The Administrators from Pennsylvania were to be picked up by our counterparts at 9:00 this morning. I guess Mr. Li couldn't wait to see me, because as I was getting ready, my door bell rang (Chinese hotels do have door bells), and who was standing there but my old friend, Li Jianxong, accompanied by Mr. Lu, the Vice Principal for International Affairs, who was to be His interpreter for the day. After loading my suitcases in the car (which was humorous in itself- an act of Chinese ingenuity), we set out for Xingtai City. The school provided Mr. Li with a driver, and as drove I was amazed at the vast amount of land that was used to farm wheat. The majority of the flowers and plants I have seen so far are the same ones we grow back home in PA.
After checking into my hotel, we walked through a park just behind the hotel, where children were doing crafts, playing small games of chance (I could have won a live rabbit, but what was I going to do with it?). There was also a flea market along the side of the street. Mr. Li used very little English all day, but Mr. Lu took every chance he could to learn a new word or two.
We and lunch at a nearby restaurant, and several other people met us for lunch, including Mr. Gao, the new principal of Xingtai No. 1 High School. School administrators take 2 hour lunches (even on Sunday they were "working"), and, let me tell you, it is nothing like our American lunches. Much toasting!
After lunch we walked through various parks throughout the city, visited a place where the government is undertaking a massive project to bring water from southern China to the north via hug channels. This area is so dry and dusty, my shoes were covered with brown dust. We also visited the largest park, in which there was a museum in honor of Guo Shoijing, a very famous Chinese scientist, who is mist noted for his contributions in the fields of water conservancy, astronomy, and the Chinese calendar. After a quick trip back to the hotel, I accompanied Mr. Li to his apartment for dinner. There were many people there, a friend of Mr. Li's who also works for the Bureau of Education and his wife, a cardiologist, a neighbor and his teenage son and wife, and Mr. Li's teenage daughter and his wife. The dinner was, what else, dumplings, but this time I was the cook. Mrs. Li was very patient with me as I tried to make them, but more of them looked like ravioli than dumplings. We all sat down and ate, but at that point I was too exhausted to eat much of anything. After much discussion about American Universities and teaching Chinese is our schools and the teaching requirements, Mr. Li brought me back to the hotel, where I soon fell fast asleep.