Let me explain a few of these pictures. The first picture is a unique way of using the confiscated lighters from flyers. Yes, you have to surrender your lighters, just like in the USA. In their smoking room, they use some lighters, locked with a padlock, to use to light cigarettes. And, when you exit the airport baggage claim in Beijing, you can collect a free lighter when you leave the airport. Pretty cool.
The forth picture, if you look through the far windows, you will see a group of people out on the tarmack of the airport. they are using wisk brooms and small shovels to clear the pavement of snow. I guess they do not have snow plows.
I am at the Lianyungang airport. It is a small place. I have a three hour wait for my plane. And, it is very cold. It snowed again last night. The 1.5 hour drive to the airport was nice though. Seeing the white snow covering the countryside is always a good site. I am not sure why the driver got me to the airport so early though. Maybe because it is the end of Spring Festival and he thought it was going to be busy here. Not busy at all really. With the snow, I was watching some of the airport employees out on the runway and docking areas using brooms and small shovels to clear the pavement. I guess they do not have snow removal equipment like we do in the states. At least not in a small airport like this one. The one restaurant that is here at the airport is closed down for business. It would be nice to sit down and maybe have a light meal. I will not eat until I get to the hotel I guess later this afternoon. My flight is at 1:20 pm. I should get into Beijing about an hour later. Arrive at my hotel by 4 or 5, depending on the traffic in Beijing. I will definitely be ready for dinner by then. I am quite bored right now. And, as cold as it is in the unheated airport, my feet are very cold. I will go for a walk now to try to warm up some.
I was at the Lianyungang airport delayed for 5 hours due to inclement weather. Thankfully, I met two great men. They were from Moscow, Russia. They were in the area helping the construction of a nuclear reactor near my home. It was great to meet them. They are the first Russians that I have met. And, it reconfirms to myself that people are more similar than different in the world. I really think it is a matter of politics in the world, much like religion, that is the deciding difference in how we view people in the world. We had hours together to talk about a variety of topics that included the Cold War, education, family and social life, politics, military, and other things. In essence, their lives are very similar to mine. Yes, there are some differences. But, nothing that would make me think of them as an enemy or as bad people. In fact, I think Americans hold the Cold War against them more than the Russians hold against us. These two men tell me that they have gone to countries to help build nuclear power plants. They have gone to China, India, and yes, even Iran. When they said Iran, I raised an eyebrow. But, they firmly believe that the power plant that they were helping build was just that…a power plant. I have to wonder about American media with many of the things I have seen from outside of the borders of America. I don’t dismiss everything I hear. But, it seems that there are always two sides to every story. And, I am getting to hear the other side of the story often.
I finally arrived in Beijing. My friend Tracy from the company met me. We had a dinner of noodles. We then went to the university in which I will be teaching. I am at the Beijing International Studies University. Spring Festival has emptied the city. Traffic was very, very light. The campus is vacated. It is not the Beijing I have come to know. I am curious to see what the daytime will be like. When I arrived, I went to the office to meet the small team for the camp. There was one face I remember from the summer camp. And two new faces. I will be teaching 7 classes that will be 3 hours in length over the next two weeks. There are various events and field trips too. I also went to see the classroom to see what facilities I will have available to me. It is well equipped with a video projector, three white boards, and comfortable seating for the students. There is a McDonalds across the street. As soon as I was free, I went to get a Big Mac. Yummy!. I came back to my room where I am now and reviewed my lesson for tomorrow. It is 11 PM now. I have to be downstairs at 7:30 AM. So, I am going to sign off now. It has been a good day. I am looking forward to te next two weeks and teaching these students. I am told that their English is lacking significantly. Let’s see if we can change some of that over the next two weeks with my English program that I teach in Ganyu. I am curious to see if I get similar results from these students. They are from Inner Mongolia. Wish me luck.