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Twin Tubs, Noodles N Beers To Ya

Hey Hey and a HUGE G'Day to you all,

I'm finally back online again and very happy and well up here in the north of China.

OK, just a quick description of Baiyin city so far.

The school...the school pretty cool. It's Baiyins No:1 Primary School. This I'm reminded of each day. Visually, it's no where near as nice as my last one. My school in Tianyang had a heap of green throughout which included grass to play on with the kids and big old trees to sit under during English Corner.

My new school has a few cactuses in pots inside of the windows. I'm sure I can live without trees though as the people are great. This makes up for the lack of trees in the school grounds. So far some of the teachers have gone so far out of their way to make me feel at home, so much so that I had to bring my world map from home to school and show them where I have traveled in the world.......... BY MYSELF! I have to continually say these two words.....BY MYSELF over and over again.

After a little time they got the hint and stopped telling me simple things like, 'This is your pencil Shane'. I'm serious! When one guy came around to my apartment he even told me that my toilet was 'for going to the toilet' and that the shower 'was for me to clean myself'. I reminded him that I am a big boy now and can take care of myself.

It's not as bad as it sounds but from what I have been told it just gets worse and continues to get worse for a foreign teacher who is the first foreign teacher at a school. I decided to put a stop to it NOW. I'm sure I sound maybe 'rude' sometimes, but I will not be 'babied' and 'looked after' and 'not listened to' when I ask them to stop.

Instead, I will put a stop to it!

FOOD...the food here is fantastic, too many noodles and not enough rice though. It's the complete opposite to the south. I'd rather rice so I've scouted around and found a few places that do different types of fried rice with side dishes of green vegetables etc. Across from my apartment building is a little noodle shop where I found 'spag bol'. It's not called that but it is unbelievable how similar this noodle dish is to 'our' spag bol!. It even has mince, tomato and some veggies.

Good find!

Near my school is a street market where I eat each lunch time. The lamb and beef noodle soups are to die for. They come with a huge chunk of very tasty Turkish bread. There is a huge Muslim population here and they cook the best meat in the world! People hunt them out even way down in Yangshuo for BBQ. They call them a 'Wicken Man' or something that sounds like that.

If you're in China, mainly in the north and a man has a little white skull cap on and is standing behind a portable bbq, run with your wallet open, get on your knees and beg for a few meat sticks.

Next to my building is the city square and park. This is the old square as in the west of the city a new huge, and I mean HUGE Peoples Square has been built. The west is where all the new 'things' are being built. The new apartment blocks, the new department stores etc. Kind of like building a new city. I doubt I will spend much time out west. The new China doesn't really do much for me at all.

Out of my balconey window and about fifty meters away is a Chinese Castle...type thing. It's awesome to just sit on my balcony and stare at this castle...type thing and say to myself...Mate, there's a freakin Chinese....castle type thing right outside your window! Who else that you know, has a Chinese Castle...type thing outside their window!

Life, it really does blow my mind sometimes!

I've attached a panoramic shot taken from my bedroom balcony where I sit before bed with a beer watching people go to and fro in the square below. The park and square begin outside my window and go back for about.....well, I don't know really as I'm really bad at guessing lengths. Maybe somewhere between half a km and 1 km. The main section of the square is on the other side of the park. Where I am is pretty lively each night though.

Sometimes too lively!

Underneath the park is where the underground shopping and a market place are...great for the snowy winters that will I'm sure soon be here! I think I'm expecting it to be worse than it is really going to be. They assure me that it doesn't snow 'that' much or get to -40...usually -10 to -15 'or so'.

HHHhhhmmm, we'll see!

To the east is where the 'very poor' area is. These places are in a very bad state of affairs. Whilst walking around this area I felt so sorry for the people whom lived there. There was so much rubbish and so much mud. It was like the houses were actually made from both. There were poor areas around Tianyang but that was completely different. The people whom lived in those areas were known simply as 'Farmers'. They were so happy and their houses, even though a simple shack, were looked after and clean. Here it is different. The people look at you with a blank stare and seem to just look into the distance. Maybe they have given up.

In China I believe they will never be able to change the way they live or their status. I visited this area first with Judy on my first visit. On my second visit to this area I didn't stay long at all, I felt an urgent need to get out. Why? I have no idea. The last time I had the same feeling was six years ago at the old Hanoi train station. I was dropped off at some old decrepit station where I was told the train to China left from. Pretty soon I was surrounded by several Vietnamese.

'Get Out!' my stomach told and Get Out I did!

What else...the supermarket stocks Fosters Larger, Fosters Ice, Tiger Beer (best beer in the world by far! Great Find), Tang, Milo and a heap of other strange foreign things I remember from home. The super market is one place I'll try not to visit very often. Too many luxuries for me. Part of the reason I'm in China is to learn to live a simple life without things like thousands of books and a fridge full of stuff I'll never finish but felt the need to buy. I've done a great job so far and plan to continue doing so.

Bike riding won't be as beautiful as it was in Guangxi. No rice fields here mate! The city is surrounded by barren hills which don't make for much of a beautiful ride at all. I will surely miss the happy and smiling face of the Guangxi farmer and their friendly 'Hello' from beneath a pointed cane hat. I will miss the lush green summers and the fields that seemed to change over night.

I have a feeling not much will change here except from sunshine and warmth to snow and freezing cold.

This is a real bugger for me!

My apartment has a HUGE screen TV that I'll never watch, two balconies, one for drying clothes and drinking beer in and the other for cooking...why? I don't know why there is a separate little room for cooking in. Why don't you just cook in the kitchen..Why build another little glass room? I've been told it also to helps keep the place warmer in winter. I certainly hope so.

Strangely though, I WILL be warmer here in winter than down south. Down south there is NO heating in any building except for an electric heater if you buy one. Up north everything is heated by steam pipes, even the markets and schools!

Now that is real cool for me!

BUT.....there is always a damn BUT!

The problem I've been told, is that the heating is government controlled

The problem I've been told, is that 'THEY' say when it is turned on and off.

The problem I've been told, is that it is turned on several weeks too late and turned off several weeks too early.

HHHHhhhmmm, we'll see!

Everything in my apartment is new, even the new Twin Tub washing machine! Boy, wasn't I over the freakin moon when I was shown that beauty! 'Look' the man said, it even dries your clothes....Yes, I thought, and wastes half your damn day! It looks great in my lounge room though. It goes well with the big screen TV!

Why is my gleaming twin tub machine it in my lounge room you ask.

Because Chinese bathrooms weren't built for washing machines. They are small and there is no laundry in the house or apartment. The laundry IS the bathroom. The washing machine up until not so long ago (for those with money) was and actually still is for most of the population (the farmer etc) a small basin in the bathroom OR the local river for hand washing.

I'm not one to complain, it beats hand washing and or the local river. So if it's a twin tub, then it's a twin tub. BUT, I'm sure hand washing in a basin or the local river would take a third of the time!

I figured out how to use my gleaming machine today. I also found out that it really does waste half your day. The pipes are not long enough so I have to fill the bugger with buckets of water. This made me real happy when I spilt half the bucket on the tiled floor after just cleaning it. I ended up following my dirty foot prints to and from the kitchen sink where I had to fill the bucket from.

I won't even mention how much the washing machine cost that I gave up in Queensland. The steel bucket had a 3 Yuan price tag on it, this made me smile. I was sure the gleaming machine cost more than most could afford. To have it in my lounge room to wash my clothes for me is something I should be thankful for.

Even if I have to fill it with bucket loads of water, most don't even have this!

On the good side, the clothes really do come out near dry.

What else can I say for now? Not much really. I will have some of my summer holiday photos on travelpod in the next few weeks...why so long? There are over 3000 of them to go through. Don't ya just love digital cameras!

Mate, I'm a Happy Snapper!

I'm outta here, it's time to go meet a friend for bbq and beer.

Twin Tubs, Beers, Noodles and Turkish Bread to you...Shane

Hey Hey and a HUGE G'Day to you all

Hey Hey and a HUGE G'Day to you all

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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