This morning the students attended the first two classes of the day and then participated in the morning exercises with all of the Chinese students. We then met with some teachers and all of the host brothers and sisters in the library to say goodbye to our friends. The Chinese students were very sad saying goodbye to our students and a few were trying to hold back tears. Some of the students are hoping to visit us in July so we may get to meet them again.
Principal Xia and Lily (one of the Assistant Principals) then walked with us to Xingfu Temple which is at the base of Yushan Mountain. We spent an hour exploring the temple and enjoying the peace and quiet before going to the very busy meeting area near the temple. This area has many tea houses and places to buy food and is very popular with the locals. They like to meet friends here, drink tea, play card games and enjoy some food together. We visited a noodle shop recommended by Mr Chester and Mr Dows and enjoyed an early lunch amongst the local people.
After our lunch we enjoyed a walk up the side of Yushan Mountain through the forest. We then walked down past tea plantations and some very old cemeteries to the Old City Wall of Changshu. A section of the wall that once surrounded the oringinal city of Changshu has been renovated as a tourist site. The steps are very steep and the view from the wall was spectacular despite the heavy smog that has been over Changshu over the past few days.
From the wall we walked through the centre of Changshu to our hotel. After checking in the students spent some time relaxing in their rooms – a few even had an hours sleep to recover form the very busy days we have had here. Following our rest we all walked to Walmart to buy snacks and drinks for our journey to Beijing on the bullet train tomorrow. Dinner tonight was varied with some of us enjoying Pizza Hut, some having dumplings and others enjoying some food off the street or from Walmart. All of the students had some free time after dinner to explore the walking street before returning to the hotel.