#14 Retiring Teacher preparing to teach in China (Some cultural encounters)

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March 8th 2006
Published: March 9th 2006
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Twilight near GuilinTwilight near GuilinTwilight near Guilin

hour by hour, the sun provides new perspectives
There is a difference in visiting China as a member of a pre-planed tour-group, in a luxurious Mercedes Bus, while enjoying the comfort of Western-style hotels, and visiting China independently, contracted to teach for a year. The challenges are beginning to give me some thought. Having observed the extreme differences between Western life and Western customs from that of China, some observations and questions might be in order:

Knowing only a few words of Chinese will envelop a whole host of challenges, especially in a smaller city like Taizhou. Unlike Shanghai or Hong Kong, only Chinese-characters and sounds provide information outside these large cities. From searching out transportation to the selection of daily meals, everyday chores should provide a host of new journal material. Unfortunately, it also conveys limitations, and it challenges personal independence. No doubt, this obstacle will be formidable. I wonder, how I will perceive this hurdle over time.

As in my last visit, I look forward to loosing some pounds. The variety of culinary choices have limitations in a smaller city, though they are often more exotic. Though I did not have to deal with the "exotic meats" of the south, except for
The sun has setThe sun has setThe sun has set

Lights begin to bath the city of Guilin
some horse meat, I found vegetables in sufficient quantities and flavors to satisfy me. It will be a long time before I forget the "huge" turtle, displacing the liquid in its broth, or the "oversized" snails in a deep- black sauce. A typical Chinese breakfast consists of a noodle-soup or porrage and I will miss my eggs-over-easy with home-fries and bacon. I can see the pounds melt-away already.

A Western toilet has little in common with a toilet of the average Chinese. Outside the large city, most public places offer "perhaps" a cabin, with a place to squat, and only the hope of toilet-paper. I have learned, that carrying your own paper is as important as carrying your keys. I suggest to all travellers, not to take this allert lightly. It may well save you some very anxious moments, moments I prefer to forget. My apartment at the College has a wonderful bathroom, and being able to "sit" in comfort will never be taken for granted again.

Managing the streets, filled with every mode of transportation imaginable, and a throng of humans of all ages making their way to somewhere, will provide challenges for any Westener.
The River LiThe River LiThe River Li

Make sure to participate in a night-time river cruise on the River Li.
Though the streets are wide and divided into pedestrian walks, bus lanes, bike/moped lanes and car/motor-cycle lanes, the progress and movement of traffic takes place in all of them by all, and often in no pre-determined direction. But everyone seems to get to where they want to go, and not once did I see a car-accident or injury. More importantly and despite this confusion, everyone was calm and friendly. Though I will miss my car greatly, any attempt for a Westener to drive in China should be "strongly" discouraged.

Over the next few entries, I'll consider more of these potential challenges. But it is exactly these experiences and adventures that makes it a "journey" of life

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


On the River LiOn the River Li
On the River Li

Whether at night or during the day, a river cruise will entertain you at every turn.
One of many bridges on the LiOne of many bridges on the Li
One of many bridges on the Li

There are a number of bridges, each a work of art.
Bridge on the River LiBridge on the River Li
Bridge on the River Li

Crossing the bridges on foot, or passing below them by boat, each bridge is a feast for the eyes.
Beauty and functionBeauty and function
Beauty and function

Every bridge I saw in the city of Guilin had personal beauty.
Poetry for the eyesPoetry for the eyes
Poetry for the eyes

Sights like these can only increase the joy of touring the city
Lots of green spaceLots of green space
Lots of green space

Make sure you take your walking shoes. It's the only way to appreciate what the city has to offer.
For the spiritFor the spirit
For the spirit

It is a scene like this, that calms the spirit.

9th March 2006

lieber hans es ist mir ein vergnügen und eine besondere freude dich mit diesem blog begleiten zu können und so ein stück deines lebens miterleben zu dürfen. Deine erfahrungen scheinen vielfältig , kurios und ungewöhnlich zu sein...wenn ich allein an die 'stuhlgänge' denke :-)) ich wünsche dir, dass du den herauforderungen mit humor und deiner dir eigenen gelassenheit begegnen kannst und freue mich sehr auf weitere berichte. herzliche grüße aus dem immer noch tief verschneiten süden deutschlands von karin
10th March 2006

did you know that there are laws against leaving for china this year if your initials are H.S.? looks like you have to stay :). those were some impressive pictures from china. did you take all of them yourself? well, i guess i should get used to using this now.. see you soon
12th March 2006

Beautiful photos
Hello Hans. Impressive pics and seems like a great journey. Make the most of it.
18th October 2011
One of many bridges on the Li

Bridge on the Li
Hi Hans and what a great recognition of your work in China..well done. Just noticed the pic of "Double Moon Bridge in Guilin.....I am sure I am correct in saying this sits on the four lakes two rivers development in the central city area, maybe Ru lake...? The Li River is further to the east. I have walked those bridges many times and they are one of Guilins beautiful attractions. I have just returned from 3 weeks in China. Cheers kevin

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