Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,
An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered and an inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
I’ve no idea at all of the origins of the above quote but it surely must have been penned by someone well travelled in confusing China. Even though I’ve been here for over five years this country still continues to frustrate the hell out of me even when I know it is going to happen. This weekend is a long weekend for May Day (also known as Labor Day) and of course what could have been a five day weekend for us was cut down to three due to non-communicative staff at the school.
Anyhow, we’ll get to that in the next entry. So what’s been happening over the past few weeks?
For those who read my last blog entry, the promised classroom assistants for the rest of my classes (being half of them) never actually became a reality so I continue to find myself waiting for the students to be quiet for three quarters of my class time all the while I stand staring out the window waiting anxiously for the term to end so I can pack my things and scamper to a new school.
Last weekend I got the surprise of my life when Aussie Terry & Eve came to visit me from Xian. For those that don’t know Terry is one of my family’s longest and closest friends. His wife Eve is from Xian and ten years ago when I came to China I got to stay with her family for a week. We’ve managed to catch up several times over the past five years when they return to Xian to visit Eve’s family. This year though I had changed my mobile number and forgot to tell Terry and as I hadn’t heard from them I thought they were still away travelling somewhere near Shaanxi Province and that they’d contact me when they returned.
Instead, after trying to contact me for several weeks they decided to chance it, grab a train to Hanzhong and do their best to find my school and me. After several false starts they finally found me and mid Saturday morning I was woken by loud shouting coming from the security gate to my floor.
We spent the day catching up over coffee at KFC after which we met Aussie Brad and friends down at the Han River and spent a wonderful several hours walking through the beautiful river side gardens. That evening Brad, Sarah, Nicko McDude, Terry and Eve and I decided to check out a restaurant that Brad and I had passed on several occasions called The Tropical Rainforest. It was the perfect choice as not only does it have a good selection of western food but it also comes complete with several delicious singing beauties, one of which graced us with her rendition of the Four Non Blondes song 'What’s Up’ which made a perfect night all the more perfect.
The only thing that spoilt the evening was having to say good bye to Terry and Eve who are returning to Australia today (being 1st May) and sadly I am unsure when I will get to see them next as when they return to Xian in July I will be off on my ‘2010 Summer Beers N Noodles Adventure’ and hopefully not returning to Hanzhong the following term.
So how’s the weather mate?
Sometime during the week someone flicked the weather switch and we have gone from cold and cool to warm and hot over night. We can now be found enjoying high twenties to low thirties, both of which feel like the low twenties back home in Melbourne from where my mother now tells me how cold it has become especially at night.
Besides those with Terry and Eve and Brad, the photos for this blog are from bike rides that Brad, Sarah and I have taken along both sides of the ‘city section’ of the Han River which runs through the southern part of the city and separates Hanzhong proper from Longun city which is where Sarah and Nicko McDudes school can be found. The Hanzhong city side has a beautiful garden that runs for several kilometers while the Longun side of the river is currently half complete.
Presently they are in the process of knocking down most of the old buildings that run the several kilometers from the main city bridge all the way to the western outer city bridge. From what I have been told sometime last year the main city bridge collapsed leaving only the small pedestrian bridge that only allows bicycles, scooters and pedestrians to cross. All other vehicles have to make their way to the outer western bridge to cross the river which I am sure is more than a pain in the butt and will be for several years to come.
<u>The following is a small introduction to the Han River as the next four blog entries I will write will contain photos of several bike rides that Brad and I have found over the past several months, most of which have the Han River along side or somewhere near by. </u>
A principal tributary of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), it has a total length of around 1,530 km, rises in the mountains in southwestern Shaanxi province, is known by various names in its upper course and becomes the Han River at Hanzhong City. It then flows through the fertile basin some one hundred kilometers long and nineteen kilometers wide and then cuts through a series of deep gorges and emerges into the central Yangtze basin in Hubei province. The merging rivers divide the city of Wuhan into three sections: Wuchang (on the south side of the Yangtze, across the river from the mouth of the Han River), Hankou (on the north side of the Yangtze and the Han) and Hanyang (between the Yangtze and the Han).
The Han River is one of northern China’s most important waterways.
The lower course of the river, with its innumerable small waterways and canals forms the spine of a dense network of water transport covering the whole southern part of the North China Plain. Junks can travel from Jingzhou to Wuhan via these waterways and the name of the Han Kingdom (Han Dynasty 206BC-220AD) and subsequently of China's majority ethnic group derives from this river.
Located in the southwest of Shaanxi Province Hanzhong City lies to the south of the Qinling Mountains and to the north of the Daba Mountains with the Hanzhong Basin in the center. It is bounded on the southwest by Gansu and Sichuan provinces and adjacent to Xian in the northeast. Hanzhong gained its name from the Han River and as early as two thousand four hundred years ago Hanzhong Shire was established by the Qin Kingdom during the Warring States Period (476BC-221BC).
Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________
Remember that it don’t have to be nothin, it just is! The soundtrack to this entry was by the funkalicious SWOOP The album was a random play of both ‘The Waxo Principle & Thriller’ ____________________________________________________________