Dragonboats and tuk tuks
Trip Start May 05, 2012
54Trip End Mar 01, 2013
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The ancient Chinese state of Chu was ruled by an emperor who was not too smart. However, the Kingdom ran pretty well because he had a very smart and moral advisor called Qu Yuan who was loved and respected by the whole Kingdom. Other members of the court were jealous of Qu Yuan's power and in order to bring him down they whispered bad things about him in the emperors ear, and eventually he believed them. He banished Qu Yuan from his Kingdom, telling him he could not return to his home
Scholars have since viewed Qu Yuan as a example of honourable behaviour and someone to strive towards. While they themselves won't commit suicide (apparently your body is seen to belong to your parents in China and thus not your property to destroy), they strive for his moral purity and his unwavering belief in his principles (ie he would rather die than live morally impure)
To remember this remarkable man, during the dragon-boat festival people make zongzi (we tried both the date and the sweet bean versions- see pics) and race dragon boats. The dragon boat racing is especially done in southern China where the Qu Yuan originates. In Tianjin, people just tend to make and eat zongzi.
This week has been pretty busy. I had an absolute nightmare of a demo class on wed night, so I am super glad not to have another one tonight. Only four kids turned up to this demo, but all of them were 3 and under. Not one of the kids would say a word. One was just super shy, two of them were particularly naughty, running around the class and not sitting down, and the other one was not quite right. He just sat staring at the ceiling until I tried to get him to play on the whiteboard, and then he would madly giggle and run around too. With only one TA we couldn't keep them on their chairs and I'm pretty sure they didn't learn a thing. We finished 20 mins early because we were unable to do any of the activities, and to make it worse it was all witnessed by a new boss at the centre! There was really nothing else that we could have done to make it better, but it was still a pretty bad impression!
Luckily my demo yesterday was much better (also witnessed by the new boss), but I am very glad to not have a class tonight. Hopefully the regular weekend classes go much better -
well they really couldn't be any worse!
In other news, we could not get a taxi to work yesterday. Normally we may have to wait 10 mins, but we waited a full half hour without any luck. The only taxis that were free were either a) stolen from us at the last moment (people can be so rude!) or b) would wave "no" to us and then pick up someone else 30 metres down the road. We got so frustrated that we just started walking in the direction of work, hoping to find a taxi further away from the shopping district. We were stalked down the road by a man in a tuk tuk for about 100m (we thought tuk tuks would not take us as far away as work so we hadn't bothered to flag any down before!), literally crawling along behind us. We eventually turned around and asked him how much to Ao Cheng thinking he would leave us when he knew where we wanted to go, but in the end he was very happy to take us. What an experience!
We travelled mainly in the bike lanes and were able to zoom past taxis stuck in traffic
The driver was a great guy, every-time we stopped at lights (we did occasionally, although it seemed pretty arbitrary to me) he would turn around and talk to us- very friendly (we even understood most of it!). We have some pictures and possibly a video if I can manage to upload it, so check them out. I have no class tonight which is a relief, but means that Evan cannot do the techy stuff, so we will see what gets added to the picture/video wise.