Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just Around the Riverbend

It has been a busy but productive week. It began with work, and the privilege of meeting Andrew Sugerman (CEO of Disney) and Jessica Gleeson (VP of East Region, DisneyEnglish). They came to Nanjing to visit the 2 centers (both are new), and we got to have a nice big dinner with them. They were both very nice and listened patiently to all my comments about my experiences so far in China with DisneyEnglish, and my thoughts on the curriculum of my class. We also signed our 100th student that night, so it was very exciting.

Then I moved out of the hotel and into an apartment. After a weekend of work, I finally managed to go shopping for bedding on Tuesday, do laundry, and go grocery shopping. It was all very exciting since I hadn't done any of those things for almost 2 months. My friend Nat was very helpful and we went to the local Treasure Shipyard park, where I saw the largest boat I've ever seen, and some other nice things. Apparently, Nanjing was big in the shipbuilding industry during one of the dynasties. During the Ming Dynasty, Zheng He traveled to 7 different places promoting trade and economic growth in China.

We also booked a trip to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year in January, and found a cheap night market that I intend to go back to one day.

Anchor in Shipyards
"Pirate" Ship in shipyards

Our first find

Wednesday we (Nat and I) took a day trip. Much more successful than my previous independent day trip. We had planned to go to Chuzhou, but there were no morning trains, so we decided instead to go to Zhenjiang, only a 20 minute train ride away. We had no map and no clue of what sights to see, but we had a fabulous time. When we got off the train, we decided to head into the city center, then turned towards the mountains. (We were looking for the river since Nat had been there once before and remembered an island somewhere on the river.) We climbed through the brush up to a pagoda where we saw an amazing view of the city, plus another pagoda in the distance, so we decided to go there. Little did we know, that pagoda was the Temple of 10000 Buddhas (something along the lines of that name) on the island she had seen on her previous trip. We ended up there mid-afternoon and stayed for the rest of the day, taking a ferry across the Yangtze and seeing some temples (as in most parks in China), a mini-bamboo forest, and a Buddhist ceremony with our new Chinese fellow-tourist friend, Silence. Totally worth all the walking we did. Plus, on our way there, we stumbled across my favorite accidental find of the day - a memorial/park for Pearl S. Buck and The Good Earth.
Pearl S. Buck Memorial/Park
Pearl S. Buck was born in Zhenjiang and as an adult wrote a book called The Good Earth (great read, by the way; it won a Pulitzer Prize; I highly recommend it) about the generations of a family in China at the turn of the 20th century. Not something you would find in a tour book (at least not in mine - I checked when we got back to Nanjing).

Picture of Jiaoshan Park (the island)
10,000 Buddha Temple
Cannon Fort at Jiaoshan Park

Ceiling of 10,000 Buddha Temple

1st floor of 10,000 Buddha temple

Me & Nat on a ferry on the Yangtze
View of Zhenjiang

Me, Nat, & our new tourist friend, Silence
To answer other questions - work is fine. I walk (30-40 minutes) or take the bus (1.2RMB (about 20 cents), 15-20 minutes) each day. My roommates are fine; I hardly see them. A picture of my finished room will be coming soon.

Until next time...

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