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塞夫琳十二天中国纪行 Twelve Days in China(4)

Day Four to Day Seven: Chinese culturalscroll

□ Time:  June the 17th to Junethe 20th, 2016

□ Location: Fire Palace, Yuelu Academy, Orange Island, Mao zedong’s hometownof Shaoshan

□ Reporter: He liwei

 

We arrived at Changsha Huanghua Airport at19:15, June the 17th, and sponsors of the event sent several young people topick us up. A girl named Mingming holding a bouquet of lilies welcomed Sevelinewarmly. Both the translator and photographer hugged her and helped her carrythe luggage. We walked along, taking pictures of Seveline with our cellphones. 

It was the first time that I had a glimpseinto the playful nature of Seveline.

With the lively girl Mingming to cheer herup, she posed for the camera, making faces and doing the cheesy goofy smile.

Dinner was arranged in the famous FirePalace where the local food was served. Seveline was much more dynamic than shewas in Beijing. She actually stood up, walked towards Mingming and demanded todo the bottoms up in accordance with Chinese drinking etiquette.

After dinner we took a stroll in the nightstreet of Changsha. Seveline was still quite high-spirited, laughing andenjoying being a star in front of the camera.

Next morning we visited Yuelu Academy, aninstitution with over a thousand years of history. At the gate, we saw thefamous couplet “the best talents in China come from the Kingdom of Chu, thebest talents in Chu come from the Academy of Yuelu”.

As one of the four great academies inChina, Yuelu Academy was set up in 976AD (north Song period). It survived thedynasties of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing, promoting knowledge and scholarship.Situated on the campus of Hunan University at the foot of Yuelu mountain on thewest bank of Xiang River, the academy was a quiet and beautiful place.

Yuelu Academy kept a lot of cultural relicswhich seemed strange to Seveline. Walking past the portrait of Confucius with atablet bearing “A Teacher for All Ages”, she stopped. Was it because the gentleface of this old man attracted her attention? There are four ConfuciusInstitutes in Kenya now. We hoped Seveline learn more about Confucius afterreturning home.

The party with the theme of “celebratingChinese culture, building Sino-African friendship, promoting one belt one roadinitiative and realizing the Chinese dream of an African girl” was held inHanyuan, a great mansion with traditional Chinese architectural style built byDahan group, which co-sponsored the event with Hunan University. BesidesSeveline and Mr. K, several African students studying in Hunan University alsoattended the party.

Seveline changed into a traditional Hancostume in black and yellow. We asked how it felt. “Very comfortable, verypretty, very balanced,” said she happily, looking herself in the mirror andtaking selfies.

Next morning we took the subway in Changshato visit the Orange Island. It only took three stops to get to our destination,but Seveline still got the opportunity to “glimpse” into the high speed traintechnology of China. We kept taking pictures of her all the way.

A small island in the middle of XiangJiang,the Orange Island was formed in 1305AD (Jin Dynasty) with over a thousand years’of history. It became famous after Chairman Mao Zedong wrote a poem calledSpring in the Garden of Qin, where this place was first referred to as theOrange Island.

A “thumbs up” sculpture drew Seveline’sattention in the square called “A Man Named Mao Zedong Rises in China”. Thispowerful posture must be very inspiring in the eye of this African girl. Shemerrily mimicked it in front of the camera.

That afternoon we went to Hunan University,where Mr. Zhao Changhui, an African expert with the China Investment gave anEMBA lecture on the topic of Sino African Strategic and Developmental Opportunities.

On the early morning the next day, weheaded for Mao zedong’s hometown of Shaoshan.

In the Fire Palace the other night, whenshe was given a Chairman Mao Badge as a gift by the waiting staff, Sevelinesaid a few words in English. She told us that after she grew up, she came toknow that under Mao’s leadership, Chinese government began to provide a lot ofhelp for Kenya, and she thanked Chairman Mao for that. “It symbolizeseverything,” she said, referring to the badge.

Seveline laid a flower basket in front ofthe statue of Mao Zedong and visited Comrade Mao’s Memorial and the WaterDripping Cave.

We returned to Chang Sha Huanghua Airportat 3 pm. The next destination would be Chengdu.

The trip of Changsha was a cultural one. YueluAcademy, HanYuan, Orange Island, Hunan University, Mao zedong’s hometown ofShaoshan, every stop was packed with cultural and historical information, whichmight be a little difficult to grasp for an African girl on her first trip toChina.

If Changsha was a little bit sophisticatedfor Seveline, Chengdu should be simpler and more relaxing for her. Waiting tobe explored were our national treasure the giant pandas, the amazing feat ofengineering of Dujiangyan Irrigation System and the most peaceful and secludedQingcheng Mountain.