Thursday, July 9, 2009

total solar eclipse of the heart (in china!)

a long laboring title for the post, i know, but i have some great news to share!

first, my sister sent me the literal version of that super cheesy song that i remember belting out in the car with my mom: total eclipse of the heart (view at your own risk, but parts are funny)!

second, in a little over a week i will be going here... see and record one of these!!!!!

i've been invited to china to comment on and help film the total solar eclipse that is occurring on july 22nd, 2009! wwoohhhooooo!!!! i've never seen a total eclipse before, only a partial one, so i'm super excited!

a solar eclipse occurs when the (new) moon passes directly in front of the sun in our sky! the full eclipse is only visible over narrow path along the earth, seen as the blue area on the map below...

i'll be in the eastern city of ningbo and then spending a few days in shanghai afterwards. i've never been to china before and am currently working quickly to get my visa in time! if anyone has recommendations on what to do or see in and around shanghai, let me know! also, if there are any words i should absolutely know (hello, how much?, yes, no) that you can phonetically teach me, please share in the comments! thank you!!!

photo credits: shanghai, china by flickrgao; solar eclipse by stefan seip


Steve said...

Congratulations! I know you're really excited about this opportunity.

Just wanted to say, thanks to you (and 60 Symbols), my long (50 year) interest in astronomy has been rekindled.

I'm eager to hear about your China adventure (and see some spiffy new solar pics!).

Unsui said...

I had done workshop with Astronomy club in North India when there was Full Solar eclipse in 1996, It was fun to use Total Solar Eclipse to Introduce young kids to Astronomy.

I have taken Mandarin lessons though closest I have been to a Chinese speaking country is Singapore/Malaysia ( where you can get by speaking English)

Have fun in China

Hope some of these phrases will be useful

Hello - nǐ hǎo ( Informal), nín hǎo (formal - to elders and those in authority)
How are you? - nǐ hǎo ma
I'm fine, thanks (wǒ hěn hǎo) . And you? nǐ ne ( pronunce "na", not "naa" or "Nay")
Thank You - Xie Xie ( pronounce shyeah shyeah)
Good morning ( Zao Shang Hao ) - Hao is word for Good
Normally say Zao Shang ( Just like we say Morning!!!)
Goodbye - Zai jian
I don't understand - wǒ bùdǒng
Excuse me - Ching wen ( Use this phrase to attract attention)
Excuse me - Dui Bu Chi ( used when you want people to move e.g on escalator) , Dui Bu chi is also used as "Sorry"

Where's the toilet? - cèsuǒ (Toilet) zài nǎli (where is)? use zai nali for everything where you have to ask "Where is" bus stop, train station, hotel , taxi stand etc...

PS - While My Mandarin Tutor gave me excellent ratings on use of above phrases, Mandarin is Tonal language, so the sounds of same words will change from Province to Province in China, so don't be shocked if the words "Sound" different

Unsui said...

For More Mandarin Phrases

amydove said...

That is so incredibly awesome and I am so jealous!!

Nikky said...

Lucky duck! what an exciting life you lead! Have a safe journey and enjoy your eclipse!

Daniel Fischer said...

My experience is that trying to *speak* Mandarin will get you nowhere - the pronounciation is just too hard to learn quickly and you will just not be understood. Writing down the sentence in our characters in the official pinyin transliteration also doesn't help: You must have everything written down in Simplified Chinese characters and show it.

For sights in and around Shanghai, have a look at these impressions from one year ago, for a lot of links and news regading the 2009 TSE check here - I will be in Wuzhen this time, by the way. One advice tops all others: Be prepared for tremendous heat and humidity - and for one of the most exciting countries of this planet!

Nicholas Garcia (Nick) said...


Ken Riches said...

Congrats, that is awesome.

harith said...

When you go to Shanghai, don't miss the MagLev Journey from the airport to the centre of the city. It's a 30 km ride at amazing speed. Before 1700 hrs @ 450kmph and after 1700hrs @ 300kmph. I was unlucky and traveled only at 300 kmph. Yet, the experience is amazing. Look at this:

Have a great trip. Chinese people are incredible friendly.

Anonymous said...

I got one bit of advice: Buy fireworks and send them to me! Have a wonderview of old man moon. jeff and cindy

murphydyne said...

You could ride the multi-axis trainer at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. It's not as good as the one at Space Camp, but it gets the job done.

You could visit a book store and buy some Chinese language astronomy books.

There's the spacey ride under the river, with some interesting exhibits on the Pearl Tower side. I'd avoid the fish exhibit, though. Some of them are very sad and you can tell.

The station to the MagLev train isn't too far from the SSTM, IIRC. That is a really neat experience.

Relax and you'll have a lot of fun.

Unknown said...

Wellcome to China! I am a Chinese and just left Shanghai to Zurich. What a pity! I gonna miss this total solar eclipse. I never have this exciting experience before. Shanghai is a quite international city.So dodn't be so worried about your trip. if you have some trouble, try to ask young people around you.Usually they can speak some English and are very friendly to help foreigners. Prepare for paper and pen with you all the time, in case you can ask them to write down Chinese on your paper, then you just need to show them in your next step. It's an easy way, isn't it? Have a nice trip and good luck to you!