27 May 2011


The province next door is Shanxi, which is as dry as dust and full of coal mines. We discovered, however, a wonderful collection of ancient Buddhist sights.
Built in 1392, the Nine Dragon screen is the largest glazed-tile wall in China (45m long).
The 5th century Yungang Caves house over 51,000 ancient statues showcasing some of China's most impressive artwork.
Some of the caves contain enormous Buddha statues, the biggest being 17m high (>55 ft). 
Built on the side of a cliff is the Buddhist Hanging Monastery,
where we climbed along rickety catwalks and corridors.
The Huayan Temple, part monastery and part museum, attests to the growth of tourism in the area.
Our travel companions were fellow Amity teachers Alison and Angela and our student Jiao Jiao. 

18 May 2011

Middle School

As part of our teaching duties, each week we arrive on the campus of Senior Middle School #4.
This is a key (magnet) school with about 2000 high school students, and even comes with its own small observatory.
Students wear uniforms (track suits) and each day line up for exercise.  
Twice a day the students mop their classrooms and hallways, an essential task given the recent sand storms we've been experiencing. 
We spend one class observing the Chinese teacher who uses the traditional lecture, drill and repeat style. Although this is an English class, most of it is conducted in Chinese. 
And then we teach a class in English. We're the first foreign teacher most of these students have ever had, so we enjoy an almost celebrity status.

12 May 2011

Wudang Lamasery

We recently visited the Wudang Lamasery, established in 1749 and on the pilgrim route from Tibet to Outer Mongolia.
At its height 1200 monks lived there, making it was the largest monastery in Inner Mongolia.
This auspicious statue of an elephant had a monkey, rabbit, and bird on its back.
We stayed at the pilgrim's hostel and got up early for the monks' morning prayers.
Monks practicing the art of motorcycle maintenance.
With a bust of Genghis Khan.
Our colleague Ian giving a photo op with two little Mongolian warriors.

Our first crocus.

07 May 2011


Franklin Ishida from the Lutheran church sponsoring agency came to Baotou -- our very first visitor.He impressed Diane's students with his Japanese, his insights on being a Japanese American, and his explanation of the role of the church in China and the world. We toured the Red Revolutionary Museum which houses a hundred statues in all sizes of Chairman Mao, a large display of his little red book, and learned of the 3 wheels of revolutionary success -- a bicycle, a sewing machine, and a watch. 
Franklin and William before stone cutouts of a Mongolian horse and fish.
We visited the Tibetan style Buddhist shrine and watched worshippers burning incense and writing prayers on white and blue scarves.
Mongolian-style singers, musicians and dancers entertained us at local restaurant
where we dined on lamb and sipped milk tea with millet.