Loquats, Anyone?

Trip Start Apr 17, 2010
Trip End Jul 02, 2010

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday morning found us on the road with Frank after a breakfast of spicy noodles and steamed rolls at a local shop. Joining us on our day trip was Wilma and Molly, teachers at the school. The new road to Yibin was partially completed, so some parts were only dirt and VERY bumpy and rough. Once we reached Yibin, we crossed a beautiful modern bridge which passed over the Jinsha River and the Minjiang River, which join together to form the Yangtze River, which flows by Nanxi.

We traveled southeast to the small town of San Yuan, in Gao County. Frank's former student and Molly's classmate, Milly, lived there with her husband and young son, Tiger. Together, we traveled up a steep hillside to a farm where loquats were grown and sold. Because of the amount of rain that these areas get, the roads were extremely muddy and slippery. You could not avoid walking in mud when you got out of the car. We climbed many steps, passing a small shrine. Eventually we reached a beautiful grove of loquat trees. They were similar to apricots in size and shape. We sampled several, enjoying the sweet taste of the ripe fruit. Had we climbed further, we would have reached another small temple at the top of the hill.

After we purchased bags of the fruit, Frank carefully drove back down the hill to the main road. This was a first for Frank, and he handled the driving well. We stopped at a roadside fruit stand to look at more loquats. Mr. O took several pictures of the breathtaking views of the valley. The farmers use every possible piece of land to grow crops of corn, rice, cabbage, and other vegetables.

Milly took us to Shahe, where she is a Junior School teacher. We met several of her students at the school, who were very excited to meet us. The school has about 1,000 students from the area. We were treated to lunch at a local restaurant in Shahe, where they specialized in dishes made with tofu. Almost everything we ate had this soybean product as an ingredient.

We returned to the hotel mid-afternoon and managed to get in a nap. Then we walked to the high school (about 20 minutes) for evening singing practice for Friday's competition. It was a long, sometimes frustrating evening as we worked hard to learn the two songs. We took a pedicab home. We discovered that our internet service was not working, but eventually it was back online. We both put the finishing touches on Monday's lessons and called it a day!
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