It has been a tough year. Not sure I could do this again.
August 15th – September 1st
We started our year on August 15th, 2011 after many troubles getting a working visa to enter the country. Our first stop was Beijing where we stayed for 2 weeks.
The Forbidden City. It was blazing hot.
No trip to China is complete without a trip to the Great Wall.
We arrived in Guangzhou in September and rented an apartment, started work and began a wonderful friendship with Mr. Pu and his wife.
View from the balcony of our apartment on the 24th floor.
A trip to IKEA to outfit the apartment. Most of the stuff is now outfitting the 2nd apartment of Mr. Pu.
The campus in Nanhai where we both taught. A 45 minute shuttle bus ride one way.
Our first of 6 Pearl River cruises. Also the first of many great outings with Mr. Pu.
My Western Culture oral English class. The girls are in San Fransico, one boy is in Australia and 3 others are in the southern United States. I miss them all.
The first week of October was the harvest Festival, 3 days off from work. Mr Pu took us along on a Chinese tour of Chengdu. We flew there and then were on a tour bus for many days. Part of our tour contract was the mandatory visiting of 4 factory outlets. We had to go in the store, listen to their spiel and then spend a half hour in the store. Experiencing how the Chinese do tourism was fascinating.
At a national park in near Chengdu. Beautiful sites like this were all over the place.
The mandatory stop at the Chinese medicine shop where you get a free foot massage while they try to sell their products. I am putting the Chinese equivalent of Vicks Vaporub on my sore nose and paying the price for not understanding the language. A price I have paid many times over the year.
Panda Boy at the Halloween party put on by the English Club at the university. He was told there would be many people in costume. I guess they all dressed as Lucy Liu.
In the middle of November our trip to Thailand was cancelled due to flooding. As we had no time to get visas to go to another country we went to the island of Hainan, in China. The most interesting thing about Hainan was that the second language there was Russian. Lots of Russians, information in Russian and restaurants with menus in Russian. We did our best to make the cancellation of our trip to Thailand a positive experience.
In the coconut milk hot spring bath near Sanya.
Our tourist outfits in the yard of our hotel in Sanya. They have served us well. Should have bought some extra sets.
End of November we are back in Guangzhou. Our friend André from Beijing visits us for a few days to practice his French. He goes to an interview in Hong Kong and gets accepted to immigrate to Québec.
We take Mr. Pu and MeiHao to see Notre Dame de Paris in China, not expecting it to be in English. A great show but the music is better in French. As Mr. Pu never lets us pay for dinner, this is the only way we can show our appreciation. Mr. Pu speaks perfect French, his wife only understands Chinese and the play is in English. Go figure.
Early December we miss the 80th birthday of a very important man in both our lives, Leibling’s father, Gerry Poulin. We go to Shanghai and Hangzhou (a popular tourist city) before returning to Guanzhou for Christmas time. Our son Cédric and his girlfriend Sarah visit us for Xmas. We make our first of many trips to Hong Kong.
Our birthday message to Gerry. We also Skyped him at his party and were displayed on the wall of the hall rented for the occasion. Over one hundred friends in Canada at 6pm got to hear and see us speak from Shanghai at 6am. Some of the senior citizens were completely baffled. One asked how come we were on the computer if we were supposed to be in China.
On the Bund in Shanghai. This was the trip we enjoyed the least. I think the hotel without heat played a big part in this.
West Lake in Hangzhou. We got there from Shanghai on the high speed train at 300 km/h most of the way and it felt like we were going 40km/h.
On an outing with Pu.
Lantau island in Hong Kong
Gerry and Pauline’s adopted Chinese son before it become popular, Baldwin Lee (Hong Kong). He is a very successful businessman that took the time to see and entertain all our visitors. A wonderful man that studied in Canada as a teenager and spent many holidays with the generous Poulin family. He loves them dearly and still sends them Christmas gifts after more than 30 years.
My father hated it when I played more with my sister’s Barbies than she did. Little did he know I have a thing for hot babes in boxes (Hong Kong).
Cédric and Sarah at the top of The Peak (Hong Kong).
Stay tuned for part 2 of our Annus horribilis.