Steve: Trying to Order Camel and Other Dining Adventures

During the week of March 19-26, four high school students selected by Science, Math, and Technology Education Center to participate in the North Carolina International Science Competition (NCISC) are traveling to Beijing, China to present their research, meet students from other countries, and experience Chinese culture. This blog highlights the journey of these future science rockstars of North Carolina! Today, we hear from one of the adult travelers on the trip, Steve Hill who is Executive Director of North Carolina’s Eastern Region: STEM East. See more pictures and updates on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Eating with the school students and learning about their school activities was very educational.  Students in China eat lunch without anything to drink.  This lead to a discussion about water conservation and the differences between American eating habits and Chinese eating habits.

We also learned that older students lived at the high school while younger ones went home around 5:00 PM.  The facilities, minus the bathrooms (which is an American bias for me) were very impressive.  The school had apartments for students and even an outdoor mega video monitor that resembled something from our professional football stadiums.

Students tasting various Chinese dishes.

Each evening we returned to the hotel to try some Chinese-style Chinese food.  There is definitely a difference between American Chinese food and Chinese food. We got through some things that tasted much differently than they looked and found a few new favorites as we expanded our culinary palates.   Dinner was a good debrief time to discuss our perceptions of the day and how we can best spend our next day in Beijing.  The team of delegates was a big plus for the trip.  Anyone will tell you that the networking that takes place at conferences is the best part.  Imagine having seven days to talk extensively with highly respected professionals as you experience a new country together.

Our best eating experience took place at the Imitation Imperial Restaurant that had to have “Imitation” in front of the name because only the Emperor can eat at the Imperial Restaurant.  I tried to order camel, but was over-ruled by the group for seafood, chicken and some part of a cow… we think.  We also tried a few things from the market but didn’t stray too far on the pickled intestinal organ cart.

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