TAC tour group leaves for 12-day tour of China

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Just after midnight, a group of 21 friends of the Johnson Center for the Arts and Troy University embarked on a journey that will take them 13 air-hours to Beijing, China where they will begin a12-day tour of China.

“Actually, the tour began in theory 18 months ago during a conversation with Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr.,” said Vicki Pritchett, JCA executive director. “Troy University has a large number of international students, many of whom are from China. We were discussing ways to involve the international students with the Troy community and to foster better understanding of each other’s culture.

“During the conversation, Dr. Hawkins suggested putting together a trip to China for local residents. I thought it was a wonderful idea. And, when we announced the tour, it filled rather quickly.”

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Initially, the tour group will be staying at the Beijing Sunworld Hotel and Pritchett said everyone should immediately feel at home.

“Right across the street from the hotel is a McDonald’s and a Starbuck’s,” she said. “And the shopping malls carry brands familiar to all Americans.”

The first four days will be spent touring sites in Beijing beginning with a visit to Tiananmen Square, which is the world’s largest public square.

“We’ll visit the Forbidden City that is a UNESCO World heritage site,” Pritchett said. “It’s a complex of courtyards, palaces, pavilions and gardens that served the imperial palace for emperors and their households for more than 500 years.”

The second tour day in Beijing will be a highlight day with a visit to the Badaling Great Wall.

“We’ll have a chance to climb a portion of the wall,” Pritchett said. “That night, we’ll go to the famous Peking Duck.”

While in Beijing, the group will visit 798, a Chinese artists’ gallery area, and take a rickshaw tour around the ancient alleyways of one of the city’s 700-year-old traditional cottage neighborhoods.

“Also on the itinerary is a visit the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of architectural and landscape design that dates back to the 15th century, and the Beijing Zoo to see the pandas,” Pritchett said. “The next day, we’ll leave Beijing for Xi’an for a highlight trip to the Museum of Qing Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses.”

In Xi’an, the group will attend a Changan Dumpling Banquet featuring a Tang Dynasty Dance Show. They will visit the Xi’an City Wall, the Great Mosque and Muslim Food Street before flying to Shanghai where they will travel by coach to Suzhou, which is known as the Garden City and Venice of the East.

“Then we’ll go back to Shanghai and take a river cruise, visit the Silk Museum and be treated to a performance of the Shanghai Acrobatics Troop,’ Pritchett said. “The final day of the tour, we’ll visit Shanghai Museum, the Ming Dynasty, Yuyuan Garden and the Chenghuangmiao Stall Market. Then, at noon on May 29, we’ll end our visit to China and fly back home.”