Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CGNWWT Part Two: Zhuhai & Macau

After three glorious weeks back on the homefront, I headed back to East Asia for a week-long conference for foreign teachers in China.  It was great to get together and swap stories, advice, and lift each other up and encourage each other for the upcoming semester.  Our whole team only gets to meet once a year, and being that there are a ton of kids in our organization, it is always fun to watch them grow in year-long increments.

Our conference this year was in Zhuhai, located on the southeastern corner of the Mainland.  Zhuhai was our second choice for conference location (first being Macau), but we were all looking forward to some warmer weather as most of us were coming from the northern areas of China.  Womp womp womp.  Zhuhai was cloudy, cold, and windy and I wore my wool coat for the duration of my stay there.

Fortunately, the hotel that we moved to for the conference was a "China Five-Star" (which means about the equivalent of a Three-Star internationally) and our conference was great overall.  We had a wonderful keynote speaker and coordinator, and stayed well-fed.  The highlight of the conference was a day-trip into Macau.

Macau- technically a "special administrative region" of China- is a tiny little "country" that was once colonized by Portugal.  For that reason, it bears a lot of evidence of European presence in its architecture, and even its food.  Portuguese is still widely spoken and nearly all the signs are written in Traditional Chinese characters and Portuguese.  Today, Macau is a large hub for gambling and its major source of income is its casinos.  During our trip, we had a chance to walk around a small concession-like village and look at all the brightly colored row-houses and cathedrals.

In the central area of Macau, we saw the remains of St. Mark's Cathedral and also visited Robert Morrison's Chapel and burial site.  For those of you who weren't aware (as I was prior to this visit), Robert Morrison was one of the first M's to come to China and the first man who translated the Book into Chinese.  For that, we certainly have much to owe to his memory.

Hmmm... comforting.

While I'm sure I most likely won't be making an intentional trip back to Zhuhai or Macau, it was still interesting to see this region of China.  Next in line: Chiang Mai, Thailand!

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