April 23

Before We Leave

FINAL PREDEPARTURE DAY

Today our travellers met again for the second and final pre-departure day at Golden Square Primary School. We all attended in our awesome new, freshly washed, BLUE Team China t-shirts – ready to mingle and get a snap with an important local councillor. Three activities were organised and throughout the afternoon we rotated from session to session.

First up, we had bartering lessons with Yimin Chen, this year’s Chinese speaking teacher travelling with us to China. Yimin had us trying to work out exchanging Chinese Yuan to Aussie Dollars and vice versa….all with some attractive potential buys including an Apple iPhone, FitBit and Bluetooth speaker. We practised our mandarin again, reciting phrases such as THAT’S TOO EXPENSIVE, HOW MUCH IS IT?, CHEAPER PLEASE, TOO HIGH etc.

Our second activity was with Craig Burnett. Craig, an experienced Team China traveller, shared some wonderful videos that illustrated what it is like in Shanghai….including using the train system, footage of time-lapse street scenes enabling us to see the different types of transport around, local attractions such as the Pearl Tower, the river cruise and much more. We were surprised to see how smoggy Shanghai can get – it looked very grey! Here’s hoping the skies are as blue as our shirts. Craig also reminded us that purchases made whilst shopping need to be G (General) rated – therefore no inappropriate computer games, DVDs etc and definitely no cross bows or items that are too big for your suitcase….um….wonder who did that last year?

Finally, we had a session with Kim Saddlier, who, dressed in apron, demonstrated the art of hotel room shirt-washing. Kim expertly guided us through soaping up and scrubbing our shirts, rinsing them in the sink, before using a towel to roll the shirt up and remove excess water. The two shirts to wear whilst away will be on a rotating basis, therefore we are going to have to wash each night. Kim also shared examples of travel size shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant etc. and reinforced some basic hygiene rules, including taking your own toilet paper with you in your pack – as most toilets don’t have paper! We also got reminded not to pack aerosols of any kind.

Before we departed, Councillor (and past Mayor of Bendigo) Rod Fyffe wished us all well and encouraged us to represent Greater Bendigo (and Australia) proudly. We also had our photo taken with Rod, which will be in the Bendigo Advertiser (hopefully) soon.

Two weeks to go today….we can hardly contain ourselves….