Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nihao (hello) from China!

There are so many things to see in China. Even though the cities look new and modern China is a very old country. In Xian we visited a place that was the tomb of the first emperor of China. He wanted an army to protect him after he died so he had 700,000 people work for 36 years to build him an army as part of his massive tomb. That was 2,200 years ago. It was buried and while a historian of that time period had written about it no one knew where it was until 1974. A couple of farmers were digging a well and found some pottery which led to the discovery of more than 7000 terra cotta (clay) figures. The figures are mostly soldiers. The soldiers are amazing because they are life size and very detailed. Even the veins on their hands can be seen. Each one is different. At one time they were brilliantly colored. There is much more to be uncovered because his tomb is almost a mile away from where the terra cotta warriors were buried. Most of the Terra Cotta Warriors were broken so workers have been piecing them back together. It must be the world’s biggest puzzle! Today the city of Xian has about eight million people.

We also visited Nanjing another city with about eight million people. We visited the historical places but our favorite was visiting a school. Even though one out of every six people speaks Chinese, English is the most common second language. We call it a connecting language. If you speak English you can go anywhere is the world and you will find many people who speak English. Chinese parents think it is important for their children to learn English. Some send them to international schools where only English is spoken but others enroll their children in English language night schools. We visited the Jump A-Z Training Center. It is on the 13th floor of a skyscraper. The school has 1000 students. It is very modern and colorful with lots of computers. We were very impressed. About 70 students from grade 3-5 crowded into the multi-purpose room along with many parents to see our power point program, “Schools Around the World.” It is always fun to meet students in other countries.

China is about the size of the United States but China has the world’s largest population with 1.3 billion people while the United States has only 300,000. There are many, many big cities in China and they are building huge skyscrapers with 40 or more floors.

Our last stop in China was in Shanghai, a city with more than 20 million people. The city is known for its amazing buildings. It has more skyscrapers than New York City and there are building even more. Like many of the cities we visited in China they have beautiful parks and trees. We visited People’s Park where they have a musical fountain and hundreds of doves. It is also where the Shanghai Museum is located. A museum is a great place to learn about a country. We especially like the gallery in the museum where they showed all the different ethnic groups that make up China. At one time each group had their own beautiful style of clothing. Today it seems that everyone dresses in the same style. Children in China dress just like children in America and elsewhere in the world. In a way we think it is sad for people to lose their traditional ways of dress.