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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Today the rain came and the cold returned, but I have
been too excited about my trip to let it bother me. My
traveling partner came over this morning, and we
planned our trip. We tried to make our bags as light
as possible by sharing certain items such as shaving
cream and medicines. I also showed him how to roll up
his shirts in order to save space. My bag is packed as
tight as I can get it. We both had to go sign papers
telling the school everywhere that we are going. Since
S.A.R.S. is back they wanted to make sure that we were
not going to any high risk areas. After we made our
plans, he took me out to a very nice restaurant. The
service was very nice and beautiful. The food was
fantastic. Had an amazing beef tips dish with hot
peppers. Also, had small Chinese ribs smothered in
scallions and other vegetables, finally we ate a
Chinese salad covered in Bean sauce. The foods were
all served on highly decorated dishes. It was
absolutely delicious. We left there then separated. I
went to the store and picked up groceries for tomorrow
as we will be traveling most of the day, and we will
need food to eat. I then walked back as it started to
sprinkle. I let the tiny rain drops fall upon my head
and roll off my hair onto my face. It felt so nice.
Feeling the rain get colder, I decided to come back
and check the weather temperature in Kunming and
Lijiang. I am glad that I did as I will need to take a
few warm clothes with me as it will be in the low
forties at night. I then rushed through the rain and
taught my four o’clock class. They asked me a lot of
questions about America and about myself. Most of them
have crushes on me. It is a little embarrassing as I
have never thought of myself as attractive. For so
long, I really thought that I was completely ugly and
no one was ever attracted to me. I still think that I
am fat, so it is really strange to have so many people
ogling at me. After telling me about a few traditional
Chinese festivals. The first was about the fire
festival on the seventh day of the Spring festival. I
have heard several other stories, but this one was
interesting. On this day, the people of the village
climb the hills, and they collect branches from the
trees. After a big dinner, they take the branches to
the street and make a huge bonfire at dawn. People
stand around the fire and watch it flicker until the
flames start to diminish. When the fire is low,
mothers will walk around the flames with their
children, then they will jump through the fire holding
their children. The old believe that the child will be
healthy in the coming years. After the mothers go,
then everyone jumps through and across the fire. They
believe that it will burn away all of the bad luck and
leave good fortune in return. I also learned that they
invite different Gods into their homes during the
festival by displaying their pictures. They hand the
images all over. You can see the images almost
everywhere in China. Then after the festival, they
send them back to heaven. Unfortunately, the do this
by burning the image. The other big festival that I
learned about was the girl’s spirit festival. On this
day, the girls of a village will have a competition
known as clever begging. People choose six or seven
girls to compete. The girls carry bags of flour with
them then they run out and try to steal as many
vegetables as they can from the villagers. They can
not steal from the market, so they must steal them
from the people’s fields. If someone sees you stealing
them, you should not be afraid of them. You should say
that I am stealing some of your vegetables then walk
off. You must take them even if the person starts
shouting at you. You should not worry as it is the
custom which they do. After stealing, they make
dumplings with the vegetable fillings. After eating,
the girls send the dumplings to other people whom they
stole from. The people who eat the seven girl’s
dumplings will become swifter, more clever, and
flexible. The girl who steals the most kinds of
vegetables will be the most clever and flexible. The
stories were very unique. My other class went
allright. It was very cold walking home in the rain.
Oh well, I need to check my bags again. Talk to you
later,

Christopher

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