Random Assortment of Links

Useful resources for learning about contemporary China:

 English language Sinica Podcast

James Fallows - not always China-related, but always interesting

What's going on in Beijing:

TimeOut Beijing

The Beijinger

China Daily's Beijing Weekend 

Beijing Weather - Weather Underground


Useful language learning tools

Chinesepod podcast - free beginners' podcasts

Popup Chinese podcast - another very good podcast series

Hacking Chinese - interesting ideas on learning Chinese efficiently

Skritter character-learning tool for iPad/iPhone - really fun app

Sinosplice - John Pasden's site on many interesting aspects of China and the Chinese language



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Entries by Kai Cortina (19)


Washing clothes



798 art



architectural gems

As I mentioned in an earlier blog it is difficult to find interesting architecture outside the second ring. Beijing proved me wrong yet again today. For attending a talk I was at the Chinese Academy of Science which is north of the 4th ring. Walking back to the subway I passed a tall nondescript building with massive pillars that peaked my interest (left pic). A closer look reveals that each pillar was covered with broken China (right pic). Creative recycling I guess but from the distance is looks like dirty concrete. Not sure that is the look they were going for.

So, thumbs down on that one..



Happy arrival!

We did the head count and it looks like everybody made it here with no other side effects than sleepiness! Most of the students had their first Chinese dinner in the "friendship restaurant" on campus and went to sleep right afterwards. The last two students arrived with Kevin around midnight. No food for them but definitely plenty of sleep...


traffic rules: when "go" means "watch out" 

The students will arrive tomorow afternoon/evening which means it is a good time to post this blog now so that they see it when they open the blog here in Beijing. Every year, Kevin and I have to remind students that traffic rules are, for the most part, identical to those in the US but there are important exceptions. The following is useful to know for pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks with traffic lights. When you see the green man walking instead of the red man standing, you better NOT believe it is safe to walk. China has the most aggresive "turn on red" practice: Cars and particulary motor cycles do not even slow down when they want to turn right (or left if there is a separate left turn lane) and tourists who want to cross the street because the light is green often get honked at aggresively. For what? Well, doing what they are legally allowed to do, which is crossing the street. It is also a good thing to remember what you learned as a child when crossing the street, namely to watch left AND right because Beijing's bigger streets often have an extra lane for slow traffic where bikes and electric bikes drive in both directions. It is not a bad idea to always stay near fellow Chinese pedestrians and follow their lead. At selective intersections the city has begun to position older people to control the somewhat nasty habit particularly of motor cyclists to go on what feels like a "pedestrian hunt". It is a real pleasure to cross at one of those. Our advice: Watch out!