Yesterday we took a 9 hour train ride from Xi'an to the small, ancient town of Pingyao in Shanxi Province. On the train, our Chinese bunkmates asked us why we were going to Pingyao, and they told us there really isn't anything to see. Friends... this entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I don't know why they think there isn't anything to see here! The ancient city is still entirely enclosed by the wall and there are tons of old courtyard houses still intact.
Today, we had an amazing day and a very rare opportunity - we taught English to about 40 elementary school students. Last night the manager of the school came to our hotel when he found out English speakers were staying there - and he asked us if we would be willing to come to the class to teach the students about animals using English. We agreed, a little bit hesitantly because of the occasional person who tries to scam us. This morning after breakfast, they picked us up at our hotel and off we went, crossing our fingers they weren't going to kill us. LOL. Just kidding.
It was really fun, the kids were repeating us, all 35 of them saying at once "A lion has 4 legs." "I have 2 legs." At one point, my husband had them all (including himself) simultaneously quacking and flapping their arms like a duck. I have a great picture of it to embarrass him with later.
Afterwards, our new friends took us to the local middle and high school. It was huge. They have 6,000 students - but not only that, it was just BIG. A lot of students' homes are really far away in small villages, so they live at the school in dorms, like we do for college in the U.S. We met the principal, vice principal, and there was lots of picture taking. It was really funny - they really want to expose the kids to foreigners.
Finally - our new friends invited us out to dinner tonight! And before they dropped us back off at our hotel, they gave us 2 small gifts as their way of thanking us. I was given a beautiful jewelry box - it is the "techan" here - hmm... how to say it in English... the "special product" of the local area - what its known for. Its beautiful! Everyone was so warm and kind to us - we have met amazing hospitable Chinese friends on this trip.
Since I don't have any real pictures to show you because of the USB cord mishap - I did try to take a couple pictures - using my Macbook - of the really cool guesthouse we are staying at. It is in a traditional courtyard house that was built in the 1700s. Its gorgeous, a great mixture of the old and the new!
And trying to give you a view of the room - its a traditional style kang bed - its huge. It could fit a family of 5 on it, really. Its a lot harder than we are used to though. Anyway, I love the furnishings in the room... you'll see it a lot better when I get my real pictures upload.
I'm laughing because my husband asked what I was doing, and I told him I was trying to get a picture of the room for the blog - and he told me maybe I should move my big head out of the way, ha ha ha! That guy.
OK, off to explore the city! Hope you all are having a great time wherever you are. I promise I will be back and commenting on all your blogs soon enough - I so desperately want to catch up! But my internet is shoddy at best - right now I am using the wifi in the guesthouse restaurant.