This past weekend, we came back to Changsha from a fabulous 3-day weekend in Hong Kong! None of us have gotten much sleep the past 3 days but Hong Kong was a great time. We took overnight trains there and back on probably the most uncomfortable trains the seats were soft, but completely upright. Reclining was out of the question and leg room was minimal. We all spent these rides tossing and turning, shading our eyes from the bright train lights, and working to find the most comfortable sleeping positions. Most of us ended ip leading on each other’s shoulders, heads, arms, backs, legs, elbows (yes, elbows). It was all part of the experience though, and in hindsight, enjoyable. Our time spent in Hong Kong felt like an international hub, where we met people from all over the world. I met people from the UK, Uruguay, Spain, and Zanzibar. The streets were always bustling with crowds of people wandering, shopping, and sightseeing. We were lucky enough to ride a ferry across the river at night, with a perfect view of the skyline, a soft, subtle wind blowing our hair. That was one of my favorite moments. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera at that time, so it remains a mental memory. Hong Kong was interesting. It was completely different than Changsha, which I expected, but it had a very unique feel. It could have easily been a bustling city in the US, but with an international twist because of all the different types of people we encountered. We returned the morning before classes on Monday so we were all extremely exhausted, but very satisfied with our long weekend journey. The rest of the week we continued with classes and guest lectures from several different leaders in health and health policy in China.
This weekend was another adventure with the family. We went to Orange Island Park, where the main feature is a huge statue of young Mao, who attended university in Changsha. Mao is pretty famous in and around Changsha, but from speaking to the locals, he’s not universally admired by the Chinese. It is a nice, peaceful place, with a bamboo garden, several courtyards, and huge rocks etched with famous, symbolic sayings and poems. We walked for about 2 hours along Xiangya River, reached the island, and had dinner at a cute restaurant with our homestay mother and a friend of hers. It was a great way to end the weekend!