my english interest course {3rd stop: the university main gate}

Tuesday, October 28:  Today is the third and last outing for my English Interest Course.  My choice would have been to go to the place called Dog Hole, a rough and grimy area on campus where vendors sell food, household items, keys, and bicycle parts.  There is a bicycle repair lady there who keeps perpetually busy servicing all the bicycles on campus.  It would be a great place to take pictures.

But my students don’t want to go to Dog Hole.  I don’t know why because I know the students spend a lot of time there in their off hours.  Some tell me it’s too stinky.  Others may just not want to run into their friends.  I’m only guessing.  They vote that they want to go to the main gate of the university.  I think that will be pretty boring because there really isn’t much between the Experimental Building, where our class is, and the main gate. Nothing much except gardens and the view of the building and the actual gate through which people enter the university.

At the next two sessions, each of my 22 students must present a 5-minute, 10-slide presentation telling a story of some aspect of their lives.  Eleven will present each session.  That will take up the last two of the six total classes.  Then I’ll get another batch of students to do another 6-week session of the class.

We go outside to walk around the main gate area and we see some pretty pots all lined up in rows.

pots in front of the Experimental Building

pots in front of the Experimental Building

Two of my prettily dressed students go wandering off on their own.

two of my students walk along the path

two of my students walk along the path

Looking back we can see the huge Experimental Building where I teach every day on the 9th floor.

The  Experimental Building.  I teach classes here on the 9th floor.

The Experimental Building. I teach classes here on the 9th floor.

Some nice street lamps line the wide walkway, which looks almost like a boulevard.

street light

street light

The flowers are losing their summer luster.  It’s still hot and humid here, but the nights are getting cooler and it’s raining more frequently.  Maybe a change of weather is around the corner.

fading flowers

fading flowers

is fall arriving?

is fall arriving?

summer fades to autumn

summer fades to autumn

fading flowers

fading flowers

a bud in a bud

a bud in a bud

petal droop

petal droop

white on white

white on white

I like the conical hat on the gardener’s vehicle.

the gardener

the gardener

As we approach Daxue Lu (Road), we can see cars entering the main gate and a bunch of students dressed in blue T-shirts.  I ask them what they’re doing and they tell me they’re advertising a hotel.

a group advertises a hotel

a group advertises a hotel

Hotel advertiser

Hotel advertiser

Out past the entrance, we nearly get run over by bicycles and motorbikes.

Motorbikes

Motorbikes

bicycles and motorbikes

bicycles and motorbikes

A crowd of them are waiting for the light to turn green.

Waiting for green

Waiting for green

As we walk back inside the main gate, we find some circular garden features.

I spy

I spy

And we end up right back where we started from.

pathway

pathway

Later as we all go our separate ways, I walk past the lotus pond, which was nice and green when I arrived in September.  It’s now drying up and turning brown.

the browning of the lotus pond

the browning of the lotus pond

I actually find these photo walks a little boring, and I imagine if I do, the students probably do too.  I am now reconsidering whether to do my original idea of “Road Trip American Style” for my next six-week round of this class.  It will require more work on my part, but maybe it will be a little more interesting. 🙂

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Categories: Asia, China, English Interest Course, Expat life, Guangxi University, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “my english interest course {3rd stop: the university main gate}

  1. Thank heavens the nights are getting colder there, Kat. It’s really cold here in Satungal today and I’m thinking of diving under the bedcover to watch a DVD

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    • I think diving under the bedcover to watch a DVD sounds heavenly, Dai. I have to lie on top of my covers because my air conditioner broke and I’m relying on the fan now. There will be no burrowing under for me. Although, with the fan, it’s not so unpleasant in the evening. I wish the days would cool off though.

      What are you watching tonight? I’ve been watching the American TV series, Mad Men, so will probably continue with that, although I’m considering watching AGAIN, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 🙂

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      • Kat, if I watch that Best Exotic Marigold Hotel again so soon, the family will start to question my sanity hehehe. Yesterday we watched ‘The Last Trapper’ There’s not much story to it but for Siberian Husky lovers and lovers of mountains and lakes, it’s unbeatable. After that Kumar put on a DVD which was mega junk and I went to sleep in the middle of it. We buy DVDs here for just 25 rupees (25 cents) so we buy hundreds and sift through to find the decent ones. Most of them are junk though.

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      • Oh, so you’re a fan of that movie too, Dai? I love stories where a bunch of random people come together in exotic lands. Sort of like my life when I come abroad to teach English. 🙂

        I think I’ll have to check out “The Last Trapper.” It sounds good. It’s nice you can get DVDs for so cheap, but I guess it’s no good if they’re junk!

        Have a great weekend, Dai. It looks like rain today here in China. 🙂

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      • Kat, we are freezing here. On my balcony it is 8c only and that’s strange for the end of October. Yes I am a huge fan of Marigold Hotel and I must have watched it more than ten times already. You might laugh if you saw me now. I’m so well wrapped up in a duvet and I’m wearing a Sherpa fleece jacket. Will you stay home today? Have you made your room cosy yet ?

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      • Brrr, I bet you’re a funny sight wrapped up in duvet and a Sherpa fleece jacket, Dai. I can’t imagine being cold at this point here in China; I’ve heard that December and January in Nanning are not that cold temperature-wise, but because of the dampness, the cold seeps into your bones. Plus there’s apparently no way to escape the cold b/c we don’t have heat in classrooms or in our apartments. I may be wrapped in a duvet during those months too!

        I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen Marigold Hotel, but it’s a lot! I love Judi Dench, and all those characters, as well as the story premise.

        I’m hoping to take a long walk to Wuliting Market and take some photos and then another long walk to Wal Mart to get a cloth chair. But the sky isn’t too great for pictures and it may rain at any time. So I’m not sure yet what I’ll do. I keep waiting for the sun to peek through the clouds. Tonight we have a Halloween party with all the students and teachers; I guess I better go b/c my students will be expecting to see me. I really don’t like having to bother with a costume! What about you? What’s your plan?

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      • Kat, the sun is shining here now so it will warm up fast. Yesterday was overcast all day so it was really nippy. I will take Flocky down to her favourite porch in a few minutes. The main gate is there so she can protect us all from the young children and old ladies hehehe.

        Judy Dench and Maggie Smith are my favourites but they are all good in this movie. I laugh at Maggie Smith’s racial remarks and finally she wants to live and work there in Jaipur. You’ve been to this part of Asia and know that everything in that movie is just the way it is here. Strange and so different.

        Halloween is just starting to creep in here and really just with the kids. Even if it was more widespread I doubt if I would make the effort to do anything. We have far too many festivals as it is. SMILE. But we have holiday after holiday after holiday here in Nepal and often the family don’t even realise it’s a holiday. They really are so numerous here (the holidays, not the families).

        Well enjoy your day, Kat. I enjoy every day here. Flocky guarantees that.

        Dai

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      • Good old Flocky, you can always count on her to keep you safe from the old ladies and children. 🙂 I hope you’ve now calmed down some after your shake-up yesterday. Be safe. I never knew Kathmandu was prone to earthquakes. That would disturb me too. I’m planning to travel to Yunnan province over the February break and they’ve had a number of earthquakes there too. I guess that tectonic activity is what made the Himalayas what they are, so it shouldn’t be that surprising.

        I love that movie too, Dai, because it does depict India so well. I also saw the movie Cairo Time, another of my favorites, and it so mimics the experience I had there in 2007, that I go back to it time and again.

        You really don’t need the extra celebration of Halloween to add to your multitude of celebrations there in Nepal, Dai. I think I could live in Pokhara; I really liked the laid-back vibe there.

        I hope you enjoy your Sunday, Dai. It’s raining a steady drizzle here today, so it doesn’t look like I’ll venture out much. I’m feeling very lazy anyway. Tell Flocky hello and give her a big hug. xxx

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      • Good morning, Kat. I got back half an hour ago from taking Flocky for a walk. It was just thirty five minutes but she loved it of course. She is getting a bit better outside now and doesn’t try to bite everybody and every dog she meets. I keep a strong stick with me and Flocky knows what this means so I just have to raise it to bring her quickly back into line. Of course I could never beat her but a couple of times she’s had a slap or tap when she’s been unruly. She is definitely improving now. When I got back home, the girls made tea and we had a pleasant chat in the kitchen. I drank two big mugs of tea because Flocky made me sweat outside. Yes, Kat, this area is extremely prone to earthquakes and every few weeks there is one somewhere in Nepal. The epicentres are usually in Tibet but sometimes in northern India. My worst earthquake experience was in Pokhara and about 2 am I woke up due to a terrible vibrating noise and my bed was shaking. Even then for some seconds I didn’t realise what was happening and then I suddenly thought EARTHQUAKE. I zoomed down to the garden where all the family and friends were. I was last to get out. Then I was more afraid of snakes in the grass than the earthquake. I waited outside for about half an hour before getting the courage to go back to bed.

        Our weather is idyllic today. It’s not as cold as it was a few days ago and maybe we can expect 24c by afternoon. I don’t know what I’ll be doing today but possibly painting downstairs or possibly cleaning my room. I can be very messy sometimes. It gets worse with age.

        Have a nice Sunday, Kat. Dai and Flocky

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      • Hi Dai, Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to you. I’ve been busy as we’re preparing for midterms now and I already have a lot of marking to do even before the midterm.

        It sounds like you had a lovely Sunday with your nice walk with Flocky. It’s good you’re getting her under control. Dogs do love to show their dominancy over other people and animals though, don’t they?

        Those earthquakes would scare the pants off me! I don’t know how you deal with so many. I think I’d be afraid to live in such a place especially with houses made of concrete or heavy stone that would crush you if they collapsed. All the buildings in Nanning are concrete and I know we’d all be toast if we had an earthquake here. There have been some in Yunnan province and many people have been killed.

        I’m so glad you’ve had idyllic weather. I’m so envious! Did you paint or clean your room yesterday? I’m not a messy person, Dai. I’m usually very neat and organized, but when things are too much to organize into one place, then they spread out and take over a room. That’s how it is with my school books now. They are all over my dining room table, but I don’t know where else to put them and i never eat there anyway!

        Tell Flocky hello and I’m glad you had a lovely Sunday. Here it rained all day and I never left my house. 🙂

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  2. I think it’s a beautiful, very interesting walk. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Robin. Not quite as interesting as my trip to Yangshuo in early October or my trip to Detian Waterfall on the Vietnam border on my birthday weekend; I guess the university has become too routine for me now. It’s funny how quickly that happens. 🙂

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  3. Nanning looks like a typical Chinese city. Hadn’t heard of it until I read your comment Cathy!

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    • I think you’re right that Nanning is a typical Chinese city, Madhu, although I haven’t been to that many cities in China so far. I guess its distinguishing feature is that it’s the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and it’s known as the “Green City.” It’s not far from the Vietnam border (I went two weeks ago to the border to see Detian Waterfall) and it’s only 2 hours and 40 minutes by fast train to Guilin. It’s hot and humid because it’s in the subtropics; we have much the same weather as Hanoi.

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  4. I thought you found some rather pretty shots, actually, Cathy. The coolie hat on the bike was very cute 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jo. I don’t think I’ll do this EIC again as the students just dispersed (and some disappeared) as soon as we got outside. I can’t keep track of 22 students outside of a classroom. 🙂

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