8:45pm Updates from Mr. Hughes
Day 3 started with a room inspection. The stakes had been raised as now all rooms were full of gifts, toys and other nicknacks purchased from the last nights incredible shopping extravaganza. Never have so many bargains been had all in one place. The children haggled and bartered their hearts out, picking up many new items for next to nothing. Next time I go shopping in Beijing I am going to make sure I have an army of Year 4's with me to get the very best price, as clearly I am doing something wrong. They were ruthless, but brilliant. From new instruments, to hats to magic tricks, to sweets, the list is endless. I think it is fair to say their suitcases may be a little heavier on their return to Beijing.
Back to the room inspection.... The jury was out as to whether or not the children could keep the high standards set from the previous day, given the fact every room resembled a toy shop only hours earlier. The teachers were proved wrong once again. Every room was spotless !!! The children really have taken great pride with this and were eager to usher their teachers in to take a look. On inspection duty, myself and Miss Gibson were treated not only to clean rooms, but also to water, the occasional snack and even In-room entertainment. It would seem some of our children have been taking a leaf out of FIFA's book !!! Highly amusing...The promise of a lollipop to the best room may have had something to do with this as well, but who's to say.....
Breakfast done. Year 4 were then split into two groups. Half of the children took to the streets of Pingyao to draw and sketch some of the incredibly intricate street decorations. The other half were treated to a Kung Fu lesson that tested everyone's balance, agility and co-ordination. Lots of fun and laughter, some picked it up very quickly, while others would not have looked out of place in a scene from 'Bambi on ice'. Nevertheless, everyone gave it their best and enjoyed something different.
After lunch the children were given a lesson in how to make traditional Chinese puppets. A very tricky task indeed. As the puppeteers handed out all the equipment, a look of horror spread around the room as it suddenly dawned on the children what they would be using to make them.... a needle and thread!!! A good two hours later the puppets were finally ready to use. A number of excellent puppets were soon dancing and floating around the hotel. Great perseverance by all (including staff).
As the evening drew in the wind picked up causing huge excitement. The unexpected change in the weather didn't dampen anyone's spirits as the children took a short walk to the local theatre. Here the children were dazzled by the traditional Pingyao shadow puppets. Incredible movement and beautifully told stories. As if that wasn't enough every single child and member of staff was then invited backstage to have a go for themselves. I think it's fair to say the experts made it look very easy.
As the sun set and the lights slowly went out it could mean only one thing. Bed !!!! Well bed in theory. As I write this the gentle sound of light laughter still echoes through the corridors and the occasional torch flickers across a room..... but all is well at 'The Harmony Guesthouse'.
P.s Some more cracking photos added to Dropbox only moments ago.
Here’s a link to “Mr Hughes Photos Pingyao” in my Dropbox:
Have a great evening.