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Trip Start May 05, 2012
54Trip End Mar 01, 2013
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On one of our days off we decided to get out and have a walk. The weather is cooling down quite significantly now which makes getting out doors much more bearable than it was two weeks ago. The weather is hen shufu [hen shoe-foo] (very comfortable) and long may it last
On this one occasion we ended up back at the Tianjin Cultural Centre which houses the museum, art gallery and opera house. However it wasn't any of these cultural icons we came in search of. We had seen ads all over town about the new Galaxy Shopping Mall that was supposed to be amazing. Taking up 300,000sq metres of the Cultural Centre complex, this giant of a shopping mall takes up half of the complex. We trundled along and found the place- but the only people being allowed in were work men in hard hats and overalls. Highly disappointed with this blatant false advertising (well the posters could have said it was under construction but we couldn't read the information- only the pictures!), we had a rest beside the man-made lake that is the centre piece of the Cultural Centre. As we were about to leave, traditional Chinese music started blaring from speakers hidden in the light posts and we were treated to a display by the musical fountain. It was a display of fountain ballet! I will try to upload the video but failing that will put up some still shots. It was quite impressive but also very funny in how odd it was to see a fountain like this going in the middle of the day!
We also tried Korean BBQ properly in the past couple weeks. On of the other teachers at AoCheng, Susan, invited us to go for Korean BBQ with her one night and - following our abismal failure in Nanjing - we were dead keen
We are back into our regular Chinese lessons now and have set ourselves the goal of sitting, and passing, HSK Level 2 in October. We have a fair bit of work to do to get all of the required vocabulary under our belts in time but I think we should be fine.
We are also beginning to turn our minds to Europe and what we will do after our trip around the continent. Kings have offered us the opportunity to come back and continue teaching with them for the three months after our Europe trip before I (Evan) need to be back in NZ to start my job. It sounds like it will be a pretty good deal with the same pay but likely less working hours. We won't have our same classes but will mostly be moving around the five centres in Tianjin. Best of all we will be able to hold onto our apartment while we are in Europe and keep it as a kind of "Home Base" to come back to.
As far as the planning for our Europe trip goes we are just beginning. Steph decided that in order to plan preoperly - read, without us chewing each others heads off - she needed an iPad so that she could do some proper Europe research. We will keep you all posted on how the planning develops. At this stage we are thinking of flying into Athens then on to Rome and continuing through a anticlockwise loop around the continent before heading to England and Ireland via Paris. That is a very high level description of it and is fairly representative of our plans thus far.
We have a lot to get busy with!