This morning, one of the breakfast attendants
asked me for my room number before letting me into the eating
area. Instead of saying the usual "ee" for "one",
I said "yao", which is also one but in a different dialect.
I had heard it before in the States and now I was unconsciously
using it in China. The people here understand "ee" if
I were to say it but it just makes more sense to say "yao".
first stop of the morning was the hovercraft tour of the Yellow
River (Huanghe) - the second longest river in China.. This was
my first time seeing a hovercraft and I must say it was pretty
cool looking. After the bottom tube was inflated it went over
almost everything with ease. The Yellow River stays true to its
name—it is incredibly dirty and more of a brown than yellow. The
hovercraft dropped us off on a small island in the middle of the
river. We saw farmers with horses and some students paid a small
fee to ride a horse on an island in the middle of the Yellow River.
Before it was time to leave, everyone crowded around a small patch
of land that looked firm but had a trampoline-like effect to it.
We found out it could be expanded and soon everybody was jumping
on it. Surprisingly, the ground did not cave in but rather pushed
back. I guess it could be compared to a giant waterbed; the ground
held up 24 students while maintaining a springy texture.
After the hovercraft landed back at the base station a lady came
out to hand us wet towels so we could wipe our hands. I thought
it was really nice to have such great unexpected service. Then
we walked to a dam right above the Yellow River. I got to walk
around, take a picture of a statue at the top, and sit on a hammock
made of wood. Here was where I decided to stop having soda at
each meal because I felt dehydrated and somewhat sluggish.
next stop after lunch was the Henan Province museum. It was built
by I.M. Pei and contained the history of the Henan Province along
with artifacts and special exhibitions. I didn't know if we were
going to Yue Fei's temple so I took a picture of a picture of
his temple. Many of the students were getting restless so we did
not spend much time at the museum.
Since everybody was restless, we all got a 2 hour break after
the museum. I spent a good hour at the internet bar from last
night typing out emails. Then the internet went down throughout
the city so I left with Joe, Darryle, and Pete to go wait for
the bus to pick us up. Haibo took our group to a location that
was not on the itinerary—a date shop. It was a shop full of goods
made from dates such as medicines and snacks. I looked around
for a bit and then went to play cards with Michael, Matt, Ryan,
Jason, and Darryl.
Dinner tonight was a little more special than other dinners,
if only by personal opinion. I ate many of the things I would
normally pass up like cucumber, doh chih (bean sprouts), noodle
soup, and beef with dong gwa (a type of melon) just as small attempt
to get my daily servings of vegetables. I also did not drink any
soda in order to not be so sluggish. All in all, it was one of
those dinners where you feel full but did not eat too much.
After dinner Haibo surprised us all by taking us to get massages.
Tonight we were scheduled to ride the night train and since we
had an hour or so to kill, everybody except two students opted
for the massages. It cost 120 yuan and was worth that price. There
was another option of getting a body massage but I felt that I
put more strain on my feet than my body so I got the foot massage.
The lady I had was a bit rough but I still enjoyed my first foot
massage ever. She basically beat my left leg and foot until it
was numb and then did the same to my right leg and foot. At the
end I even got a new pair of socks to wear, though I chose to
wear my original ones on the train.
The night train turned out to be an awesome experience. Each
compartment was about the size of a bathroom but held four bunks,
a small table, and more room than expected. Jason and I got top
bunks while Henry and Dustin got bottom bunks. Each bunk had a
soft mattress, two blankets, and one pillow, plus extra pillows
in the storage bin in case you wanted more. I took out the pillows
and threw my luggage in the storage bin, wrote a little in my
journal, and fell asleep almost immediately after putting my journal
Inside the night train compartment