Monday, April 9, 2012

Kindergarten

I teach two kindergarten classes every week on Monday. Each class is only 25 minutes long but I fear these two classes more than all of my Junior classes combined. If you were to run a lawnmower in the classroom during my first class, you would have no idea that anything was different. My second class is much better and they love to raise their hands and answer questions. I still lose them quickly as they have the attention span of a goldfish. Anyhow, I guess its a good experience for me and the kids enjoy the class. Here are some pictures from both classes today.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

from the rooftops

Here are a few pictures of the city that I took from on top of my apartment building tonight.
(the red lights on top of some of the apartments are phrases in English and Chinese characters. One says Huai Te Community of Wisdom and Knowledge, the other says Huai Te Palace of Advantageous Community (or something like that) (Huai Te is a family/company that owns a lot in our part of town)))







Sunday, April 1, 2012

The city

Maybe someday I'll get around to finishing my vacation blog but not this day. Here are some pictures that I took while on a walk around the city.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Hong Kong

On the 9th, Laura and Elijah took a train to a city near the Vietnam border. That night I took a shuttle bus to the Guilin airport and I arrived at the Shenzhen (a city about 20 minutes away from the HK border) airport at around midnight. I tried to sleep on an iron bench but I probably only got one or two hours of sleep (sleeping right next to the doors probably didn't help, the temperature was surprisingly cold for how far south I was). In the morning I shuttled to the border, then trudged through immigration lines for about two hours. I then purchased an Octopus card which you can use to pay for public transportation and at 7-11s, it turned out to be really handy. After taking the MTR (HKs metro system) into the city, I tried to find the clock tower where I was supposed to meet Tyler and Emily that afternoon.




On the way I walked along Victoria Harbor and over the Avenue of Stars. The skyline across the harbor is absolutely amazing.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

real bamboo

After a quick tour of the village, we got to take a ride on some legitimate bamboo rafts.
(See first video at the bottom)

At the first stop we made, some farmers brought their water buffaloes over for us to feed.

I took this picture from the near the water buffalos (from almost the same place where the Windows XP wallpaper picture was taken).

Then we stopped on the river and one of the guys from the village put on a cormorant fishing show for us. It only took the birds a few seconds to bring up a fish. (See second video at the bottom)

We went a little bit further down the river after the cormorant show. At one point one of the men paddling the raft lost his balance and fell in (and it was probably about 35 degrees out). The other drivers gave him a pretty hard time.

If I went back (which I would like to when it’s warmer) I would probably stay in Yangshuo over Guilin. Guilin was fine, but it was a lot of traveling to get to any of the scenic places. Yangshuo is much smaller and has many scenic areas close by for biking or hiking.


video video

village

Following the Li River tour, we started another tour of a small village on another river. It was interesting to be in such a small village, it was really the first time I had been anywhere other than a multi-million person town. According to our tour guide a relatively recent law sought to establish a government subsidized medical clinic and a Communist Party HQ in every village. In this town one was right on top of the other.

We also looked at a traditional doorway in the village, our guide (looking like the goofball he was) explained that the red around the door and the mirror at the top were meant to keep evil spirits away (which I guess come around more during spring festival time). There is also a wooden plank that you have to step over when walking through the doorway which also blocks the spirits (they can’t step over stuff for some reason). Also, during spring festival, the Chinese people scare away the spirits with fireworks.

Raft ride

On our next excursion we took a "bamboo" (actually just pvc pipes) raft ride down the famous Li River to a smaller town called Yangshuo. It is pretty amazing stretch of river with mountains that rise out of the mist and tower over the river.

There is apparently a tradition with this mountain (below) that if you can see all 9 horses (shapes that look like horses, not actual horses) in the mountain than you will become the number one scholar in all of China. And as our tour guide told us repeatedly, Bill Clinton only managed find three. I really only saw one for sure and that was only after the tour guide pointed it out to us.

On the ride to Yangshuo, we also stopped to see the location that is on the back of the 20 RMB note used in China. The picture below shows me in the most cliché pose possible but everyone else was doing it so whatever.