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Guangzhou Updates (Visits to Seattle and Other News)

2017 WCE April China Swim Trip Report

2017 WCE China Swim Team Trip

4/1/17 Saturday (Seattle) Our 16 member WCE China Swim Team Delegtion led by Coach Patti Matthew (Olympic Aquatics Center Director and Olympic HS Assistant Coach) and Coach Mike Kelly (Gig Harbor HS Coach) departed from Seattle, will transfer planes in Beijing, and arrive in Guangzhou for their tour of China. The Guangdong Swim Federation has invited our WCE Swim Team for an International Swim Competition. The Swim Team Delegation will visit both Guangzhou and Beijing, China. Pictures and emails will be posted on this page during the trip!

4/2/17 Sunday (1:50 AM next day, 10:50 AM Seattle time) Jessica Chen (our wonderful China Tour Manager) has emailed to say that our delegation has arrived safely in Guangzhou! They have gathered their luggage and are traveling by bus to The China Hotel where they will check in and get a well-deserved night's rest. Tomorrow morning after an outstanding buffet breakfast the group will meet local Chinese high school students to tour and have lunch together! They will tour the Chen Clan Temple and Shamian Island, have lunch, and then in the afternoon they will visit the Five Ram Statue (symbol of Guangzhou) and tour the Guangzhou Museum. After that the swim delegation will visit Nine Pedestrian Road a local street market to sightsee and shop. No swim workout today for the delegation as they are celebrating Qingming Festival in China and all of the pools are closed.

Jessica has sent us a photo of the delegation taken upon their arrival at Guangzhou Airport! Encourage family and friends to view this web site for daily updates and pictures!

4/3/17 Monday (12:15 AM next day, 9:15 AM Seattle time) Patti Matthew our wonderful WCE Trip Coordinator has sent us an update of their first day in Guangzhou. "We arrived at our hotel in the very early morning hours Monday. After getting to our rooms, we tried to go to sleep. Some succeeded, others it was a bit tougher. We were fortunate to have a later wake up call, so did manage to get some good sleep. We started off the morning with our students meeting us in the hotel lobby. We were given a beautiful pen and thumb drive set by a student and his mother. We then headed off to our first of three tours with the students. First up was a visit to the Chen Clan Academy. They have beautiful wood carvings throughout the grounds. There were also craftsmen doing some of their ancient works, such a paper-cutting, finger painting, and other artistry. Their grounds were beautiful with many flowering trees and bronze sculptures throughout the grounds.

After the Academy, we visited Shamain Island. It is a very beautiful small island housing many colonial buildings, a beautiful park and the first 5 star hotel in China. We then had our first authentic Chinese lunch. There were many tastes and textures that were different experiences. It was delicious! After lunch we went to the 5 Ram statue which is the symbol of Guangzhou. We then walked through some beautiful garden areas to the Guangzhou city museum. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation.

Next was a little shopping at the Pedestrian Street. Holy cow, there were a lot of people. We then had another 10 course Chinese meal for dinner. The students have been rock stars throughout this long day. Tomorrow is our first practice after a leisurely morning."

Peter, our great Guangzhou guide, has also sent an update along with photos. "We had a great day today; we were travelling with the local students all day long. We talked a lot and communicated very well. We had already become good friends before we had to say goodbye. In the morning, we went to the Chen Clan Academy, which is also the folk art museum. The sculptures and carvings there are really vivid and we learned a lot about the architecture culture. Then we went to Shamian Island for more views. The scenery is very good and we had a good time there. For lunch, we tried our first Chinese meal and it was delicious. We liked the Cantonese style dishes a lot. In the afternoon, we went to visit the Five Ram Statue & Guangzhou Museum. We learned even more about Guangzhou after this visit. Then came shopping time. We went to the Up-and-Down Nine Pedestrian Street and shopped with local students' help. It was interesting. Then we had another delicious dinner at Lianxianglou Restaurant. The Cantonese dishes were really impressive. Then we had to say goodbye to our local friends and we began to miss them already!"

4/4/17 Tuesday (12:15 AM next day, 9:15 AM Seattle time) Patti has sent us another update. "Today was a good and relaxing day. It was needed after our long flight and very long day yesterday. It was sunny, about 75 degrees with a wonderful breeze. Perfect! We went to the site of the 2010 Asian Games. For the Asian games, Guangzhou built many new buildings. We toured 2 of these today. The first was the 9 story library. It was a beautiful and impressive building. Each floor was dedicated to specialties. The entire front was glass walled and each floor open to that area. Truly an architectural dream.

Next we went to the museum that was also built at that time. It features displays of stone, jewelry, sea life, dinosaurs, forest and many more. An amazing museum that catered to everyone. Next was another traditional lunch at one of Guangzhou's most famous restaurant, Panxi. The food was outstanding! We had a walk through Lychi Bay Park and stopped at a small store for snacks. We then had a rest at the hotel before heading off for out first practice. The pool was 50 meters and for some of the swimmers, the first time swimming long course. The athletes did a great job with their practice. Showers and then off to a well earned dim sum dinner. Again, another fantastic meal at a great restaurant.

Tomorrow will be a busy day from start to finish!"

Peter, our Guangzhou guide, has also sent an update along with photos. "Today was a full, happy and exciting day! In the morning, we went to Haixinsha Square (The Opening Ceremony Pavilion of 16th Asian Games). We saw lots of modern buildings there, like the third tallest building in the world—the new Guangzhou TV Tower, the new library, the new Theater and so on. All the buildings were built in recent 7-8 years and they witness the development of Guangzhou very well. Then we went to the Guangdong Museum. It is very large and full of relics from Guangdong Province. This was a really good chance to learn more about the history, the environment and the culture here. For lunch, we had another Cantonese meal at the Panxi Restaurant. The restaurant is big and fancy and we all liked the food there. After lunch, we went to Lichi Bay Park where local people used to live and had a look at what their life was like. It's a nice place to enjoy some Guangzhou views. The scenery is really beautiful. In the afternoon, we went to the Swim Club of the Guangdong Experimental High School Team for swimming training. The club is good and we had a good time training there. For dinner, we had dim-sum. They are all served in small but nice pieces and we try tens of different kinds of dim-sum. It's one of the things you must try in China.

Tomorrow, we will go the NO.2 Kindergarten, Dr. Sun Yat-San's Memorial Hall and we will also have our swim training together with the local students. Can't help thinking about it!"

4/5/17 Wednesday (12:00 AM next day, 9:00 AM Seattle time) Coach Patti Matthew sent us our daily update. "Today was another very busy day. Again we had perfect weather, about 80 degrees, not too much humidity and a gentle breeze. We started off our day at the kindergarten! The school is one of the best in the city. There are 740 children there, with many of them boarding during the week. We watched their flag ceremony and then toured the school. After, we met with a class and played a game, and were presented with a gift from the children. We left after walking through the grounds while they were having recess. There were children riding bikes, playing dress up, running, and generally being very happy.

Next we went to the Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Memorial Hall. We learned that he was as important to China as George Washington is to the US. He was a great man and did many positive things to make life better for the Chinese. We then had an amazing Hot Pot lunch. The food to put in the hot pot was served on a conveyor belt and there were close to 50 items to choose from. It was so delicious! It was located in a mall, so after lunch, we shopped a little and went to the grocery store. Fun!

We were able to spend a short time at the Sports College. We saw a wall that showed all of the athletes that have come out of this college that have been world champions and Olympic medalists. It was very impressive! We watched some small gymnasts training that were between the ages of 6-10. They were so small and could do so much! We then tried our hand at Ping Pong. Oh my, the Chinese are so good.

Lastly we headed to the pool to train with the athletes that we will be competing against. It was a fun workout and we know we have our work cut out for us. We then headed to dinner at a restaurant that was very local. It was another delicious 10 course meal. Back to the hotel about 8 PM for a relaxing evening.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Guangzhou that will be very full."

Peter has also sent an update of the day's activities. "We had a really wonderful day today! In the morning, we went to the No.2 Kindergarten. We watched the flag raising ceremony there. The kids are so cute and we really had a good time having class and playing games together with them! When it was time to leave, it was really hard to say goodbye to all the lovely kids there. Then we went to Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Memorial Hall. We know more now about the founding father of modern China and the history at that time. The architecture there is just great and we liked this kind of architecture. We had hot pot for lunch. We put all the ingredients in our own pots and cooked them with the soup. It is really delicious and it's an interesting way to eat. In the afternoon, we went to the Guangzhou Sports Polytechnic. We visited the campus and watched the training of the Chinese students and athletes. They really work hard and impressed us a lot. We also participated in Ping Pong and the friendship match goes on well as the friendship will go on. Then we trained together with Chinese swimmers. They all work hard and swim very well. We have had a great time together. We have more friends after the training.

Tomorrow, we will visit No.21 Middle School and have the swim meet in the afternoon. Looking forward to it!"

4/6/17 Thursday (12:45 AM next day, 9:45 AM Seattle time) Patti Matthew, our great WCE Trip Coordinator and WCE Coach, has sent us an update of the last full day in Guangzhou for our Swim Team delegation. "Today was another good and busy day. We started off early to head to the Number 21 Middle School. Their reader board welcomed our delegation. We went to a class room where Principal Dai gave a speech and made everyone feel very comfortable. Then one of the female students gave a performance on an old Chinese instrument. The music was beautiful! We then presented them with some gifts and then our very own John played the guitar. He was very good and everyone enjoyed his performance as well. We then got the entire group together and taught them 3 different dances! It was so much fun! Afterwards we went to their gym and played badminton. Again, there was much laughter and being with our new friends.

We then went back to the hotel and had a short meeting and subway lunch. After just relaxing for a couple hours it was off to the swim meet. There were some really great races. They are the best high school swim team in the city and it was understandable. There was some great speed! We did our friendship exchange and hope to keep in touch. They are hoping to come to the US and compete one day, possibly setting up an exchange.

After, we left for the cruise. It was a beautiful evening, warm with some clouds. The lights along the river are beautiful! This is our last night in Guangzhou. We will get up a little early, have a Tai Chi lesson, eat and head off to the airport. It was a great week, but the Great Wall awaits!"

Peter has also sent an update. "We had a fabulous time today. In the morning, we went to No.21 Middle School for a cultural exchange. First, we toured around the campus; it's a really beautiful school. We now know more about the school and we learned also about their daily life. We also talked a lot and communicated very well with the local students. Then we had a class meeting together. We had already become good friends before we had to say goodbye.

In the afternoon, we had our International Swim Meet. We all swam well and we had a great time there! After the meet, the friendship went on. Then came another highlight. We had the boat cruise on the Pearl River! We also had a buffet dinner there and the food was nice. We enjoyed the beautiful sights along the banks and we really liked the cruise.

Tomorrow, we will learn Tai Chi and be ready to go to Beijing. Can't help thinking about it!"

4/7/17 Friday (12:00 AM next day, 9:00 AM Seattle time) Our WCE Swim Team Delegation is now in Beijing. Patti Matthew has sent us our first update! "Today we said good bye to Guangzhou and hello to Beijing. We wished Peter could stay with us, but are thankful Eva is with us. We met our new tour guide, Rocky.

Our first stop was for a traditional Peking Duck dinner. It was so good! We then went to the Olympic grounds and walked around a bit. It was getting dark, and saw how beautiful the Watercube and Birds Nest are with the different lights in them. Then back to the hotel to recharge for tomorrow. It will be a fun filled, busy day."

Eva, another wonderful tour guide from Guangzhou, has traveled with our delegation to Beijing. She has also sent us an update along with 4 photos. "Today was a long and exciting day! In the morning, we learned Tai Chi from Master Cai! We followed him and learned to do lots of movements and enjoyed the knowledge of the Tai Chi class. Then we left for Beijing the Capital of China. It's pretty different from Guangzhou. It's dry and sunny here. We felt good. We had a Peking duck dinner. Peking duck is thought to be one of the most delicious dishes all over the world; most visitors coming to Beijing will never forget trying it. It was so delicious. After that we went to the National Stadium and the Water Cube which are now major landmarks and the symbols of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Tomorrow, we will have a Beijing city tour. Looking forward to it."

4/8/17 Saturday (11:00 PM next day, 8:00 AM Seattle time) Patti Matthew has sent us another update from Beijing. "Today was our first full day in Beijing. We started off our day at Tiananmen Square. It can hold up to one million people! Next came the Forbidden City. It was very beautiful and stretched for over 900 meters. We learned about the two emperors that lived there and their families. After we experienced lunch Beijing style. We ate at a local restaurant and noticed the difference between this and the Cantonese food earlier. We also visited the Temple of Heaven. The architecture is incredible! After we went to a silk factory and saw how silk is manufactured. The number of cocoons to produce one item is overwhelming. After another local meal, we went to an acrobat show. Oh my, what they do is remarkable! Tomorrow we take on the Great Wall!"

Eva has also sent us an update. "In the morning, we went to a must see place when you visit Beijing, Tiananmen Square. The square can hold over one million people. It lies on the historical central axis going through the Forbidden City. All the architecture there is worth seeing and enjoying. We also visited a place that is regarded as one of the top five palaces, the Forbidden City. For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. The buildings inside are really impressive. In the afternoon, we went to the Temple of Heaven. It was where emperors went to worship heaven for good harvests. The buildings inside are real Chinese style and the scenery is so beautiful. In the evening, we went to watch a Chinese Acrobatics Show. It was so amazing. Tomorrow we will stand on the Great Wall and have another full day."

4/9/17 Sunday (11:30 PM next day, 8:30 AM Seattle time) Eva (our outstanding guide from Guangzhou who traveled with the delegation to Beijing) has sent us an update of the day's activities. "We went to the Great Wall in the morning and the weather was perfect. The Great Wall runs across North China like a huge dragon. It is the longest wall on earth, also one of the wonders of the world. The Great Wall is very steep and hard to climb but we all try our best to finish it. We've conquered the Great Wall! In the afternoon, we visited the Walk of the Spirits of the Ming Tomb. The architecture there is great and grand. We had a good time there and we learned more history about the past dynasties. Another highlight of the day was going to the silk street market for shopping. We looked for what we were interested in and bargained with the salesmen. Dinner was pizza! Everybody was so excited about that. We had a good time. Tomorrow, we will visit the Summer Palace in the morning and then it will be time to go back home. The group will be sorry to leave China."

Patti has also sent us an update of the day's activities. "Today was a great day in Beijing! We started off for the Great Wall early. It was a cool and beautiful morning. The Great Wall seemed daunting, but we conquered! We then went on to eat at a Jade factory and learned a little about this beautiful stone. Next was the Walk of the Spirits near the Ming Tombs. Again we were told more about the rulers of ancient China. Next came shopping at the Silk Market. There were 6 floors of goods! My goodness it was fun to bargain with the vendors. We added greatly to the economy of China! Tomorrow we leave for home but not before going on one more tour of the Summer Palace. It will be hard to leave, but good to be home."

For Parents Meeting the Delegation tomorrow: First go to www.hainanairlines.com. Click on Flight Status (under Flights) and check on Flight #495 (or call Hainan Airlines at 1-888-688-8813) to make sure the flight is on time. The flight is scheduled to arrive in Seattle at 11:35 AM. You can meet the Delegation as they walk up the stairs from the South Concourse — between baggage carousels 7 and 8 on the Baggage Claim level. Remember they will need 45–60 minutes to clear US Immigrations and US Customs after their flight arrives.

4/10/17 Monday After returning to Guangzhou Eva sent us our final update from the last day in Beijing. "The last day in China was wonderful. We visited the Summer Palace in the morning. The Summer Palace is China's leading classical garden which enjoys a worldwide reputation. There are two main elements of the garden, Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. We took the dragon boat on the Kunming Lake. It was so cool... Then we had a dumpling lunch. Yummy! Then it was the time to head home."