Page 5 of Sue Treadie Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China July 6th 2006

The Great Wall is the single greatest tourist attraction in China, and to my mind one of the greatest in the whole of the world. After spending the best part of two days in some of the less developed parts of The Wall, I can honestly say it’s one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. After hearing “horror” stories about the hordes of tourists and massive over- commercialization at Badaling, I decided to hike the section of wall between Simatai and Jinshanling. This is a popular choice for many backpackers as most of the cheaper accommodation houses and hostels in Beijing arrange day trips with a drop off in Jinshanling in the morning and pick up later in the day at Simatai, thus taking the worry out of arranging public transport. There is ... read more
Beyond the Door
The Beginning
Staff Quarters

Asia » China » Beijing July 3rd 2006

With so much to see and only five days in which to see it, I decided to concentrate on one major site each day. However, this day, the close proximity of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City to each other allowed me to experience both without spending hours crossing from one part of the city to another. First stop Tiananmen Square, symbolic and political heart of Beijing and site of numerous tumultuous events in relatively recent history. At first glance it appears to be a rather nondescript giant concrete public plaza, surrounded on three sides by austere soviet-inspired buildings with a tall marble obelisk in its centre. On closer inspection however, you can get a greater appreciation for the significance of this place in the hearts of the Chinese people. It is here that the endless ... read more
Monument To The People's Heroes
Great Hall of the People
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall

Asia » China » Beijing July 2nd 2006

This week I decided to take a quick trip to Beijing before I start out on my “Great Southern Adventure” into Guanxi, Guizhou and of course, Yunnan. An additional reason to go now is to avoid the huge summer crowds and the oppressive summer heat that arrive in July and August. Beijing is an easy 13hr train ride that leaves Taizhou Railway Station at about 6.30pm at night and arrives in Beijing the next morning at about 7.30am. Really “painless”. Train tickets are offered in soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seat (not often available) and hard seat. For the really unfortunate there are standing tickets as well! I booked a hard sleeper which consists of a 6 berth cabin arranged in 2 x 3 tier bunks and open to the corridor. As a larger foreigner it ... read more
Ming Vases?
Tibetan Inspiration for the Ladies

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Tongli June 20th 2006

It’s the end of term and I decided to take a few days off and slip away to Suzhou again. However, Suzhou City itself was not the main reason for this visit. Instead, I wanted to visit a small town only 18km away perched on the Eastern shores of Tai Hu (Tai Lake), the town of Tongli. Tongli is a very well preserved water township with a history of over 1000years. I had been told it was well worth exploring here rather than its bigger cousin Zhouzhuang, as it has a similar history and natural scenery but is much less crowded. That’s all I needed to hear! Tongli is divided into seven (7) islands, intersected with about fifteen (15) canals and five (5) lakes. Consequently, almost all of the buildings in town are located along the ... read more
Gone Potty!
Unusually Quiet

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Taizhou June 17th 2006

This week Hans and I were given the opportunity to visit local primary schools in order to observe the annual English Teaching competitions. Each year, all over China, similar competitions are held in order to give Primary School teachers a chance to showcase their skills and abilities to peers, parents and authorities. This is an opportunity to really build your status as well as that of your school and also to share pedagogically what you have learned as a teaching professional. In China, teachers who are considered the “best” are given postings at the “best” schools and are given the “best” students. Competitions like this are of some importance in determining your “ranking”, other factors being your qualifications, experience and ongoing commitment to study. Conversely, if you are considered of “lower rank” you are often sent ... read more
Courtyard Patriotism
Raising of the Flag
Keen as Musturd

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Taizhou June 16th 2006

My first term/semester at Taizhou Teachers College has simply flown by! It’s been an amazing experience and I have met some of the loveliest young people you could ever wish to meet. It is time to say “Good bye and catch you next year”. For my students, it’s just the end of the first chapter, so to speak, as they have yet to sit their term final exams for all other subjects. Some are also preparing for National English exams and other “self study” exams. I don’t know how they have the time (and space in their brains!) to do all of it! However, in this highly competitive, demanding environment, they cannot afford to miss any opportunity to boost their qualifications in order to have that edge on the next person. Many have little or no ... read more
Ryan & Tracy
Sue & Ziggy
Sue and 052 Girls

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Taizhou June 11th 2006

My new colleague Hans (Schneider) has arrived a couple of months early in order to settle in before the start of the new school year in September. We hit it off immediately and have had a number of stimulating conversations about life, the universe and everything. In his first couple of weeks here he has made a big impression on the locals, especially due to his penchant for taking a myriad of photos of what many people here would probably consider mundane and of little interest. An added bonus is Hans brought his camera printer dock with him and so he is able to take photos one day, then give his subjects a copy the very next day. As you can imagine, they absolutely love this. Hans was here last summer to “scope” the place out ... read more
Hans' New Friend
Tranquility in Mei Leifang Garden
Sue in Mei Leifang Garden

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Taizhou May 21st 2006

All work and no play makes for a boring life, so it is good to know that there are extra curricular activities available on campus for the students to enjoy. Even better, most of the activities are organized and coordinated by the Student Union. In this populous nation of over 1.4 billion, it is easy to forget the importance of these opportunities for students to develop physical, cultural and social skills as well as their mental capacities in order to become well rounded citizens. The great emphasis on diligence in study and doing well in exams is partly in response to the incredible pressure to succeed, to rise up and keep apace of the amazing changes occurring at this time in China. To be "part of the action". The competition for desirable jobs is fierce and ... read more
Winning Team & Fans
Masked Party
Masked Beauties

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Suzhou May 15th 2006

Suzhou is one of China's ancient water towns, and is probably Jiangsu's major tourist attraction. It is famous for its classical gardens, silk, freshwater pearls and beautiful women! In recent times, Suzhou is a popular alternative to Shanghai for international companies investing in hi-tech and light industrial manufacturing. It is about 21/2 hrs from Taizhou by bus, and only an hour by train from Shanghai. I had been looking forward to travelling to Suzhou for some weeks, but time and other commitments had prevented me from doing so. My friend and neighbour in Oz, Jacque, is teaching in nearby Taicang, so it was a good excuse to get away and make contact before she returns to Oz in July. Jacque and I decided to keep things simple (and cheap!) and booked into the Suzhou International Youth ... read more
Master of the Nets Garden
Roof Feature

Asia » China » Zhejiang » Hangzhou May 7th 2006

The weeks have flown by and it's time for a well-earned break. We worked all the previous weekend, so as to have 7 consecutive days off. The students were very excited, as many of them had planned to go home to see their families and friends for the first time since Spring Festival Holidays in early February. The first week of May is known as one of China's "Golden Weeks", the others being in the first week of October, and, of course, the Spring Festival in January/February. It is a time when a large proportion of the 1.4 billion inhabitants is on the move. Something not to be taken lightly, I can assure you! Many people had warned me, "Don't even think about travelling during this time!" Consequently, I had not made any special plans. However, ... read more
May Day Celebrations
First Foreigners
Yangzhou Bridge

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