Saturday, May 17, 2008

Arrival in China

We successfully reached Guangzhou China on Thursday evenings after flights of 1.5 hours, 13 hours, and 5 hours with stops in Detroit and Tokyo. Professor Lei together with Professor Chen met us at the airport and brought us to South China University of Technology (SCUT), arriving there about 12:30 in the morning (our flight didn’t arrive in China until 11:00pm.

After a very short night, we gathered for breakfast at the hotel. The immersion into Chinese culture was immediate, as we had a traditional Cantonese breakfast of congee, dumplings, and tea. After breakfast, we toured the campus of SCUT and especially the laboratories of the Key Laboratory for Pulp and Paper Engineering. They have a lot of similar equipment to what we have and they are planning on expanding their building by at least double in the near future. They are one of 16 pulp and paper schools in China. In the afternoon, Dr. Scott gave a presentation to faculty members and graduate students in the Paper Engineering department. The presentation was followed by a discussion of student life between the Chinese college students and the students from SUNY-ESF. After dinner, a group of tired students headed back to the hotel.

Saturday was a day of sightseeing in Guangzhou. Guangzhou is located in southern China and is probably one of the most prosperous cities in China. It is also very historic, with over 2000 years of history. We visited a number of these historic sights including the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, which commemorates Sun Yat Sen, the founder of the Republic of China.

We also visited the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, which was discovered when auxiliary building to the China Hotel was being built. The relics found in the tomb are now in a very interesting museum and we were able to also go into the tomb itself. It is very strange to find this in the middle of a city of over 10 million people. The museum contained over 1000 items of jade and bronze objects.

We also visited the Five-Rams statue. As the legend goes, 5 gods rode rams to meet in Guangzhou to make sure that the local people would never suffer hunger and desolation. The statue commemorates this meeting and now has become a symbol of Guangzhou city

Our final stop for the day was to visit Shamian island which is where the White Swan Hotel is located, possibly one of the most famous hotels in Guangzhou. It is also the “headquarters” of adoption by Americans. While some of the artwork in the shops in the Hotels cost over Y200000 (about $30000), much more reasonable shopping was found outside the hotel including silk items, paintings, and other artwork. The day ended with a subway ride back to SCUT and dinner. Tomorrow, the class will start.

Due to the earthquake in Chengdu, we will not be travelling to the Sichuan province. Instead we will be staying in Guangzhou through Friday, 23 May. On Friday, we will travel to Xiamen, which is further north on the coast from Guangzhou. There we will be visiting Xiamen University through Sunday, 1 June. We will finish our trip sightseeing in Beijing and returning to the United States on 5 June.

The pictures are:
Ready to leave at Syracuse Hancock Airport
At the Key Laboratory at South China University of Technology
Eating dinner at a restaurant
Alan and Steven at the Sun Yat Sun Memorial Hall
The Five Rams Statue
Visiting the Nanyue Tomb (Tom-our guide, Steven, and Jill
Alan and Steven in the tomb
Touring the Key Laboratory with Professor Lei
At the Key Laboratory at South China University of Technology with Professor Lei
Papermachine at the laboratory

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