Tag: travel

Chaos in Korla

July 5th and 6th I refused to rouse myself from the cozy cool environs of John’s Cafe as Turpan’s torpid heat envelops me. Jorg and Birdy are not to be deterred and go to a nearby mosque, on cycles no less. I glug a can of Diet Coke, and allow myself to wilt in the

Turpan Arrives

July 2nd and 3rd As the train chugs into Gansu Province, the landscape changes. Green gives way to brown. Gansu in Chinese means “dry,” and theĀ  province is doing well to stick to that name. For hours together I watch an endless panorama of nothingness pass through. These are not the sandy desert dunes that

Quiet Days Drifting By

It’s been a while since I updated this blog. It’s been a quiet week relatively, although it doesn’t necessarily mean free days! Last Friday, it was fun meeting up with Silk in this coffee-house near the university called High Connections. The ambiance was cozy and comfortable. Spread over three floors, all laid out in wood,

Cherry Picking and Silk

Last Saturday, Yoke called us to go “cherry picking, drink tea and play mahjong.” Are there better ways to spend a Saturday? Since I couldn’t think of any, we agreed. It was around 10AM when he came knocking on the door. The day was gloomy with a forecast of rain and we were wondering if

Last Day in Xuchang

I am so far behind in my posts. Blame it on the non-stop tests here. Monday in Xuchang dawned hazy, cloudy and drizzling. Zhang You’s unbelievable kindness was still lingering on my mind. It was around 7:30AM when the phone rang, and the receptionist at the hotel announced that Lynn was waiting. Lynn was one

Unreal Part 3

It’s just a short taxi ride. We stop before a hotel I have never been to before in Xuchang. We enter, and I can see the “live display” in front. The place is buzzing. In case you are wondering with your dirty mind what the live display is, rest it. Just poor little frogs, eels

Unreal Part 2

It was around 11AM when Stefanie – an old friend from my teaching days in China – and her daughter, Emma, came to our hotel. The initial meeting was a bit awkward – I don’t know if this is how it is for everyone. But for me, whenever I meet someone after a long time,

Qingcheng Back Mountain

Qingcheng Shan is a famous Taoist temple, but lurking behind it is the disdainfully named Qingcheng Back Mountain. It was a gloomy cloudy day on Wednesday when the university packed all the foreign students into 3 buses for what was to be a day-long trip. Except that none of us that time knew we were

Buns, Rain and Peach Blossoms

Chengdu has a fairly predictable weather pattern – cloudy, cloudy, cloudy, raining, raining, raining, cloudy, raining, cloudy, oops sunshine, back to cloudy… Yesterday, it was all three in one day. It was fairly early in the morning when we set out along with Yoke and Dawei to Longquanyi District in Chengdu to see the peach

Panday

Sunday was Panday. Panda-seeing day. Yoke and Ian were having this game – the possible permutations of Pandas. Example : pandamonium, or pantastic. And indeed the pandas were pantastic. The Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center is situated around 20km away from Chengdu. There were around 10 of us, including Xiao, a Chinese friend of