21 December 2010


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Baotou Teachers' College took all 11 foreign teachers out for a holiday lunch, and we'll join our Amity colleagues for a combined regional meeting and Christmas celebration. Our new nativity set carved with Asian figures and a fiber-optic Christmas tree make our apartment feel very Christmassy, and with the Advent candles and music we couldn't ask for more. This is the only Santa we've seen in Baotou. Not exactly a figure of jolliness, but it's a tough job. Most of the stores have a Christmas display like this one. Santa advertises baiju here, a 80-120 proof white alcohol made from distilled grain. It's a wicked drink, although a great cleaning solvent. So have a tantalizing taste of Christmas New Year's Day, and Happy 2011!

10 December 2010

Winter Walk

Winter in Baotou -- cold (-15 Celsius), often sunny, and no snow. The horse, an integral figure in the creation and survival of the Middle Kingdom, is frequently depicted in public places like this Culture Park.
Behind the mop, whether on the street or at home. Sigh.
School children sliding on the ice.
Keeping warm with a face mask and ear muffs.
This little bundle is the one in China's 4-2-1 family (4 grandparents, 2 parents, 1 child). Grandfather says she's 2 1/2 years old.

End of Semester

The term is drawing to an end so the students have that combined sense of excitement and dread as finals approach. This poster announced the English department's New Years Party which was an elaborate production of singing, dancing, and skits, complete with a fog and bubble machine. The auditorium was packed and it was fun seeing our students as performers.
We've been having our classes come to see how the foreign teachers live, and practice English outside the classroom. We ask them to show us on the map where they're from, and are surprised how many live in far northern parts of China requiring a long train trip to get home.
These visits have been a great opportunity to get to know the students a little better; they're really a great group.
We were honored to be judges for the 2010 English Speech Competition and were surprised how many of the orations had an inspirational theme.
Mr. Johnson in the classroom. Most students keep their coats on although the rooms are heated, but we've discovered the unexpected occupational hazard of chalk dust.

06 December 2010


We enjoy the signs in China; here's some of our favorite Chinglish over the last few months. While no smoking signs are common, they're frequently ignored.
"first priority resporyutukity Your satisfy is our" caught our eye going up the escalator in the supermarket.
"Study does not mean lack of time, but diligent." Most of our classrooms have motivational signs like this one.
"ProtectCircumStance begin with me." China has a more casual approach to things like grammar, capitalization, and punctuation.
"Treasure Life" is a big safety slogan everywhere, not just for drowning.
We're definitely in the best place for seeing the sights (and reading the signs).