Virtual Home of
Russell Eagling


Around Wuhan

Wuhan is a major city of over 8 million people in the centre of China.  It sits astride the Yangtze helped by three very large, and very busy bridges.  Its location gives it a very peculiar climate and it is known as one of the 'Three furnaces'.  It is roastingly hot and sticky in the summer often above 40 degress centigrade and temperatures at the moment are normally between 0 and 5 and people keep telling me how mild this winter is.  It is often quite misty and foggy here.  It is often difficult to tell whether this is because of the weather or because of the pollution.  China is the proud possessor of many of the most polluted cities in the world.

Wuhan has over 50 universities of which I teach in one.  It has its own airport and has reasonably good rail links that will get you to Shanghai in 18 hours, Beijing in 12 or Hong Kong in a little under 20 hours.

I live in a part of the city which is reasonably central for all the important things.  I now know most of the important bus routes and I can get to the other side of town for the price of a couple of couple of bus fares (about 10p each) rather than paying the taxi (about three or four pounds)

Wuhan is not a very clean city and it doesn't have many great sites.  The main site, the Yellow Crane Tower, was knocked down rebuilt in 1984.  Much of the original charm must have been knocked down and not rebuilt, because the current building strangely lacks any sense of atmosphere.

There is an impressive concert hall that I've been to three times so far.  Chinese audiences are terrible.  The talk all they way through; they march up and down the isles; rather than being embarrassed when their mobile phones go off, they answer them and chat away for several minutes on end.  They will applaud enthusiastically the moment something virtuosic takes place, but will only ever give a luke-warm applause at the end of the piece.

Anyway, Wuhan remains a very interesting place.  It is a nice mix between being able to get some nice Western comforts like you can in Beijing or Shanghai, whilst remaining part of real China where people are so unused to seeing a foreigner that they will call out "hello" in the street. 

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Most of my days I start teaching at 8:00am.  However, that it peanuts compared with what most Chinese people do.  Chinese people seem to love to get up very early in the morning (except my students).  Every morning the Tai Chi starts up outside our house at 6:30am.  I presumed this was just a strange exception until I went to a park at 9:00am one morning.  The place was packed, but clearly everyone was packing up to go home.  I decided to come back again a little earlier the following week with my camera.

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Below are some videos (that no-one can download at the moment) 



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Launched on December 25th 2003