|On the Trail
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|PeaceBike Local! - NEW VIDEO|
|Wednesday, May 09, 2012 (08:00:00)|
|New PeaceBike Local Video on Youtube
Current location: McMinnville, Oregon
Total cycled: 10 kilometers
Total traveled10 kilometers
Travel Mode(s): Bike
Route Cautions: High traffic
Uphill Riding: 10% of route
|Comments (2) |
|From Sanya to English Teacher Tad in Wenzhou!|
|Sunday, April 03, 2005 (10:00:00)|
|Well, dear reader and virtual traveler.
I am going to summarize about 1000 experiences in a few short lines. So obviously, lots will be left out....alas, alas.
I had a very relaxing time in Sanya. Met great locals and foreign friends, including the world famous, Mr. Horneeman. New Years Eve fireworks exploded overhead as I swam in the warm coastal waters. Not bad. About two weeks there and then it was time to say some tough good-byes.
An amazing bus, mototaxi, ferry, overnight bus, 2 hours of sleep in a hotel, overnight bus marathon later I made it to Wenzhou. I am an Oregonian so Wenzhou weather made me feel right at home. Yes, cold rain on February 17th when I arrived in Wenzhou, not knowing a single person. All I had to connect me to this place was the business card of Jinwan Liu, who I met at Linfield College a few years ago. She invited me to come teach at Wenzhou University if I wanted to come back to China.
It is funny how a world can open up to you. In a mere forty days I have met 400+ students, a dozen foreign teachers, and another 53.4 staff members. I have made friends with the staff of about five local restaurants, from the muslim noodle shop to the wok stir fry place down the alley. I’m teaching two classes, Oral English, for elementary school teachers, and American and Canadian Culture. I have really enjoyed both. We play lots of games in the Oral English class which I used when I was teaching my students Spanish way back in 1997-99. These college students were a little nervous about jumping around and dancing to the “Hokey Pokey”, and flying like birds around the classroom but in the end I think there are enjoying the class and learning experientially how to teach English to kids in a way that kids will both enjoy the process and remember what they learn.
The American Culture class was a bit challenging a first as I grappled with very large classes (75+ students) and such a huge topic, trying to cram it into 90 minutes each week. Now, with the help of Powerpoint, my students are getting snapshots bits of America, such as the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, doggy daycare, speed dating, retirement centers, gay marriage, Christopher Columbus and the Arawaks, and why do American’s eat turkey towards the end of November. It has been great fun. I told them I would mainly tell them the truth (as I understand it) and that I would at least try to make my inadvertent fibs interesting.
One class of students took me to a local amusement park, called Wenzhou Paradise, which I thoroughly enjoyed, even getting soaked at the end of the water ride! For some reason I was the only wet one…hmmmmm. There are some great rocks and mountains to climb around here, enough to make my younger brother, Kip, a bit jealous.
There have been tough times too. I learned that one of my grandmas died while I was here. Late at night at an internet café I got the news from my mom via a voicemail message. It has been tough being away from the family and I know that I will probably miss her even more when I go home and see she isn’t there. I love you, Grandma.
There have been minor frustrations such as taxi drivers speeding through crosswalks at 40 mph. But when in Wenzhou, do as the Wenzhou Ren (people) do, so I have learned to stay alert, and enjoy the breeze as they speed by.
Peace, eyes open ,
|Comments (1199) |
|Sanya - Certainly Warm and Friendly!|
|Saturday, January 29, 2005 (10:40:00)|
|Welcome to Tropical Sanya,
When I opened the door at the end of our taxi ride to Sanya my glasses instantly fogged up. I quickly took off my coat and jacket so I didn’t overheat!
With good luck guiding me to the right place at the right time, I ended up taking the wrong bus for where I thought I wanted to go, got off at the wrong stop and instantly met a friendly couple Pilar and Tom ( from Spain and Germany) who told me about a great youth hostel I might be able to rent a shower from just down the road. Ah, very nice! Later I learned, had I gotten on the right bus and off at the right stop I would have been at the 150$/night hotels but instead, tapping into the cosmic travel coordination matrix I was led to a perfect hostel which rented me showers and a space to store my stuff for about $1.88/night (I had my own tent). I soon discovered that just about every foreigner who was teaching English in China and wanted to escape the cold was staying at this hostel.
If you too would like to stay at this wonderful hostel send them an email at email@example.com and ask for Peter or call them at 0898 88182320 or 13322098659. Google's Search Results for Blue Sky Youth Hostel in Sanya ,
|Comments (1097) |
|Silver Beach Paradise - with Friends like Ida and her Family!|
|Saturday, January 22, 2005 (10:00:00)|
Well, it seems like friendly good fortune was on my side. Ida and her family and friends helped me find a nice hotel room and negotiated a week long price of about 60 RMB which is about $7.50 USD. I was happy with that and set up my room. I enjoyed long jogs on the beach and practiced my Chinese thirty minutes to an hour each night.
I also felt extremely grateful for all the time I got to spend with Ida and her friends Swan, Icy, and Icy’s little sister Lily. They took me out to special meals and showed me around the town.
After about a week I heard from some other travelers (the very rare foreign variety) that the water was even bluer, the beaches warmer, and the sand was smoother on the Island of Heinan. Although I had heard that Heinan could get very busy during this season I decided I had wanted to search for really warm, tropical weather.
Ida’s dad went ahead on his bike and bought me a ferry ticket and when the time came for me to go Ida’s mom drove me and all of my luggage on the back of her motor scooter out to the ferry/bus terminal. Her uncle and aunt also helped by taking me in their car a few times to see the sites of the city! What a generous, generous family! They helped me so much!
So on to Hainan Dao, the southernmost province of China! I know I was asking for a lot, seeking the tropics in January, but my bones were still warming up from the cold of Beijing.
See you in the sunshine!
|Comments (834) |
|Beihai bound....even with morning breath!|
|Thursday, January 20, 2005 (10:00:00)|
So it is especially hard to find me when I stop writing journals. Well, I am back at it now and ready to continue my story.
So from Beijing I headed to Guilin and after seeing that it was still quite cold, wet, and windy I decided to keep on trekking south. I headed for the city of Beihai, which is very far south in the province of Guangxi.
I had to take an overnight bus to a city called Nanning and for some reason that only the central planners understand the bus arrives at about four in the morning when it seems every other bus is sleeping quietly in the parking lot. So at this hour when only very entrepreneurial taxi drivers are awake I came stumbling out of my sleeper bus and attempted to find another bus to Beihai, which I thought might be easy…hee.hee.
Well, a taxi driver told me he would help me, or at least that is what I understood from his body language. It seemed he wanted to take me to the other bus station. It turned out that the other bus station in Nanning did not have any buses going to Beihai either, until 7:00am so I sat in a very cold station with a surprisingly large crowd of sleepy fellow travelers. I attempted to sleep for a while on these ice-cold steel benches. Not quite paradise.
I woke up just in time to hear the name Beihai being called out on the loudspeaker. I grabbed my bags and stumbled toward the door. My pushing to the front of the line skills were not as honed as most here so I soon found myself at the back of the crowd. That didn’t seem to be the biggest problem because I didn’t even have a ticket. Luckily, in this case that was a good thing. I received special treatment and one of the attendants got me a ticket herself. That was nice. The dear reader must remember that I had bounced along all night on a rickety sleeper bus and I was still not literate, so this makes it difficult to follow instructions, even if I were wide awake.
I was a bit frustrated when I heard that the other bus station had a bus to Beihai at the same time. So, it seems to me, that my taxi driver might have been doing me less of a favor than I thought. But, in retrospect I am very glad I was on this bus, because I met a student going home for winter break named Ida. She and I talked for a good part of the trip home. I apologized for my morning breath and she said she had morning breath too. I had been traveling two nights and a day now without any shower.
Smelly traveler alert!
|Comments (1805) |
|Catch me if you can...Tad heads south!|
|Tuesday, January 18, 2005 (12:00:00)|
|Ni hao ma? (How are you?...literally "you good ?" )
Since I have not yet hopped a sishingche (bike) I may be a bit harder to track. Alanna, currently winning the most emails in Tad's inbox competition, has been tracking me pretty well by doing Google searches on my locations and then sending me tips about avoiding snake dishes etc, for which I am extremely grateful. I might acidentally order braised snake instead of eggplant were it not for her dilligence. Xie Xie (thank-you).
So back to the heading south... I got out of the plane near Beijing, which seemed to be below freezing the whole time I was there. Which is an important detail because it helped me choose my next destination.
I had planned to head north to visit our exchange student(a 16 year old named Xu Pen who stayed with us last Spring) and his family. After many attempts to call him I finally got ahold of his mom, who spoke Chinese. I was able to make out something about Xu Peng.... America.... and a few hours later, indeed, I got an email from Xu Peng. He said he was sorry he did not tell me but he was back in the USA, in San Bernadino, California. So with the prospects of not really being able to communicate with his parents and not wanting to spend any more time than necessary at below freezing conditions, especially when I had basically been returned to a pre-literate state, I decided to start looking South.
|Comments (2148) |
|Shopping in Beijing and Please Flush the Water Pot|
|Monday, January 17, 2005 (02:00:00)|
I took some time recently to do some shopping at a department store here in Beijing called MerryMart. Wow, that was quite an experience. It was more intense than Walmart just before Christmas, with 2-3 attendants every 100 square feet. Searching through my phrasebook and pointing I managed to get some soap, some hand lotion, a plastic container, a highlighter, oh yah, and some plastic shower sandals (certainly on the necessities list now). Makes me feel like a happy consumer all over again!
Please Flush the Water Pot?
From body and foot 'messages' to International Bank of Chia I have enjoyed reading English translation attempts just as, I'm sure, my new Chinese friends enjoy chuckling at my attempts as I hack away in putongwua "the people's language". I realize that some, such as flushing the water pot are probably England English derivatives and therefore I might be the odd intepreter.
I plan to keep note of other translations. And I share these with you in fun, because it is a 'two-way street' kind of game. I am chuckled at and imitated quite a lot so this helps bolster my sense of linguistic capacity, especially when my overworked language neurons quit firing.
Wo keyi shua eediendien putongwua (I can speak a little Chinese.),
PS. I am heading South to the city of Guilin, a 27 hour ride by train from Beijing. I am heading for warmer weather.
PSS. The picture is from my previous trip but shows the Guilin area.
|Comments (394) |
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