We knew ahead of time that, although today would be another long day, it would be a slow day. We had no site visits planned for the day. We were looking forward to our first event of the day, which was practicing dragon dancing. Unfortunately, due to rain, it was cancelled. Although we were looking forward to the dragon dance, we also enjoyed an extra 2 hours of down time that was gifted to us at the last minute. Our first lecture of the day was on the education system in China. Our Chinese lecturer did a fantastic job of explaining the education system in China. Much to our surprise, we saw that the U.S. and China have similar education systems. Both in the U.S. and in China, it takes twelve years of education after the early years to graduate from high school. Although, elementary, middle, and high school are called different names in China, they follow the same time frame. Even in college, the time it takes to get a degree is very nearly similar.
After lunch, we had a seminar on Chinese astrology. This was an interesting session where two professors explained all the various elements in Chinese astrology. We discussed the twelve animals that are on their calendars. Every student wanted to know what type of animal they were and they “ooed and aahed” as they were told about their character traits. After astrology class, our final class for the day was on Chinese calligraphy and painting. We were taught how to paint simple animals on white paper. Although it looked tough, using just a few strokes of the paint brush, one could paint a full animal. We drew a horse and a Panda. Surprisingly, these simple techniques made us look like semi-professional artists.
So far, this is the first day we have not stepped onto our bus to go anywhere. We had a highly entertaining evening planned for us. We went to dinner at the Nanjing Da Pei Dan, which is a traditional Chinese restaurant. Nanjing is named after a place whereas Da Pei Dan means eatery. This was one of the biggest restaurants that we had ever encountered. We sat down and ordered food by item. All items were served in small portions. Our favorites were the chicken wings and dumplings.
After dinner, we headed to a theater to experience some of the arts in Chinese culture – acrobatics. The performers seamlessly performed various high flying acts that had us shaking our head wondering how they did that. After the show, it was time for us to retire back to our hotel. Our guides, Henry and Irene, have been a blessing in disguise. They have been by our side the entire trip and with them, we felt safe and comfortable. It was a quick one hour show after which we boarded our bus back to the hotel. We didn’t do much today other than stay on campus. We are looking forward to the next day, which is our final full day in Beijing.