Shanghu Lake & the Changshu Museum

Today started early for our students with some being woken as early as 4.30 am and  most of them arriving at school by 6.30 am! The transport varied from riding bicycles, being driven or riding the local bus. Everyone enjoyed their first night and enjoyed swapping stories about their new families, the homes they stayed in and the food they ate. Eden won the prize for the most luxurious home and the most unusual dinner. After eating a most unusual looking and tasting dish Eden inquired about what he had just consumed and discovered it was an ox testicle!

Everyone attended 2 or 3 lessons this morning and also joined in on the morning exercise session where the whole school does exercise for 15 minutes. Some run laps of the track, others do exercises or skipping and another group runs laps around the school grounds. The classes were all in Chinese and this made it difficult for some to work out what was happening in their classroom!

After these early lessons one of the teachers took us to the Changshu History Museum. We caught a local bus and enjoyed mixing with the local people during our journey. The museum provides a lot of information about the very famous scholars who are from this area and also about the initial establishment of the city of Changshu. It is a very significant historical area and there were many displays of ancient jade, ceramics, silk paintings and many other artifacts. there was also a section of paintings by famous artists. Once we had looked through the museum we went back to school for lunch. The students ate in the cafeteria with their host brothers and sisters while the teachers were taken to a local restaurant for their lunch.

In the afternoon we were driven to the  Shanghu Lake Scenic Spot. It is an enormous lake where you can hire boats, visit tea houses, listen to traditional Chinese music being performed and enjoy the many walks and the lovely views. It is a very popular place due to the open spaces and the peace and quiet. Such a contrast to everyday life in a Chinese city. During our walk we found an amusement park and convinced our guide to stop so we could have a turn on the dodgem boats.

We made it back to school in time for the students to meet their hosts after the final class for the day and then head home for their second night of home-stay. The host families are looking after the students very well and the staff have been taken out for some fantastic meals by the Principal and teachers at CFLMS. Everyone has been extremely friendly and we are being made to feel very welcome. The generosity of our Chinese friends is wonderful.

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