Back to China

How lucky can you get? I am off for another trip to China within 3 months of the first. I will be traveling to Yangshuo in the south, an area different from the areas Dharmasuri and I visited in September. I have seen pictures and it looks like a pretty magical place.

The mission this time is similar to the Japan trip. We will be conducting a medical training followed by an instructor course (IT). Unlike Japan, the training will be longer (10 days medical; 5 days IT), we will have more students (4 vs 14 now) and most will have less formal medical training than the nurses we worked with in Japan. It should make for an interesting challenge. Fortunately I will be working with Fay Johnson (no relation), along with Sun (pronounced like soon) and John Lin (from Taiwan) as translators. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all will be the physical one. I arrived in ME from Japan on the evening of 9 November. I picked up the trailer on 10 November and then Dharmasuri did most of the packing before we headed for GA 11 November. We got back to ME 20 November afternoon and I am set to leave 23 November in the AM. I feel pretty tired and physically beat and sore but excited about the next 3 weeks.

Nothing much to mention about the flights – fewer movies and more sleep. I arrived in Guilin just past midnight on 25 November, Monday AM local time. We are 13 hours ahead of Portland and Georgia. I was met by someone who drives vans for Sun’s other business (Terratribes – they run outdoor adventures for high school and college students around China and Asia). He didn’t say a thing when I acknowledged that I was the name on his sign. He just grabbed one of my bags and silently led the way to the van. It wasn’t possible to see any detail along the roadway because it was an overcast night with little ambient light. I was able to make out the silhouettes of large towers along the way, an introduction to the most prominent landscape feature in this area, karsts. Sun met me soon after I arrived in Yangshuo. We exchanged pleasantries and then I was off to bed. After a decent rest, I got up early and wandered about town.

The karsts are everywhere. They are imposing monoliths (mostly), covered with trees with patches of visible rocky outcroppings. Some have caves. Because they were formed by the random meanderings of water flow over many millennia, each is unique and visually interesting. Inevitably, an active outdoor industry for climbing and rafting has grown up around here.Image

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After breakfast and some small talk with a few Terratribe-connected locals, Sun turned me over to Xiao Ming, our curriculum translator, for the rest of the day. I bought a sim card for one of my phones so that I can make calls within China and have access to 3G to give me a tethered hotspot when there is no functional Wi-Fi. Xiao Ming and I rented bicycles and rode for a couple of hours around and out of town to our course site in Fonglou.

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Xiao Ming

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