Archiv für März 2011

alternative education

open discussion

alternative education


typical classroom in a Chinese primary school

Imagine a world in which there is no pre-school, no kindergarten, no elementary or high school, and no University. Where would you learn? What you would learn?

Traveling by bicycle, we ask ourselves if our schooling was helpful in leading a happy life. Now we learn from each other, from books and films, and through workshops. We ask people we encounter to show us how to do new things.

learning with kids in a Wuhan primary school learning with kids in a Wuhan primary school

How do you learn? What is the purpose of your education? Does school help or hinder you in achieving your goals? What would you do differently?
Are you given a choice?

These and similar questions will be posed to the people participating in an open discussion:
Date: March 26
Time: 8:30-9:30pm
Place: Huazhong University, East Campus, Albert Einstein Plaza

Special thanks to the organizer: Huazhong University Association of Clear Water and Greenery, for their help in running the gauntlet of university bureaucracy, in order to recycle the rusty old bicycles on campus for our tallbike workshop!

Before the discussion, the bRokEn ZiRkuS monkEy bAnd will play a few songs to gather the crowd, and our tallbikes and new cargo bike will be on hand as well!

In recent Chinese news . . .

Looking back: 4 weeks for 900km

from our memoirs cycling from Shanghai to Wuhan, February 2011

On the boat again! (back to China)
„Refresh and relax now!“ says the fresh drink machine.
„Refuse/Resist!“ (Sepultura)

Yes, we decided to emphasize on the political and environmental aspect of our project. Japan is a so socially submitted country, where most of the people consume without even a life — my hobby? shopping!
And China is a so extremely polluted capitalist country — the most polluting one since 2007, more than the US (wikipedia): here is undrinkable water because of coal ash:

and here is a Mongolian style river, however this is not a blue cloth, symbol of the sky, but a blue plastic bag like thousands of tons everywhere, symbol of the earth’s destruction:
(left, Mongolian temple / right, Chinese trash)

So it’s clear for us that a political and environMENTAL major change MUST happen.

Part 1 – Shanghai : theater workshop + cycling

Part 2 – On the road to Wuhan

a- concerto for tenor and soprano horns : „hing!hing!hing!“ „hong!hong!“

Horn‘n'Roll baby! After 2 months in Tokyo, we were ready to enjoy again the Chinese horning concert on the road.
That’s simple: Chinese don‘t honk just to prevent a danger or even only to announce that they are coming (required according to Chinese law) — no! Most of them also sound their horn to push you out of the way!! „F**k off! I‘m coming!“ Nice.

b- getting invited, being vegetarian, not talking Chinese : nihao!

Ah! the body language! and tyle’s broken Chinese!
When we ask people in Chinese or by gestures „where can we sleep tonight?“ they usually don‘t understand us. And it’s not much easier making people understand that some of us DON‘T WANT to eat meat and don‘t want to go to supermarket but prefer to eat local food.
(left, chicken in styrofoam water box / right, typical slow food)

Chinese are apparently more used to being loud (LOUD!) than to using their body as a communication medium.

However, we had beautiful moments in the countryside, playing in the street or in small villages where we camped for a few days, meeting people who had never seen foreigners and were amazingly friendly and generous with us. Hospitality still means something, not only in China, and especially in the countryside: it’s one of the enthusiastic lessons of our travel.

3- Riding overloaded bicycles and the visa deadline

We like to ride slow. We like to take our time. We like to meet people, get invited, discuss about China, have nice tofu and „baoze“ with small peasants. But the world politics of visa says something else! In a country as huge as China (the fourth largest one), when you ride several over-loaded tallbikes, even a 90-day visa is ridiculous. So our way will probably cross the train’s one again… what to do? NO BORDER NO NATION!

Our overloaded bikes:

No, wait, I mean:

No, that’s not ours, either… Here’s our staircase to heaven:

4- Chinese New Year

Fireworks are great! The first half an hour…

After 18 hours non-stop and in the daylight, and after finally 2 weeks of „Spring Festival“, it starts to be a little annoying. A bit ;-)

Wuhan Bike Workshop

in the Chinese lakeside metropolis of Wuhan, we tediously salvaged some rusty junkers from the university (this entailed a lot of paperwork through official channels), and we all taught ourselves and some interested young souls how to weld with electrodes! these sticks burn holes in everything! woohoo!
in the end, an experienced welder down the street reinforced all of our bonds. so now the strange 2.80 meter long-john is whizzing around the block, perfectly running with the old 16″ trailer wheel now in the front of the whole contraption. we hope to complete the cargo box with a frame of bamboo . . .

Some thoughts about traveling in China . . .

Clown-Intro Workshop in Berlin

Here’s the Flyer…

The good thing about the winter

Two people (Verbena & Richard) who left the group last summer couldn‘t stay too long at their cosy homes … here’s what happend…