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Panda has been named!

The official name of José’s friend from China is “OREO‘!!!

Hacky Sack

Playing Hacky Sack is a pastime in China that not only children but adults enjoy as well.

How long will your class be able to keep the Hacky Sack going without touching the ground?

[wmv width=”320″ height=”240″]http://sjeds.org/blog/china/movies/hackysack.wmv[/wmv]

José and his new friend

In Beijing, José found another new friend: A panda bear. He does not have a name yet, but many of you came up with some great suggestions. It is time to vote for a name now. Each class will vote from the following suggestion and will let us know the winning name for their class, by leaving a comment to this post. We will announce the school wide winning name as soon as all classes have voted.

Please choose your favorite name from these suggestions:

  1. Boo
  2. Bamboo
  3. Pamboo
  4. Bamboozle
  5. Oreo
  6. Tux
  7. Yin Yang
  8. Ling-Ling
  9. Sing-Sing
  10. Noodle

We were very lucky to be able to communicate throughout our journey to China through this blog with the teachers and students from SJEDS.

Every hotel we stayed in, had Internet connections available for us, some faster than others. During our last day in Shanghai, we started having problems accessing certain websites, such as the Photo Service we were using to upload photos. This continued during our stay in Xi’An, but miraculously solved itself as soon as we arrived in Beijing.

While trying to research places we had visited during the day in order to add documentation to our blog posts, we found that we were not able to access Wikipedia.org and other websites at all. Something we are not used to at all here in America. It was an odd feeling being behind the great “Firewall” of China.
In anticipation of our travels, I had installed a program called Skype on the laptop. That program served as well, since we were able to make free calls back home to other skype members (computer to computer) and only be charged a few cents per minute to calls from the laptop to a land phone line. We also were able to use Skype to hold a video conference with some of the students back home at SJEDS.

Transportation

In our two weeks of travel we used many different transportation methods in order to get from point A to point B. We have learned that people in different parts of the world are using very different kinds of transportation what we are used to in Jacksonville, Florida/USA.

The kind of transportation used, often depends on the city the people live in. Does the city have a lot or few people? Is it located in the mountains, river or at the sea? Are the people poor or are they rich?

Hong Kong is a city located on an island at the South China Sea. Since the island has also many mountains, there is not much space for the people to live and move about. We did not see many private cars driving around Hong Kong, but mostly taxis, double decker buses, and double decker trams. People in Hong Kong also use many ferries to get around town. Although traffic is very hectic and chaotic, we were surprised that people seldom used their horns while driving. In the video you will see a clip about many woman from the Philippines who live and work in Hong Kong and on the weekend send boxes back to their families home.

In Shanghai the “horn honking” changed dramatically. Everybody used them to warn others “Here I come, no matter what…”. There were also many taxis driving around town. Before leaving Shanghai, we were able to take the Maglev train. it is the fastest train in the world. We reached 431 km/h.

In Xi’An we learned that no lane lines are being honored. Everybody chooses to drove where ever there is a little room to squeeze through. Bicycles share the same roads (even Highways) with automobiles. Those bicycles look usually very old and carry heavy cargo, sometimes two to three times the hight of the actual bike. We also saw many, many bikes carrying two people.

Beijing seemed to be the most crowded city, we visited. We were almost always stuck in a traffic jam. That was especially nerve wrecking when trying to get to the airport in order to board our plane back to the United States. In Beijing we also were driven for the first time in a Rickshaw around the narrow Hutongs (alleys). Those are the preferred methods of taxis for many.
[wmv width=”320″ height=”240″]http://sjeds.org/blog/china/movies/transportation.wmv[/wmv]

China Crossword Puzzle

Test your knowledge about China, by completing the following puzzle. You can download a  copy of a crossword puzzle.

Across
4. Official Language spoken in China?
5. Chinese money currency.
9. Which city is called "Pearl of the Orient"?
11. Typical ancient alley in Beijing?
12. How many stars does the Chinese Flag have?
 
Down
1. Which continent is China located on?
2. Endangered species, native to China.
3. Capital of China.
6. How do you say "hello" in Chinese?
7. Which emperor was China named after?
8. What is the great desert called in Northern China?
10. How many thousands of years was "silk making" kept a secret in China?

Restrooms

Here is the post everyone has been waiting for. Yes, come on… admit it…

Restrooms are a little bit different in China to the ones we are used to in America. Now we can’t obviously speak for the “Washroom” for the gentlemen, but we are assuming that is is not much different.
Here are a few observations during our trip.

1. Squatting toilets:

It seems that most Chinese women, even elderly ones are very trained in using these kind of toilets. In most restrooms that we frequented there was a least one stall with a “Western style” toilet.
Xian 056 hong_kong 135 hong_kong 134

2. Toilet Paper:
Xian 127 shanghai 077

Only on very rare occasions will you find actual toilet paper in the stalls. Most of the time they are hidden somewhere else in the restroom, outside of the stall. We wondered why that was the case? Do you think it is to prevent toilet paper waste?

3. Flushing:

shanghai 010

We also found a toilet that had two buttons to choose from for flushing. One to only use half the amount of water and the other to use all the water in the tank.

Off to the airport

We will be picked up by the tour guide in a few minutes to be taken to the airport.

We are logging off for the last time in China and hope to see all of you on Friday at school before you head off into winter break.

Zai jian,

Mrs. Tolisano & Mrs. St-Cyr

Peking Dinner

Beijing 207

After climbing the Great Wall we were taken to a food specialty of Beijing, the Peking Duck. The link below explains the dinner, the only difference is that on Mrs. St-Cyr’s plate the head of the duck was still on it, staring at her…
Further Reading:

Ming Tombs

After visiting the Jade Factory, we headed for the Ming Tombs, the resting place of 13 of the 16 emperors from the Ming dynasty. The Chang Ling tomb, the final resting place of the Emperor Yongle (1360-1424), was the first built and is the most impressive. The underground vault where the Emperor and Empress are believed to be buried has not been excavated.

Beijing 167

Spirit Tower: Entrance to the burial chamber.
Beijing 160

Statue of Emperor Yongle: He was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. It was during the reign of Emperor Yongle that the construction of the Forbidden City was initiated.
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One of the many crowns worn by the Empress.

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