Day 7 - June 5th, 2008

Here are some pics from Huang Huai University.

Many (maybe most) students have bikes, or electric motorbikes. Some are old, some are brand new. The average new bike costs about 250 - 300 rmb (about $40) but you can get a really good one for 500 rmb ($70) - said Chunhong. And some bike repair shops sell second hand bikes for about 140 rmb ($20). The teachers who stay here for any length of time buy bikes to ride to school with, so they can whip around town.

Snow, Bo and Cat - the more eager students from the international department - were very helpful to us. They showed us around, ordered food for us and ate with us.

These farmers with their carts of fruit and vegetables set up shop just outside the university gates. These people love their fruits and veggies,
I often see people walking downtown eating apples.

This is at the front gate of the north campus of Huang Huai University.

We didn’t go for breakfast downstairs in the hotel dining hall this morning because we had forgotten to get our breakfast tickets from the front dest. That was ok because we had apples and bananas enough.

I haven’t mentioned the weather because it’s been lovely and warm the whole time we’ve been here. One night it rained and the streets were a little wet in the morning, but other than that, it’s been hazily sunny and warm about 28-32C and even higher on some days - what could be better?!

Michael went off to school with Cat and Snow and I stayed in the hotel room planning to go to the grocery store to get some water. I did a bit on line and then took a taxi. I have a couple of sheets of paper with the name of the university, the hotel, the mall and the grocery store all in Chinese so I just show the taxi driver the one I want and he takes me there.

The taxis are everywhere, so are the modern day “rickshaws” - which are motorbikes with often rusted metal carts behind them; very abundant. People take their children to school on them or they fill them with garbage or vegetables or car parts...

So, I was let off at the grocery mall and on the way we happened to pass the market that Frank had mentioned the night before. I bought 4 bottles of water, looked around the mall - it was more of a walmart qulaity store; the items were much cheaper than in the first mall I’d been too - and then walked down a couple streets to the market.

I didn’t have the time or energy to see it all, because I was to meet Michael at 12:00. When I got to the university and was waiting for Michael, I met a young man from Perth England; Greg was his name. He was teaching English and was scheduled to be at the University until January - “If he makes it that far” he said. He’s encountered a similar problem to Michael in that the student’s level of learning is a challenge because they are not familiar with the Chinese pinyin form of Roman characters.

So, there was supposed to be a presentation at 12;00 but it didn’t happen so Bo, Cat an Snow took us to the student cafeteria for lunch. It’s quite a dingy looking place, a large room with many stalls along two sides of it, a small student grocery store and a few other services. It’s very rough looking and very dirty. They served our food on plates that were wrapped in plastic bags. I suppose it saves on dishes, but I didn’t relish the thought of eating hot food on thin plastic bags - but I ate it. And they wonder why people die at 60 here...

After that we went back to the hotel and had a rest. I didn’t feel too great upon waking so Michael went back to the school on his own. I would meet him at some point. So it happened that the Chancellor of the university was ready to make a presentation to Michael and did and I missed it. Michael received an invitation to be a part-time teacher at the university - to come and teach whenever it was convenient for him. Cool.

I stayed at the hotel until I got a call from Chunhong to meet Michaael and her in the lobby so to go for supper. I was feeling better. We took a taxi down some small streets to a restaurant and had a pleasant meal. The chairs were made of solid tree trunk and the tables were solid wood about 4 inches thick. I’d forgotten my camera so I missed opportunities for pics of odd vehicles, but got a few of the restaurant with Michael’s camera.

Then we had to rush back to the university for Michael’s presentation at 7:30. It was an excellent presentation and I was impressed with Michael’s teaching skills. It was really the first time I’d ever hear him lecture and he’s very good. I learned a lot. After the lecture, Cat and Bo walked us through the university campus to the front gate where we got a taxi. When we arrived in our room at the hotel, there was a message on Michael’s phone from Cat that we should let the guys know that we were safe in the hotel. So sweet, they're very considerate.

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