Monthly Archives: June 2011

Taken to School

While we were hanging out in Xiaogan, Tian took us on a tour of her old elementary school, which is located about five minutes walk from her parents home.  Despite having visited Xiaogan several times, I personally had never been inside.  So it was a new experience for both Mike and me. Most of the […]

Playing Around

Mike was big into learning Chinese games.  In Xiaogan, I taught him how to play Ma Jiang, and he was soon beating me in head to head matches.  Eventually, Tian and her parents joined in for a piece of the action.  Mike held his own and won several games. One hot afternoon in Xiaogan, Mike […]


After our respective travels, we all spent a couple days in Xiaogan recharging our batteries – doing laundry, eating home cooked food, and trading stories.  We also prepped for a short trip to Wuhan to visit with Tian’s good friends, Wang Jing and Liu Ya.

The Home Stretch

After we dried out from the adventure on Huang Shan, Mike and I decided to take a bus back to Wuhan and then a train back to Xiaogan.  The bus left at about 9 a.m., and with one transfer, took until about 6 p.m. to reach the station in Wuhan. The bus trip was more […]

Huang Shan

If you have seen the movie Avatar, you have a sense of the beauty of Huang Shan (“Yellow Mountain”).  The film’s “Hallelujah Mountains” were inspired by the legendary Chinese mountain range.  Mike and I set aside two days for a visit to the mountains and take in their breathtaking views. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate. […]

"Mei Banfa. Chi Ku."

The first lessons in Chinese travel that Mike learned were that things often don’t go as planned, that there often is no way to fix a situation, and that in such circumstances you just need to endure whatever is happening and get through it.  Those lessons are summed up in two short but powerful Chinese […]

Biking Nanking

On our last day in Nanjing, we rented bikes from the hostel and went on a short tour of the city.  Michael was responsible for reading the map and navigating, which was no small task given that they were all in Chinese and Pinyin.  At times he was frustrated when he couldn’t figure out the […]