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Published: August 22nd 2007
SECOND TRIP TO CHINA
From beijing to Lianyungang, for work, then side trips to nanjing, Xian and Qingdao and finally leaving thru Shanghai
Second Trip to China
In 2006, I once again chose a place thru the Internet to work in China. This time I chose a place on the coast for a change in scenery. On this trip I saw more of the European influence (past and present) in China. This city called Lianyungang was completely different to Nanchang, which had a 5000-year-old history. My new ‘home town’ had a 260-year-old history!
MY HOME TOWN FOR FOUR MONTHS.
This is a “new” city so it does not have much of a history (like European Australia) due to the fact that 260 years ago, most of this area was part of the ocean! Evidentially, there have been several earthquakes recently (1354, 1368, 1495, 1556, 1747 and 1918). The one in 1747 caused a big upheaval of land and the shoreline moved several kilometres to the east over a very short time. I don't know how true this story is, as I have not been able to varify it. i know that it is near the northern extent of the Yangzte River Delta.
Several islands in the area (including the famous Monkey Mountain) then became hills in a rather salty marshy
Mayor's banquette with foreign teachers
flat plain. Even the campus where I lived would have been 6 meters under the ocean according to the 'upheaval' story.
So, I spent a lot of time visiting these ‘hills, once-were-islands’. The most famous is the Monkey Mountain- made famous by the “Journey to the West” myth of a monk travelling to India to find the Buddhist scriptures with the Monkey King.(remember Japanese TV show, called “Monkey”-Monkey Magic- from the 1960s or 1970s.) it was a nice place for wandering around.
Also at the coast is a large port, formed by making a 6.7 kilometre long causeway out to an island. This was made by the Dutch and joins by rail all the way to Rotterdam in Holland.
The island was also interesting for weekend exploring. It was called the ‘Mediterranean coast of China’ and I think the tourism industry has a hard time competing with noisy port and Russian nuclear power plant. I came across a 20-year-old Italian art deco holiday villa (sorry most photos lost) being demolished.
So even though I did not find the city itself interesting, the surrounding areas were. I even came across hidden military bunkers.
MY WORKPLACE FOR FOUR MONTHS
TV show after banquette
Institute of Technology apartment set-up was very similar to the first place I worked. Very comfortable and I even had another mountain view; this time between buildings, but it was there. Once again the students and staff were good. This time my co-teachers were from Oz, New Zealand, Canada and Korea. Altogether, once again a very nice living and working environment (except for the cold winds sometimes).
This second trip was also different to the first, in that on the first trip I was exploring the city areas on weekends and visiting ‘country’ areas for longer holidays. This time was the reverse. My longer excursions were to three very interesting (and different) cities.
Nanjing was the capital before Beijing. Now it is a mixture of the old and new. It had interesting views of Yangtse, canals, city walls and old temple complex on side of mountain.
Xian was different again. This city of Terracotta Warrior fame was once the capital of China for 1000 years and the largest city in the world then, along with Rome, when Muslim traders connected China to the Roman Empire and Europe;. This trip was paid by the school as our ‘bonus’
view from appartment
a mountain view from appartment
and we ‘Foreign Teachers’ lived quite well, with top class hotels, a private bus to all the main sites, dance shows and lavish banquettes every day. This city is the eastern end of the Silk Road and has inspired me to travel further west into the even more interesting Muslim and Buddhist dessert areas (maybe after I finish working in Korea?)
My final city was also quite a surprise. Qingdao is a German city on the coast of China. It was invaded in 1897 by the Kaiser and held for 17 years when the Japanese (an ally of Britton in WWI) kicked them out and then tried to keep it for themselves! It was very pleasant to walk down quiet streets being surrounded by giant German mansions. A little bit surreal also. Even the modern sky scrappers have German style roofs. There is even 3 story concrete military bunker built into the top of a hill constructed in 1899! Keep an eye out for Qingdao during the Olympics, as this is where the sailing events will be held.
Unfortunately, I had to leave earlier than expected and only finished half of my teaching contract due to medical reasons. The
first year students are cadets in their first month
school was very understanding. (me being another victim to skin cancer caused by that strong Australian sun- 100% cured now though).
I finally left thru Shanghai, but not before spending a whole day getting lost in the French quarter checking out all the old French art deco buildings from the early 1900s. Then it was back on the 430 kilometer per hour suburban train to the airport and home.
So, altogether another successful experience in China. Both my China experiences were very positive. The people, staff, Chinese and other Foreign Teachers and students were fantastic. Whether I was in the older areas, more European areas, country or city, I realize that this country has a lot more surprises for me so I’ll be back!
ON TO KOREA!
Now my next teaching job in Korea beckons me. I realize this will be very different again. I know little about what is install for me this time. I have arranged a job at a middle school in a small town (44,000) in the middle of South Korea. The difference is that the students will be younger and I am the ONLY Foreign Teacher this time! The conditions sound similar
view of uni
uni from top of hill
to China but I know I will be in for some surprises.
I hope I will be third time lucky and get another mountain view (no matter how small) from my apartment window.
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