Everyone is very friendly and welcoming in this little city, and there are even lots of other foreigners to chat with, courtesy of there being lots of medical students from Pakistan and a few African countries here, as well as a few other English teachers too. Kind of refreshing, although I am still keen to improve my very sketchy Chinese while I'm here, oh yeah, and pick up a reasonable amount of Mongolian too.
One of the best things about Tongliao so far (other than the wonderful people, and amazing food), has been the BLUE sky. Sooo blue that some days we feel like we're back in Australia, and it seems to be a regular thing too, not just a freak occurrence. We've been having beautiful days of bright blue skies and hot, hot sunshine. Kind of hard to imagine it getting down to the -25 to -35 that other residents say its gets to in the not too distant future (they reckon it starts to get cold in October! Eek...). So, I've been enjoying some runs through this new city (love exploring a new place by running through it), and I've found beautiful riverside parks, boardwalk walkways over sections of river, and wide, long freshly tarmacked roads through newly created riverside woodland where there are no cars, bikes and foot only. It's actually reminded me of my time in Perth and Mandurah, Western Australia, due to the sandy riverside walkways and paths and beautiful views across the water.
Check it out, I actually took my camera on a run for a change and tried to snap along the way of all the beautiful sights I see. Thought I better record it posterity now before the weather changes and all the flowers are gone. Here are a few:
This usual route is a 12km run, and it is shared with many other runners, cyclists, basketball player, tennis players, football players, fishermen, and walkers, although I've just realised no one else is in these pictures (this was at about half 6 am when I usually go about half 5 am, so think I missed the peak/rush hour on this particular day). This is one active town and I like it.
In other news, we started teaching yesterday, and it seems I haven't forgotten how to do it. Phew... It had been a while.
Does it get very cold in the winter where you are? (This will be a whole new level of cold for both of us.)