BRT Bus Rapid Transit of Guiyang

The BRT Bus Rapid Transit  of Guiyang is a little bit like a subway, without the train. There is a ring road around Guiyang and during the construction there have been a lot of fairly substantial bus stations built in  the center of the highway. Buses have a dedicated lane on the freeway and they stop at each station as if they were little subway cars. Access to the bus is restricted by sliding gate doors, not unlike what you see in the subways.

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BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) might be called BART or BERT if it were in a USA city, but it is a modern, low tech, solution to a significant congestion problem. Guiyang is prospering and everybody with any feeling of upward mobility needs to have a driver license. It’s a status thing.  Of course, the roads can’t keep up with the rapid increase in the volume of cars. To make things a little worse, and a lot better, Guiyang is building subways through many of the most congested areas. During the construction, over the last couple years, several lanes of traffic have been closed off. It is big, “huge” construction.

Right now (MAR 11), congestion is falling as subway construction is nearing completion and the BRT is picking up in popularity.  It is my opinion that in another two years, Guiyang will be a highly convenient place to move around. Even those with cars should see some relief in congestion, but the bus/train solution is becoming increasingly competitive.

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The BRT Station

LeavingTheStation

The bus leaving the station. Note: I am standing in what would be “the median” of a freeway in the USA.

I have just rented an apartment five minutes walk from the BRT bus station (Denggao Yunshan). This has given me a lot of flexibility in travel. If I want to go to the opposite side of this five million person city (Huaguoyan), I can just jump on the bus and be there in about twenty minutes. Normally by bus it takes an hour and a half, or more and by taxi nearly an hour. You can maybe double these numbers during rush hour traffic.The BRT gets bogged down in rush hour because some dirty lawbreakers use the dedicated bus lane for their Jags and Volvos, but it will only add about ten minutes to the trip.

Interconnections
Transportation in Guizhou is improving rapidly. I recently went to downtown Guiyang (Guizhou Normal University) from Kaili in an hour and a half. I got on the Gao Tia (bullet train) in Kaili at 2:35 pm and traveled at an average speed of 275 kilometers per hour (170 mph) and got off at 3:15 — maybe 120 miles. I caught the 262 bus to the University at 3:30 and arrived downtown at 4:00 pm.Going to Kaili was even easier with a BRT ride of 20 minutes and a 40 minute trip via Gao Tia.

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Gao Tia is translated “High Iron” (bullet train)

For those who want to go from one side of Guyang to the other, it’s a great solution.  Going from Xintian Zhai to Huaguo Yuan can take one to two hours by bus or taxi. BRT takes 20 or 25 minutes.  Bus 1 and Bus 2 go opposite directions around the circle.  Bus 3 is a bit faster because it doesn’t go to the North Rail Station (Beizhan). (Bus 3 begins and ends at the “Future Ark” development.) The best way to think of the Gao Tia is like a wheel, with the old bus routes as the spokes of the wheel that allow you to go to toward the city center.

 

Tooth Pulled by a Chinese Dentist

I had my tooth pulled by a Chinese Dentist today. It’s a long painful process leading up to it (finding courage), but once decided, it happens fairly quickly. One the the great fears of an American in China is having dental work. More specifically, we are afraid of having a tooth pulled by a Chinese Dentist.

The Guizhou Provincial Government has a medical college and a hospital connected to the college. It’s called the medical college hospital. have a friend that is a leader. I’ve had work done before, getting a root canal, filling a cavity, but the pulling of a tooth is another level.The dental clinic is on the sixth floor and the dental surgery is on the fifth floor. Even one of my language tapes had a reference, “Hope you don’t have to go to a dentist while you are in China.” So when I had a broken tooth I knew it had to come out.

So my friend, Dr. Ma, introduces me to Dr. Tan, who is quite a nice young lady with good English. She confirms what I knew, that the tooth needs to come out.  She answers all my questions, and she knows I was more than a little frightened.  I asked her if it is difficult surgery, and she said that it was very easy. It’s the right upper front molar tooth, with the pain going up into my eye socket. It took real pain before I broke down to have the procedure. They gave me some antibiotics and the appointment was made for the next day. When we parted I asked her in my best Chinese if she would hold my hand during surgery. I had to tell her I was joking before she broke out laughing. So I went into the surgery section with a lot of confidence.

The anesthetic was effective and it was actually more trouble than I expected. I’ve never had a tooth pulled, except the baby teeth that just fell out. I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t remember the name of the doctor that did the work, but she was quite small, maybe eighty or ninety pounds. She seemed to have a lot of trouble getting hold of the tooth and giving it some good yanks. The tooth was broken near the gum line. Just when I was thinking, “Oh God, I should have asked for a man.” She got the hammer out. We had a signal planned that I would raise my hand if I had pain.

Holding the tooth with a tool and swinging the hammer made a loud clang, but no pain. The other Chinese dentist kept telling me to relax. The dentist hit the tooth several times, not just a couple. She was generating a lot of power. I thought she was holding a small sledge. I suspect that one of her feet was coming off the floor during the swings, maybe both feet. Still no pain.

Finally, when she was done swinging, she went back in with the pliers and started tugging again. Then I felt some pain and I actually raised my hand.  The second dentist said “Pain” in Chinese, a couple times, but the first Chinese dentist kept tugging. Two minutes later it was over. I got the tooth hole filled with cotton and there was little pain. It has been twelve hours since the surgery, and very little pain. The pain compares with a skinned knuckle. I am impressed.

So there you have it. The surgery is a total success, and I am happy the dentist didn’t stop when I raised my hand. She was almost done and knew it. She just finished the job. That pain shooting toward the eye socket is gone, and baring complications, I would say everything is a success. When I finally looked around it turns out that the dentist had more help than needed. There must have been ten doctors and nurses watching! Foreigners are still uncommon in Guiyang, especially in a Guiyang oral surgery clinic.

In retrospect, I had confidence in the place because of the root canal and crown that I had had previously. My dentist in the USA confirmed the procedure in China was the same as used in the USA. So it was a totally modern situation. To the uninitiated, it is surprising to see several dentist chairs and several doctors working together in the same room on different patients. In the USA, perhaps we are a bit spoiled with our medical privacy. Other than that, and the language barrier, things seem pretty standard on this side of the world.

 

Guiyang is Surely Competitive

This recent release about Shanghai made me ask if Guiyang is Competitive in bragging rights for “Best City”.

Shanghai Promotional Video

Retired person that I am, I can live anywhere. I’ve chosen Guiyang because I think Guiyang is Competitive. Guiyang has a lot to offer as shown in the following link:

Shanghai/Guiyang Comparison

The Shanghai Promotional Video is incredible art. It has no English or Chinese. The themes are broad. I hope we can get one for Guiyang that shows Guiyang’s beauty, technology, and people. That kind of project seems appropriate for this Blog. Perhaps it will come when Guizhou recognizes it’s own resources and potential. Guiyang is Competitive, for sure.

Miao People of China are Hmong

The Miao People are scattered across Southeast Asia and really have no homeland of their own. The Miao People of China are Hmong. This minority people is responsible for extraordinary arts and crafts, which are extending throughout the world – an accelerating commercial success. Recently Facebook was shocked by a video about Miao Dancing on Water: The Chinese Art of Bamboo Drifting.

Miao

The Miao People migrate throughout Southeast Asia and, as the result of the Vietnam War, have settled in the USA and other Western Countries. The clothing, jewelry, dance, and music are all very distinctive, as is the Miao language itself (Hmong-Mien).
MiaoClothingThis culture is very “nature” oriented and the Miao culture has spread with the environmental movement and is becoming increasingly poplar in China. Google has posted an awesome array of Miao photos at:
Google Search of Miao and Hmong:

This web site has featured a variety of articles on the Miao Phenomenom:
 Tour Guizhou Search on Miao

 

Learning Chinese

A recently published article on the importance of learning Chinese and the extraordinary efforts of Mark Zuckerberg created a flashback. For the last fifteen years my  performance as a student of the Chinese language has been mediocre. Nevertheless, I still impress Chinese who expect foreigners to know nothing about their language. The article below captures some of the fun and flavor of this language learning endeavor:

Zuckerberg Learning Chinese

Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg (Credit Getty Images)

There are so many funny things that happen when you are trying to communicate. I like kids, and to me it is really funny when I am jealous of a 3 year old that has a better language skill than I have.  I can (often) understand them if they don’t talk too fast. A few years ago I was trying to use my Chinese to impress my high school English class. I said “Wo shi yige Meiguo Zhu(1)” and I got a tremendous laugh from the class. I used that several times and always got the same reaction. In China there are a variety of minorities and I thought I was telling people that I am an American minority person. What I was trying to say was: “Wo shi yige Meiguo Zu(2)”. The number behind the word signifies the tone of the syllable and a “1” represents a level tone, with a “2” representing a rising tone. Zhu and zu sound almost the same (zoo). In this case, Zu(2) means “minority people” while Zhu(1) means “pig”. My untrained ear couldn’t hear the difference.

Learning Chinese requires you to swallow your pride. You will make mistakes, and if you learn to laugh at your mistakes, leaning Chinese can be a lot of fun. It is also necessary to learn to be a bit humble (not easy for some of us). I’ve found most Chinese to be very tolerant of us butchering their language.

 

Scenic Guizhou – Rocky

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I visited scenic Guizhou locations with Rocky last fall. It was very nice. Rocky likes kick boxing. That’s why when he wanted an English name it was obvious what the English name should be. He is determined to learn English. I try to practice with him as often as his time permits, but at 66, my Gung Fu isn’t that good anymore. :)

On November 27, Rocky (Yue Ke Quan) and his girlfriend (Sun Ling) took me to Xiuwen Xian. It is a small town in Xingfu Cun. It is a very beautiful place. We just did a simple day trip, practiced English and Chinese together, played in the leaves, and came back.  Good time.

We had some fun with the Ginko leaves. Sometimes I visit Rocky at Chang Po Ling National Forest Park. He likes to run laps there totaling about 5 kilometers. Rocky stays in shape. He had two years in the army and he is now in the police.

The Theo Goumas China Blog

Part 91 of the Theo In Guiyang blog post is now out.  This is a massive body of work describing what it is like to be a foreigner in China, and in Guiyang. In Episode 91, Theo makes his way to Shaolin, and posts some beautiful pictures and narrative at:

Theo’s China Blog

Episode 92 is out: Part 92

This episode is about Theo’s trip from Guiyang to Hong Kong and his first day in Hong Kong.

 

Trump’s Chinese Exclusion Act

It is getting progressively difficult to keep politics out of this www.tourguizhou.com web site. As an American, I am affected by activities in my home country and don’t feel inclined to be silent. Expats around the world have the same problem.

Securing the borders against marauding Mexicans and Muslims is nothing new. In fact, the history of the USA shows some very heavy handed actions against a variety of minorities. We are all familiar with the slavery issue and how freed slaves were persecuted in the Democratic South after the Civil War. Native Americans were also being killed on the frontier. The displaced slaves moved north and west (actually following the “Trail of Tears”) and had a variety of problems integrating themselves into the host society.  See: Tulsa Riots

Not as familiar is the Chinese Exclusion Act, which had essentially the same effect as the Trump action, blocking borders and preventing legal citizens and immigrants from re-entering the USA (1882-1943) . . . see:  Chinese Exclusion Act.  The net effect of this 60 years of evolving legislation was to greatly limit the growth of the Chinese Community in the USA. The USA was a white and Christian place and wasn’t about to allow large communities of minorities to prosper at the expense of the majority.

Even Jews and Catholics were persecuted in various ways, with the most flagrant abuse taking place in the USA’s courts between 1921 and 1927. Two Italians, Sacco and Vanzetti, were executed for a murder that they didn’t commit (There had been a confession to the murders in 1925).  See:  Sacco and Vanzetti .

The desire to prevent large groups of potentially hostile minorities from undermining national initiatives was also evident against the Japanese during WWII. The Roosevelt administration rounded them up and put them in internment camps. See:  Japanese Internment .

Without belaboring the point too much, the Trump ban on Muslims is inconvenient to explain to the young people who have studied civics, but it is not out of line with our history. It needs to be confronted and discussed in a rational way. What are the objectives and are they legitimate and justified? If justified, how can the adverse impacts be mitigated? This isn’t a partisan issue, even though Trump is a Republican. In history, Democrats were presiding during much of the hostility to minorities. The more shrill this debate gets, the less likely that we’ll have a rational outcome.

 

 

 

 

Understanding the Unsaid

On January 18 we cooperated with Bekaduo Coffee to host the book signing of Understanding the Unsaid,  a new book by Syed Saalim Hashmi which highlights the Indian culture:

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FOREWORD


It is giving me immense pleasure in writing a foreword for the book “Understanding the Unsaid”, a novel with a collection of short stories written by my student Dr. Syeed Saalim Hashmi.

I’ve always seen Saalim very mch passionate about writing whether blogs, play scripts and other extra curricular stuff assigned to him.

He has been a good student and has hosted most of the programs organized by our medical school, given many presentations in the medical classes and won prizes since he joined Guizhou University of Midical Sciences.

On the behalf of our medical school I want to convey my best wishes to Saalim for his first book. We are proud of you!

With Best Wishes

Dr. Joyce Kang
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In addition to a dozen or so Chinese, we had several countries represented at the event, with many of Saalim’s colleagues and other foreigners from Guiyang. 
Two very special things happened this evening. There was a mixture of many cultures from all over the world, in a totally friendly atmosphere. Also, it was wonderful to find out more about the Indian culture. The book is a real eye opener. It has several short stories, each telling us something about the culture of India and the “modernization” of that culture.  A fine time was had by all.


Bekaduo Coffee was a perfect host and an excellent venue for the event. Book purchases can be arranged by sending an email to: Diana at:
13681346@qq.com