Today’s activity was one that I had been looking forward to: visiting the Children’s Village. The Children’s Village houses boys and girls from 3-20 years old whose parent(s) are in prison. We arrived at the village and many other visitors were there, whom I assume were donors. We toured the facility and then went into a room for an introduction and some performances from the children. This was very cute, but also pretty sad to think about how these kids are paraded every weekend in order to gain donations.
We then went to play basketball and jump rope with the children. Some of the older girls were so sweet and so excited to meet us! They asked for pictures and added me on WeChat (China’s version of GroupMe or Facebook Messenger). After hanging out with them for a little while, we had lunch in the cafeteria that the children eat in. I was anticipating food that wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed this meal very much. It was simple (sticky rice, veggies, noodles, and pork), which was a nice break from the many heavy and overwhelming meals we’ve had thus far.
After leaving the Children’s Village, we went to the Great Wide Goose Pagoda. We saw a few different Buddhas and I got to rub the belly of the Happy Buddha. After walking around for a little, we went into a building where we had a calligraphy demonstration. The artist painted my name in Chinese characters, the first meaning prosperity and the second meaning enlightenment. There were also many other beautiful paintings in the room that were truly breathtaking.
Because tomorrow is most likely going to consist of two big Chinese meals, Jordan, Athena, Nilaani and I decided to go to Pizza Hut. I have never even had Pizza Hut in the US, but we walked in and were seated as if it were a decent restaurant. We were given menus with extensive offerings, and I ended up getting a Cobb salad. The bill for the four of us came to 185 yuan (~$27), which I thought was quite cheap. We then walked back through the Muslim Streets, where I got frozen yogurt. I thought it was vanilla ice cream, so I was a little thrown off when I tasted it and it was sour. However, it was good and had some interesting toppings. Instead of walking all the way back through the streets, we hopped in a motorized rickshaw, which was a rather terrifying, yet fun experience. Later tonight, a large group of us are going to see what Xi’an has to offer since tomorrow is already our last day here!