Hello everyone! This is Ellie, checking in from the Tibetan Plateau!
Yesterday, the group experienced a rest day in the small town of Lang Mu Si. We had a chance to shower, relax, and recharge for a day; amidst small bouts of hail and bitter cold, the group alternatively huddled around the warm stove and ventured out into the town to eat and shop for snacks. Highlights included: learning how to play poker via the expert instruction of Nik and Peter, watching ‘The Interview’ on the common room/library projector, and enjoying the music of the common room guitar, keyboard, and group voices.
Currently, the group has separated into two smaller vans for our twelve-hour ride to Chengdu. And, as I write this, we’ve just picked up another person: A monk, who will be joining us on our ride!
The landscape outside the warm van is cold and blanketed with thick white fog, currently layered over interspersed grassland and rocky gravel. Mountainous peaks peek through cloud and fog, disappearing and reappearing in quick time lapse.
If we’re lucky, our projected-twelve-hour ride will be a six hour ride, and we’ll arrive in Chengdu early on October 14th, not late at night on the same day. We plan on staying in Chengdu until 2:00PM on the 17th; we’ll arrive in Kunming on the 18th, after which we’ll be remaining stationary for the next month to focus on Mandarin language classes and our individual ISPs.
Our ISPs – Independent Study Projects – will be finalized by tomorrow, the fifteenth. Subject matter ranges from cooking to Yunnan-style flute, with every subject in between! Each ISP will receive twelve classes total (four weeks of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes), with personal instruction from each; whether they be classes, internships, or private tutoring, each ISP will be a definitive learning experience for each group member, and a unique Dragons experience.
UPDATE: We’ve arrived safely in Chengdu! Unfortunately, our bus ride reached twelve hours (not six), but we are all clean and happy to have explored the city in our scavenger hunt today. It’s October 15th, and we have one more day in Chengdu until our departure to Kunming. Until next time, folks!