The Stone Forest and New Friends

March 25, 2014

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.

Trolly to Stone Forest

We got to ride on a battery powered cart up to the forest.

Stone Forest crew

Group in the park. The geological formations were quite impressive. We had fun exploring some small paths that wound through the peaks.



Stone Forest


A view looking out over part of the forest.

Stone 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.)

sightseeing with a few friends


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 making friends


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. Washing the bowls

The groups starts by washing out their bowls to make plaster.

teacher with Hayli

Hayli gets help from the art teacher.

Colby and Hayli love making statues

Colby and Hayli get the plaster into all the parts of the mould.

Sky and Chris busy making statue

Schuyler and Chris inspect their work.

Messy statue making

Ankey and Haylee get a bit dirty in the process of making their statues.

John getting help with his statue


John gets some help from a teacher.Alex gets instruction for making statue

Alex gets some moulding advice.

Matt and Friend

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.

Sky introduction

Chris intro

Alex intro

John intro

Hayli intro

Ankey intro

erhu playing

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.

Ankey and Haylee

One of the calligraphy students wrote Ankey and Haylee’s names for them. Great brushwork!

Colin meets Vice Principal

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.

Buttercup Baby

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 group at Yi Liang

The whole group at Yiliang County Number 1 Middle School.

very popular

Schuyler and Chris have their picture taken.


Group shots. Lots of pictures being taken.

Colin being interviewed

I was also interviewed by a local news channel (I think)…

Ms Drew has her picture taken

Ms. Drew has her picture taken with a student from Yiliang County.

Chris signing autographs

Chris signs an autograph.

Niles in his new hat

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.



3 Responses

  1. Avatar Jennifer says:

    So awesome to see the updates!!! Thank you again! It looks like they are feeling very welcomed.

  2. Avatar Lorie says:

    So cool! I can’t wait to see the talent contest! Pending proper bribery, of course…..
    Thanks again for putting in so much time and effort to keep us up to date with what’s happening over there. It’s wonderful to see all of these great experiences.

  3. Avatar Rachel says:

    Thanks again for the informative update. What a blast for us to see our kids transforming and growing as individuals. What an experience…

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