a transplanted life in China 

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Leaving Chengdu

Published on July 8, 2014, by in China, Travel.

I’m leaving Chengdu, after 8 years, to move to Suzhou in the east of China. At least that’s the plan. I’ve been offered a job as an English Tutor at Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University (西交利物浦大学 or XLTLU for short), a partnership between the two universities that began in 2006, and that grants degrees recognized both in China and in the UK. I’m tentative about the proposition because I’ve been through 2 months of visa hell – turns out that Suzhou has one of the strictest policies for granting Z working visas in China. The dreaded Certificate of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) has been the sticking point, and getting this document from the Public Security Bureau in Chengdu ranges from difficult to impossible. My particilar hell involved 3 weeks of negotiation between the PSB and the SW University for Nationalities, where I studied Chinese for the past year and a half, which was required to provide documents in support of my application for the certificate. As a backup plan, I applied for a second non-criminal document, this one from the FBI in Washington DC, just to be on the safe side. All I had to do was to go to a private security company, pay them 800 RMP for a set of fingerprints, and mail them of with the application to the USA. Then wait for 6 weeks. That document has not arrived as of this writing.   Driving from 成都 Chengdu to 苏州 Suzhou – 1376 miles (2215 km), about 20

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night restaurant, Shanghai

Published on December 12, 2013, by in Photography, Travel.

  Shanghai restaurant, side street near the Bund, taken on my nocturnal walk

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24 hours in Shanghai

Published on December 9, 2013, by in Travel.

  Shanghai Pudong at night, viewed from the Bund promenade   My trip to Shanghai last week was incredibly rushed, and not entirely pleasant. The reason for the quick trip was to take the Cambridge DELTA Module 1 exam at the British Council office, the results of which I’ll get in February. I didn’t have a good feeling about the exam, which left me in a not-so-good mood. It also left me with about 5 hours to play tourist in the city. Much of this time was spent navigating the labyrinthine world of the city’s metro system, trying to find places using the Google maps app on my new Nokia Lumia 1020, and fending off a seemingly endless stream of people offering me “massage.” I was feeling tired, stressed, and headache-y, and a bad meal that left me with intestinal trouble didn’t help. My one attempt to sample the city’s 小笼包 xiǎolóngbāo dumplings was also disappointing.   The Bund, illuminated at night   On the plus side, I was able to see the Shanghai Bund at night, and to get a quick sampling of the city’s infinite variety of architecture. I spent the night at the rather pleasant Mingtown Etour Hostel near People’s Square, and rather enjoyed the ride to the city from the airport on the maglev train at 430 km per hour. My plan to visit a foreign-language bookstore, however, failed completely when I discovered the store had closed at 6:30 pm. The city’s frantic pace and the

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Xian 2012

Published on November 24, 2013, by in Photography, Travel.

night escalator, near Bell Tower, Xian

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Tibet memory

Published on November 19, 2013, by in China, Tibet, Travel.

View of the Himalaya, Tibet, approaching Everest Base Camp, 2010