The first trailer of my ‘big’ movie debut 2

The first trailer of my 'big' movie debut
JISHOU, HUNAN — Back in September, I was called upon to play the part of a foreign visitor to Xiangxi Prefecture in a movie, 《一次性爱上2》 (Yi Ci Xing Ai Shang 2 — Love at First Sight 2)*. The first trailer for this “micro-movie,” a 45-minute web-only production, has just been released. Unfortunately, there’s no embedding options, so here’s the LINK. The link will take you a Chinese video sharing site. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see it with no troubles. Meanwhile, I’ll try to download it and see if I can host from my own site or post it on YouTube. There are no English subtitles yet, but there’s not much dialogue in the trailer, anyway. It’s a movie about romance, drama, spectacular scenery and the love of music. ——— * Interestingly enough, the Chinese phrase 一次性爱上 can be translated as “Love at First Sight,” but it can also be used to describe a one-night stand or a sexual escapade. This second possibility led to some interesting comments from my Chinese Internet friends. I had to assure them I was not acting in a porn movie, which, by the way, are illegal in China. So, I figure they were not ...

It’s a wrap (for me, at least) 1

It's a wrap (for me, at least)
JISHOU, HUNAN — My first brush with Chinese film making has ended. Now I’m waiting to see the results, like everyone else. My services were needed for only three days. I’ve already related the first two days’ events. The last day was Tuesday, coincidentally the last day before a week-long break for the National Holiday. First off, consider that my schedule that day began with four hours of classes, and ended with four hours of classes. Sandwiched between these sessions of Oral English was that day’s filming in Aizhai and Dehang and a very late lunch at 3 pm. A really long day. Along the way, I got a better idea of my role in the movie. One scene on Tuesday had me in hiking clothes in Dehang, coming across a local woman drumming in the local Miao style in a canyon. This scene happened some years in the past. At the time, my character, Jason, was moved to the point of tears and wanted to meet this woman, but she refused to see me. I left disheartened. My other scene filmed on Tuesday was in the Ford used earlier. Jason is in the back seat looking at the video ...

Someday, kid, you’re gonna be a star!

Someday, kid, you're gonna be a star!
JISHOU, HUNAN — So, I’ve been a little busy these last three weeks. Classes started just two days after I arrived, then the freshmen started two weeks later, doubling my class hours. Oh, and then I was asked to act in a movie. Before you all get too excited, this is probably not a movie you’ll see in America, on TV, the theaters or DVD. It’s what they call in China a “micro-movie” — a 45-minute teleplay for the web only. In fact, it’s half a promotion for the local tourism scene and half a comedy-romance. Two weeks ago, my foreign affairs officer Cyril Hu called me to ask if I had time to appear in a movie about Xiangxi, the prefecture of which Jishou is the capital. I agreed, figuring it would be a one-day TV thing, no big deal. Then I met the director, 陈晓曦 Chen XiaoXi, and a few members of his crew, all from Beijing. His assistant, Xiao Hong, and one of my seniors, Li Dongling, served as interpreters. I was to be a foreigner who comes here looking for the “empress of Xiangxi.” It would not be a speaking part, and I would have to ... makes Jishou famous makes Jishou famous
JISHOU, HUNAN — Of course, Bing likes to tease you with their hints. This is the Aizhai Suspension Bridge, which is about 40 minutes from Jishou. It sails over the small town of Aizhai, which is nestled between two peaks of the Wuling Range.

My summer travels: pandas and tigers, Chiang Mai! 2

My summer travels: pandas and tigers, Chiang Mai!
[I wrote this for my students and QQ followers to read. I’m reprinting it here for other readers.] HENGYANG, HUNAN — In past years, I have gone back to America during the summer holiday, but this year was different. Since I went back to the States in April for my daughter’s wedding, I decided I would travel to other places during the summer. I was also able to meet old friends and former students. During four weeks this summer, I taught English in Jishou and Changsha, so I had more than enough money to go traveling. Many of my Chinese friends, and Maddi and Daniel, have visited Thailand, so I decided that would be my destination this summer. Your money goes a long way in Thailand. Haha! To give you an idea of what I did, here are the cities I visited in a five-week period. In China, Chongqing, Chengdu, Changsha and Hengyang. In Thailand, Bangkok, Amphawa, Korat, PhiMai, NonSung, Sawang Daen Din, Udon Thani, Chiang Mai, Mae Rim. I traveled by plane, train, metro, subway, car, bus, tuk-tuk, songraew (pickup trucks converted into small “buses”) and motorcycle. I did a lot of walking, too. I visited ancient sites in ...

Summer holiday update 1

CHANGSHA, HUNAN — Here’s my summer so far: 3 T’s. Teaching, travel, Thailand. Except Thailand starts tomorrow. (4 T’s, then) The spring term wrapped up for me around July 4th. Right away, I started teaching some middle school students English four hours a day for 20 days straight. I also finished up working with some university faculty preparing study and research abroad. Together, these two jobs netted me 10,000 RMB. With one group of students, we spent one hour with oral English and the other with their textbook, New Concept English 2. Despite its title, NCE was first written in the 1970s. It’s more suitable for adult learners than teenagers, but that’s what they use at their training school. I tried to make it not too boring. The other group has better English, so we read an American juvenile novel, The Midwife’s Apprentice. I had found a classroom set in a Louisville St. Vincent de Paul store in April, and brought back eight copies. It was slow going, because the vocabulary is pretty advanced even for American young readers, but the story is interesting and it held their interest. Explaining the culture and history behind the story was harder. We ...

Some photos of the Aizhai Suspension Bridge 2

These are not mine. I’m sharing them from a community website here. View from the bridge itself: Eye-level view of bridge, showing the old switchback road it replaces: Miao nationality drummers, opening ceremonies: More at this link Women in traditional Miao clothing (link to other pix): Ultralights leaving bridge deck: Nice shot of bridge tower from below: And from above: More photos here and here.

Bridge engineering marvel in Aizhai near here opens

Bridge engineering marvel in Aizhai near here opens
JISHOU, HUNAN — Big news events are few and far between here, but the Aizhai Suspension Bridge — the longest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge in the world — opened today for traffic. The bridge, which is about 45 minutes’ drive west of here, has a main span of 1,146 meters (0.7 miles) and its deck is 350 meters (1,150 feet) above ground, making it the sixth-highest and twelfth-longest bridge in the world. It spans the Dehang Canyon and connects two tunnels through adjacent mountains. The official opening will be tomorrow, but apparently traffic is already passing over the bridge. On Sunday, I accompanied one of my freshmen classes to the Dehang Miao Village and Geopark. On the way back, we stopped under the bridge for a photo op. Here’s two I took, shooting into the afternoon sun. Work on the bridge started in 2007. It’s part of a still-incomplete national expressway linking Inner Mongolia to the north with Guangdong to the south. Closer to home, it connects Jishou to Chadong, Guangxi province, cutting what was a four-hour drive over switchback mountain roads to one hour over a divided four-lane expressway. The construction of the highway across the rugged terrain here is quite ...
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