Peace Corps English teachers in Guizhou at play

Peace Corps teachers in Guizhou at play

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Peace Corps China
My Life as a Complex Adaptive System

Guiyang get-together

2010 September 20, Posted by sky

Last weekend my site mate, Kate, and I went to Guizhou’s capital, Guiyang, for a new volunteer welcome party. I had to work until 4:30 on Friday and we caught the 6:00 bus out of Tongren. The ride took about 5 1/2 hours, but really wasn’t too bad. We got in around 11:30 and caught a cab to where some of our cohort was hanging out. We had a few drinks and then I headed over to my friend’s apartment to catch up on things and crash.

The next day was non-stop action. We got up, had some breakfast, and went back to the bus station to get return tickets. From there we went out of the city to a Peace Corps site to play hoops. We had about 18 guys, which was perfect. We had 3 teams of 6, and each game was only 5 points. This gave our out-of-shape bodies time to rest before getting back out for another round. Two hours on the court flew by, but by the end we were all pretty exhausted and went back to our respective apartments to shower and rest.

The evening was as eventful as the afternoon. We all met downtown at which point we divided into different groups for dinner. Some of us went for pizza, others for Muslim food, and still others, including me, went to bean hot pot. Bean hot pot is much different from the fire-like hot pot from Chengdu. It is much more mellow and, as the name suggests, they put pinto beans (or something like them) in the broth. The general idea is the same: you cook raw ingredients in the soup, transfer them to your bowl to cool, and then eat them. At the end, however, you have the beans at the bottom, that when you put over a bowl of rice, is nothing short of manna from the gods. Wow, is that stuff good! I think it is my favorite food in China, so far.

After dinner we all met at a bar that the China 15s rented for the evening. The bar had a dance floor inside and a balcony with a beautiful view outside. We chatted and danced and had an overall great time. We left by 1 and I came back to David’s place to watch the Bulldogs lose again. Sigh. It was 3:00 by the time I went to be and I am still a little tired from all the excitement. The good news is that we have Wednesday through Friday off and I am looking forward to the rest.
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Petzl RocTrip 2011: Getu Valley, China
Monday, 7 November, 2011

I just returned from the Getu Valley in China, where I was staying for 2 weeks for the Petzl RocTrip. This trip was one of the most unique journeys I’ve ever experienced. I had never traveled to Asia before, and therefore that element alone was new and exciting. China is different from the US in so many ways, from most significantly the language, to the food, to the overall way of life. On October 22 I flew from Denver to Guiyang with Emily Harrington, Joe Kinder, Collette McInnery, Dave Graham, Andrew Bisharat and Lynne Hill. We arrived in Guiyang October 24 (I stepped on the plane 18, and stepped off the plane having turned 19 .. 🙂 )

The trip was long but actually really fun because we were all super psyched to arrive to this unknown, unfamiliar place. Once in Guiyang we met up with a bunch of other Petzl travelers from different parts of the world and we all boarded a bus which shuttled us 4 hours outside of the already rural city of Guiyang to the real out-country of China: Getu Valley!

Huge limestone arches and rolling rice-paddy mountains surrounded our base in Getu Valley. Petzl rented out a hotel for the athletes to stay at and eat at during the trip and the rooms were more luxurious than we anticipated. Emily and I shared a room that was basic but nice. The hotel lacked comforts like hot water though, so we had to get used to cold showers, but we adjusted to this! We also just got pretty dirty and stopped caring about frivolous luxuries like hot showers and clean clothes… Though now that I just took a nice hot shower here in Colorado, I realize how much I missed it!

Climbing in the Getu Valley was very different as well. The rock was limestone and the main place that we climbed at was called the “Great Arch.” To approach this sector we first took a boat across a river, then we had to hike up 1,400 steps which was probably the coolest approach I’ve ever encountered on a climbing trip. From the Great Arch we could look out over the valley and see the surrounding mountains and stupendous cliffs rising from the river below.

During the RocTrip it was really inspiring to climb with so many motivated, well-established climbers from all over; China, USA, France, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Turkey, and more. There were also many spectators, organizers, photographers, and videographers.

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About Ray

email: , new Guiyang tel: 187 9860 2861, also: 86-152 5582 4713, 86-136 7173 7017 . In China 18 years, Ray (55 years old) has also taught in Shanghai, Beijing, Shiyan (Hubei), Kuitun (Xinjiang), Lanzhou, Changchun and elsewhere. Was in China-related business in the 1980s and 90s, and in the NGO sector both as a volunteer and in full-time positions. Has also been to India and Pakistan. As of August 2013, Ray is in Guiyang, Guizhou province, to work in a private middle school there, the Guiyang American-Canadian International School 贵阳美加国际学校. A newly created Flickr site, "GoGuiyang," has photos and articles to help people new to Guiyang, like myself, settle in quickly. See the photos arranged into sets: Also active on Siwawa58 (where I dump my ESL materials), see:, and I re-post material from Youtube (blocked in China) to Tudou and Youku, see: Youku "gelatiao58" and Tudou "gelatiao"