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26 April 2016


During the first week of the Easter holiday seventeen year 9 pupils headed to Yangshuo in Guangxi province on the inaugural residential Geography trip.

Our journey from the airport in Guilin to Yangshuo took us past soaring karst mountains and glistening rivers.  Our first activity was a scavenger hunt in Yangshuo town centre to learn more about the area and its renowned West Street. We went off into one of the crowed alleys and found colorful, vibrant stores on both sides of the street along with an assortment of smells and sounds coming from every direction.

One of the trips’ aims was for us to be immersed in the geography of the area and the third day literally delivered this as we went caving! Crouching and crawling deeper into the cave, everything stood absolutely still, there was no light aside from our torches and the faint sound of water dripping through this limestone rock. Stalagmites were rising and stalactites were hanging down like cloth, and flow stone adorned the cave walls. Things got to another level when mud was introduced to the cavers at the mud pool. Surprisingly, everyone made it out in one piece, with bits of mud stuck on clothes, hair, and faces.

Further activities included exploring the varying agricultural landscape and talking to local farmers, assessing the impact of tourism in Yangshuo through questionnaires and environmental impact assessments. We also did a river investigation to assess how the river changes as it makes its way downstream. Using metre sticks, measuring tapes and tennis balls we were able work out the cross-section, wetted perimeter and velocity at two different sites.

Each evening the geography fieldwork was complemented with a classroom session to collate the data recorded and apply it to geographical theory. Whilst we would have preferred to be playing games, we learnt a lot and were better able to appreciate and understand the place we were in.

Many members of the group experienced new activities and overcame the challenges facing them. From climbing a tough route up a karst limestone rock face, approaching people to do questionnaires about tourism in Yangshuo and cycling along tracks and quiet country roads, everyone got stuck in and gave it their all.

One of the highlights for most of us was preparing camp and cooking both dinner and breakfast! “Pasta” was made by some of the worst cooks in the group and some interesting chopping skills were on display as large chunks of onion was left on some plates. Left with a bitter taste in our mouths, we made our way to the campfire, finishing the day off with some camp songs and horror stories that made all of us shiver with laughter.

On the final day, having waved goodbye to the hotel, we travelled to the renowned Moon Hill, one of the most famous landmarks in Yangshuo. The path was jagged and abrupt, which was a challenge for the majority of us. As we slowly made our way up, I began to see glimpses of sunlight through the thick trees. We finally made it to the top and witnessed the most breathtaking view of the trip. Rays of sunshine shining through the layered clouds and the gorgeous reflections in the water of the rice fields; this really was a spectacular conclusion to our irreplaceable trip.

We all saw new things that we never have seen in the past like dark caves, bizarre rocks and mighty mountains as we went through this adventurous journey with our friends and teachers. The Geo Squad has been through countless challenges, adventures, but most importantly, the experience and memories that would always be left deeply within our hearts together, forever.

Article by David Feng and Heather Leung