Monday, July 16, 2018

Small Part of the Silk Road

We got a glimpse of the old Silk Road this time, during our visit to Xinjiang. The University arranged a very nice small building in the Tianshan (Heavenly Mountains) area where we could stay. It was not very far from where we could see the beautiful Tianchi (Heavenly Lake). The following picture was taken in front of this building. Steven was playing a game with Professor Liu to see who could stand without moving longer than the other:
Of course, we took a cruise in the lake. As you can see from the pictures below, it was truly a very beautiful place!


We visited  Hami in the Turban area, where the famous sweet Hami melons are grown and sold. We were very lucky to be there during the right season and were able to taste some every day!
 The famous place called JiaoHe (or old city) (交河故城), was originally on the Silk Road but was destroyed by the invading muslims during the Tang dynasty. Unfortunately, our two young  children did not know enough Chinese history to appreciate any of the stories.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Urumqi - Beginning our Travel to Xinjiang

To visit Urumqi is as difficult for most Chinese as it is for anyone in the western world to visit the Antarctic. After my course was finished, Tsinghua University very kindly treated our whole family to visit there for almost a whole week. To save time, they made arrangements to fly us there instead of  using the rail-road. Furthermore, Professor Liu accompanied us for the whole trip, even though he was not even allowed to eat with us together at the same table! At that time, the government had many rules which seemed silly to us. We visited, not only Urumqi city, but also many nearby areas including Heaven Lake, Tianshan (including the Flaming Mountains,) Nanshan,  and Hami. In 1985, there were more "native" Uygurs than Han people in Xinjiang. That is no longer true! Our children were then relatively bigger than local children of the same age. This can be seen very clearly and dramatically in the picture below. However, there were very few differences in comparing me with people of a similar age:

While we were there, not only did we go to see one of their mosques, we also watched some local dancers and ate many local foods as well. The following pictures give you a feel for the flavor at the time:






Thursday, June 28, 2018

There are more places to visit in Beijing!

Both TsingHua University and the North China University of Technology tried to arrange for us to visit various places in Beijing. Our whole family was able to take advantage of these opportunities to see many sites in Beijing which few outside people had visited. I will give two examples of our trips that year in Beijing. One was to the former home of the elder Song Sister, who was the wife of Dr. Sun Yet-sen, as shown in our pictures below:


We spent a whole day with two administrators at the oldest temple in Beijing, which was built around 265 AD.  The name of the place has changed many times and it is now called the Tanzhe Temple (潭柘寺).  We fortunately have some pictures taken there too!


Monday, June 25, 2018

Physical Methods in Chemistry

This textbook title "Physical Methods in Chemistry" was one of the very popular, high level Chemistry textbooks in US graduate schools in 1985. The author of the book, Russel S. Drago, was an Inorganic Chemistry professor, who was teaching one of the large classes for all the first year graduate students (more than one hundred students) when I entered the University of Illinois in 1964. At Tsinghua University this course was what they wanted at the time. My four week course was totally devoted to this material. I had approximately fifty students in the class, a mix of  young faculty and graduate students. It was taught in a classroom  in the main building on campus, as  shown in the picture below. That building is also pictured below. After the course a brand new copy of the textbook was left there as a gift,  to allow the students to learn more details if they were interested.


I also interviewed quite a number of graduate students from both Tsinghua and other Beijing Universities during the four week period. 
And Janice gave some lectures about life in the USA and what to expect in a University in the USA. We were always very busy when we visited there!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Other Activities in Beijing

Both of our children, Margaret and Steven, were old enough to enjoy this trip to China. We certainly packed in a lot of activities on this visit, including in Beijing. We went to many famous tourist places again, such as the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, the Temple of Heaven, and the Forbidden Palace, some of which are recorded by the pictures below:





  We also visited some Beijing relatives, my cousin's family, and we took a picture with their son and his movie star wife.
Also included was a get-together with the president of North China University of Technology and some of his staff. This get-together was very important as it was the beginning of the process to establish a co-op program between East Tennessee State and this University. This program later brought many Chinese students to visit the Tennessee campus.
 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort

On our first break, the whole family was treated to go to Chengde, which was north of Beijing, a summer retreat built by the Kangxi employer in the Qing Dynasty.  The original Chinese name meant "a summer hiding place", which was printed on the plate of the entrance gate:
We stayed there for several days as there were quite a number of  places (officially 72)  to see and visit. It was built according to the old Tibetan tradition. We took many pictures to remember this wonderful experience. Professor Liu accompanied us during the entire trip!


There is one interesting memory that Janice and I would like to share. At dinner one night, we were served an entire plate of sparrows - fried in oil and completely whole. One look was enough for our kids! Those little legs and beaks were not our cup of tea!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Beijing was our next Stop

Beijing was our next stop and we stayed in the Friendship Hotel, which was quite close to TsingHua University. My topic there was about the Equipment used in Physical Chemistry. All the important instruments were discussed in really a full course sequence, although, of course, it was shortened. The topic actually used four full weeks in a regular course. The university separated my lectures into two halves, with one week in between for us to visit Chengde, a famous summer palace during the Qing Dynasty, so that we could take a break. We visited places near Beijing during the weekends. These included the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven etc. Janice and I took a picture together at the Friendship Hotel:

 Our children had a lot of good pictures taken in the area too:

Many of these pictures could not be taken today as the area where they are located is closed to tourists:


The whole family also went to Professor Liu's home to have dinner a couple of times. The Lius were very polite and treated us wonderfully in every respect!