July 10th of this year, I left for an amazing trip for China with students from my brother’s school. The school, RESCUAcademy, is for kids that have trouble learning in normal environments or they have drug and alcohol problems. The students that I went with were very friendly and fun to be around and I was glad that I had been invited to join them.
We took a 13-hour, excruciatingly boring plane ride to Hong Kong. The plane landed at a decent hour and so we could go to bed as soon as we got to the hotel. When we left the airport to get on the bus, we definitely did not expect it to be 90 degrees at 8:30 pm. It hit us like an oncoming train as we rushed to the air-conditioned bus with our Guide. Even before the actual tour began, we were seeing many things we were not used to on the way to the hotel. They drive on the opposite side of the road than we do – but only in Hong Kong. Everywhere else in China, they drive the same as we do.
In Hong Kong, we climbed the nearly-300-steps to the biggest Buddha in the world, took a cable-car, experienced bargaining for the first time, and nearly all got heatstroke in the Mong Kok shopping district.
After Hong Kong, we went to Shanghai. At the airport, we encountered a surprising amount of racism. One of the boys in our group is black. At security, they pulled him away from the rest of us and questioned him, asking if he had ever committed a crime, if he was a good person, and if he was an American citizen. We got him through, though. I would like to say that that was the only time it had happened, but it wasn’t. It happened in the Shanghai airport, the Xi’an airport, and even the Beijing airport.
I am happy to say that he did not let any of this deter him from having fun. In Shanghai, we went to the 88th floor of the MaoTower, which is almost like the empire state building here in America. In Xi’an, we saw the Terracotta Warriors. They have at least 8,000 uncovered and they estimate that there may still be even more under ground. I want to go see them when they have more surfaced. In Beijing, we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Unfortunately, a few of us got sick, including me, and we had to go back to the hotel. It turned out that I had gotten diarrhea and a few others got heat exhaustion. One of the kids even got salmonella. The next day, we unfortunately were not better. The students that were well went to the Great Wall and the rest of us stayed all day in the hotel. The hotel in Beijing was definitely not my favorite. All of the beds during the trip had been like picnic tables, but these also had fleas in them.
Sadly, that was the last day and we would be going home the next morning. The flight back home was an hour less than the one to China, but boring nonetheless. When we landed, we were ecstatic. Although China was fun, and the food was great, we had all been a little homesick, as well as sick of dumplings. I would love to go back some time, but I don’t want to see another dumpling, no matter how delicious they were, for a year at least.
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