Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day 5 - 2006 Shenyang Int'l Horticultural Expo

We are going out for an excursion today, to the Shenyang Horticultural Expo. Vice principal Xuan came to send us off. The school sent teacher Zhang Wei to assist us. Our tour guide was Xu Li. We were to set off at 8.30 am but we had to wait for students who were late, we left at 9 am. Then when we left the gates of the hotel, Vivienne exclaimed she left her handphone behind. So Mr Yao accompanied her back to look for it.

Mr Yao returned panting heavily. They had run to the restaurant & then up to the 4th floor room to look for it. It was found on her bed. At the briefing in Singapore, the kids were told not to bring their handphones. I didn't even bring mine.

When we reached the Expo grounds, it was so packed with visitors. The Chinese idiom 'ren shan ren hai' aptly describes it. There were tens of thousands of people. Taking pictures was a big problem.

The garden is divided into 4 major themes
* Wing of Phoenix
* Rose Greenhouse

In the Rose Greenhouse there are so many varieties of roses. Some roses were as big as a soup bowl. We weren't supposed to take pictures because of the huge crowd. When someone stops to take a picture, the people behind have to wait. Many people just couldn't resist taking pictures of these beautiful flowers, including our group.

There was a young Chinese employee yelling & screaming at the visitors who were taking pictures. She would point at the person & shout, " You! It's you! Don't take pictures. Walk!" She kept doing this. I was taken aback at first but seeing so many people taking pictures, I took a few.

Mr Yao commented it was very bad of the company to do this & the girl was so rude. I agree. If this were to happen in Singapore, she would receive a lot of complaints & get sacked. How can you treat the tourists this way? It gives a very bad image of the company.

There was a glass bridge that spans across the greenhouse. Many visitors queued to go up. I stopped Jaymes. There were so many people on the glass bridge. I was worried it would collapse under the heavy traffic. Serious. It's better to be safe than never. Mr Yao assured me it was alright. I thanked him. The kids went with him while Jaymes & I waited below.

I was later told there were roses made of gold displayed up there. Okay.

* Lily Tower
* Flowers Hall

It showcases 52 domestic gardens
Central Gardens
1. Beijing 16. Chengdu
2. Tianjing 17. Chongqin
3. Nanjing 18. Nanning
4. Macao 19. Haikou
5. Taiyuan 20. Hangzhou
6. Shijiazhuan 21. Shanghai
7. Changsha 22. Guangzhou
8. Jinan 23. Zhuhai
9. Qingdao 24. Huhehaote
10. Zhengzhou 25. Wenzhou
11. Hefei 26. Nanchang
12. Wuhan 27. Xiameng
13. Shenzhen 28. Hongkong
14. Ningbo 29. Taiwan
15. Fuzhou

23 international gardens

Our Singapore Garden is very well-received by the Chinese. I felt proud amidst the good comments around me. Many Chinese were taking pictures with the Merlion statue.

25 specific gardens

The Lily Tower, the world's largest sculpture tower, is 125 m tall. It looks like a blooming lily, signifying progress & prosperity for Shenyang. It is the highest point in the garden. There are two viewing galleries at the 95m & 100m height. It overlooks the whole expo grounds.

We had lunch at one of the food courts. We had to buy a card to pay for the food. Mr Yao had ordered Mixed Rice sets for us. It didn't look appetising. The kids were not happy with the meal. Han Long, Zhi Hao, & Alvin bought their own fast food. The set meals were discarded. Many of the kids didn't finish their food, especially the vegies, a lot was left & wasted.

It was a long & tiring walk around the expo grounds. It was also a hot day. The kids were slowing down. Han Long, Si Hui & Zhi Hao were getting overboard, mimicking the locals' way of speech & teasing the teachers endlessly. It was rude to make fun of the locals' way of speech & in the midst of so many Chinese. It wasn't funny. They could be in for serious trouble. Some of them were fighting over the tour guide's flag & speaker. Han Long & Vivienne were then running & weaving through the crowds of tourists, hitting each other, oblivious to the visitors' annoyance.

We left the expo past 4 pm. We went back to the hotel to wash up before heading for dinner. We took 7 cabs to a steamboat restaurant. Each cab cost only 5 rmb (S$1)

Each person gets a mini steamboat. Girls with long hair were each given rubberbands to tied it up in case the hair caught fire. Most of the girls chucked their rubber bands away. I got heart attacks watching them. They couldn't stop playing for a moment with all these pots of burning hot soup.

We dipped paper-thin slices of beef & pork into the boiling pot of soup. We also threw in mushrooms, vegetables, cuttlefish balls....etc.

I asked for a bowl of rice & cooked half of it in the mini hotpot. It turned into a pot of flavourful porridge.

Ying Zhi was beginning to have rashes. Then her face started to swell. There was a mad rush to contact the teachers & principal of Fushun School. Vice principal Xuan rushed down to the hotel to bring Ying Zhi to a hospital. She had an injection & 3 days' medication.

Another mad day for Ms Poh & Mr Yao .....

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