Back to my second home in Zhaoqing. travel blog

Very wet day. Waiting for the bus to the Dinghu campus.

A sea of umbrellas, making their way to class.

A sea of umbrellas, making their way to class.

Playing with the camera capabilities of my new phone. Loving it.

Playing with the camera capabilities of my new phone. Loving it.

Wet abandoned quadrangle.

Waterlogged playing fields.

Waterlogged playing fields.

Some of the student dormitory buildings.

Basketball courts alongside the dorms.

Clouds hanging over the mountains. So beautiful.

Clouds hanging over the mountains. So beautiful.

Clouds hanging over the mountains. So beautiful.

Clouds hanging over the mountains. So beautiful.

Clouds hanging over the mountains. So beautiful.

These students love music.

And become very animated!!

Andy and I. Awful picture, but I can't seem to access the...

I woke today to the sound of heavy, steady rain. And it continued raining for most of the day. A little disappointing, because today was the day I was planning to wash my bedding, but certainly not a good idea.

Scott has told me that today's class is mine, out at the new campus. So this is going to be an interesting afternoon!!

Down to the front gate ready to catch the bus at 1pm. The bus did not leave until about 1.20, but soon we were on our way. I met a woman who I remember from years ago. She lives on the 6th floor of Scott's building. Limited English, but enough to get by with. Her daughter has nearly finished three years studying in Sydney, and will be home next month.

Caro is a teacher of anatomy and dermatology at the college, and does that for two days a week, and for the rest of the week, she works in our affiliated hospital in the dermatological department. Interestingly, she is not a local, and comes from way out west in Xinjiang Province.

We talked most of the way to the new campus, which was a very slow trip. Traffic is always much worse on a wet day. Caro also loves cross-stitch, although she said she does not have time for it at the moment. She also loves knitting and crochet, and buys her yarn online, so I am hoping that she can help me with really bargain purchases.

I had meant to take my cross-stitch with me, to fill in time until the class, but forgot! So how will I fill my time? I found a spot to sit under a shelter near the water feature, and had a good look at the settings on the camera on my new phone. I am learning a lot, and really being impressed with the quality and diverse range of settings.

We have to take the bus at around 1pm, and it arrives at the Dinghu campus around 2.20, in time for the first classes after the lunch break. But Scott's class is not until 4.20 so we have a long wait. There is only one bus morning, or afternoon, from the old campus to Dinghu. Not very convenient, but hey, we find ways to cope!

The class was going to be mine, so I had decided to do the good old conversation topics that I had fun with so long ago. It took a bit to get the students organized, so that I could have them each partnered up with one other student. Then I wrote a topic on the blackboard and gave them three minutes to discuss - in English of course. They did so well, I was really impressed.

Then at the end of the three minutes, and before a new topic, one group must stand up, and move along three places, to give them all a new conversation partner. It was a very loud class, which means they are speaking with comparative confidence. They all appeared to enjoy the class, and agreed that it made them speak English quite easily. So, it appears to have been a success.

Next week, I will do the same with the second year class, on the Monday afternoon. That one will be far easier to set up, as the desks and benches in their classroom are not fixed, so we will be able to move stuff around and have the students all in two rows facing each other.

During the afternoon, I had seen messages from Andy, who was in the '07 College Nursing intake. He is in Zhaoqing, and I was hoping to catch up with him while he was here. Anyway we arranged to meet in the city, when I got back from Dinghu, and I was able to get off the school bus in town, to save having to get another bus back to the CBD.

I had arranged to meet him outside the old original McDonalds in the city centre. He seemed to be as happy to see me, as I was to see him! We went to Bai Pin Tang for dinner. It was so nice to catch up with him. He has developed a skin problem, which has made patches of skin on his face, which makes the skin lose the pigment. Not quite sure what it is, but he says that it is improving, and reassured me that it is not catching. I did not think it was! The rest of his skin is very dark, and I am not sure what that is about. Maybe it is part of the treatment to try and restore pigment to the white patches.

He tells me that he has a girlfriend, and that they are planning to buy a house, and get married probably next year.

He was in Zhaoqing for two days, for a seminar. At first I thought it was to learn about dealing with dying patients, but it seems it was more about paperwork relating to patients who had died. Lodging details of the health issues to the government health bureau is how I understand it.

Andy told me that Bill is now married and has a daughter, and that Wolf is also married with two daughters. These boys were real favourites of mine when they were in college. It would be so good to catch up with them all together, but not likely to be, I suppose!

When we finished eating, I was cross with him, because he insisted on paying the bill. But he won!! He walked me to the bus stop, and we waited a little while, before he decided to book a car, and take me back to the college.

There is a scheme here, that the Chinese call Didi. It works a little like Uber I think. But it is all done through WeChat. So you call a number, book a car, tell them where you are, and where you want to go. The bill is all paid through WeChat. No need to carry cash anymore in China. You just need to have a bank account, in order to transfer cash into your WeChat.

At the college, Andy walked me to the apartment, and we did the photo thing, before he went back into the city. Nice to see him again. Sadly, I cannot upload the much better photo that came off his phone onto WeChat. But at least I have a momento, no matter how unflattering to me!

After Andy left, I sent a message to Michelle. She had told me that she could buy me a train ticket, whenever I needed one. So that was the plan. In fact I offered to come up to the Business and Technology College, so she could do it, but she said she could simply do it online. I told her roughly about what time I would like to go, and she came up with choices for me.

I will get the normal old style train from Zhaoqing to Dinghu East, and then get the bullet train from Dinghu East to Guangzhou south. This is going to be a great experience.

But sadly, Michelle could not book it online, at this time. My passport needs to be sighted for the first time to book a ticket, and after that it can be done simply. So, I will head to the train station tomorrow, and book my own ticket.

I did get Michelle to send me messages in Chinese, so if I had any problems I could just show the clerk the message to make sure my meaning is clear!!

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