What it's like to chaperone ...

We arrived into X’ian late and got to the hotel and crashed. The prior day had been a flight out of Beijing. Traveling with 18 or so families makes for a slow go thru the airport scene. This morning we woke up early, and began our day in a new hotel that actually serves french toast and omelets.. yes! Don’t get me wrong, the food here has been amazing. But the western breakfast was appreciated :)

Today was my day to Chaperone the kids. I should explain that the way this whole trip is organized is that the students are largely separated from adults and siblings if they are on the trip. This means 2 motor coaches and tours etc. The students are immersed every place they go… Even on their bus, they are given presentations by their fellow students all in Chinese. Their teacher travels along side them and is constantly talking, presenting, and quizzing the students. It was a fun opportunity to ride in their bus and watch all of this in real time. It would be my day to provide security for the group as they moved through the city on foot today.

Our day started at a national museum of history. Security for the students proved difficult because it was dark inside and literally a 10,000 people all there to see the same artifacts. I think I aged about ten years trying to make sure no child got left behind. We would move from kiosk to kiosk and tried to have the adult chaperones literally block people away from our moving classroom. In China, people have very little sense of personal space and things can get very very tight, quickly. The Museum was amazing and the things to see were fascinating. I think I could have spent the entire day here.

After 3 hours at the museum we left for the old part of the X’ian city. It has a 70 foot high wall that is 7 miles around in a perfect square. We rented bikes and road the entire path. It is so beautiful here. Just stunning!

From the wall we went to to visit a Muslim Mosque, and the experience for the kids was amazing. They got to watch the 5pm chants and then were given an opportunity to have a 60 min Q/A session with one of the elders. And they spoke Chinese through the whole thing. After this we walked the local alleyway markets and the kids got to try their hand at bargaining with local merchants. Kiana got deals just because of her blue eyes and everyone wanted to take pictures with her. From there we went to a Muslim dinner and OMG it was spicy— loved it! Got back to the hotel room at 9pm and we all fell on our faces. From here we are off to see the Terra-cotta soldiers in the AM.