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Saying goodbye and the ferry to Shanghai

The SST group arrived safely Tuesday morning (December 3) in Shanghai, after five full days and five nights ferrying down the Yangzi River. The Chinese name for the river, Chiang Jiang means the Long River--how appropriate since our trip, though without incident, lasted a day longer than we had expected!

The source of the Yangzi lies in the mountains above Tibet. The river receives more than 700 tributaries along its 6,400 kilometer path across the country, making it the third largest flow in the world.

The river's most beautiful stretch was the 200 kilometers known as the Three Gorges, located between Baidicheng and Yichang in Hubei Province. With the late October completion of a new portion of the Three Gorges Dam, we were one of the first groups to go through the dam project itself.

Final Days at Sichuan Normal University

Final hot pot mealMr. Yang treated the SST group and many members of his waiban staff who have assisted with the Goshen College program this fall to a final hotpot meal Monday evening. Among those present were Mr. Tan and Mr. Yang of the waiban, our Mandarin teacher Jiang Li, and Jenny and Joel, assistants to and friends of the group. Simon, who wolfed down juice, milk and a number of other sweets at the beginning of the meal, emptied his stomach contents onto his Dad's clothes and feet minutes after this photo was taken(!)

Mr. Zhang, Ann, and SimonZhang Yudu (at right) and Gong Deng Yong, former Chinese Exchange Scholars at Goshen in the 4th and 2nd groups, respectively, took the Graber Millers out to an amazingly elegant dim sum dinner Sunday noon. The two professors are now top administrators at the eastern campus of Sichuan Normal University, and are interested in broadening the student exchange with Goshen College. Here Mr. Zhang explains to Ann how to suck the marrow out of the pig's leg on her plate.

  • Landon and Mei Jing enjoyed a final evening meal at "the Jiaotzi Place".
  • Ann, Abby, Jessica and Elizabeth had a late-night mahjong bash in the Graber Millers' office apartment. Many of the students are returning to the states with mahjong sets on their backs and much practice under their belts.
  • Kent walked into the countryside just beyond the back gate to secure some bamboo. Here Kent cuts the bamboo into forms that will fit into his backpack.

Ben woos JennyBen sought to woo Jenny, our assistant from the waiban, during an impromptu game of "Honey, if you love me ..." in the international students' dormitory late Monday night. Most of the SST group and about the same number of Chinese friends participated in the game.

Down the Yangzi river to Shanghai

Many friends turned up Wednesday morning to see the group off from the waiban, where we boarded a bus and headed for Chongqing. We spent the late afternoon and evening in Chongqing and then caught the ferry for Shanghai Thursday morning.

The first two days on the river provided the most spectacular scenery, and the last three days provided many opportunities for individual interviews with the Graber Millers and group bonding. We'll have about a day to look around metropolitan Shanghai.

With no post-ferry access to appropriate technology, we were not able to send photos along of the trip, but students will soon be home with their own visual records.

Six members of the group -- Rachel, Martha, Nick, Matt, Ruth, and Jessica -- will return with the Graber Millers to Goshen on Wednesday, December 4, arriving at Union Gym around 4 p.m. We'll recoup our 13 hours of time lost on the trip across the globe in September, so Wednesday will be a 37-hour day, with about 24 of those hours spent in travel.

Other members of the group will be staying on for 10 days to two weeks in the Shanghai or Beijing regions, and two SSTers will travel to Thailand and the Philippines before returning home before Christmas.