Thursday, August 30, 2012

Road Warrior: Tractor Edition

One of the things that people first notice when they come to rural Yunnan is the number of tractors that are clogging the roads. Tractors will be slowly chugging up hills with loads of gravel, bricks, people, crops, pigs, or anything else you can think of loaded inside them. They can go really slowly, so I get to feel really cool whenever I pass one on my bike. Most people around here are farmers, so tractors are really important.

While they can be frustrating when you're trying to get somewhere in a hurry and your bus is stuck behind one, they are pretty cool looking. Most have all their moving parts (including the engine) exposed, and they look like something out of a movie about a post-apocalyptic future. I went for a walk the other day to take pictures of tractors, and all of the following pictures are of tractors that I found on one short stretch of road. There are a much greater variety of tractors than these, and I still occasionally see new varieties of tractor.

This is the most popular kind of tractor on the roads around here. I'd estimate that 85% or so of tractors around here are this kind. 

When people are going to the field, or students are coming to school, they'll just all ride standing up in the back of one of these. 

This is the second most popular kind of tractor. It's more powerful and bigger, so you see these hauling bigger loads. 

This is my favorite kind of tractor. 

Another awesome tractor, clearly inferior to the last one because it doesn't have a sun roof. 

And yet another type of tractor! 

This isn't a tractor, but people drive these a lot too. They're three wheeled motorcycles (I want to call them tricycles, but that sounds weird) so you can put loads in the back. Most of the 'taxis' in the nearby big city are these, so you just hop in the back of one of these that's set up for people, and they'll take you wherever you want. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Double the Trouble

I got back to school about a week ago after a great summer, and things have really changed. Our old principal (who was awesome) got promoted, and our new principal (who is also awesome) is really young. Some teachers are leaving with the principal, and other teachers are taking a semester off because of pregnancy or sickness, meaning that we're short several teachers, and Jarlene (my co-fellow) and I are both picking up extra classes. Jarlene is teaching two classes of eighth grade, and I (with my weaker Chinese ability) will be doing two classes of seventh. Basically, both of us have twice as many kids, and twice as many hours of class-time as last year. (and twice as many piles of homework and tests)

I was originally planning on trying to do a lot of extracurricular stuff at school this semester, like tutoring, English corner, football, and trying to start a girls' soccer team, but I don't think any of that is going to happen. I was also planning on blogging more.....we'll see how that goes.

The seventh graders still aren't back to school (although the eighth and ninth graders are) so I still have a few more days to finish prepping, and enjoying a little bit of free-time before the semester starts.

Things I will post about soon:

1. Travelling in Shangrila
2. Tractors!
3. How tired I am (....I'm just assuming I will be)
4. Sleeping in train stations