Slowing Down

School wasn’t scheduled to start until 2:30 in the afternoon today, so our rural students/teachers would have time to return to the city after the weekend. Jim and Esther negotiated the subway construction zone to go to Parksons downstairs grocery store, where the clerks were helpful as the two browsed the local and imported offerings. Nancy headed in the other direction, to Walmart, where her purchases were easily made because team leader Baoli had kindly written in Chinese characters the names for a thumb drive, dish towel, and 29-layer Yunnan candy. Dixie and Leon remained in the hotel to prepare for their classes.

Lunch in the hotel was, as usual, a tasty variety of dishes, with the special treat of mangoes for dessert.

School in the afternoon, instead of in the morning, was predictably logy, both students and teachers having to make an effort to stay awake. Practicing the hand-clapping pattern of “Miss Mary Mack” helped, as the words and movements required concentration. Coincidentally, “M” was one of the sounds of the day, along with “N.” “One Elephant Went out to Play” was another new song. A couple of the teachers introduced vocabulary that will be used on Wednesday during Esther’s and Jim’s lectures.

If delicious, attractive food is in vogue, the restaurant of that name is the place to go for dinner — and it’s right across the street from the hotel. We ate crisp-skinned goose, yet another type of mushroom we hadn’t experienced, perfectly round balls of pork and lotus perched atop cucumber rounds, and soft, molded pumpkin. Flat rice noodles and fingers of papaya-filled flaky pastry completed the meal. Delicious!

At eight o’clock we were still carrying on lively conversations, but it was time to return to our rooms for solitude, rest, and to prepare for Tuesday’s lessons.

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