Even though there were no excursions planned, we all headed out together to do some shopping and to explore the city, but mainly shopping. I think the students are well versed in bargaining now and wanted to practice their skills trying to find deals.
The morning started out by everyone sleeping in a bit. This was the first morning the group did not wake up at . I think this was because we had such a busy day in Tianjin , walking through the city, exploring and embracing the rain as it poured down on us.
We met in the hallways of the dorm to informally talk about the plan for the day. Some folks went to the coffee shop right next to our dorm to have a cup of joe and use the wireless internet to skype with loved ones. The rest of us hung out at the dorms and got ready for the day. We met around to head back to the Silk Market so those of us that had not yet been there could visit. We stayed at the market for about an hour before we had lunch. Our group split into two, some stayed at the market and another group of us went to a local restaurant to have lunch.
In case you’re wondering, we generally don’t eat off campus too much, and even more rarely will go to local restaurants. This is twofold: 1). Each student has a campus card with money on it that will supply all meals. The food is local, fabulous and there’s plenty of it. And 2). We generally will not eat at a restaurant unless it’s recommended by someone who’s ‘in the know’. We’re trying to avoid tummy troubles as much as possible, and we’ve done a great job so far save a couple of students here and there.
After lunch the groups once again combined for a few minutes just to check in with each other. The group split again and some went to the local shopping area to see what deals they could find, other stayed at the Silk Market, and a few of us came back to campus to take care of some housekeeping items.
The day ended with many stories of great bargains obtained, haggling experiences and of course a nightly gathering in one of the dorm rooms for some snacks.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that we’ve become one big happy family already. The students are embracing the culture, food, experiences, and most importantly, each other. These are friendships that will last a lifetime!!!