Wednesday, May 3

a train trip

We had three weekdays plus the weekend off for our May holiday. Seven of us went to Dalian, one of the closer cities on the beach. It was too cold to swim, but we were granted warm weather and sunshine, especially the second day. It took us 22 hours on the train to get there, but we had sleepers and the time passed quickly. At the first sight of a cherry tree in bloom, we all marveled. As I was walking across campus today, though, I noticed that we have one or two cherry trees of our own in bloom here. Were they in bloom before I left, or did it just take a little trip to give me new eyes to see what was already taking place in Yanji?

The spring blossoms in Dalian are wonderful. Forsythia, cherry trees, and all sorts of other greenness. It was warm, and the sea air was refreshing. I got to know some teachers from the German department better and that was fun. Sometimes we don't make enough time to be with each other in our own worlds here, so it's nice to get away, enjoy a new city and develop some friendships. We played spades, passed around Sudoku (someone's friend sent it from America), studied languages on our train bunks, ate cup ramen and shared snacks to pass the time. A wonderful trip.

In Dalian, we met some former teachers who now teach there. They got us a room at their university and got us oriented. They told us about the wonderful buffet at the swissotel downtown and we went there on Monday night. We splurged (around 18 bucks) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Other than that, we got a snack at a Dairy Queen, bought some cheese, wandered around at night, walked up the hilly beach road, hung out at the hotel, sampled the fares at the night market near our hotel and other relaxed stuff. Oh, two of our crowd went bungee jumping. I went along to take pictures, but wasn't really interested (much to my mom's relief, I'm sure) in participating.

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