Zhangjiajie hosts wingsuit diving competition (via Instagram)

Here’s another action shot from Zhangjiajie’s Tianmen Mountain. Not a Ferrari this time, but a wingsuit diver. You can see the same twisty road the Ferrari driver raced up in this Reuters photo. A competitor participates in a wingsuit flying contest in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China, October 13, 2016. Picture taken October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer #china #wingsuit #reuters #reutersphotos #air A photo posted by Reuters (@reuters) on Oct 14, 2016 at 3:47am PDT Believe it or not, I am working on a post or two about teaching in China. Bear with me as I try to find some words. Trump took all the best words, sadly.

The summer States sojourn saga

The summer States sojourn saga
JISHOU, HUNAN — As promised, here’s a summary of this year’s sojourn in the USA, accompanied by a few photos to document the adventure. Before I get started, I’d like to welcome Medium readers to Wheat-dogg’s World. Today I discovered there was a WordPress plugin to post to Medium automatically. If all goes well, this post will be the first to appear on my Medium feed. For new readers, I should explain that I’m an American teaching English in Hunan, China. Every year, my university pays for a round-trip ticket to the USA, and I usually go back in the summertime for about four weeks to visit my family and friends, and sometimes even work in some touristy things, like visiting Pikes Peak. (See photo above.) As I live in what you could call flyover country in China, traveling abroad requires a trip to a regional airport and a flight to an international hub, like Shanghai or Beijing. If you factor in all the taxi, bus, subway and plane segments, it takes about a day to get from Jishou to where any member of my family lives in the USA. (As yet, no one lives near an international hub airport.) ...

Mother Nature throws us a curveball

Mother Nature throws us a curveball
JISHOU, HUNAN, CHINA — Classes began last week, and the spring-like temperatures encouraged me to believe I had dodged most of Hunan’s winter. Wrong-o! Temperatures began to fall over the weekend, and when I woke up at 6:30, there was this white stuff falling from the sky. And it was about 33 degrees F out — just a tad colder than it was the night before. Hunan rarely gets snow, especially in March, so everyone was just a little surprised, and excited. One of my students is from southern China, and this is the first time she has seen snow. Ever wonder what happens when a stand of bamboo gets covered in wet snow? This is the road leading down from my apartment building to the main part of campus. It’s lined with stands of bamboo on either side, which usually stand straight and tall. This morning, they were arching over the road. Here’s another view. By lunchtime, most of the snow had melted, and spring-like temperatures are supposed to return tomorrow or the day after. My classes this term are the same as last, Listening Comprehension and Oral English. Not much to report that’s news there. The university has ...

Behold the pomelo

Behold the pomelo
JISHOU, HUNAN — This is a pomelo, also known as a shaddock in English. The Chinese word for it is 柚子 (youzi). It’s about the size of a grapefruit, and resembles it somewhat, but it’s not as sour. Pomelos, which I had never seen in my local supermarkets in Kentucky, have become one of my favorite fruits here. Wikipedia tells me that grapefruit may be a hybrid of pomelos and oranges, which may explain the similarities between the two large citrus fruits. 柚子 (youzi) and pomelo are apparently used interchangeably for both the pomelo and grapefruit, while shaddock is only for this fruit (Citrus maxima to the botanists). But to me, pomelo sounds better than shaddock, so I’m going to keep calling it pomelo. The taste is neither sour like a grapefruit nor sweet like an orange. It’s a clean taste, if you know what I mean — refreshing with a hint of sweetness. Probably it would make a good palate cleanser, for foodies who like to do that sort of thing. But, getting to that delicious interior is not so easy. For one thing, the rind of a pomelo is almost a centimeter (just less than half-inch) thick, so ...

Transit of Venus 2012

JISHOU, HUNAN — The planet Venus passed in front of the Sun today, but clouds here kept us from seeing it. This event happens only twice every century; the last was in 2004, and the next will be in another 105 years. Guess I’ll need to live to be 161 years old. This photo was taken in Hong Kong, using a camera with a special filter. (Source: Wikipedia) Astronomers of the 18th century used the 1769 transit to measure the distance of the Earth to the Sun, which enabled them to calculate the distances to the other planets known at the time. In the 1600s, a young British astronomer, Jeremiah Horrocks, calculated when future transits would happen and was the first astronomer (at the age of 21) to predict the 1639 transit. Interestingly, Horrocks was born just two years after Johannes Kepler published his revolutionary model of the solar system. Kepler himself, relying on inaccurate observation tables of Venus, had predicted a near-miss transit of Venus. Horrocks also determined that the Moon orbits in an ellipse around the Earth, as Kepler’s laws would predict.

Big yellow school buses come to China

JISHOU, HUNAN — I arrived last night from my travels in Guangdong and hit the ground running. So, while I muster my resources to blog about the last three weeks, here are photos courtesy of Shanghaiist.com from the first American school bus expo in China, complete with models! (In the States, do school bus manufacturers show off their new (bus) models with (pretty) models? I’m not exactly sure what the message would be, though …) I am not sure what to make of this shot, but it might be some teenage boy’s dream prom date. And one for anime/manga fans … Sarcasm aside, the expo has a serious purpose. There have been several tragic accidents in China involving overloaded “buses” — actually, minivans — transporting kids to and from school. In one accident in Gansu province, there were more than 25 preschoolers packed into a van with only nine seats. Twenty were killed when the van collided with a truck. American school buses, by contrast, have a deserved reputation of being safe, so officials in China are now looking into importing Big Yellows into China.

Google+ offers end run around (over?) Great Firewall of China

JISHOU, HUNAN — Maybe my problems with Picasaweb are over for now. While the Great Firewall of China seems to screw up uploads to my Picasaweb albums, it doesn’t seem to prevent uploads using Google+ Photos. It’s still snail slow, but at least I can get it done. Then again, my access to Google+ seems to come and go, so I probably just shot myself in the foot publishing this tidbit of news.

Happy Year of the Tiger!

Happy Year of the Tiger!
I’ll write something more substantive later on.
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