Showing posts from April, 2016

Our visits to Flower City and the Guangzhou Public library.

This is post number 7 in the Ni hao (Hallo) China Travelogue.
After our tea experience, we spent the rest of the day at Guangzhou's Flower City Square. It is now the largest square in Guangzhou.

There are many attractions that surround Flower City Square. You can see the Opera house, the museum, the massive public library and the Canton Tower from the square. Because it was raining (again) and misty, we could not see the Canton Tower. Our tour guide, Mina, said " she was hiding because she was shy.

The Guangzhou Public library

The Guangzhou library is an architectural and cultural marvel. This public library was designed by an international team from Japan and China. The library resembles an open book, the designers' interpretation of their "Beautiful Books" idea. The design is is based on the Chinese character, "Z". When you view the library from a distance, you can see the open book design, which creates the sense of pages being turned. 

The building allo…

Time for Guangzhou morning tea and savoring diumsum at the Nan-Yuan Restaurant.

This is the sixth post in the Ni hao (Hello China) Travelogue and the focus is on the morning tea we had at Nan-Yuan Restaurant.

We experienced diumsum, a traditional social event when friends and family gather to drink tea and enjoy a variety of exotic dishes. And did we have an awesome time!

Firstly, the  Nan-Yuan restaurant is elegant and opulent. Its garden setting and the courtyard is fairytale like. When you enter the large dining hall, you are greeted by a crowd of happy tea drinkers and tons of chandeliers to add to the charm.

The usual 'high teas' that we have pale in comparison to the diumsum. The menu includes a variety of tea, including flower tea, savoury snacks, sweet snacks and different soups. All these delicacies are served on beautiful porcelain platters or in bamboo baskets.

A panorama of Chinese history

This  fifth post in the Ni hao (Hallo) China Travelogueseries, covers our experiences of various aspects of Chinese culture. Enjoy the trip with us.

The Chinese Flag

The country's flag is red with five yellow stars. The big yellow star refers to the party of the country, the Community Party of China (CPC). 80 Million Chinese belong to the CPC. The four smaller stars represent the different groups in China. In the other post, I mentioned that there are 56 different groups in China, with the Han being the largest.

China is shaped like a rooster on a map.  The three main cities are Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Guangzhou, where we spent the first week, is 2,000 years old. Guangzhou is also nicknamed the Flower City or the Five Goats City. According to our lecturer, Guandzhou is the gateway to understand China.

Words to describe China:
LARGE: because of the size of the country, 56 peoples, 54 kinds of characters and 120 dialects. According to recorded history, China is at least 5,0…

Learning about the Chinese education reforms and our school visit.

This post, the fourth in the series, Ni hao (Hello) China Travelogue, covers our Day 2 in China as the South African education delegation.  We were given an overview of China's educational reforms and we visited a primary school.

On a rainy, humid day we travelled from our hotel to SYSU for our second lecture entitled "The Policies and Experience of the New Curriculum Reform in China."

Here is a snapshot of that informative, interesting lecture.

Background of China

We learned that China established a socialist market economy in 1992 and joined the WTO in 2001. China's population is 1,4 billion and spread over an area of over 9,6 million square kilometers. 91,5% of the population is Han while about 8,5% of Chinese belong to one of the 55 minority groups. Chinese thus has a total of 56 different groups.  About 56% of the population are urbanized. There are disparities between the urban and rural population. Since 1978 China experienced radical social and economic chang…

Visit to Sun Yat-sen University and the Chinese Art and Culture at Caimo Tang.

This is post number 3 in the Ni hao (Hello) China Travelogue.  This post marks the beginning of our China tour. The first day started on a high note.
Visit to Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in Guangzhou.  Our first day in China started off with a welcoming ceremony at Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in Guandzhou. Guangzhou is in South China, in the Guandong Province.

We learned about the history of SYSU. This university was founded in 1924 by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, one of China's great revolutionary leaders.  About 83,000 students attend SYSU, of which 3,200 are international students. SYSU is one of the top ten universities in China. It is a multi-disciplinary university with an inter-cultural centre for research and language courses, we were told.  We met a Zimbabwean and a European student during a tour of the campus. 

There are many green spaces on the campus. We saw a group of people playing a game with a badminton shuttlecock in one of these green nooks.

The campus is beautiful. The…

How not to pack for overseas travel.

This is the second post in my Ni hao China travelogue blog series .

I was part of the South African education delegation that was invited to visit China for ten days.

Even packing my travel bags was a mission for me, a novice international traveller.

I fretted about how to pack because I needed at least four formal outfits for the official visits to San Yat-Sen University, two schools and Hanban Headquarters. Then we were going to tour a few historical and cultural sites as well.

"Go minimalist," the blogger travel experts ranted.  "Maximum two pairs of shoes, flip flops, three bottoms and about five tops to mix and match."
I struggled. I don't know how these travellers combine business and leisure outfits into a shoestring travel wardrobe. When I sent my friend , Tertia, a picture of my travel case, she replied in a nano second.
"Are you losing your mind, girl", she said." Get rid of that truck load. Of course, I paraphrase here to protect my re…

Ni hao (Hello) China Travelogue: Setting the scene

My travelogue, "Ni hao China", is a series of posts of all the amazing experiences I had when I participated in an educational tour of China from 09-20 April this year.

I have never travelled overseas and we had planned to visit Thailand later this year as our first international destination. However, life happens. I was invited to participate in a Study/Cultural Tour of China that was organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Town. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity!

In my travelogue, Ni haChina, I will capture all the amazing experiences from the clumsy travel packing, to the experiences in China and the rich conversations I had with my fellow travellers.

This page will double as a central page that sets the scene for the travelogue.

The travelogue will consist of two parts:

Musings about the BEFORE China preparations and the IN CHINA highlights.

Conversations with the travelling principals.

Our visit to China
The Principals' Study Tour …