Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Art for Sale

Many of the teachers from the school went on an what was called the "Art Tour" this last Saturday. It was quite a wide variety of styles and qualities of original or copies of original art. There must have been at least 300 different artist represented. The Dafen Oil Painting Village is a large-scale centre of artistic activity. There are over a dozen blocks of painting stores with studios upstairs. There are hundreds of painters based on the Village producing original works and artful copies of masterworks, all for sale. We bought a number of pieces. We think the two that you see here both original and one of a kind were very high quality. Don't judge them by the image you see here. We were able to meet the artist and who came to the gallery to sign both pieces before we took them. Note that one of the pieces was featured in the outside window.

We also were introduced to a new (to us) style of artwork called Cloisonne. It is a multi-step process seen in the picture with the lady holding the pieces that would become water lily paintings. A fine piece of wire is put down first then layers of what appear to be enamel are added. Very beautiful.

Now we have to get them framed and we don't have a framer here in China! Jackie! We are told the main place to have things framed is right were we were when we bought them. We may have to go back in the near future. Bus trips are limiting at times.

Oh I had to show you the Bush painting. I did not check the price but I might have to buy it for my parents, or maybe I will just get them a Mona Lisa!

You can take them any postcard or photo and they will paint it for you for a pretty reasonable price.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Plant in aparment in under 1 hour

Within about two blocks of our apartment is a garden/nursery type of business. It is called the Flower Center but I saw very few flowers, lots of plants. At six in the evening Sunday, Bev and I decided to go take a look and see if we could find something for our apartment. Well we walked over looked around and found a plant that we thought would look very nice. We wanted to have it re-potted in something nice so we looked at the pots and picked out this one. Added some plants at the base and then had it taken to our apartment and placed in the living room in under an hour. If you think I should be helping pull the cart, believe me I tried but was told to leave it alone. I did get to help carry it in, it is pretty heavy. Total time was just under one hour. Total cost for everything, delivery was free and if you try to tip they are generally insulted, 210 RMB or about $29.00 US.

Here are pics of the whole process. In the pic of going down the street, the tall building is our building.

One Time Through

So we were at this restaurant for lunch today and watched this lady take at least 15 minutes to build this column on her bowl. It is built with watermelon, which they had to bring another container of, that is stacked around the edge of the bowl. You should have seen the precision she used in placing each piece. She then filled the center with a variety of salad items. The precision was unbelievable. I had a tough time taking the pic. un-noticed so not very good quality but you can see what she was doing. At this point she was about half-way done. In case your thinking this was a one time event. Before we left the restaurant we saw someone else do the same thing. Oh, one time through the salad bar is 28RMB, less than $4.00 so I guess she felt she had to get her moneys worth.

Bomb Boys

Bikes are everywhere and carry all kinds of goods. These guys we decided to call the bomb boys. They carry propane tanks on the back of bikes to apartments that use propane to cook with. If you could see the traffic and chances these guys take you would know why we call them the bomb boys. I think they would have a hard time getting life insurance.

QSI Quality Schools International

Britt, Our director, greats students on the first day of school.

This park is right across the street and makes for a great peaceful spot for lunch time.

Looking at the street from the front of the school.

Day one orientation for students.

This grocery store is actually part of the same building that the
school is in and is a great place to get a quick lunch item.

School Interior Pic.

Typical classroom setting.

Bev in her corner classroom.

Same room

They are always cleaning

Science classroom

5th floor computer lab

Park across the street.

Looking toward the school from across the street.

QSI Quality Schools International, The building that our school is currently in, was a shopping center at one time. It is somewhat old and could use a coat of paint on the outside. It was later a business center. When the school started 7 years ago they had a couple of rooms in the building over time they have acquired more and more space. Last year they had all of the first four floors and half of the fifth floor, which was shared with an architect firm. This year they have the whole building. The building is open 24/7. There are building guards and QSI school guards at all times. I don’t have a key to my room yet. It is not really needed as the guards are watching at all times and the rooms are left unlocked. The building next door includes a grocery store called Park-n-Shop very convenient for lunch and picking up things before you walk home. Students are not supposed to go there but I see that they sometimes do. It is pretty tough to monitor when there is a door into it from the 1st floor front entrance area of the school.

The building is the cleanest I have ever seen. Many, many cleaning people are working every day and evening. Bev asked our director where she could get a rag to wipe off some cabinets and was told that was not her job and that someone be in to take care of it. The cleaning ladies were in shortly after that. They bow sometimes when they leave your room. It is cute, and somewhat embarrassing as we are not use to that kind of treatment.

The students in our school come from many different countries, but many of them have dark hair and look Asian. Many are from Korea, some from Brazil lately as many Brazilian pilots are leaving their country. Also many students are from Japan, Australia, and Canada. Some are from the US, in total over 40 countries are represented.

Here are some pics of the school both inside and out some from right across the street where a beautiful park is located. The inside atrium shots are the day before school started, which was last Thursday, half-day, and Friday first full day. The pics of kids and classrooms are from the first day of classes. The director greeted as many students and parents as he could on the first day. Also, see one of Tim’s computer labs and Bev’s corner classroom. Many times classes will have one teacher and a second co-teacher. Class sizes are reasonable at 8-18 right now. More students may come, but we have heard there is a real big commitment made to parents that class size would be small. By the way tuition is about $12,000 US a year per student. The only people that get free tuition are those teachers that have brought children here and have been recruited from the US.