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Brainz Brainz, I've Come To Eat Your Brainz!

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Mate I feel like I'm back in Salem's Lot (Yangshuo) but the bar has gone dry! Day has turned to night and night into day. During the day it is like walking the streets of Salem's Lot (as in the movie). Little Shaowu shuts down around mid morning and everyone goes home to sleep by their air-conditioners and fans. The poor workers who have to stay in the few stores that remain open can be found asleep at the counter or like my friend Pan Ling who works in the clothes store beside my school, I actually found her asleep standing up with her head buried in the sweaters. It is so hot and humid during the day! The city re-opens around half four going on five and the streets are completely packed until eleven or so. It really does have a wonderful vibe to it. Everyone is out walking or gathered together eating bbq, frozen treats whilst throwing back a billion bottles of beer. The streets actually smell wonderful. So I've been sleeping from seven in the morning until half three and I then ride till seven. Joyce and I ( and sometimes her sister or Mary) then head out for dinner and walk amongst the crowds and slowly make our way to the city square where we sit and eat frozen treats and ducks feet. After walking Joyce home I then return to my little heat box and put the aircon on and write until four or so in the morning. Then after a DVD I head back to bed to repeat it all again! Oh yeah, when I first arrived in Shaowu I asked people where I could buy some more micro-fibre clothes from (Cool N Dry). They looked at mine and felt it and no one had ever heard of it. About two weeks ago several trucks arrived and began unloading a heap of boxes in each sports store. Now it seriously looks like everyone is heading to the Australian Open in Melbourne. I remember when I used to walk past the Tennis Centre when I was walking from Richmond to South Gate to work and everyone was dressed the same. It's now like that here in Shaowu. Everyone now has Cool N Cry clothing and it's all the same as each store sells the same. Even couples all wear their matching Cool N Dry shorts and tops...oh, so sweet! Needless to say, even though I'm a poor boy I too have added several more items to my Cool N Dry wardrobe and to be honest, the new stuff is actually a lot better than my old that I purchased in real travel stores in both Australia and here in China. So, what have I been writing between the hours of eleven and four in the morning? My old blog from seven years ago! It really has been a complete and utter debacle that has somehow actually worked out nicely. Some nights I would only get one or two entries posted and other nights I would get more posted, depending on how much information I had put into the emails home. Most sadly only really had where I was, where I had come from and where I was going next. I never really wrote much about what I had seen, what I had been eating and how I felt. I have spent most of the time reading other blogs and researching places on the net and matching photos to my photos etc. I then have to sit for hours and try to remember who I was travelling with and where we went. Luckily most nights seem to run smoothly...until now! Bloody South Korea has been an utter bugger to write about. Some places it seems I am the only person to have visited or who wants to write about it. So now.....It's time to once again put it on hold! Oh too tired and too frustrated! I want to see the day light hours again no matter how hot they are. So today I rose early after about one hour sleep determined to catch myself on the flip side and become normal again and ride during the morning or afternoon hours. Also regarding the ten kilos I put on since leaving Australia, I was happy to see that I have now lost eleven kilos and am actually lighter that I was two and a half years ago. From 65 to 75 to 64. Yippie! So with still a month and a half to travel it is time to go! I'm happy with all I have written and have almost completed 'Lord Fouls Bane'. Here is the hyperlink to my old blog if you want to take a peek! So now here I sit, heavily armed with a plane ticket to Xian leaving Wuyi Shan airport tomorrow afternoon and arriving in Xi'an around half seven where I will happily be met by Terry & Eve and family. How exciting, after seven years! (along with the two and a half I haven't seen Terry & Eve for). How long will I stay in Xian for? HHHhhhmmm? One night! Huh? The following day Terry, Eve, Ping, Bo, Ha Ha and I will take a train journey into Henan Province and head to 'Song Shan' (which is actually three shans or three mountains), one of them is widely known through out the world. Shaolin Shan is where the Buddhist Monks developed Shaolin Martial Arts. We will spend a few days together walking around the mountains happily catching up on all things 'life' and whilst Terry and Eve head back to Australia, I will slowly make my way across to Anhui and Jiangxi Provinces (if I have the money that is). So that's it for now. It's time to pack my pack, make ready myself for the coming adventure and then head out onto the Cool N Dry streets and meet Joyce for a good bye dinner. Oh yeah, below this entry (and below the photos) you will find a list of things that foreign teachers judge their stay here in China by. Maybe most people won't find a lot of them funny but those who have been to China and stayed long enough, you will know exactly what they mean. The reason I added the list is due to my lunch today. I was 'way way out there' riding and stopped at a little village for some noodles. There was a selection of inners and outters to choose from and without even thinking I chose 'brain and heart noodle soup' over 'chicken noodle soup'. Why? Because of all the shattered bones in the chicken here in China. They don't cut the meat from the bone, they use a meat cleaver to smash the chicken to pieces prior to cooking it, so most of the time it is worse that eating a very boney fish. It wasn't until I sat down and was eating it that I realised that I didn't even think about it. Brain noodle soup was huge in Tianyang so I've eaten it many times but usually I would think about it and maybe choose something else if there was something more tasty. Don't you just love life! Wonderful!

Beers N Noodles toya....shane __________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by Peal Jam. The album was the awesome 'Vs'. Brainz Brainz I've come to eat your brainz! (Can't remember the name of the movie) Here is the hyperlink to my old blog if you want to take a peek!

The photos in this entry are of my ride 'way way out there' that now links all my other rides. Where logging families live in houses made of black plastic covered in reeds. The two children now happily say 'Hellow' to me. I must say, being so far out I really do freak alot of the adults out too!

&&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&& YOU KNOW YOU'VE EITHER TURNED CHINESE OR THAT YOU HAVE BEEN IN CHINA FOR TOO LONG WHEN...[/i] </b> The smell of stinky Tofu doesn't faze you anymore. You complain about that price difference of DVDs/VCDs/CDs bought in the stores and on the streets. You are not surprised when your garbage lady answers her cell phone and keeps digging through your trash! You (female) stop wanting to be tanned in summer and start carrying an umbrella. You no longer feel that females look like prostitutes wearing tight short shorts in the summer. MMMMMmmmmm Yummy! It doesn't shock you anymore when you can see female's underwear through their dress. You shove the guy before you back to where he stood half a minute before in the queue, barking a loud "hou mian, , ni nongmin!" You can open and hull sunflower seeds with your tongue. You have a jar full of "fen" (Chinese pennies) at home. You can climb 6 flights of stairs without a rest stop. You dress according to the calendar instead of the weather, e.g. wearing 3 or 4 layers in April -- even when it's 20 degrees Celsius outside. You feel at home when you hear mosquito's buzzing near your ear. You forget how to program a VCR at home because that is obsolete technology in China. You wonder why everyone is so fat back home -- even the Asians! You have ten different responses to the question, "Do you like China?" You know ten different ways to point out a foreigner in Chinese. You stare at other foreigners. You stare back (especially at knockout women). You point out foreigners to your Chinese friends even though you're foreign yourself. You no longer find it humorous that the bus never really stops to pick people up, it just sort of slows down. You find yourself asking anyone and everyone if they can make the price cheaper. You know words in Chinese for which you don't know the translation in English. Your mashed potato has squid guts and fish heads in it...and you think it tastes fine. You answer 'China' or some Chinese city when people ask where you're from. You answer 'China' or some district name when people ask where you live. You answer 'ni hao', giggle, and run away when someone says hello to you. You start thinking that stupid questions are reasonable. You call home and your family tell you to speak faster and stop correcting their grammar and pronunciation. You think that having the runs for 2 weeks is normal. You don't have any idea what something is, but you'll eat it anyway. If you just ate it and liked it, you ask what it is so you can order it next time. You know what it is and you eat it anyway. You have strict mental rules as to when you reply to a hello (ie person must be within a 20 foot semi circle radius and not with a group of men). You completely ignore most people who say hello to you. You have a conversation while sidestepping feces, vomit, and mysterious &gt;green puddles on the sidewalk without blinking. You see a woman with dyed hair and trying to figure out of she's Chinese or foreign by walking fast to catch up. You eat cake with chopsticks. You don't eat your cake anymore, after all cake is for food fight only. You've stopped wondering why it takes a 20 gallon flush to clear a 2 ounce pee. You answer 'So is mine.' when people say their English is so poor. You convince yourself that it doesn't matter how dirty the cooks' hands are, cooking will fix it. You think squats are great because no one can piss on the seat. You believe that anything done to you is because you're not culturally sensitive enough. You stop wondering why they're not culturally sensitive to you, their guest. You are becoming proficient in 4 other languages: Mandarin, local dialect, Chinglish, and gibberish. If there are only 4 screaming children running around the classroom, you consider it a good primary class. If there are only 4 students sleeping, you consider it a good middle school class. If there are only 4 dictionary obsessed nerds, you consider it a good language center class. If you're only mocked in public 4 times, you consider it a good day. You love tofu because there's nothing to spit out and it doesn't have any taste. You start saying 'play computer' 'I very like' and other assorted Chinglish. You get absolutely knackered at a 12 year olds birthday party whileplaying drinking games with children and munchingon turtles. You whole-heartedly agree with things that you don't agree with. You can do almost anything standing on, but not actually wearing, your sneakers (i.e. change your pants)!! You've got a pre-paid ticket with a booked seat for a soft-seat train or plane, but you still run like mad to make sure you get a seat. You forget that vegetable soup is actually pesticide broth. You laugh and smile when someone calls you a fat pig. You point over your back with your thumb when using the past tense. You watch TV and not know what the hell is going on but enjoy it anyway because of the women in the shampoo commercials. You think that America's '60 Minutes' program is 48 minutes of bullshit and 12 minutes of commercials, but you can't wait for China's '60 Minutes', which will either be 60 minutes of bullshit OR 60 minutes of commercials. You're beginning to like fruit salad and mayonnaise. You've stopped wondering why you only get bread if you order a chicken and mayo (mei you 'nothing') sandwich. You eat chocolate from home and: (a) miss the taste of salt and (b) bounce off the walls from sugar overload. You've learned that it's okay to be 3 days/weeks late for appointments because everyone else is. You've stopped wondering why restaurants don't clean up the barf right outside their door. You've stopped wondering why people will step over it to get into the restaurant. You've used those big toothpicks so often you now have circular gaps between your teeth. You just love it when new brethren arrive and give you their list of what they will and won't do and eat. You have accumulated hundreds of notes and addresses but you can't read any of them. You start making commentaries when watching a VCD/DVD or in a theater. You think it's pleasurable to ride your bike down the road with 10 tonne monster trucks flying past you 2 feet away. You have no qualms that someone who thinks you're stupid and gullible has total control over your life. A hike up a mountain calls for a plastic grocery bag full of junk food, later you add to the scenery by littering the ground. You love and hate children at the same time. You give names to your roaches and cry if one dies. You know that the New Year's Eve countdown must begin before 11pm or you'll be doing it alone. You start thinking instant coffee tastes pretty good. You realize that all wild animals are to be caught and eaten and/or ground up for medicine. You wear the same clothes all week because nobody cares. Your biggest decision every morning is matching your tie color with your face mask. Local drinking games are your most effective language learning environment. Your daughter comments "there aren't the flies here, like in Australia", as she kicks the shit out of the way. You eat your lunch whilst admiring the live baby rat in a cage (complete with watermelon rind for food) your friendly restaurant owner caught and is keeping for a pet. Only five minutes of prep time for a unannounced class no longer fazes you. You begin to question your own pronunciation. When children ask if you like Chinese students you reply "Yes they are very delicious" without batting an eye. You plan to ask students questions they must form their own answers to and you bring reading material along to occupy your time during the long silence that fills the period between you asking the question and the first hand that tentatively rises. Being served dog when you go out is no longer your greatest culinary fear. Begin giving the staff ratings on the answers they give you based on their creativity rather than their candor or truthfulness. You no longer expect the truth. You can use "face" as a weapon. When you hear "7-Eleven" it reminds you of two of your students

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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