Photo of the Week
Photo Title


WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 150869
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-12-05 15:50:37
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-05 22:50:37
    [post_content] => The spring city earns its name with the clear skies and warm weather. Crowds gather to watch the seagulls fly in from Siberia for the warmer weather during the day. But by night, the city comes alive in a different way. Once empty sidewalks and street corners turn into street vendors and small restaurants take over the sidewalks and even pour into the streets. Wen Hua Alley (Culture Alley) becomes a night market so packed you have to weave your way through the street now teeming with people and lined with vendor stalls lit with portable lights selling everything from headphones and screen replacements, to handmade notebooks and catfish sausages.

We start with dinner at our favorite Chuanchuan stand that appears every night on the side of the road at the mouth of Wen Hua. It is a small barbeque place where you pick various types of food on skewers, and they grill it all up for you with a generous helping of spices. They have everything from potatoes and beef to chicken skin and quail eggs. We sit at a tiny fold out table on plastic stools in the street and enjoy our food as we plan the course of the night.

Once we have finished eating, we make our way slowly down through the night market, taking our time to look at all the vendors and haggle a bit for the things we find. We pause a bit to watch a man weaving together strips of bamboo to create a dragon, then a bird and a butterfly, seemingly out of thin air. We stop for some freshly squeezed pomegranate juice for ten kuai (roughly a dollar and fifty cents) next door before we move on. A personal favorite of mine is a milk tea stand with a tiramisu-flavored specialty drink. It's possible to get a cup for seven kuai, but you'd better bet I'm getting a big one for eleven.

We take a short cut through a grocery store and end up on Yunnan University's campus. The streets here are still teeming with crowds in the warm air, but instead of street vendors, we are surrounded by Ginko trees that have only just begun to turn yellow. We make our way to the other side of the campus and walk down another street packed with shops. We pop in and out of shops as we make our way to our final destination: ¥2 ice cream cones. A traditional celebratory snack for the group ever since we first found it in Chongqing.

We catch the final bus home, stomachs full of street food and pockets full of gifts for our friends and families back home. The bus back to our accommodation passes Green Lake Park, which comes alive at night with the lights that line the water's edge. At this time, although Kunming has awoken anew, we must rest and prepare for the next day in the city of eternal spring.
    [post_title] => Kunming by Night
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => kunming-by-night
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-12-05 15:50:37
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-05 22:50:37
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)

FALL: China: South of the Clouds

View post

Kunming by Night

Justin M McHenry,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

The spring city earns its name with the clear skies and warm weather. Crowds gather to watch the seagulls fly in from Siberia for the warmer weather during the day. But by night, the city comes alive in a different way. Once empty sidewalks and street corners turn into street vendors and small restaurants take […]

Posted On

12/5/16

Author

Justin M McHenry

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 150926
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2016-12-05 09:43:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-05 16:43:23
    [post_content] => Dear Fall 2016 China Semester Students & Families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):

Tuesday, December 6th

China Eastern Airlines #5791

Depart: Kunming (KMG) 9:00 AM

Arrive: Nanjing (NKG) 11:25 AM


China Eastern Airlines #2855

Depart: Nanjing (NKG) 2:00 PM

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 10:00 AM

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Starting on Monday, December 5th, should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Boulder Admin

    [post_title] => RETURN FLIGHT INFORMATION
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => return-flight-information-49-copy
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-12-05 09:43:37
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-05 16:43:37
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/return-flight-information-49-copy
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)

FALL: China: South of the Clouds

View post

RETURN FLIGHT INFORMATION

Eva Vanek,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

Dear Fall 2016 China Semester Students & Families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight […]

Posted On

12/5/16

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 150820
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2016-12-01 17:15:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-02 00:15:23
    [post_content] => Dear Fall 2016 China Semester Students & Families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):

Tuesday, December 6th

China Eastern Airlines #5791

Depart: Kunming (KMG) 9:00 AM

Arrive: Nanjing (NKG) 11:25 AM


China Eastern Airlines #2855

Depart: Nanjing (NKG) 2:00 PM

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 10:00 AM

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Starting on Monday, December 5th, should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Boulder Admin

    [post_title] => RETURN FLIGHT INFORMATION
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => return-flight-information-49
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-12-01 17:15:23
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-02 00:15:23
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)

FALL: China: South of the Clouds

View post

RETURN FLIGHT INFORMATION

Eva Vanek,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

Dear Fall 2016 China Semester Students & Families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight […]

Posted On

12/1/16

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 149680
    [post_author] => 14
    [post_date] => 2016-10-24 13:38:17
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-24 19:38:17
    [post_content] => Hello Family & Friends of the China Semester Group!

The group is now in Kunming, Yunnan, settling into home-stays, language classes and Independent Study Projects (ISPs) after spending the first half of the program traveling widely. As you have read in Field Notes, and perhaps heard directly from students, one of the most inspiring places the group visited this fall was the Tengger Desert in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Coincidentally, The New York Times just published a beautiful online feature on the Tengger Desert as part of a series on climate change. If you're interested in learning more about the area, some of the issues its residents are facing, and seeing some spectacular photos, take a look at the feature here. Hope you enjoy! - Jody
    [post_title] => Learning about the Tengger Desert
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => learning-about-the-tengger-desert
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-10-24 13:38:17
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-24 19:38:17
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)

FALL: China: South of the Clouds

View post

Learning about the Tengger Desert

Jody Segar,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

Hello Family & Friends of the China Semester Group! The group is now in Kunming, Yunnan, settling into home-stays, language classes and Independent Study Projects (ISPs) after spending the first half of the program traveling widely. As you have read in Field Notes, and perhaps heard directly from students, one of the most inspiring places […]

Posted On

10/24/16

Author

Jody Segar

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 149599
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-10-21 11:25:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-21 17:25:20
    [post_content] => The Golden Dragon Fruit
By: Will Anderson

[Note: This story is satire, although based on a true story]

Forward by Kristen Gianaris:
When Will first told me about his love for dragonfruit, there was a genuine passion behind his words. He spoke about the fruit in such an endearing way that I questioned whether or not he had ever loved anything so truly. After Will started buying dragonfruit by the dozens, giving dragonfruit to friends and to us instructors as gifts, and replacing meals with them, I was increasingly curious to learn more about his consumption. Will began to thoroughly study the fruit - where does it grow? What nutritional benefits does it have? Where is it imported and exported to and from? He began explaining to me how to make an aloe to treat sunburnt skin by mixing dragonfruit with honey and cucumber juice. He sulked when he learnt that it takes an entire year to grow dragonfruit. Surprisingly, when Will first sunk his teeth into the white and black speckled fruit at Whole Foods over a year ago, he was filled with regret. He recalled the story of the rotten dragonfruit that at first turned him away. With an open mind, Will embraced the philosophy: try everything at least three times. As we have traveled across China, it's been rare to find Will without a dragonfruit in hand.

During this past month, Will has been writing stories for his independent study project. He has been tying his creative writing into the experiences he has had on course and what he has been learning. His stories are entertaining and fun. Each story has some gained knowledge that he has shared with the group. Riveting, filled with suspense, and turning with emotion, you won't want to stop reading!

The Golden Dragonfruit

I wake, and my head is pounding. Details of the night before flit listlessly into my mind, as gently as the sunlight that looms behind the curtain. My skin is cold and clammy, and my mouth is so dry. Straining every sore muscle in my body, I somehow manage to rise from my bed. As I less than gracefully swing myself into a sitting position, the debris of the previous night is all too visible. My knife, the one bearing the singular gold star, is open and dirty. I take it. Hundreds of identical bags flank it, emblazoned with Chinese characters years beyond my understanding, save those unmistakable three. This is not the first time I have woke to a room in such a condition, or even the first time I’ve found myself in the current condition.

I have to quit, I think, simultaneously acknowledging an issue and lying through my teeth. I make a retreat to the bathroom, blessed to have been the first to wake, and thereby avoiding being seen in such a manner. The faucet roars to life, and I cup my hands to catch the water, my hands trembling and nearly spilling half. My eyes are bloodshot, and I barely recognize them in the mirror.

I dress quickly and, before the rest of the group wakes up, quickly and quietly make my way down the stairs, dragging with me the guilt of any addict. The cold grayness of Chongqing greets me, and my feet act while my mind lags behind. Alleys flash by, and I keep walking until I reach the ninth one on the left. I knock on the heavy metal door, painted an almost sickening red, and wait. Mere minutes pass, but it feels like eons. My mind is racing, anticipating the rush it will soon receive. My whole body is trembling, but everything will be fine once I get my fix. I just need to get it.

A loud bang. Scattered shouts. The eye slit in the door slides open. Spending a careful minute, the doorman scrutinizes me. I can’t imagine he sees anything other than an average American teenager, in the throes of withdrawal. “Jinlai,” he says gruffly. The door clanks open, but the doorman is already gone. I make my way into the warehouse, and see the most beautiful thing. Thousands of dragonfruit lay about the warehouse. Some are being loaded onto trucks, other left in carts to be inspected.

I am addicted to dragonfruit. I’ve said it. I used to be ashamed, but now it’s just who I am. The first step is admitting a problem, right? Well I have a problem. I am the problem. The problem is that there aren’t enough dragonfruit in the whole world to slake my desires. There’s a lot of problems, but I wouldn’t really say it’s my fault. This is just kind of where I’ve found myself. In a drug den of a warehouse, buying dragonfruit by the hundreds. I’m ok. Really, I’m fine.

I give the men the money-- I don’t remember how much, mostly because I don’t care anymore—and start stuffing my bag with fruit. At this point, I’m rushing. The urge is too strong, I can’t be calm and collected anymore. I grab the closest one, and cut it open, my knife glinting in the garish light of the warehouse. The flesh parts under the edge, and the dragonfruit splits easily in half. With shaking hands, I bring a half to my mouth. I take a bite…

And it hits me. My world narrows, then expands, then narrows again. Before I know it, I’ve eaten three more. Visions flash in front of me, saying much but meaning nothing. I see everything, but am privy to nothing. My vision blacks, and my mind goes blank. All I can see is the object of my ambitions. The very thing which I strive for, and desire above all. I can see it in front of me, but I am so far away. I will never get there, but I must try. Before I collapse, IT is so clear and visible and magnificent. The golden dragonfruit.

I don’t wake up.
    [post_title] => The Golden Dragonfruit
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => the-golden-dragonfruit
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-10-21 11:25:20
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-21 17:25:20
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)
View post

The Golden Dragonfruit

Will Anderson,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

The Golden Dragon Fruit By: Will Anderson [Note: This story is satire, although based on a true story] Forward by Kristen Gianaris: When Will first told me about his love for dragonfruit, there was a genuine passion behind his words. He spoke about the fruit in such an endearing way that I questioned whether or […]

Posted On

10/21/16

Author

Will Anderson

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 149594
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-10-21 11:22:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-21 17:22:20
    [post_content] => Written on: 17 October 2016

I’m quite the talker. I’m never reluctant to embrace controversy and express my convictions; I’m eager, at any moment, to crack a few cheesy jokes and engage in sprightly banter. My voice, simply put, constitutes who I am – without it, I’d doubtless not be the argument-loving, goofy person that I am. And so, when the instructors shared their plans for the group to devote thirty hours of our three-night stay at the Erfo Monastery to silence, I knew I was in for a wild challenge.

Silence, the instructors explained, is an inherently elusive concept. Together we came to define silence as the absence of external noise, which, similar to an onion, involves layers. What, after all, is “external noise”? The instructors prompted us to interpret silence however we see fit – and I resolved, therefore, not only to seal my voice temporarily, but also to refrain from my usual pastimes. I would not read, or listen to music, or even write; rather, I would remain entirely within myself. Throughout those trying thirty hours, only my wandering, spiraled thoughts would keep me company. When the time to welcome silence finally arrived, anxiety rushed through my veins.

Within the first hour, the newborn silence gnawed at me incessantly, tormenting me like the devilish mosquito bites that dotted my neck. I itched to leaf through the novel eyeing me flirtatiously from across the room, to ramble down its snaky plot and teleport to a fantastical realm. Yet I reminded myself to persist onwards, plunging deeper into self-reflection, and the temptations to break the silence gradually winded.

I soon found that I, surprisingly enough, savored the silence. The process of meditation tamed the clamorous circus of ideas that had once inhabited my mind. Heeding the advice of Scott – a longtime devotee who ceaselessly sought to lend a hand to the group – I concentrated only on my breathing. Never had my mind felt so relaxed, so at peace, as I soaked in the scenery of the thousand-year-old Zen Buddhist monastery.

Those thirty hours led me to grow far more aware. Strolling through the park, I felt as though only during my silence had nature truly sprung to life. I noticed the sheer greenery of the moss that cascaded down the ancient walls of Laitan. I noticed the unrelenting patter of the rain that pierced through the misty air. I noticed the erratic flutter of a sunflower-yellow butterfly that hovered around a dew-drenched bush. Even the meals tasted more flavorful. Back home, I’m accustomed to chatting casually during late-night, TV-oriented family dinners, barely glancing at the food decorating my plate. But the monastery dinners were quite the opposite: I knew what colors, scents, and textures were caught between my chopsticks.

I often reflected on my experience in China thus far. The morning chants at the monastery – a mellifluous symphony of pitches, enriched by the mild incense and the gleam of the candles – created a calmness like no other. The Tengger Desert – an endless stretch of sun-baked sand dunes – struck me as so picturesque, it seemed computer-generated. The people of Tibet – constantly ready to welcome a stranger with a cup of yak tea – were unbelievably warm and jovial. The list goes on.

Prior to arriving in China, I looked to this trip as a way to gain experiences that I’d never come by again. I hoped to challenge myself, to branch out my comfort zone and explore freely. Those thirty hours of silence allowed me to do just that.

-Akash
    [post_title] => THIRTY HOURS OF SILENCE
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => thirty-hours-of-silence
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-10-21 11:22:20
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-21 17:22:20
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)
View post

THIRTY HOURS OF SILENCE

Akash Bagaria,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

Written on: 17 October 2016 I’m quite the talker. I’m never reluctant to embrace controversy and express my convictions; I’m eager, at any moment, to crack a few cheesy jokes and engage in sprightly banter. My voice, simply put, constitutes who I am – without it, I’d doubtless not be the argument-loving, goofy person that […]

Posted On

10/21/16

Author

Akash Bagaria

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 149550
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-10-20 11:09:09
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-20 17:09:09
    [post_content] => Since we are only able to post several photos at a time, here are the remaining homestay family photos following the post on our arrival in Kunming and homestay departures. We've also included a fun photo of some of the group expressing their support for each other with a big hug in the program house!

img_6878 img_6879 img_6880 img_6881
    [post_title] => Homestay Family Photos Continued...
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => homestay-family-photos-continued
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-10-21 12:25:57
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-21 18:25:57
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)
View post

Homestay Family Photos Continued…

Instructor Team,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

Since we are only able to post several photos at a time, here are the remaining homestay family photos following the post on our arrival in Kunming and homestay departures. We’ve also included a fun photo of some of the group expressing their support for each other with a big hug in the program house!

Posted On

10/20/16

Author

Instructor Team

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 149539
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-10-20 11:09:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-20 17:09:00
    [post_content] => 19 October 2016

We got off the overnight train and walked with our backpacks strapped to us and with a sense of curiosity towards what this next part of our journey might bring. The morning was still dark but the streets were lit up by food carts that were preparing noodles and steamed buns for early arrivals. Only 6:00am and Kunming was already presenting herself to us with a lively energy. Taxi drivers solicited their services, buses were in starting their routes for the day, and the smell of sweet bean paste and soy milk tickled our senses as we navigated our way through crowds of people going in different directions.

We made our way to the program house; the space where we will spend the next month meeting, having Chinese classes, working on our independent study projects, and coming together as a group for various reasons. As the sun began to rise and let some light in through the windows, we settled in and began preparing for the afternoon when we’d enter our Kunming homestays and make a temporary home and routine around this new place.

Around 5:00pm, the students bid each other farewell when their homestay family came to pick them up. The families came to the program house prepared to welcome a new member to their family. They came bearing news of exciting plans that they have for their time together and with homestay siblings who jumped with joy at the prospect of having an older brother or sister to teach them English or play instruments with them.

With good wishes, the instructors sent the students off and began making final preparations for tomorrow’s exciting scavenger hunt around the city!

Attached to this note and a following note are photos of each student with members of their homestay family! Enjoy!

All the best from the city of eternal spring,
The Instructor Team
    [post_title] => Arrival in Kunming & Urban Homestay Departure!
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => arrival-in-kunming-urban-homestay-departure
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-10-20 11:09:00
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-20 17:09:00
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)
View post

Arrival in Kunming & Urban Homestay Departure!

Instructor Team,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

19 October 2016 We got off the overnight train and walked with our backpacks strapped to us and with a sense of curiosity towards what this next part of our journey might bring. The morning was still dark but the streets were lit up by food carts that were preparing noodles and steamed buns for […]

Posted On

10/20/16

Author

Instructor Team

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 149452
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-10-17 15:37:06
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-17 21:37:06
    [post_content] => 14 October 2016
Interview with one of Chongqing’s “Bang-Bang” workers

The “bang bang army” or those who employ themselves as porters, used to flood the streets of Chongqing. Now, with a changing economy, different technologies, new services, different political powers, and a lesser demand, the work of carrying heavy loads on a bamboo stick is quickly disappearing. Still, as you wander the streets of Chongqing, you’re sure to catch sight of some of these men. With a large bamboo stick (bangzi) in hand, they have two ropes fastened around it, ready for work.

While we were in Chongqing, we had the opportunity to meet with and interview one of the remaining bang bang workers. His name is Tan Da Ge. We met him during the evening on our last night in Chongqing at a park near our hostel. Although we would have liked to dig deeper into the interesting details of his livelihood, we were a bit pressed for time, and Tan Da Ge also had a job to do that evening. Still, we had plenty of time to ask him a number of questions and get a glimpse of what life as a bang bang worker might be like.

Q: How long have you been working as a Bang Bang?
A: I have been working for more than 20 years. Before doing this work, I used to work in Xiamen and Shanghai. In 1997 when Chongqing was recognized as a direct municipality – I came back here (I am originally from this area) and was working in restaurants until someone told me that work as a bang bang is pretty good and allows a lot of freedom.

Q: Why did you decide to become a bang bang?
A: I am very aware that I don’t have a high education status. I don’t have very high aspirations for what I can do because of this. This line of work just makes sense for me.

Q: This is very difficult work, right?
A: Yes, it is.

Q: Do you like it?
A: What else would I or could I do? I appreciate the exercise I get from it.

Q: What has changed the most since you started this work?
A: I am much stronger now. When I started, I could carry about 50lbs. Now I can carry more than 200lbs.
This is what I use for this work [he shows us his ‘bangzi’ or bamboo stick that has two ropes fasted to it]. I bought it at Chaotianmen dock over 20 years ago for about 2 yuan. It can carry a load of 200-300lbs. If you don’t believe me, I’ll lift two of you.

[Sam and Grace grabbed on to opposite ends of the stick and lifted their feet off the ground while Tan Da Ge rested the pole over his shoulders and began walking away with the two of them swaying off of either end]

It’s easier to carry goods instead of people. People swing around too much.

Q: How much do you walk each day?
A: It depends. It is different every day. On a good work day, I am walking all day. On slower days, I sit or sleep on a bench.

Q: Do you have children?
A: I have three daughters. The eldest is in her twenties and she is a teacher. She used to teach in a village where our family is from but she moved to a bigger township. The middle daughter is 17 and the youngest is 11. Those two are still studying.

Q: How old are you?
A: 51

Q: What kinds of things are you typically asked to carry?
A: Usually clothes or other household goods. When the seasons change, the load changes as well.

Q: How do you find work?
A: In addition to working as a bang bang, I do odd jobs as well. The word that I live by in this work is “unity.” I work with a group of friends and if one of us is approached with a job, we call each other to work together. We give each other leads. I only do honest work.

Q: How much do you get paid?
A: Oh! I can’t even say! It’s too bad! [he waved his hand and pursed his lips with disappointment] It’s a lot worse now than what it used to be. It was the best during the time of Bo Xi Lai – he had different economic policies and strategies. Now, while the economy is slowing, they ignore the people at the bottom. There are days when I don’t get paid at all. The job I am supposed to do tonight should give me about 100 yuan. Usually, when I help people carry something, I make about 10 yuan.

Q: Do you use any kinds of public transportation when you carry things?
A: I walk everywhere.

Q: Have you ever been injured by doing this work?
A: Yes. The bosses who hire me to do work don’t care or won’t compensate for injuries. It’s up to me to take care of my body. In 1998 I was in Chaotianmen at #9 dock and I was loading stuff when a metal object hit me in the face [points to a scar on his left cheek]. The man who was responsible for it hitting me compensated me 600 yuan.

Q: Are there many competitors in this line of work?
A: Yes, the competition is very strong. That’s why I have had to be able to carry so much – there is a need to be able to carry more weight than the others. This gets your more jobs.

Q: Are there kind of turf wars between bang bangs?
A: There used to be… not anymore. It used to be very chaotic in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. All bang bang’s in an area know or recognize each other.

Q: You mentioned earlier that you only do honest work. What kind of illegal activities do bang bangs get involved with?
A: Yes, there are some who are involved in illegal activities. People of my generation are not the kind to get involved in such things though. For me, because I live in the city, it is too risky for me to run that risk.
Q: What kinds of people get involved in illegal bang bang business?
A: People who were born in the year of the rooster – they have theft in their hearts.

Q: How do you feel about all of the old neighborhoods being torn down in Chongqing? Has it impacted you at all?
A: It hasn’t impacted me. I am a “laobaixing” – one of the common people. All that matters is having enough to eat and enough warm clothes when it is cold.

Q: Are you your family’s only source of income?
A: Yes. My eldest daughter occasionally gives a little bit, but she needs to provide for herself and we don’t ask her to help us.

Q: Where do you live?
A: I live in a single bedroom apartment that costs 800 yuan per month. Right now, my youngest daughter and wife and I live in the same room.

Q: What work would you do if bang bang work disappeared?
A: I don’t know. I guess I would practice some sort of Chinese medicine. I do a little bit of that.

For more information on bang bang workers in Chongqing, check out this New York Times article that we all read before having a lesson on migration in China and before we set out to conduct this interview.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/29/world/asia/china-chongqing-bang-bang.html?_r=0
    [post_title] => Interview with a Bang-Bang worker
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => interview-with-a-bang-bang-worker
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-10-17 15:37:06
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-17 21:37:06
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)
View post

Interview with a Bang-Bang worker

Instructor Team,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

14 October 2016 Interview with one of Chongqing’s “Bang-Bang” workers The “bang bang army” or those who employ themselves as porters, used to flood the streets of Chongqing. Now, with a changing economy, different technologies, new services, different political powers, and a lesser demand, the work of carrying heavy loads on a bamboo stick is […]

Posted On

10/17/16

Author

Instructor Team

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 149393
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-10-15 13:45:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-15 19:45:23
    [post_content] => 16 October 2016

After an exciting time in Chongqing, we’ve left the big city for a Buddhist meditation retreat at “Er Fo Si” Zen Buddhist Monastery in Laitan (about two and a half hours outside of Chongqing). The town’s architecture is unique to what we have seen so far and it seems to be developing rapidly to make way for a kind of religious tourism experience. The monastery that we are staying in plays a big role in setting that precedent. As the monastery is partly under construction, it’s future plan is to accommodate hundreds of more people for Buddhist conventions and students who aim to practice meditation and other aspects of Zen Buddhism.

Today after arriving, we became acquainted with our surroundings and began immersing ourselves in silent vegetarian meals and meditative practices. We had a conversation with the monastery’s manager who told us that this monastery is over 1000 years old and taught us a little about the expectations of living here. Later in the evening we met with a Dragon’s contact, Scott, who shared with us some information on the differences between Confucian beliefs, Taoism, and Buddhism. Scott talked to us about the need to rid ourselves of suffering by realizing the ways in which everything is interconnected and ways to make our hearts stronger. We had our first seated meditation practice (about 15 minutes long) and then called it an early night. After the highly stimulating city life in Chongqing, we’re all in need of some extra rest and relaxation!

Tomorrow and the next day we will be taking on the challenge of silent meditation. Everyone is looking forward to this rare opportunity to learn and grow in a way that many of us have never tried before. We’ll be enjoying the peace and serenity of the monastery and its surroundings while looking deep into ourselves to ease our movements, strengthen our hearts, and be more aware of our breathing.

We’ll leave our readers with the wise words of our new friend, Scott:
“We could all compare ourselves to waves in the ocean. We could compare ourselves as ripples or tsunamis. Each wave could identify the differences it has to the others – some bigger, some smaller, some stronger, some with less force or motion. No matter what our differences are, in the end, we are all water.”

Peace,
The Instructor Team
    [post_title] => Strengthening Our Hearts
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => strengthening-our-hearts
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-10-15 13:45:23
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-15 19:45:23
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 582
                    [name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [slug] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 582
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 581
                    [count] => 61
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0.1
                    [cat_ID] => 582
                    [category_count] => 61
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
                    [category_nicename] => china-semester-fall-2016
                    [category_parent] => 581
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2016/china-semester-fall-2016/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => FALL: China: South of the Clouds
)
View post

Strengthening Our Hearts

Instructor Team,FALL: China: South of the Clouds

Description

16 October 2016 After an exciting time in Chongqing, we’ve left the big city for a Buddhist meditation retreat at “Er Fo Si” Zen Buddhist Monastery in Laitan (about two and a half hours outside of Chongqing). The town’s architecture is unique to what we have seen so far and it seems to be developing […]

Posted On

10/15/16

Author

Instructor Team

1 2 3 7