05 January 2008

Serious Traveling Pictures

Currently reading: Passport: An Epic Novel of the Cold War by Bruce Herschensohn

Currently listening to: Pop by U2

The day after Christmas, I boarded a train to southern China. Getting out of our city was interesting because the fog was quite heavy. We got a train to Beijing and made it on the soft-sleeper car for our 22 hour journey to Guangxi province. An overnight delay turned it into a 24 hour journey, but it was uneventful. Once we arrived in Guilin, we freshened up and then headed out to see the city. In the morning rain, we walked over to a beautiful park and took in all the greenness that we could. In the evening, we took a bus to the paradise that is Yangshuo. An all-day bike ride occupied our Saturday. It was eventful--I fell off my bike and did a faceplant into a field (it was muddy!). Sunday was filled with good conversation and food. And Monday we spent traveling back to TJ. It was a great break and really fun to see another part of China. (Lots of) Evidence below--

Guilin Pictures:

The hills that make the Seven Star Park.

Ancient Chinese characters at the entrance to the Seven Star Cave.

Florescent lights colored the cave.

The park had some beautiful waterfalls.

The park had a zoo in the middle and it was at this zoo that I saw my first panda! Yes, that fox-like animal is actually panda--a red panda. Not exactly what you expect when you think panda, but still...

Bai Lan Hua, the flower that gave me my Chinese name.

A pack (herd? group?) of emus--what creepy birds.

Girls dressed in minority clothing.

A lily-covered pond (ah, nature, how I missed you!)

During our rainy walk through the park, we stumbled across a mosque.

Yangshuo Pictures:

The view from our hotel looking to the right.

The view from our hotel looking left.

A village dog protecting some chickens.

The roads were super muddy!

The Li River and the gorgeous mountains in the background.

These little bamboo rafts float down the river.

I love that the mountains are visible in the water in this picture.

An adorable sibling pair walking home from school and an older lady carrying water back to her village.

The bamboo boats docked at the village.

The toddlers all bundled up for the cooler weather.

Dave, Katie, Molly and I on a bridge from the 1200's!

A man herding his ducks to water.

This is probably my favorite picture from the whole trip.

Clothes and sausage hanging out to dry.

More sausage!

A grandmother and her grandson cleaning up at the restaurant where we ate lunch.

Mud, mud, and more mud--we were so muddy after our all-day bike ride.

Molly and I under the Yangshuo city sign.

The river is really low right now. Some locals explained to us that the river will be full again in the summer.

Crossing the Li River in a bamboo boat.

Our favorite winter fruit, you zi, growing on a tree. Pomelo (You zi's English name that I didn't know existed until a few weeks ago) is like a sweet grapefruit and has a huge peel.

The city of Yangshuo from the other side of the river.

The lady hacking the sugar cane into edible pieces with a huge knife.

Attacking our sugar cane!

Well, school is back is session. It was nice to get back to a regular schedule. I exited four of my students into the mainstream, and I gained one new student, so I'm sitting pretty with 5 students in both my 7th grade and 8th grade ESL classes. Only 3 more weeks until we have another break for Chun Jie (Chinese New Year).

It's cold now--the high today is a whopping 30 degrees F (-1 C). And at night it's getting down into the teens. Good times! There was a dusting of snow over Christmas but I missed it because we were already in Guilin. I want snow! It can only be this cold if snow is involved!

Signing off from frosty China,


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