FROM CHINA TO KOREA
I have recently returned from two trips to China teaching English and I am about to start teaching again; this time in South Korea. I love travel, especially in Asia and by working there, feel I experience the country more than by just passing thru it.
My previous travels before China were 15 months in North America and Europe in 1975-76 and many South East Asian countries in 1980-81 for another 9 months. After almost another quarter of a century living in Australia, I got the travel bug once again.
This time I decided to do it slightly differently by working. I heard that it was possible to work by teaching English in some countries, so I arranged a job thru the Internet. After being ‘semi retired’ in beautiful, secluded, quiet, rural area on east coast of Australia, teaching in a city in China seemed to be the most logical choice.
After all, I had travelled thru India alone; how hard could it be?
Entry # 1 and # 2 are summaries of my two teaching trips to trips to China.
Entry # 3 to #15 is the start of new Korean teaching experience and includes holidays to Cambodia and North Vietnam.
Entry # 16 to #24 is my third trip, teaching in China including South Vietnam holiday
Entry # 25 to #29 is my separate travel trip to West China along the Silk Road for one month.
Entry # 30 onwards is my forth teaching trip in China.
I hope you enjoy this, my first ever, Blog. All feedback welcomed.
February 27th 2012
#33- NORTHERN CENTRAL LAOS. THE SHOCK OF LAOS. It is amazing how two neighboring countries can be so different. After the noise, high-rise chaos, hustle and bustle of China, arriving in more laid back Laos was a welcome change. You even notice at the airport, especially after going thru Chinese immigration TWICE at two different airports in China (??!?). Here, the locals smile at you instead of grinning and giggling. And it’s a change to see Aussies everywhere in shorts and thongs (flip-flops) after China’s cool weather. VIENTIANE The capital city, Vientiane, feels more like a country town (like Lismore or Grafton). So now I will rest in good hotel with plenty of SPACE (even a kitchen!) for few days to recover from cold and craziness of the last week. ‘Try to do nothing for a ... read more
February 23rd 2012
XIAMEN AND GUYANGYU ISLAND, INCLUDES SIDE TRIPS TO HAKKA ROUNDHOUSES, QUANGZHOU AND CHONGWU. XIAMEN I spent about 9 days traveling in south China before the mad Chinese holiday season started. Close to the mainland connected by bridge in a large bay is the island /city of Xiamen (pron. “Sharmin”) ;a place I have always wanted to visit; and so far, it has lived up to it’s reputation. The hotel is in the back alleys of the old city and on first visit you need to be personally guided in. As owners say “even the locals get lost in here”. It is run by an American and his Chinese wife. Now I know my way in and out and even found another ‘short cut’ thru fish (and other live animals) street market in alleys past Catholic Church. ... read more
November 21st 2011
TAIZHOU TEACHERS COLLEGE The college is about 1 or 2 kilometers from centre of city in and OK area with some basic shops out the front with some water gardens and big fir trees inside. The apartment is close to the sports field and concert hall and is comfortable and livable; A bit like a ‘mini’ version of my last ‘mansion’ in Shaoxing. Most utilities work, with a few minor problems as is usual. ‘Not very good views in a quiet location, except for the unexpected fireworks. So altogether there will be 4 English speakers here; all old guys, three from Australia, one from America. I only have to teach about half the classes I was supposed to, so I have plenty of spare time. Our Welcoming Banquet was at the ‘number one’ 5 star hotel ... read more
November 21st 2011
TAIZHOU CITY-SOUTH CHINA The new college I teach at is a smaller university in smallish city near where the old and new Grand Canal met the Yangtze River, north of Shanghai(3 hours away) Called ‘Taizhou’ in Jiangsu province. It is one of the many medium sized cities on the huge Shanghai delta and very flat and not on the tourist track. It does have parks around a ‘square waterway/canal area around the city centre and is OK for walking. Like everywhere else, the old is being pulled down and new high rise apartments replacing them, even in the city centre. Expanding into the countryside, new medical research /university centers are also going up everywhere. Before I left, new supermarkets seemed to be opening every weekend; just in time for Christmas. In spite of all the new ... read more
November 21st 2011
XIAHE A bus ride from Lanzhou took me up to another unique place high in the mountains were the air is also thin and sky is dark blue and clear. This is the largest Tibetan monastery town outside of Tibet.. it also has a large population of Chinese and Hui Muslims. It was a small laid back town, surrounded by barren hills being the start of winter. The air was clear and crisp, but warm in the sun and a pleasant place to wander around and unwind for a few days from the cold and hard travel of northern Gansu. MAIJISHAN Next it was back to Lanzhou and bus to Maijishan, a ‘haystack’ shaped mountain in the middle of nowhere with more Buddhist art grottoes. These grottoes are more like recesses in the side of a ... read more
November 21st 2011
Gansu is a long province east of Xinjiang where the Silk Road tracks bottleneck between the mountains of the Tibetan plateau and mountains of Mongolia .The area is called the Hexi Corridor (“Her-she”) and is mostly stony desert with oasis towns along its length. Strong winds here have made it a major ‘wind farm’ area of China with thousands of huge wind turbines along the rail tracks. DUNHUANG Some of the rich merchants in this corridor have become ‘patrons of the arts’ over the centuries supporting Buddhists sculptors and painters. There was a lot of religious tolerance during this period. The result is many cave art grottoes. The most famous is the World Heritage site at Dunhuang. Unfortunatly, no cameras were allows inside and you could only go in with registered guide. However, well worth the ... read more
November 21st 2011
SILK ROAD TRIP 2010 TULUFAN-East Xinjiang. Another highlight of the silk Road is the old area of Tulufan, which is the third lowest depression in the world and below sea level. It has very little snow or rain, but plenty of underground rivers from the snow mountains a long way away for growing lots of food. Grapes and melons from the Mediterranean area especially grow well here. The area is also very Islamic and cosmopolitan also, with many of the older woman dressing like Italian movie stars out of the 1950s with lots of, scarfs, eye makeup and sequins. There was a lot to see in this area, so spent a few days here; deserted ancient ruins, coloured stony desserts, villages, orchards, markets, tombs, Mosques, Buddhist stupas all in the one area. The pictures show the ... read more
November 21st 2011
SILK ROAD TRIP 2010 URUMQI, KASHGAR AND WESTERN BORDER AREA URUMQI Arrived at Urumqi in middle of night in terminal that was like enclosed bus shelter without seats, so sleeping there not option. only paid about 20% more than expected in hotel with clean sterile white walls ,so next morning with help of the same taxi driver, moved to a youth hostel style hotel with writing all over walls. There were no other westerners here, very westernised young Chinese traveller-backpackers from all over China. This is the first time I had seen so many Chinese travellers outside the tour group setup. It was very encouraging to see. URUMQI This is the most inland city in the world, (It’s a long way to the beach) URUMQI, the capital of Xinjiang, is a typical ethnic Han Chines city, ... read more
November 19th 2011
BEIJING BEFORE AND AFTER TRIP TO SILK ROAD IN OCTOBER 2010 The next 4 chapters (Chapters 26 to 29) are of my one month trip ( started 10-10-10)along the Silk Road from the western border in Xinjiang to lower Gansu province. I flew into Beijing and left from Beijing THE FIRST TWO DAYS (IN BEIJING) The weather was good for my first 2 days in Beijing, in spite of arriving at night with rainon the last day of very busy Chinese holidays. The taxi drivers tried to charge me $20 for a short ride, with help for the locals, I managed to pay $3 the real fare. I got to re-visit the Summer Palace in the outer northern suburbs. Many sites were closed for renovations for the Olympics and although back in 2005 I managed to ... read more
March 29th 2010
CHAPTER 24-SAIGON- SOUTH VIETNAM Arrived here a few days before Chinese New Years Day, the day I have to leave. I was not sure what to expect in this festive time; could be interesting, chaotic or both. Saigon or Ho Chi Mihn City is the southern city who lost out to Hanoi in the north in 1975. Even thought the Americans where here for a long time and it is easier to get around, and even though it is slightly more Westernised than the Capital, Hanoi, it is still a very Asian city. The people were just as friendly and there were just as many motor-bikes everywhere, but there did seem to more room on the footpaths to walk in a straight line without manoeuvring around parked motorcycle or other obstacles. I had to check my ... read more