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I have lots of thoughts about our trip to the Square today, most of which I can’t discuss on wechat. But we had fun wandering the grounds of the forbidden city, a Manchurian palace from the 1400’s, where we learned about concubines, Chinese vampires and bowing customs during the Qing Dynasty.  

   Afterwards we were given a tour of a chinese vocational school roughly half an hour from our hotel. This is the third school we’ve visited on our  trip, but the classes here were different from anything I’ve seen both in China and the US. Every class was geared towards a specific industry or career path. Students as young as 5 were learning about stock exchanges and economic trends. Others were building robots with legos, practicing their paper cutting skills, embroidering backpacks, mastering the ins and outs of photoshop and even designing their own clothes. On or way to lunch, we walked through a hallway full of magazine spreads of all the students who’d attended this school and gone on to become super models. There must’ve been at lest 40 of them. 

    But the highlight of the day was definitely the cooking demonstrations in the afternoon. A famous Chinese chef made us bai si ping guo, a sweet dish of caramelized sugar and fried apples. He also taught us how to prepare traditional general sou’s chicken and judged our renditions of his dish. Since my own cooking skills are abysmal, I sat the contest out. But I saved the recipe and I can’t wait to try it with my friends and family at home.