Yi country and Moon City

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Yi country and Moon City

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  My first venture into Sichuan province involves a series of bus journeys north from Qujing the largest town of eastern Yunnan. Seriously steep and barren mountains, traversed on sub-standard road surfaces, are followed by the spectacular descent down into the Yangtse river valley.   Cross the river into Sichuan, and the road onward runs […]

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Diplomats! Know your flowers

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“What’s your favourite flower?” was the topic forming a base on which group members introduced themselves at a recent gathering of the London Mandarin Learners Meet-up group. The flowers I appreciate are manifold, but I realised that despite knowing the English names for all that blooms on my allotment, my ignorance of their Chinese names […]

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Enlightenment and flying saucer

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Discovery of the italki website, in combination with a renewed spurt of producing stories in Chinese, could prove a winning formula for my literary prospects. As an italki member I write Chinese, post it into the website, and find it corrected by a native Chinese speaker, or two, or three, a few hours later. Translating […]

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Nicked for talking with Russian

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Hearing a few weeks back of an upper-intermediate level Chinese course organised by the Chopsticks Club, I made arrangements to attend a ‘taster’ session. This taster confirmed the class as being the right level for me, and so I decided to continue with the course for its remaining five sessions. Homework for the following class […]

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Gorges missed, viewed and compared

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  Sleeping through Gorges The ship cruises a hundred miles upstream through the hours of darkness. When I awake around dawn the journey’s nearly over, soon my destination Fengjie comes into view. I have completed a Three Gorges cruise without seeing a single gorge.

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Where are all the babes?

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Tuesday’s London Mandarin Learners Meet-up session involved participants introducing themselves to the group. One of us turned out to be a ‘swing’ dance instructor. This brought to mind another of Su Shi’s poems – Butterflies Lingering over Flowers

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Fuxi and the Magic Tortoise

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  Living not that far from the centre of London, it is relatively easy for me to get into town to attend regularly at the London Mandarin Learners Meet-up group. Here I get to meet up with others to attempt translation from Chinese into English of a piece of text. Last time we tackled a […]

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Preparation for a Three Gorges cruise

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  To view the Three Gorges of the Yangtze river the standard itinerary has embarkation at Chongqing, followed by a down-river cruise, so I decided to start from the other end, the city of Yichang in the west of Hubei province, and work my way upstream.

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Fall in volcano rimmed basin

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Lying a mile above sea-level in the far southwest of China, the Tengchong basin is blessed with plentiful autumn and winter sunshine and a comfortable temperature. Nestling amongst the peaks of sixty-eight volcanoes (three of which are identified as ‘active’), the area plays host to visitors out to enjoy such attractions as climbing up rims and […]

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Altair is Far Away

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Another set of Chinese characters I succeeded in memorising whilst waiting at traffic lights in Taipei were those forming the text of one of the ‘Nineteen Ancient Poems’. ‘Altair is Far Away’ tells of the Weaving Maid weeping with grief as she stands parted from her husband and their children who dwell on the far […]

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