Friday, February 27, 2009

Video tour of Zhangye

This is a video I recently put together from some of the footage of Zhangye I shot on my camera while living there. It highlights some of familiar places and people we saw in our daily routine, as well as a few of the odd and unexpected sights that were such a part of walking the streets of small town China. I made the video as part of a China presentation Nissa and I put on in her hometown's local library, which was surprisingly fun and well-received. It's seven months now since we left the country but China, and Zhangye in particular, continues to have quite a strong presence in our thoughts.


Anonymous said...

i might be the first Chinese who replys on your blog? Guess what,Zhangye is my hometown though i'm quite far from it now.My boyfriend introduced your blog to me ,he's a foreigner :)
It's a strange feeling to know my hometown from a stranger,espcially when i thought i’ve known everything about it.Sometimes it looks familar,sometimes it looks new.I left Zhangye since i was 18 but rarely missed it,partly because i can get home twice a year,partly because i can easily adapt with new places and enjoy my new life.The most important is,it's always there.
There's a film I like called Prais,At the end the hero knew he’ll die soon,so he lied in a texi and for the first and last time,watched the sky of the city .The background music was"zeize the day"by Wax Tailor.
thank u for making this video,i cried the first time i watched it.i think i should have a better look at my hometown,like i've never been there,like i'm a stranger.


Dan said...


Though you are not the first Chinese person to leave a comment on my blog, it's true that most of the people who have read and commented on it have been other Westerners. I was happy to see your comment and know that someone from Zhangye was able to appreciate the video and what I have written. I was often surprised by the difference in opinion between the locals and the foreigners in Zhangye--most of our students disliked the city, thinking it inferior to their hometowns, while most of the foreigners loved it and its small-town atmosphere. And by contrast, many of our students envied large Chinese cities with their greater opportunities, while we mostly disliked them because of the pollution, crowds, etc. I had the chance to do quite a lot of traveling around China, and if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would still choose to live in Zhangye.


chicanohek said...

Yo Dan,

I gotta say, as a video blogger in china, you got a lot of stuff in 4 minutes! WOW! I plan on putting my clips on tv at my local public tv station when i get back, but you gave me a good idea, have a community presentation would be a very cool way to be more personalble and acessable to people who are interested in what you are doing. Take care.


Kristy said...

Hi there,

I came accross your blog, being extremeley bored in my office job in Sydney, After spending 2 years living in Lanzhou ( I read about your dislike for it lol ) I really,really miss it, and its a culture shock to be back home again! Soooooooooooo thank-you for giving me an insight in to your life over there, and for providing me some form of entertainment to pass the last couple of hours at work!


Dan said...


You're welcome! I am pretty harsh on Lanzhou, but I know many people do enjoy living there. The culture shock will fade, but in my case missing China has not (especially when I'm in the mood for noodles).

Colleen said...

I can't say enough how special this video is to me. I have visited your blog before. Not sure if you remember, but our daughter is from ZhangYe adopted when she was 10 months old. She is 6 years old now. One day we hope to travel to China again so that she can see ZhangYe and the country she was born in.
I was wondering if there is any way I could get a copy of your video. I would love to have this for our daughter.
Thank you so much for posting it!!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rich said...

Hi Dan,

I've read your blog more or less from start to finish with great interest over the last day or two.

I'm considering a year (or two) teaching in China and it's been a wonderful insight into what I can or might expect if I decide to go ahead.

Having travelled china for a month in 2007 a great many of your experiences sound very familiar and I have been wondering to what extent integration within China is possible, given the experiences I had in both Beijing and Shanghai (i.e. that of being a complete alien!).

I shall certainly bear in mind your experiences when deciding whether or not the experience would be right for me..! I'm also considering teaching ESL in a few other Asian countries and as I expected it to be - China seems like it is both challenging but very rewarding!



Dan said...

Richard - I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. If you want to know more about teaching in China, feel free to e-mail me at dajo999 (at) I could also put you in touch with my school or the organization that helped me find my job if you wish.

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i think video will open up china to the rest of the world which is a good thing

China TEFL teacher said...

I think the increase in 'foreign experts' coming to teach English in China and view the ciuntry first hand be great to improve connections between the east and west.