Today, we left Guilin. Even though we had only been there for two weeks, we felt as though we had been a part of the community for so much longer. The bullet train took us swiftly to Guangzhou where we were met with a guide, who gave us a whirlwind tour of our gateway city. Our first stop was to a temple dedicated by the Chen family in honor of the academic success of their clan on the Imperial Civil Servants Examination. The temple was built to celebrate the ancestors of the Chen family for blessing them with status in society — it is a beautiful and rare example of Qing Dynasty architecture with artifacts. We also paid a visit to many of the city’s famous streets and markets, which sold everything from clothes and food, to traditional Chinese medicine (including live scorpions), to adorable puppies, kittens, turtles and fish for pets. Afterwards, we crossed the man-made canal to the French and British Concessions on Beishan Island. It was a bit surreal to see such period Western architecture in the midst of a bustling Chinese metropolis. Our walking tour was followed by dim sum for dinner, and a lovely saunter down the illuminated square of the newest section of Guangzhou. Tomorrow, the students will bid farewell to their host country and return to their home countries. It is hard to believe that time has flown by so fast!
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