We began our adventure in China today with a visit to yet another school. We traveled to the Yucai School in Beijing which contains an elementary, middle and high school. Unfortunately, we did not interact with the students like we did at all the other schools as much, but we were given a tour of the place.

AHS students play soccer with Chinese students of Yincai High School.
AHS students play soccer with Chinese students of Yincai High School.

The compound was huge with 3 main campuses for the 3 separate schools and basketball courts all over. There was even an extensive museum on Chinese architecture with intricate models that make Lego builders look like amateurs.

Paying respect to 389 year old tree situated in the middle of a soccer field.
Paying respect to 380 year old tree situated in the middle of a soccer field.

We did get to challenge some of the students to a soccer match on a field with a tree smack dab in the middle of it. The tree was over 380 years old, so I guess they had a tough time parting with it.

We had lunch in the mall, much to my dismay because it was simply McDonald’s but most of our group was ecstatic to have a break from Chinese food. Sadly for Larisa Kreismanis and me the McFlurry machine stopped working.

After the mall we went to a lovely tea house where we tried Jasmine, Litchi and other types of tea. Next we went to the Beijing zoo. This zoo was not quite as decrepit as the one at Hengshui lake, but some of us still couldn’t help but feel uneasy.

Students and chaperons pose at the Beijing Zoo.
Students and chaperons pose at the Beijing Zoo.

Caroline Price pointed out that all of the animals seemed hungry, sick or depressed which was rather eye opening. You would think that in a major zoo that is a tourist attraction for people around the world that the animals would be well taken care of…

After we saw pandas, monkeys and birds at the zoo we went to the Summer Palace. The weather was sadly starting to deteriorate and the already smoggy air was darkening, so it wasn’t quite as beautiful a view as I would imagine it on a bright summer’s day. Nonetheless the view was beautiful. I was rather disappointed that we could not actually go into the palace or see the famous marble boat because it was too expensive, but the walk around the lake that the palace is on was enough for all of us.

After dinner at another typical Chinese restaurant we found a Walmart to get some snacks for our big day at the Great Wall tomorrow. Wish us luck! We’ve been warned that it’s quite the strenuous journey.

By Zach Perry