HUAIROU, Beijing Province:
Only one class today - a perfect day to try out my festival lesson plan.
And it worked really well! Class 3 are one of my favourite classes - and they're a higher level, so it's easier to explain stuff to them anyway. I'd made up a powerpoint presentation looking at 'weird festivals' from around the world - told them about the Tomato Fight in Spain, the Cheese Rolling in that odd town in England, and Zombie Marches in North America. They were really interested, and they laughed at all the pictures I'd found - totally made all the effort I'd put into it worthwhile!
I moved from there to Halloween - and they were really interested in that too. Overall I was pretty chuffed with my class!
After my lesson I had the whole afternoon free, and because some of Sarah's classes had been moved around, she was free too. We decided to try out a restaurant we'd noticed up the hill from the school, and it turned out to be a Korean restaurant - B grade!
The food was lovely, and the staff we really friendly! A good find I think! Although, if you think Chinese chopsticks are difficult to get the hang of - don't try Korean chopsticks! They're made of metal and they're a lot thinner than Chinese chopsticks - virtually impossible to pick stuff up with them!!
After lots and lots of food we decided to go for a walk around the reservoir, and we bumped into Tom - the old Chinese bloke we met a few Saturdays ago, who'd lived in New York for 32 years!
He invited us in for some tea, and showed us all these travel books he'd collected over the years. He's offered to help me and Sarah with any of our travel plans - he said it might be difficult to get the information we need without speaking Chinese - especially if we don't already know what information we need!
He told us about a big park near his apartment block, and came for a walk with us around the park and the canal. The park was huge! In 1995 the UN's 4th World's Women Conference was held in Huairou (after a few complications) and the park honoured the work of the WWC.
It was really cool hanging out with Tom - because he could speak both Chinese and English fluently, he was a great source of information! We'd noticed before some people - in Harbin as well as in Huairou - were burning piles of what looked like paper... Tom explained to us that they burn fake money as a gift to the dead, and when we had more questions he took us over to a guy who was burning money and translated all our questions and answers! We were even shown the fake money the bloke was burning - so interesting!