts of the mould.
Schuyler and Chris inspect their work.
Ankey and Haylee get a bit dirty in the process of making their statues.
John gets some help from a teacher.
Alex gets some moulding advice.
Matt and his new friend Aaron talk about the process.
After making statues, it was time for introductions, gift giving and exchanging talents. (A lot of talent on their side… questionable singing from the Gould delegation.) After a number of the Yiliang County students introduced themselves, it was our turn. Here are a few of the kids doing their self-introductions.
We we treated to an erhu performance. The erhu is a two stringed instrument where the bow is actually attached between the strings.
There were also calligraphy demonstrations.
One of the calligraphy students wrote Ankey and Haylee’s names for them. Great brushwork!
I had an opportunity to chat with one of the principals of the school. It was interesting to compare notes about the differences between our two schools.
We sang “Build Me Up Buttercup” as our “talent.” While we may not have been as polished as their acts, we made up for it in enthusiasm! Our act was very well received.
The rest of the afternoon and dinner was spend with the students from Yiliang County chatting and making new friends. Our students were VERY popular and there was a lot of excited giggling in Chinese about how handsome the boys were and how beautiful the girls were. Lots of pictures were taken. Lots of autographs were signed. Our kids got a small taste of celebrity today. I am not sure any of them really want to be followed by the paparazzi any time soon.
The whole group at Yiliang County Number 1 Middle School.
Schuyler and Chris have their picture taken.
Group shots. Lots of pictures being taken.
I was also interviewed by a local news channel (I think)…
Ms. Drew has her picture taken with a student from Yiliang County.
Chris signs an autograph.
Niles rocks a new hat that was given to him by one of the students. You can’t see it too well, but it is a smashing embroidered floral piece.
After a long day, we hopped on the bus to head back to KMFLS and our host families for one of our last nights in China. Tomorrow we get to go see some Kungfu and then we will have some time to spend with different groups at KMFLS communicating.