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Published: March 20th 2019
Day 11 was the first day after four days of going from city to city. I was happy to not have to step on a plane that day. After another great meal at the Sheraton in Chengdu, I went shopping. To clarify, my friends and I were given about two hours to explore the “old town” of Chengdu, which was basically two streets, old houses, and a bunch of shops. I knew my dad loved to read, and I always saw him using the weirdest things as bookmarks (and never actual bookmarks), I bought him two wooden handcrafted bookmarks with cool designs. My brother loves eating Chinese food, and no Chinese dish is complete without chopsticks, so for my brother (and myself), I bought a set of four chopsticks with pandas carved into them. I would buy something for my mom a couple of days later. After shopping, I got bored and resorted to messing around with friends. Back at the hotel after lunch, we were given time to catch up on our tour journals. After finishing my entries up till the day before, I took a nap. It doesn’t matter to me if taking naps is “childish.” With the schedule my choir had, I would’ve run out of energy every day before our concert started. It was helpful to get time to recharge and relax. Once at our concert venue, the Chengdu Jingcheng Arts Center, we went through the motions of a regular concert night. Once back at the hotel, we had a late dinner, and subsequently, a late lights-out.
On day 12, I saw one of the first things people imagine when they think of China. We spent most of the day at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. The base is similar to a zoo, as it has exhibits of live pandas, but there are also scientists doing research on site. It was one of the main things I had been looking forward to before the tour started. At about 10 am, we arrived at the entrance to the base. Once inside, my group took a tram up to the top of the mountain the facility sat on. Our plan was to work our way down instead of going up then back down again. We saw red pandas and giant pandas. My group was especially lucky because we walked by one of the giant panda exhibits during feeding time. We got to see a whole bunch of pandas eat. Once back on the bus we ate our lunch. Soon after, our bus broke down. Our driver quickly called a mechanic and the problem was fixed in no time. For some inexplicable reason, we didn’t stay in the Sheraton for a third night, even though we were still in Chengdu on the night of the 26th. At our new hotel, we were given about two hours to get some work done. After feeling I had done enough work for the day, I went into my friend’s room and we drank tea and played cards. Soon after, dinner was ready for us. After dinner, we were given some free time, and I was in bed by the early hour of 9:45.
Chengdu > Changsha
Our flight on Day 13 was a little later in the day than usual. After breakfast, were given four hours to do some work, and then we had lunch. Once at the Chengdu Airport, we went through our almost daily process: check-in luggage, go through security, and run to our gate because security had stopped one of us AGAIN and decided to throw out some of our belongings they deemed “unsafe.” Through the trip, I saw friends lose cameras, watches, and food they had brought with them. After the flight, we boarded a bus that took us to our hotel. Once at the hotel, things got a little too wild. I’m not totally sure what happened that day, but as soon as we got to the floor where our rooms would be, I heard screaming from almost every direction. I figured it was one of the fourth and fifth graders on the tour with us, so I didn’t pay it too much attention. Our conductor definitely didn’t brush it off that easily. At dinner, he informed us that the hotel had received numerous noise complaints from our floor less than an hour ago. He said that we had to behave much better, and things like this should never happen. After such a depressing speech, I was in no mood to eat. Just kidding. I was hungry, and I didn’t care. I vaguely remember eating a lot of sesame tofu, and not much else. After dinner, we were given free time. I talked with some friends for about two hours, and I was asleep by 11.
On Day 14, we went to Orange Isle. The Orange Isle is a sliver of land that sits in the Xiangjiang River, which cuts through Changsha. There isn’t much to do on the island, except look at the city surrounding you. On one end of the island though, there is a huge sculpture of young Mao Zedong, aptly named the Young Mao Zedong Statue. One of the things that struck me was the attention to detail. Apparently, there had been a mole on Mao’s chin, and sure enough, there was a mole on the sculpture. After taking some photos and participating in general tomfoolery, I was informed that it was time to head back to the hotel. Back at the hotel, we had lunch, rested, and changed into our concert dress. After rehearsal at the Changsha Concert Hall, we had dinner and then our concert. One quick fast about the Changsha Concert Hall; our rival Boychoir at the time, the Vienna Boy Choir, had performed there a year earlier. The event organizer of the hall let us know after our concert, that we sounded better than the Vienna Boy Choir. It was quite nice to hear that. Back at the hotel, I caught up my tour journal and was asleep by 10:15.
Changsha > Zhuhai
We didn’t do much on Day 15. After breakfast, we were given the time to do some work. We then had lunch. After lunch, we headed over to Changsha Airport. After our two hour flight to Zhuhai, we got onto the bus that took us to our hotel. At the hotel, we put our luggage in our separate rooms and went to dinner. After dinner, we were given free time and I was asleep by 10. In summary, the day was a meal, work, meal, flight, meal, and sleep.
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