The Bushey Academy China Trip 2018

Saturday saw the return of The Bushey Academy 2018 China Trip who had spent half term in Beijing and Shanghai. Thirty students and four staff spent five days travelling with Dragon Tours around the historical sights of this amazing country.

The tour started with Beijing and our tour guides Christina and Susie who took us on a tour of the Great Wall. We visited a little known part of the wall which was very quiet and allowed the students to explore a vast untouched stretch of this marvel of engineering.

Whilst in Beijing we also visited the Olympic Park and saw the buildings constructed for the 2008 Olympics. The water-sports centre was particularly eye catching with its’ bubbled glass surface.

Next stop was Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. Many of the buildings in Tiananmen square had been built at break neck speed by a mostly volunteer workforce and the size and scale was impressive. Our group garnered much attention from the Chinese tourists as, despite the country opening up in recent years, most Chinese have never met or seen a foreigner before. All through the holiday Chinese people asked to have their photos taken with us and school children would run up to us and say hello.

The forbidden city was a marvel with wide squares and ornate buildings. The view from the hill was exquisite and truly breath taking when looking back across the complex.

From here we visited a traditional tea shop and learned the masculine and feminine ways to hold a tea cup. The food in Beijing was exceptional and most of us were getting to grips with using chopsticks quickly.

We travelled from Beijing to Shanghai by sleeper train with rooms holding four people on bunk beds. It reminded me of the set of the film Murder on the Orient Express, although a little rougher around the edges!

Shanghai was a lot more of a hit with the students due to its’ modernity and lack of “squatting” toilets. The river cruise passed the unbelievable light show projected on to the glass buildings of the city’s sky line is something I will never forget.

Whilst here we visited a culture museum dedicated to the ornate jade carvings prevalent in much of China. They was a display of all the national costumes from the many ethic groups of china as well as their masks and religious ceremonial items. Another museum we visited a few days later was full of wax works and street recreations of old Shanghai from the ancient to colonial times.

We were welcomed to Jincai High School one of the top eight schools in Shanghai. The students spent the day with Chinese students in their English and Art lessons as well as playing football with them and using their amazing facilities. Some of the students were lucky enough to experience the schools virtual reality equipment and photography studio. We also took a volley ball lesson from a former Chinese Olympic team captain who now works at the school as a PE teacher.

We visited the TV Tower in Shanghai and ascending in a vertigo inducing glass lift the the observation deck. Plenty of shopping was also to be had after a visit to one of Shanghai’s traditional Chinese gardens in the old market district. Students and teachers alike had the opportunity to haggle with local street vendors for tea, jade, bracelets, paper cut sculptures and the like.

All in all a great trip was had by all.