Friday, August 10, 2012

A Lovely Last Day

I'm back in America but I'm lagging about a week behind in blogging.  If only for my own satisfaction, I plan to do a couple last posts about my time in Haiyuan and then close out the year with a big Chinglish finale.  (Stay tuned.)

Here we have my last full day in Haiyuan in all of its glorious glory.

First, a few local friends.  This was not my last day, but these ladies become important later.  They ran a dumpling shop just down the street from my hotel.  The first time I went there, we took a bunch of pictures and had a good time chatting, especially the 14-year-old working there.  I kept going back whenever I had time.  Here they are:

My last day in Haiyuan started with a closing ceremony with all of the teachers and officials.  We handed out the graduation certificates and said goodbye to our trainees.

After our closing ceremony, some of the teachers in my class invited me and my teammate to go hiking in the mountains.  I'd been praying for an opportunity like this!

It was so, so fun.  The air was delightfully fresh and scented with sage, the sky was blue, and the clouds were pleasantly plump.

Driving into the mountains

A trail we followed for awhile before going up the mountain

The climb begins.  Please note the watermelon.

Going higher.  Watermelon still in tow.

We hiked for an hour or two to reach a rock with a great view.  Watermelon-eating in progress.

Six of my trainees came out.  It was so fun to spend my last day with them!

This girl climbed in high-heeled sandals.

At our request, they took us on a long drive to see more countryside and stop in some villages.  Here is an old walled yard on a hill.

Riding some villager's tractor

Village school

Village school -- English class!  When we walked into this rural primary school in TheMiddleOfNowhere, Ningxia and saw the words, "Uncle," "Niece," and "Nephew" on the board, that's when I realized that English is truly an international language.

We stopped for a roadside picnic.  Here's the view.

Roadside picnic -- eating delicious fermented oats

Roadside picnic -- with noodles!

Village mosque

Village street

Village man

After our delightful day in the mountains, we rushed back for us foreign teachers to have a banquet with the officials.  Then I kicked my feet up in my hotel room after a very tiring month of work.

At 11:00 p.m., I heard knocking and giggling at my door.  I had no idea who it could be... someone drunk or confused, maybe?  The knocking continued and I opened the door to find...

The dumpling ladies!

The ladies from the dumpling shop heard we were leaving the next day and came after work to send me off with gifts and giggles.  I was so surprised.  I cleared a space for them on my messy bed and we hung out for awhile and took a bunch more photos.

I never told them where I was staying, but I'm sure everyone in town knew the foreigners were at the Haiyuan Hotel.  They came up to the third floor and just started knocking on doors (they woke up my teammates) until they found me.  Haha!  They brought bread for us to eat on the bus the next day (see above) and the gifts below:

Hand-embroidered insoles

Handmade pillow

And pantyhose!  Why?  Who knows!

All in all, it was a long and lovely day to end my stay in Haiyuan.


  1. I'm not so sure how I'm feeling about the fermented oats, but it looks like your last day(s) was exciting!! :-)

    1. The fermented oats were actually really good. They were mixed with cool water and the whole thing was sweet with a little sour and a lot of flavor.