Well, after my last post the trip really started to get interesting. Last night we discovered a night club in our hotel, along with hard mattresses, leaking showers and flooding toilets. Kept us on our toes to say the least, but by the morning we were headed out of Beijing to Hengshui on a bus with some other kids from high schools in America.
One thing we’ve noticed so far is that when it comes to driving and crossing the street in China, it’s like a cage match between drivers where anything is game. People drive on the wrong side of the road to pass others, run red lights and slalom between cars like its a video game. It’s as if the Chinese invented the car horn, too. Imagine driving in Boston along with thousands of other blindfolded drivers and that’s pretty much Beijing traffic.
Luckily, once outside of the city we were on clear roads heading through miles and miles of farmland. The fields seemed to roll endlessly along, fading off into the smog ridden air. Abi Cohen nearly lost her voice from chatting on the bus for awhile.
When we arrived at our hotel in Hengshui, a sigh of relief seemed to implode from the bus. The hotel is gorgeous to say the least, almost castle-like on the outside. We got 10 minutes to drop our bags off and explore, and then off to Hengshui Lake we went. The lake itself was littered with islands and other Chinese natives who enjoyed staring at us and, on more than one occasion, they asked to take pictures with us foreigners.
We then took a boat ride out to the middle of the lake to an island with a zoo. The zoo was rather decrepit and depressing however, with small, filthy cages for the animals. Joe Hallal and I engaged in our first bargain in China with one of the shop keepers at the zoo.
After the zoo we finally reached Hengshui High School amidst a crowd of students excitedly waiting to see us. Hugh Smith greeted old friends as he had ventured to Hengshui last year, and even Nick Chaudary was mistaken for a boy who went on the trip previously. The students, along with some teachers and the principals, took us on a tour of their large campus which holds upwards of 6,000 students for only three grades. One peculiar thing I learned from the students is that the 75 students in each class remain in the same room all day while the teachers cycle in and out to teach. The same 75 kids stay in class together for all 3 years as well.
We were then led to another traditional Chinese meal, lazy Susan style of course, with foods both delicious and strange.
Next was the performance rehearsal and to be honest…we’ve got quite some work to do. All the other acts were fairly professional and well rehearsed while us Warriors struggled to remember the words to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Not to worry though Andoverites, we’ll make you proud in the actual performance.
Keep reading for more information on our trip Warriors!
By Zach Perry