Sunday, April 5th

Students began their language classes today, highlighted by a bus trip (local Beijing bus) to a supermarket! They enjoyed checking out all the offerings and purchasing mainly candy, drinks, and interestingly flavored potato chips. They had a long break in the middle of the day, and they engaged in various things during the break, ranging from lunch in one of the dining halls to basketball with Chinese students on the campus court to checking out some Chinese television, including a “Wipeout”-esque show.

The adult group, led by tour guide extraordinaire Bob Jones, set out for the Temple of Heaven. We took a bus and two subways, followed by a walk to the Temple’s South entrance. The various sites that emperors visited to make sacrifices were all beautiful, and we learned the importance of the number 9 in Chinese culture (3 sets of 9 steps up to the Circular Mound Altar). Following the visit, we happened upon a restaurant near the subway station that served Peking duck, and for the sum of 480 yuan (about $8 US apiece), dined on the duck and other dishes: eggplant, bok choy, tofu, pork, rice, and “squirrel-fish” – a fish shown to us live and then scaled, scored, and deep fried, presented with its mouth open, its tail curled up, and its body looking like (sorry, but no other way to accurately describe it) an Outback Steakhouse bloomin’ onion. We returned to greet the students bearing their supermarket purchases and ready for a dinner break before their evening classes

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