During the Summer Holiday, 15 of QE's Sixth Form students and staff set off to China. On the trip they hiked to reach the summit of Mount Siguniang, trekked along the Great Wall of China and cycled through the mountainous region of Yangshuo. Overnight trains, mountain passes, internal flights, riverboat crossings and extreme traffic carried them through an abundance of cultural icons and experiences aplenty in their 4 week expedition.
"At the heart of Beijing is the Forbidden City- a magnificent palace of endless courtyards, red walls and golden roofs. The city has grown from this acorn like an ancient oak of Kandinsky circles, ever increasing to the points of its’ natural limitations of the mountains and sea. Crammed inside is a population one third of the size of Britain. Eight lane highways, half-complete skyscrapers, ancient parks, hulongs, temples and nine million parasols all compete for space, water and shade in a 40-degree haze.” This was the scene for the group’s first day in China and so it continued from city to city.
“We trekked along the Great Wall and held court with the Terracotta Warriors. We laughed with the pandas, posed by the Big Buddha and sat bemused by the strange sounds of the opera. We posed like movie stars again and again and all the time we eat and we eat and we eat some more. From Peking duck and Chengdu hotpots to parts of a chicken we never knew were edible, our chopsticks devoured dish after dish - all served up in triplicate on a permanently rotating lazy susan.
Somehow we found time to trek in the Himalayan foothills and conquer the 5000m+ peak of Mount Siguniang. We tried Tai Chi and lit up our woks with Kung Po Chicken on a Szechuan cooking course. We sampled the generosity of our Tibetan/Chinese hosts (and got thrashed at basketball), whilst farming in the furthest, most remote corners of the country. We cycled in the beautiful karst-lit scenery of Yangshou and learned so much about the history and culture of China from our wonderful guide Charlie.
Finally, we sampled tea with the Queen in the heart of Shanghai and posed for pictures beneath the glorious, bright lights along the Bund. ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ We were confused by Confucius no more.”
John Wright, China Trip Leader.