Bring on the sun!

Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Flag of China  , Zhejiang Sheng,
Thursday, March 29, 2012

.   Nice to have sunlight again.   Being totally sun-less for 3 months is unhealthy.   Wednesday after lunch,  I laid out on a campus bench and let the sun shine on my face for 45 minutes while my phone played the world music from the Shanghai Hostel.   Just chilled out world music well chosen by the Shanghai hostel crowd.   Amazing time indeed.  


China, I wake up over and over and I am still in China.   I speak little Chinese yet I am gaining much understanding about the country,  and it's culture, history, and geography.   I know the approximate location of nearly all the provinces,  the topography,  cultures that live in each province,  the weather, earthquake zones, even many of the reptile species, yet I cannot count from one to twenty.   I do know the sign language for one to ten though.   Many areas in China do not speak Mandarin,  but there is a common gesture language which encompasses numbers and other things.   I prefer the gestures rather than pronouncing words with my low tones that people fail to understand.   The areas in which Mandarin are not spoken (Guangxi) the gestures are still understood.   The gestures are understood among the immigrant workers in Hangzhou and Shanghai as well.     



No I will never be able to hold a civilized conversation with a Chinese intellectual nor can I debate the current states of the world, new car models, the Kardashians, recent movies, world news and crap with educated Chinese people.  That is a nice thing.  Everyday practical phrases are still needed but the little Chinese I have learned so far,  will be wasted once I move to Guangxi Province.   I prefer the company of the peasant farmers who seldom speak any Mandarin Chinese at all.   I really have nothing of value to say to these farmers,  their main subject of conversation is most likely "Rain and Weather"  with a bit of crop growing ideas,  and animal husbandry mixed within.   "What to plant next year?"  is common fodder for discussion among farmers all over the world.  I can communicate with my Chinese friends through smiles, gestures,  and music.   We can communicate at the basic level,  while not having to bother wasting any energy with superfluous rhetoric and braggadocio that most conversations entail. Greetings/Smiles/Grins/ gestures of kindness (and a little music or singing) is enough conversation for me.  Most people enjoy the company of cats and dogs although little conversation takes place,  communication does manage to happen..   Quite often I get offered a cigarette and a light as a show of kindness and respect.  I often offer cigs to people as well.  These are ideal conversations to me.  


As much as I have enjoyed living in a huge city in modern China,  I want to live in the country.   Soon I will be deep in Southeastern China in the Vietnam border area in a small city of 150,000 people.   The villages and city people  here speak little if no Chinese.  Most are of the "Zuang" ethic minority.  90 percent of the "Zuang" people give in "Guangxi" Autonomous area and I will live in the middle of this area.  (from Wiki) "The region has over 14 million Zhuang, the largest minority ethnicity of China. Over 90% of Zhuang in China live in Guangxi, especially in the central and western regions. There is also a significant number of both Dong and Miao minority peoples. Other ethnic groups include: YaoHui,Yi (Lolo), Shui, and Gin (Vietnamese)".   Each Minority group has they're own language, recipes, customs, dress, ect...  To break the monotony,  I plan to provide one or two mornings of free English classes to poor kids of the minority villages.  My classes will be fun and useful...  I plan to teach for free.  A nice peasant meal would certainly follow.   Getting some college students to assist me will be the plan and I know many will jump at the chance.   I can't say enough positive things about the Chinese students,  they are what is keeping me here.  
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Joanne on

Really enjoyed your latest entry. Your description of communicating with Chinese citizens when you understand their culture so well but can't even count to 20 in their language was a little poetic. Good analogy that we enjoy communicating with
our pets on a basic level, even without conversation.

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