Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Toffee Man in Houshan

It was a Sunday and I'd been invited by a group of my students to go to Houshan. It is a popular tourist spot that I had been to some 2 years previously. It is famous for the peach blossom, as peach trees grown in abundance in the park. The last time I had been there it had been busy with tourists, but not much commercialism. What a change in two years! There were stalls and circus acts and on this occasion it was much more crowded than I could recall from the last time.

One of the features of this place is the landscape - not only the peach blossom, but lots of other trees, and some extra ordinary stone features left over I think from a stone quarry, and as one climbs high to the top of the mountain, the view back over the farms is wonderful, and at the top are tea plantations, as well as an amazing Buddhist temple.

On this occasion there were other things of interest too - a small group of touring artists performed in a pavilion. One of the things that I really enjoy in China is the opportunity to see traditional entertainment, and sadly there is little.

At the base of one of the areas, was a remarkable sight. A man making toffee in the most extra ordinary way. He had a little burner with a pot with toffee and using the back of a spoon, he crafted most amazing designs and then the set toffee was put on a stick and children went away delighted to eat the toffee. It seems a shame to eat it - the craftwork was so good.


Amy Jo said...

Di - Hey! I used to follow you under another name... but I still went by Amy_Jo :) I'm so happy to see you back on! Your trip is making me sooo jealous. I returned from China in February and I'm in such a funk. I loved it more than life. Well, not really... but seeing the toffee brings it all back! I admit, I was one of those "unqualified" teachers. When we went, we didn't realize you needed degrees. We went through an agency and became TEFL certified, but still don't have our 4-year degrees yet. Granted, our teaching was a little different. We saw each class for only 35 minutes a week (20 classes) and strictly did fun stuff - played games, did brain teasers, etc. Our school was honest in telling us that we were there to make the school more marketable and to get the kids to like English. We had it SO easy as far as teaching in China goes!

Your pictures are wonderful. I am looking forward to reading more stories. :)

Di Hill said...

Hi Amy Jo, I remember you. Yes, I couldn't post here from China, so I put some things on Hub Pages, but this is my favourite format so I am posting again. You may be able to get work in a kindergarten without a degree - but it is the required way of doing. It can be EASY teaching, but I suspect getting harder. Nice to hear from you.

Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere said...

Our Di is a bit of a gun in teaching there.