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Friday, April 23, 2004

Today the Medical College’s Sports Day began and ended
with a bang. Although I was not there for its entirety
what I did see was an amazing spectacle. If Beijing’s
Olympic Committee hopes to impress the world, they
will put on an opening show like these students put on
this morning. Although I was not really thrilled about
waking up at seven o’clock this morning, the students
made it worth my while. After eating a Chocolate
coated cake, I went and met one of my students at the
front gate. She took me up to the track and field. The
sky was so beautiful, but it was really cold outside
from the wind, and I was in shorts and a tee shirt. I
met several of my students and we watched the opening
ceremony. It was really neat. All of the different
Departments were in their school uniforms, and they
marched with their banners around the track and lined
up on the field. Each school was dressed differently.
The Nursing Department looked a little small as most
of the girls were in the dance troop. After they had
all had made their rounds, a huge Chinese flag was
brought out, and they played the national anthem. It
was neat to hear it as I had not heard it before. The
song is very peppy and happy. After it ended, there
was a beautiful dance routine by cheerleaders in red
shirts with yellow pompoms. Then, the Tie Gee troop
came out. There was probably about two hundred people,
and they did a synchronized exercise routine. It was
so beautiful. The movements were so slow and graceful
as they moved into each position. To see so many do it
was amazing. Then, the opening show ended with a huge
core of percussion. Three huge traditional drums were
rolled out into the middle of the field. They were
about twice the size of Florida’s Big Boom of Dixe to
give you an idea. Each of the drums were played by
about seven people. All of the drummers were dressed
in yellow costumes with red highlights. The girls who
played symbols were wearing pink costumes with blue
head bands. The big drums opened up the program then
about eighty traditional drummers joined them in an
amazing percussion feature. After that the symbol and
gong players joined in, and they were dancing and
grooving all over the field. It was like a combo of
traditional and modern beats. It was fantastic and
amazing to see, and I could not help but move and
groove with them. They ended the opening ceremony with
an amazing show. Afterwards, all of the students
changed and got ready for the sports activities. I
quickly went back to the apartment and put on some
warm clothes. I joined my students in the middle of
the field and watched the high jump competition and
races. They also helped me learn how to make ribbon
ornaments for traditional lanterns. It is not to easy
as you have to weave four pieces of ribbon in and out
of each other then you have to take a pen and shed
parts of them. When they are finished, they look like
very beautiful Chinese Starts. I stayed out there for
awhile, but the wind kept kicking up the dust from the
track and field. The entire field was clay as was they
track and with all of the people on it, the sand kept
blowing everywhere. It got really bad to the point
that I and everyone else was coved in dust and sand.
My skin and hair felt coated. Most of our clothes were
filled with dust. I understand what they meant by The
Great Dust Bowl now. I was coved in dust. Despite
this, I enjoyed myself though. As I started to leave,
I met another student who wanted to play basket ball
with me, so I tried to teach him how to play Horse or
Out. However, other boys came up, and they kept
wanting to block me when I shot the ball. This would
have been fine, but we were not playing with them. I
guess they wanted to show the American they could play
ball. The N.B.A. is huge here. Everyone watches it. We
played for awhile then I came home. I went to the
grocery store and restocked my shelves. Took a walk
around the city for exercise. I then went and had an
amazing meal of beef stew with huge chunks of
tomatoes. It was great. Very fulfilling. I then came
home and tried to plan my trip to Beijing tomorrow and
look up some stuff on Yunann. Went and visited with
Laura to ask if she could find me a pack to take with
me to Yunnan as well as a couple of English Novels.
She said that she would try. I came back and put on my
Grammy C.D. which was primarily Hip Hop and danced to
the sounds while I cleaned. Damn my apartment was a
mess. I just cleaned a couple of days ago. It is all
of the damn water bottles. They just keep stacking up.
I must say that I really am beginning to like Hip Hop,
it is very happy and energetic. It is quite surprising
how it can simply help you forget everything. I
eventually went and taught my class of teachers. We
talked about traditional Chinese subjects including
the five types of tea and the proper techniques to
serve them. We also talked about the Moon Festival in
Autumn in which people eat moon cakes. The Chinese
have a lot of long official holidays. Spring Festival,
May Day, and Moon Festival are all week long holidays
where everyone gets off for seven days in a row. It is
quite impressive. They have it made in official
vacation time coming their way. It was an intresting
discussion. I am now getting ready to go to Beijing.
Hope that all is well,
Christopher

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