Year 8 having fun in the desert and year 12 continuing to paint murals on the school walls.
Hiking to a temple, making water balloon catapults, more sailing, more surfing and more activities filled the day of the Year 7s today. There was sun and humidity with no rain showers to cool us down so students were feeling wearier from all of the action packed things they got up to today. Tonight we are having a barbecue on the beach as a year group. Tomorrow there will be a sand castle competition on the beach then we will begin our journey back to Shanghai. It has been a trip full of adventures.
Last night Group 1 arrived at the Engebei desert hotel and had dinner and then we explored the local area and the pupils did some traditional dancing in the park. Today we learned about desertification and the pupils worked hard at planting trees. We are now off to the desert where we will camp in tents for the night after riding camels and sand sliding.
Group 2 of the Year 8 trip has migrated like a herd of wild buffalo from the deserts to the grasslands. The horizon stretches as far as the eye can see, only interrupted by the occasional telephone pole or horse bending its neck to crop the grass. Today we've enjoyed a full schedule of activities including Mongolian wrestling. Seungwon is the undoubted wrestling king - but who would have thought the Year 8 girls could be so ferocious? Arabella McCausland, Maja Fleck-Baustian, Rebecca Jacobs, Jessica Jiang and Yangyang Jiang took the fight to the boys and defeated many of them.
Archery was also a popular activity, with students learning to load, draw and shoot from 25 paces. Budding members of Robin Hood's Merry Men include Henry Barlow, Alaistar Choo, Xingwon Wu, Angela Jiang and Jade. But only two hit the gold at the centre: Brian Kim and Daniel Hibbet.
Ms Ma made an admirable Maid Marian - and those who missed the target completely paid a forfeit - sitting at dinner wearing their underpants on their head!
Camp cooking was a hit and miss affair with students making both meat and vegetarian dumplings. One michelin star was awarded to Blanka Crevecoeur for her tasty offerings. But Ms Powter blanched at tasting some of the doughy messes. Luckily the food provided for us at the yurt camp is delicious: hearty meat, stews, vegetables and spices. The students have been commendable in trying all sorts of foods and even liking some of them. Eggplant stewed in a gooey sauce with peppers and tomatoes was a highlight - as was the whole roasted lamb, ripped apart with fingers and dipped in either sweet or spicy sauce.
As I write the sun is beginning to set and the cold creeping in - but the students are undeterred, running around on the grass enjoying their free time, playing cards in yurts. And some are even enjoying extra archery or wrestling generously put on by the Insight Staff who have been helpful and friendly through our whole trip. The students have particularly taken to Patrick, whose knowledge of the desert landscape and the grasslands have made the trip educational as well as enjoyable.
One more night in the yurts, then tomorrow we try to build our own. Fortunately we won't have to sleep in it as in the afternoon we'll depart for Hohhot and a shower in a hotel.
Today we visited the Cu Chi tunnels outside Ho Chi Minh City, last stop before we head home early tomorrow morning after a great trip!
The students are tirelessly finishing up the mural despite the blistering heat! Later on they will be teaching a series of lessons. The local students are already super excited!