Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday, 1st day of class for students

Today is Sunday, but it was the first day of class for the students. We will be having class from Sunday through Thursday of this week. A photo of the students in class is attached to show that it is not all fun and games.

Professor Lei has been a wonderful host since our arrival, helping with many of the arrangements and accommodating our needs to teach the course in Guangzhou. SCUT has provided a conference room to use as a classroom and have extended our accommodations for the duration of our stay. The students are integrating into college life at the university and are making use of the food service on campus. The food prices are very reasonable, a lunch or dinner typically costing Y6 (about US$0.86) and breakfast being even cheaper. The cafeterias seem to be place to meet Chinese university students with some students offering to show our students around. After class tomorrow, they are going out with some of the students from South China University of Technology. I am also eating in the cafeteria for my meals. This evening for dinner I enjoyed a bowl of jiao zi, which is dumplings in soup.

The weather remains warm and humid but not quite as warm as our first days here. The highs are near 90 degF with very high humidity. There was even a bit of rain this afternoon, but that only marginally cooled things off.

The big news in China of course remains the earthquake in Sichuan province. I heard on the news that “they” have officially upgraded the magnitude of the quake to 8.0. There also remain aftershocks as recently as yesterday, with these being of 5 to 6 magnitude. While a massive rescue and relief effort is underway, there is a new danger of flooding from landslides that have blocked rivers to form lakes that may soon breech. There has also been a massive outpouring of help from the Chinese people: Relief drives are going on all over the country and the government is sending more and more help to the area.

The area of the epicenter is the home of the most famous panda reserve in China. The news from the reserve is that 3 pandas are missing and many of the panda houses are damaged. A second panda reserve located in Chengdu was relatively undamaged.

I leave you with a picture of the students in class and some pictures around campus.

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