Our group then toured another silk factory where we were shown the raw material used to make the silk products and given a demonstration on the quality of the products produced in a government factory. One of the interesting aspects we learned is that the cocoon that the moth makes is really hard when dry. However, they boil it for over 2 hours to get it soft. This way the pupa inside can be removed and the silk stretched out on a wooden mold shown below.
We then drove to a government pearl factory where we were shown how to tell the difference between a real pearl and a fake pearl. Real pearls when rubbed together make a pearl powder. We also learned that it takes over 3 years to have an oyster ready to produce pearls and each oyster can produce more than 30+ pearls!
Our next stop was at the oldest part of Beijing where we were given a tour via a rickshaw ride. During this ride, we passed a frozen river where we joined the locals out on the ice for some great photos.
After dinner, the group took in a Kung Fu show. The stunts and acrobatics were amazing. The show demonstrated the dedication needed to acquire and build the skills required in this ancient art form. Several of the students took advantage of the opportunity to take photos with the Kung Fu artists featured in the show.