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Vail International Hockey’s adventure

The Vail International Hockey Team is on a 17-day trip in China, and will be keeping a periodic travel log. The players will be giving first-hand acco
Special to the Daily A group of the Vail International Hockey team players hang out in a square in Shanghai, China.
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SHANGHAI, CHINA – Saturday we visited a Buddhist Temple where they have an intricately carved Jade Buddha. Chinese Buddhists hold festivals every 1st and 15th of the lunar calendar. We were a day late, but still witnessed a crowded temple, groves of the faithful burning colorful bits of paper and incense, statues of wood and other things from every nook and ridge in the temple. I felt out of place away from the group, a lone pasty face wanderer amongst a crowd of chanting monks and Shanghai Buddhists.People brush by not caring if they bump into you at all. Old weathered women fold paper sheets and put them into bags for burning. The bags ascend into the heavens for ancestral happiness. Temple officials block the way for important-looking worshippers rushing past into the temple. A special ceremony keeps us out of the inside of the temple. People pray in front of large statues, bowing and rising in a ritual unknown to us. The temple itself is very impressive. As Shanghai has been heavily influenced by the West, it is interesting that the temple has remained truly independent.-Taylor Bierstro and Charlie Teadstrom

The Children’s Palace I was immediately impressed when I walked into the Children’s Palace in Shanghai. The skill of these young students really proves you don’t need to be privileged to be talented. And the way that these gifted children showed such discipline, yet could laugh when one of the younger girls kicked her shoe in the air while stretching and could be so excited about showing us their talents, truly humbled me. I realized during this tour that China is still a very disciplined country where with the right dedication anyone can become a master of their craft.-Eric DavisAt the Children’s palace, Chinese children are given the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. Our group did a walk-in on several music, dance and art classes that demonstrated the kids very advanced abilities. I was personally impressed with the limberness of the “Peking Opera” dancers, as well as the watercolor portraits hung on the walls, so much so that I was convinced were painted by expert craftsmen. I believe this school is a prime example of how Chinese value their children’s education, while also teaching them age old cultural practices.- By Sam Sterling

The Yu Garden The garden was very cool. There were tall trees and lakes all over. There was also hundreds of carp that ate anything. The food (lunch) was a little questionable. We ate shrimp, rice, escargot, duck and a few other unidentifiable objects. After leaving the garden, we were bombarded with street vendors selling watches and pens.-Jordy CoffeyThe Shanghai Museum and acrobatsWhile visiting the Shanghai Museum, we observed many exhibits featuring jade sculptures and artwork, currency, minorities and calligraphy. We were all granted our own audio tour guides in the form of a phone that gave us detailed descriptions of the majority of the displays. Most displays involved history of China and separate subdivisions of history (like the Qing Dynasty).

For those who were able to stay awake for the last activity of the day, the Shanghai acrobat show was incredible. In the opening act, several men ran, dived, flipped, spun and turned through three rotating hoops without touching the hoops. Highlights included two men holding a bamboo balance beam on their shoulders while different men and women sprung high in the air and were caught on it when they came down (Think jump rope-only vertical). All kinds of flips, spins and airborne maneuvers above the bamboo pole – going up more than twenty or thirty feet – to be caught by the two guys simply holding the pole on their shoulders.In another act six women contortionists balanced each other straight up in a sort of a lace curtain while standing on each others’ thighs in complete back bends. Then, they balanced six or eight people on the single leg of 10 chairs straight up again 20 or 30 feet. The finale was when the troupe launched a young girl more than thirty feet straight up to the top of a human pyramid, flipping as she went to the top to be caught in a chair, just inches from the spotlights on the ceiling. Truly amazing.-Ryan Maddox and Jason Funk


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