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News about Hangzhou and China

News about Hangzhou and China
Pertinent news about Hangzhou and China from the Shanghai Daily

Monday, February 20, 2017

Kids in China - A Joy to Behold

I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive about what children in China would be like. We all know about China’s One Child Policy which was instituted in 1979 to help control the population. As you can imagine, that one child was the recipient of love and attention not only of their parents but also grandparents. Unfortunately, however, since sons have traditionally been the heirs and caretakers for their parents, new parents were taking drastic measures to insure that their one child was a boy. The result was a drastic imbalance between the number of boys versus girls born for almost 40 years. In 2015 the government eased that policy and families are now having more than one child which was evident everywhere we went!

There seemed to be children everywhere we went and I’ve been getting a kick out of seeing them (and their parents)!! I also ended up taking pictures (some candid - some with the proud parents’ permission) of kids doing what kids do anywhere in the world. I’ve created a GOOGLE SITE WITH PICTURES I’ve taken. The captions tell you where we are and the jist of what’s going on - but what I was struck by was how similar kids are - wherever they are from and whatever their circumstances.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Not the Kind of Tie-Dye We Know

On our second day in Dali, after wandering the morning market and exploring a bit of the old town, we followed our guide Nancy through a small alley way which opened into the courtyard of a traditional Chinese home. This courtyard, however, was completely taken up by two large tables covered in a thick white fabric, a gigantic wooden bucket as tall as I am, all sorts of other tools, and most strikingly, dozens and dozens of intricately patterned cloths hung from strings crisscrossing the yard, dividing the space with huge swaths of color. Most of the pieces of fabric were rectangles, a deep indigo color with white designs on them, but some were circular and others more narrow rectangles. A few were red, or green, or multicolored the way we in America generally think of tie-dye, but most were blue and they fluttered in the wind, their colors glowing brighter in the sun: it was a beautiful sight.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mountain Day Story

What’s up DS? I’m here to tell you all about a nice day going up and down a mountain near Shaxi village. We’ve seen a few mountains on our trip so far, but we had a much more thorough visit to this one.

Up until this point, we would wake up around 6:00-7:00am, something none of us were too fond of. Luckily our day didn’t begin until 10:30, so we all got some much needed rest. After a healthy breakfast, we hopped into our van and drove up part of the mountain for a few hours to go and pick up some lunch. We had the pleasure of eating our midday meal about halfway up the mountain, which provided us with a pretty cool view. Lunch itself was an awesome, unique experience. We had a barbecue pit in the center of our table and got to cook our own food on a raging fire. Overall a stellar meal.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Can we take a selfie?"

We had all been warned that when we visited the more remote areas of China, that some people might ask to take pictures with us. I didn't really entertain this thought for long, and I think we'd all forgotten that it was a thing since Hong Kong was such an international city, and there were plenty of travelers from across the world. We certainly weren't a rarity!

Guilin, though, was almost entirely Chinese tourists. It really began when, on the roof of the Li River Cruise Ship, three old women grabbed Jenny as she came up the stairs and had her pose with them for multiple shots. A bit jarring for Jenny, but the ladies were very kind and absolutely thrilled that she was going to be a part of their vacation photos. They had asked first, and it wasn't like we weren't expecting it, so it wasn't too big of a deal. Though strange, none of us were offended, and we found it pretty funny.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Adventures in Learning Mandarin a.k.a. You've got to make a fool of Yourself


“Hola - Hola - Hola” or as they say in China “Ni Hao - Ni Hao - Ni Hao!”

I hope you are all well and having fun in COLD, COLD Dover-Sherborn! I am in Shaxi Village in the Yunnan Province of China and it’s about 75 -80 degrees F and sunny. We just finished hiking up a huge mountain to see 1,000 year old carvings of Buddha and the gods of the local “Bai” people who are the original people of this area. I’ll show you pictures of all of my adventures when I get back, but right now I wanted to tell you about how my Mandarin Chinese is progressing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Town Square in Xin Jie, Yunnan

We arrived in Xin Jie just as the sun was setting. We’d been on the road for about 7 hours. (I should note that our day included a hike through the other-worldly “The Stone Forest” 75 miles southeast of Kunming. Check out the other blog postings and our photo gallery for more about that.) The last 2 hours of the trip took us from approximately 2,000 meters above sea level to 200 meters and back up to Xin Jie - again at about 2,000 meters above sea level! (I’ve never had my ears “pop” so many times before!!) 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rollin' On the River

I've been delegated the delightful task of blogging about our time spent in Guilin and Yangshuo. It began on the last day of January, when we said a difficult goodbye to Hong Kong and flew to Guilin, arriving at around 3 o'clock. It was there that we met our lovely guide, Bing. Guilin is a very small city located just a quick 45 minute flight north of Hong Kong, and its reputation across China is generally that of a Chinese tourist town known for its incredibly unique geography. Bing explained to us that in the second grade in China all children learn that Guilin is the most beautiful area in the country. When we arrived, there were people absolutely everywhere celebrating the Spring Festival Holiday with a vacation to Guilin's gorgeous mountains.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

An Amazing Start in Hong Kong

After a seemingly endless day of travel and a disorienting amount of time on planes, we disembarked into the Hong Kong international airport, and proceeded to immediately get lost searching for our coach to the hotel. After a lap or two of the airport and a little more waiting we were driving (on the wrong side of the road) towards the city, which seemed to come out of nowhere and soon surrounded us on all sides. Although we had no idea what time it felt like to us, it was technically around 9:30 pm or so, and looking out the bus windows we were immediately transfixed by the sheer amount of lights coming from apartment towers and business buildings no matter where we looked out the window. It was Chinese New Years Eve, but by the time we made it to the hotel and checked in we were too exhausted to go out anywhere, and instead just called it a night.

Friday, January 27, 2017

[FIRST POST of 2017 Exchange] And They're Off!

Bright and early this morning, the 2017 D-S China Exchange Group left for China! After months of preparation including in-depth study in a special course this fall, they will find themselves in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year's and all the celebrations. Follow their adventures over the next 8 weeks by bookmarking this live blog, and feel free to post your comments and questions!  

(Please note that posting dates and times are in CHINA TIME, including this post.  The Exchange left Boston Logan Airport at 8:00am on Thursday, January 26.) 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

[FINAL POST of 2015 Exchange] Making Our Way Downtown


Last week, we four travelers decided to take a day off from school and venture back to Hefang Street. Because we went at a bright and early 8 am, the road was void of shoppers and most of the stores were still closed. It was nice to get this perspective of the usually bustling shopping mecca because we got to see the magic of the shopkeepers walking past us in the morning sunlight and step up to their storefronts to open their doors to another day of big sales. I did enjoy seeing the gradual escalation of people and movement during the first hour we were there. Every time you turned your head, more people would appear in every direction.

Halfway through our adventures down the street, a mass of lime green and white uniforms that turned out to be a group of school children surged the crowds and soon made up half the population on Hefang Street. I was not only shocked at the fact that a school would take a group of middle schoolers to this street, but also that these kids were all walking around unsupervised. These kids were also not the most courteous beings on this earth and I had to push my way through several packs of them because they were unresponsive to my various pleas of “excuse me”.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Return of the Duck Tongue


Today Abby's family planned our activities: we would ride horses and then pick and dry Longjing tea. The day was beautiful; sunny with thin wispy clouds and not too hot.

When I was told I would be riding horses, here's what I imagined. Driving to an idyllic country village, saddling a wild horse in a colorful, well crafted saddle, and taking off after a trail guide for a half hour ride through nature. After driving out into the suburbs, we came to the elite-sounding Hangzhou Equestrian Club, where a dispute over where to park delayed us a good half hour. Ola's dad then took us to a nearby restaurant for refreshments: fruit, tea, and tea derived snacks. The group made the acquaintance with the owner's nine-year old son who charmed us so much we invited him to ride the horses with us. Also in attendance was Ola's brother's lady friend from last weekend.

Hospitality and Harmony


Last summer, in preparation for two months in China, I took an online course through Primary Source on Chinese history and culture. One segment of the course was on traditional music and it directed students to several websites, including a YouTube video of a pipa concert. The pipa is a 4-stringed instrument that looks something like an elongated and shallow mandolin and sounds a little like a dulcimer. You wouldn’t think that you could get much virtuosity out of four strings, but the concert in the video was a fancy-dress affair featuring the pipa with a full orchestra of traditional Chinese instruments to back it up, and I was amazed by the pipa’s range and swept away by the beauty of its music. On my list of experiences I hoped for in coming to China, a pipa concert moved into first place.