Our Last Day in Beijing
By: Jonty Hammer ’22
After two long weeks of travel, sightseeing, and (lots of) eating, we finally reached our last full day in China. Although bittersweet, the day was (as always) full of numerous places for us to explore and enjoy. We first took a quick stroll through the Olympic Park, where we saw the Bird’s Nest stadium and the Water Cube swimming facility. We then went to the Hutong Village to make our own dumplings, and after lunch, we lost our way through sprawling markets and cavernous malls, and topped it off with a colorful acrobatic show. Although packed, the highlight of the day was most certainly the dumpling lunch. Once we arrived at Hutong village, we were instantly ushered into rickshaws, with two people per cart. We were given a ride around the village, and we were able to see small alleys and stalls along the way that complemented the village’s lively personality. Even though Hutong has existed since the Yuan Dynasty, which was around the 13th Century, riding through did not feel as though we were walking through a museum. Instead, I felt as though I was experiencing a town that had matured and aged from years of development, while certainly retaining its original modesty. Right after the cart ride, we entered the home of Mr. Liu. Awaiting us were plates of dough and dumpling filling, and before we knew it, we were all attempting to create what one could possibly call “dumplings”. We spent around ten minutes folding and filling dough, hoping to make something look appetizing. Before we knew it, they were whisked away from us to be steamed and served. Once the dumplings had returned to our table, we all dove into the plate to get a taste of what we worked for. And they were actually quite delicious! Not only did the dumplings have a fresh and cucumber-like flavor, but they also looked rather presentable themselves! And after experiencing dumplings throughout my whole life, I can honestly say that Greens Farms Academy’s homemade dumplings were a hit. Once we had all become dizzy from the amount of food consumed, Mr. Liu began to tell us a bit about the town and his family, who lived in the same house for generations spanning over 150 years. He said that the recent development in Beijing has increased the value of that area to 300,000 yuan per square meter (which is around 43 thousand USD)! He and his family are due to be relocated to a high rise apartment building so that his street can be redeveloped. He also told us about how he used to teach kung fu, and how one of his kids even worked with Jackie Chan on a movie! By the end of the day, I can certainly say that I will never forget the charm of the Hutong Village, and while I feel quite sad to be leaving such an incredible place, I know that the amazing memories, both of today, and of all of the adventures of the last weeks, will always be with me.