Before landing in Budapest today, 13-year-old Huang Chengfeng had envisioned Hungary to be an Amazonian country.
The boy was among a group of 50 students from Sichuan's quake-affected Pengzhou and Dujiangyan who are in the country for a 21-day holiday.
The trip was intended to provide the children an opportunity to relax after facing dire tragedy since May 12, Hungarian ambassador to China Sandor Kusai said yesterday at a farewell party at Beijing's Hungarian embassy.
"We hope the children could recover well, both physically and psychologically, during their three-week break in Hungary," Kusai said, adding children are the starting point for the future of China-Hungary friendship.
But the children were more concerned with enjoying themselves than fulfilling diplomatic aspirations.
Most of the students were excited about the trip and voiced curiosities about what the foreign country might be like.
"I initially thought the country must be next to Argentina," Huang told China Daily.
"Forests there must be endlessly wide, with many different animals living and running inside," he continued, adding he believed Budapest must have modern buildings with remarkable architecture.
Huang was even more excited when an introductory film dismantled his Amazonian conceptions of the country, because the city, with its gothic parliament building, and ancient cathedrals and churches, looks like "where Harry Potter lives".
"I can't wait to go there, and I'll share my experiences with my teachers and classmates after I come back," he said.
The group will spend 10 days in the capital city and the rest of the time enjoying the natural scenery around Balaton Lake.
"I want to see which is more beautiful, Hungary or my hometown of Dujiangyang," Huang said.
A separate group of 50 quake-affected Sichuan students also began a three-week holiday in Bulgaria.
Two weeks ago, a group of 1,000 quake-affected students from Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces began holidays in Russia.
(China Daily August 4, 2008)