A strong possibility with Zhejiang University

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jul 24, 2007

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Can unbearable heat melt away the pain from the accident last Tuesday?  I'm a living proof!  The humidity and heat in Hangzhou was killing me.  What pain?  What soreness?  Just get me into an AC room and I'll call it a paradise on earth (Just an FYI: Hangzhou has long had the repuation of "paradise on earth.")

To those of you who have sent your thoughts, thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I knew some of you would be worry sick after reading my posting, and I apologize for the delay in posting follow-up reports.  Internet access here is just not as easy as walking into a Starbucks (as Bobby knows very well).  By the way, there are plenty of Starbucks here.  I was trying to look for the Chinese "Starbucks" called Xing Ba Ke in Shanghai, but I guess it was shut down.

For the past few days I have been fine.  I still remember all the login IDs and passwords to my email and Travelpod accounts!  My left cheekbone was a bit sore all of sudden this morning; other than that, I feel normal.

Back to Hangzhou.  I went to Zhejiang University (ZU) the day after the car accident and met a group of very energetic staff at the International College.  We connected only a couple of days before my visit, but, boy, were they ready!  I got a nice tour of the facilities and a clear picture of the short-term Chinese language and culture program.    Upon entering the International College, I could see at least a hundred different national flags.  According to Ms. Zhou, the coordinator of the program, the facility was built in 2003, and already they had to start looking for more room for international students.  Classrooms are located in the same hallway as the dorm rooms, and every classroom and dorm room has an AC unit!!    Ms. Zhou also showed me a lab room.  There's no comparison to our state-of-the-art Language Lab (Georges, you're the best), but having that tells me the program provides different modes of learning.  I also met Dean Wang, Mr. Xu, and Ms. Sun at lunch.  All of them were extremely friendly and casual.  This is a pleasant suprise, considering that I simply "cold called" them without any guanxi (connection)!

Speaking of connection, later we did discover there is one.  Dean Wang used to be an Education Consul at the Houston Consulate in the 80's.  He still remembers the fun of fishing the crabs at night at Galveston.  What a small world!

Before I left ZU, I received a sample orientation packet for students.  Ms. Zhou also gave me two sample course schedules, which include language lessons in the morning and cultural seminars and tours in the afternoon.  I was also told that all students, especially beginning level students, live in the dorm and take courses at the International College.  From what I saw, ZU's staff know what they're doing and are on top of things.  I'm also impressed by the facilities.  Complementing the language instruction are a lot of sightseeing and historic excursions that students can take while studying language there, including the well maintained and world famous West Lake, which is just 5 minutes away from the college by taxi.

I had thought that West Lake was a tourist trap, but as it turned out to be a really beautiful lake!  The history of the lake is long, dating back to the Tang Dynasty in the 10th century.  One of my favorite Chinese poet, Su Dongpo of the Song Dynasty, was the governor of Hangzhou, and his legacy can be seen in the Su Causeway as well as the two streets that are named after him.  There is also a dish named after him: Dongpo Pork! 

Another story that has to do with West Lake is one of the most romantic Chinese stories that I've known: the Legend of the White Snake.    The story goes that a snake, in appreciation of the man who rescued her, transformed into a beautiful woman to pursue and marry him.  Her magical power helped him avoid misfortunes and disasters, and they had a peaceful life.  After giving birth to a son, she started having visits from a monk, who knew she wasn't human and decided that she would bring harm to her husband.  The monk succeeded in separating the couple after numerous attempts and imprisoned Lady Snake underneath the Leifeng Tower, which is on the south shore of West Lake.  The husband, with his son, could only visit the tower whenever he thought of her.  Oh, how I hated the monk!

That's it about Hangzhou.  I will report from Shanghai next.
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gdetiveaux on

Your visit to Hangzhou
Hi there, Carolyn. It sounds like the accident is genuinely behind you and you're back on track. That's good news, indeed! May you find a Xing Ba Ke on every corner in Shanghai! ;-)

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