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April 2005 Club News

Cheynes | Peaceful | Mongolia | Coalmine | Jerramungup | Calendar

Mongolian Holiday

Our Foreign Correspondents Mike & Angie reporting from China

Mike & Angie... in sidecar not China
Mike & Angie... in sidecar not China

Hi folks!
Yes we are still on holiday and enjoying every minute of it just in case you were wondering!

We returned from our second ‘adventure’ North where we reached the border of Inner Mongolia but we can honestly say that we have experienced enough cold, ice and snow now to last us a life-time. 

Although not as cold as Harbin (the first part of the holiday) it was still freezing cold at minus 10 degrees give or take an odd one degree; any part of the body not covered up was attacked immediately by the cold and when the wind blew -  s*** - it was freezing . . . no kidding!

However, we survived and saw magnificent mountains, temples, postcard scenery etc for our pains as we travelled up through Shanxi Province to Inner Mongolia. 

A highlight for us was seeing The Great Wall of China again only this time its western section covered in snow. Up there the people eat potatoes and noodles rather than rice which we are accustomed to down here in the south as it is grown here. Overall the food in Shanxi wasn’t that crash hot and even our Chinese friends were quite disgusted with what we were offered at meal times (now that should get you using your imaginations!).

In Shanxi the main industry is coal mining; lots of soot and the smell of coal pervades the atmosphere reminding us of the UK in the 50’s and 60’s.

Every year hundreds (sometimes thousands) of coal-miners are killed in mining accidents here; having seen some of the mines and the conditions in which they have to work, we can now understand why such accidents happen . . . no miners union here!

We have read that Guangdong Province where we work is one of the richest and most advanced provinces in China; often we have been sceptical of this statement but now having seen inland China we can now believe this observation. 

Here in southern China we have poor people but not as poor as those in these poorer provinces like Shanxi; incredibly poor, they live in the harshest of conditions on a meagre ‘income’ and yet still manage to appear contented (or accepting) with their lot. 

The traditional Chinese sense of family is paramount wherever we go; no snotty-nosed kids whose parents are in the pub are seen here. Indeed there are many ‘western’ families who could learn a thing or two from the poor people here.

Returning to the south (our ‘home’) we were pleased to see that no one had burgled the apartment and everything was intact; students are slowly drifting back to the campus ready for the new semester so life will soon return to normal . . . especially on Feb 28 when classes start.

Before then, however, we are off to Zhuhai (near Macau) for a few days visiting one of our students; her parents have invited us to stay with them (ominous . . . remember last year when we stayed at a student’s house? SARS?).

Life continues to be just one big long adventure for us!
Hope you are all well!
Mike & Angie

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