A Travellerspoint blog

January 2005

Writing a Travelblog Eddakath Style

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

I have a different sort of entry for you this time. I got an email from Travelpod about writing 'something' about writing a Travelblog. I thought to myself, what would I know about writing a travelblog...i throw a billion words together, add a few photos and wallah, theres my page. BUT then I looked at the figures...now sitting at 34th in the '100 All Time Best Blogs' on the Travelpod, worlds biggest Blog site and this month sitting in 6th position. Not bad for a one country blog! A lot of people are either bored, taking very long coffee breaks or like my pictures....no matter what, here is what i wrote for Travelpod.com.

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

After getting an email from Travelpod asking if I wished to contribute to their new KNOL I quickly clicked the hyperlink, read the home page and decided that what was already there covered everything any new blogger needs to know. After a few days I then decided that it didn't actually cover everything, especially for those whose blogs will become like a window and apart of them and their family for many years.

So in my normal long winded fashion I offer any new blogger the following billion words of advice. To visit the Original KNOL please click here. It will take but a second mate! <u> What a Tavel Blog is to me</u>

To most a travelblog is a simple 'online journal' that allows them to write about their journey, upload photos, videos and sound files that when combined allow their friends and family to experience their journey with them on 'real time'. Now days the only sense left out is that of smell and living and travelling in the places I do my friends and family had better hope it never happens!

Of course to me a travelblog is the above but somewhere along the way it became an avenue to bring to life my own Choose Your Own Adventure series. I always 'plan to plan' each adventure but somehow it never seems to work out that way. For a month or so prior I will read the LP or browse though Travelpod (or another personal favourite of mine, Passplanet.com) and try to create a mind map of where I want to go and what I want to see.For some strange reason I always get nervous that I will waste a lot of my time if I don't have a plan.

Some holidays it has taken me several days to throw the pack on and actually leave the place I am living as I am seriously yet to come up with a first or starting destination. From there it seems to simply unfold before my very eyes and I end up in places I had never even thought of visiting. I then get emails from friends asking why I am not heading towards Korea when my last entry stated that I had finally, at least made a decision that I would turn right and head east. For some unknown reason I ended up turning left and heaing west yet there was nothing there I wanted to see.

I really did want to visit the Changbai Shan Nature Reserve on the border of South Korea so why did I find myself west in Ningxia Province visiting then thousand year old stone carvings? Some times I really don't know who is wearing my sandals. Am I making these decisions from some plan I subconsciously created prior to leaving or is there a geeky kid hidden away in the back of a library somewhere in the world choosing my next step?

If you find out make sure you tell me and then we will both know! Choose your own adventure travelblog style! <u> Evolving The Storyteller Within (along with your blog)</u> <u></u> <u></u> The most important thing about blogging is overlooked by almost everyone for the first few months of finding their way though their new world of 'cyber travel'. Style! I never thought about it until I realised why I was actually writing my blog and that led to consciously trying to develop a style that not only I was happy with but one that also captured some of the people passing by.

I began by writing simple things like, I'm now in Kunming and we are having a great time. It is Christmas and look at Bill in photo number five, isn't he funny!

Once I figured out why I wanted to write my blog and what I wanted from it things changed. I became much more honest when writing about things that were going on around me in this insane and confusing world of China along with anything in the world of travel. Style! Things don't always go as go as planned so find your own way to write about them. When you find yourself beginning to write about something you would normally keep quiet about, continue as this is you beginning to find your own style.

Remember that you are the lucky one, you are the one that who is travelling to places that you never imagined you would end up.

These are the same places that millions of others not only dream of going to but also like you millions of others are lucky enough make their reality. First of all find a style that makes your self happy and fulfils the reasons behind your blog and then go about allowing your self the openness and freedom of change when you feel you need something new.

Then worry about how to get a few of the millions that are still dreaming of 'going' to actually read it.

To do that you have to find someway of making your style more interesting than the 'other millions' that have already been there and have written about it or are writing about it now. You can tell the people reading your blog that that Bill was funny in Kunming at Christmas time or you can really tell them why he was funny and what happened in great detail. Add in the sounds, the smells and the colours of the market place. Then describe the moment Bills tastebuds exploded as he had the first mouthful of his Sichuan Beef Noodles (EXTREMELY HOT!).

Write about how he continued eating his noodles because everyone thought it was funny. Remember Bill is a funny man and likes a good laugh. But don't stop there, why not add in what happened when you left the market place and the alien sounds that Bills stomach was making that even had the locals searching for where they were coming from. Most importantly don't leave out what happened to Bill when he couldn't find a public toilet.

Maybe here you could turn off the reader's sense of smell!

Most of all write with an open heart and an open mind. I've been living, teaching and travelling all over China for almost four years and prior to that travelled to various other Asian countries. One thing I will never pretend is that I understand more than I do and believe me, the longer I'm here the more I understand that I really don't understand much at all.

For me that makes my adventure and life totally what I want it to be. I am not Asian/Chinese and nor do I want to be. I am proud of who I am and where I come from so I will always make sure that gap is between us. This allows me to remain who I am along with the freedom to view the world I live in with total honesty. I can make it as colourful as I desire and sometimes maybe be a little too descriptive in my details about the Chinese world around me.

I always tell of my journeys to and from my destinations as they are usually the 'fun' part of the adventure. For me they are the part that differs from the last tourist and the millions more that have visited the same destination and written a blog about it. Even the simple purchase of a train or bus ticket can be an awesome blog. But you must treat it with honesty and humour by writing it after the anger and frustration have departed.

Remember that your anger and frustration is born of communication and cultural differences.

What is normal for 'them' is usually very frustrating for 'us' so don't write about another culture whilst in anger. I think we have all read the blogs that have been written in total unfairness by someone who is visiting a non-English speaking country for two weeks, staying only in hostels and spending their entire time with Westerners and beer. Those reading such blogs will walk away believing that the ticket girl really was stupid for not understanding what the writer wanted. The strange fact is it is the English speaking writer that is in her Non-English speaking country.

Who really is the stupid one?

The ticket girl or the blog writer who is visiting an Asian country in which he believes everyone around him should speak English and understand him. Before writing that day's entry the blog writer really should have sat back and thought about why he was visiting that country in the first place. Was it for the personal challenge and growth or maybe it was simply because it's an inexpensive ego trip. Writing is a strange thing, it has a way of capturing a part of the writer and anyone who reads their work will begin to understand how they see the world around them and where they fit in it.

Buying a ticket in a non-English speaking country can take hours or even several days depending on where you are. It is these times that your friends and other blog readers are actually after. Once they know you are safe many will skip through your blog and spend most of their time looking at your photos. Try to keep them entertained, tell them about poor Bill (above) and about the market place that most of them will probably never get to see.

Write a blog about your frustrating experience buying a train ticket but most of all, be descriptive with cultural differences. I once ate my friends cat and a few weeks later I fell on a floor full off pig sh*%. How? It was a very poor village in Guangxi Province in China and there simply aren't any toilets in such places. There are two bricks and you're in with the pigs. One of pigs got a little too interested and nudged me off the bricks.

The rest is.....well an exciting blog!

Also add in who you are. If you are a funny person and other people actually think you are too, use it. If you think you are funny and others beg to differ that you are full of descriptive humour maybe try another style. I don't think that I am all that funny but what I do know is that I am a little 'silly' with the way I do things and look at life. Many I know would probably use a more descriptive word than silly and would probably add a string of colourful ones after it.

Therefore my blog is a little 'silly' too! So to say! <u> Capturing Your Precious Moments in Style</u> <u></u> <u></u> Just like finding your own writing style, for some there is a need to find their own style of capturing what will become not only memories for yourself but moments of awe for your friends and family. Everyone has seen photos of Shanghai but have they seen Shanghai through your eyes. I don't seem to look at the world like most people and have a certain quirkiness to me. Over the years I found that I was becoming bored with my photos. After starting my Travelblog I found that a lot of my photos were actually identical to most others that had visited the ancient walled city of Dali or the bright lights of Kunming.

Actually, there is nothing wrong with that but I subconsciously began changing the way I was taking photos and soon I had people who lived in the town/city I was visiting or living in telling me my photos made them want to visit their city through my eyes. With photos it is hard to find your own style and I wouldn't even know how to tell you to go about it. I guess find what you don't like and go about changing it.

Remember they are your photos and they are your memories and your view of the world. If you like your photos in black and white take them in black and white. If, like me you like your photos a little this or that way then take them that way. Remind anyone that begins to complain that this is your travelblog, they are your memories and that it is not National Geographic. <u> Blog Moments Along Your Journey</u> <u></u> <u></u> My biggest advice and probably some of the most important advice to any new blogger is to find out (and find out fast) 'their own way' of taking travel notes.

When I first began my Blog I tried to write about it when I returned from an adventure. If you compare the first year of my blog to the rest you will see a big difference in writing styles. I used the method of 'that was awesome I must remember that when I get home'. Things happen and at the time and they are usually spectacular and of course 'you will always remember them when you get home' (not!).

Then remind yourself of the reason you are writing your blog.

Simply put, you are on an adventure and tomorrow something new will happen as it will the day after that etc. It is all those little things when combined that will make your blog interesting to others. They are the things that you will also want to remember in years to come and more importantly they are the things that are never offered in a guide book. You will also forget most of them when you are back home having a beer with your mates trying desperately to explain why your adventure was so inspiring yet off the planet funny.

Obviously my first method didn't work so I then moved on to writing five simple words for each day. There was no reason why I set the limit to five words. It worked in a limited fashion but not one that I was happy with. I then changed to putting pen to paper and actually writing about my day each night for an hour or two with a cold beer. This worked well but I then had to transfer it to the computer when I either got home or found a trusty net cafe that didn't shut down either the internet or the entire computer on me several times during my visit. Of course during which I was also being chocked to death by the thousands of smokers sitting around me.

If I left it until I returned from my adventure it then would take me several months re-typing it and uploading photos. This, even though it was exciting looking at the pictures again, it became rather annoying. I mean who wants to type all those pages when they could be outside riding through a beautiful rice field at the foot of a breathtaking mountain. So prior to my last adventure I spent a little money and purchased myself a tiny seven inch notebook with a heap of memory. So each night over a few beers or when I'm on a long bus or train journey I can sit back and capture the day in words, sort through my photos and do back ups all at the same time.

So I guess you could say that my photos are now my 'travelling notes!' <u> What About a Travelblog?</u> <u></u> <u></u> Before beginning your blog, ask yourself the simple question 'Why do I want to write this?'

Do you just want to annoy your mates back at work and show them how much fun you're having at Ko Samui or do you want to offer more than that. Do you want to offer not only them but also yourself a part of you that you have kept hidden and write about the good times, the bad times and the real ugly times. I'd probably leave out the part about waking up with a She Male the morning after the Full Moon Party but hey, we all write 'honestly' in a different yet honest way!

I guess for those who want to simply annoy their mates, use Facebook that way you can also send each other hundreds of annoying 'Facebook' things each day.

I began mine simply for my family and some of my friends who seemed interested in my adventure. When I left Australia I knew I wanted to live in China and I knew I had no intention on returning home for a long time. What I didn't know about was blogging. I never really thought about sharing my life with others or that others would actually be interested. It wasn't until I travelled to the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province that I found out about the world of Travelpodding.

I was travelling with two girls from Ireland and one of them mentioned updating her travelblog. Thankfully I overheard her and asked what it was.

From then on a new experience was added to my life's adventure and one where I get to actually show not only my friends and family how beautiful and crazy China really is but also people I have never met. I could have continued with Group Emails but like most people I really hate group emails and the time it takes to attach photos to them. Why is that after you have sent it and deleted it from your account someone always writes to you asking you to send them the photos you sent the other day? Over a period of time I began receiving emails from people I had never met and that list continued to grow. It was then I actually realised that people really were interested in the life I was building for myself away from my motherland.

Some of these people either desired to do the same or to travel with me from their armchair.

I think that is why my writing style changed rather quickly. One month it was short, not so descriptive and used mainly to show my family and friends back home where I was living. Then after waking up to the fact that people were actually hungry to see what the 'real China' was like I began using it to do exactly that.

Remember that each country you visit will always offer so much more than what most already know. It is up to you to find an interesting way to offer the hidden gems you find. If you show them in a not so exciting manner your hidden gems will remain just that, hidden. They will be passed over for a more colourful and exciting blog that shows boring Big Ben in a way that you never thought to show that ancient walled city you come across in the northern deserts that no foreigners have ever visited.

In a lot of ways this helped me find not only my own style of writing but also my own style of travelling. I wanted to see as much of the real China as possible and most of the people I met weren't interested in going off the beaten path. So in a hissy fit I stamped my feet in frustration, went all independent and went in search of 'the real' China alone (much of the time anyhow). Although most of the places I go now are 'for me' they are also for those who want to go there but probably never will.

In other ways I use it to introduce China and the world of travel to new Foreign Teachers and also to travellers out for their first adventure in either the world or in China. Many of them speak of their dreams of 'leaving it all behind' and joining those like me who are living their dreams and living 'overseas' etc. I try to also use my blog to capture this dream while it is still fresh and to show them that their dream can easily be made real. When they get home they can sit and look over their photos of the places they visited and from there I hope that things 'click' and they will realise that they can actually do the same.

And lastly I also use it for me. Me! Me! Me! Its all about ME! </b> <b> I want it there for when I am old, wacky and a more loony than I am now. So, much of my blog is about just that. There are many entries on my bike rides, all in rice fields and mountains. To many maybe they look the same. But to me they don't look the same at all as each of them was found in a different way and took me to a different part of China. I guess others get to see how beautiful some of my rides are but there is more to it than meets the eyes. But only I will ever know why! Hahahahahaha! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane

To visit the Original KNOL please click here. It will take but a second mate!

Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style


Writing Eddakath Style

Writing Eddakath Style

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Thankfully it's a WIKI World Out There My Friends

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya

Ths is a page I've been using for some time now.

Moving around from school to school, trying to keep belongings down to a minimum, doing my best not to collect any books besides the one I read while traveling and those I use while teaching, how do I keep up to date and where in the world do I get most of my information?

for those of you who read my blog you will have seen this in many of them; From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [/i]</b> Some of you may have taken the time to find out what it is but most probably wouldn't have. Wikipedia has been banned here in China for many years due to it containing almost anything 'news' based BUT there are ways around the Great Fire Wall of China. Wikipedia is only one site of the many Wiki sites. I use several of them each day and I am surprised at how many people have never actually heard or used them.

I use them for my daily news updates, travelplans around China and information on almost any country I read about on Travelpod along with any other small and strange ideas I need to satisfy. They are all free and if you are a sharing type of person you can join Wiki and update them as you wish.

So to help spread the word of Wiki and help it grow I created a page of all the Wiki sites I could find.

If you are a parent show your kids as they are awesome stuff for homework. If you are a student at any level you'll find a lot of what you need here. If you want to know how to 'do something' you will find a step by step guide in Wiki. If you are about to travel to a non-English speaking country you will find free phrase books complete with several lessons to help you get started and calm some nerves. If you are like me and want an answer to almost everything that has bothered you during the day so you can sleep at night there is a Wiki site that can help.

Below is a detailed list of free Wiki sites beginning with some background information. Simply click on the main heading and it will take you to that sites Main Menu. I've left in all the sub headings you can browse when you get there.

Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ________________________________

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/i]</b> <u>WHY WIKI AND WHAT IS A WIKI?</u></b> A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. For example, the collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best known wikis. Wikis are used in businesses to provide affordable and effective intranets and for Knowledge Management. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work". <u>History</u> </b> Wiki Wiki bus at Honolulu International AirportWikiWikiWeb was the first site to be called a wiki. Ward Cunningham started developing WikiWikiWeb in 1994, and installed it on the Internet domain c2.com on March 25, 1995. It was named by Cunningham, who remembered a Honolulu International Airport counter employee telling him to take the "Wiki Wiki" shuttle bus that runs between the airport's terminals. According to Cunningham, "I chose wiki-wiki as an alliterative substitute for 'quick' and thereby avoided naming this stuff quick-web." On March 15, 2007, wiki entered the Oxford English Dictionary Online. <u> </u></b> The English-language Wikipedia has the largest user base among wikis on the World Wide Web and ranks in the top 10 among all websites in terms of traffic. Other large wikis include the WikiWikiWeb, Memory Alpha, Wikitravel, World66 and Susning.nu, a Swedish-language knowledge base.

<u>WELCOME TO WIKITRAVEL</u></b> Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable worldwide travel guide. So far we have 18,555 destination guides and other articles written and edited by Wikitravellers from around the globe Africa</a> Asia</a> Australasia</a> & Oceania</a> Europe</a> Middle East</a> North America</a> South America</a> Central America</a> & Caribbean</a> Other destinations</a> Travel topics</a> & Phrasebooks</a>

<u>WELCOME TO WIKIPEDIA</u></b> The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. </a>General reference, </a>Culture and the arts, </a>Geography and places, </a>Health and fitness, </a>History and events, </a>Mathematics and logic, </a>Natural and physical sciences, </a>People and self,</a> </a>Philosophy and thinking, </a>Religion and belief systems, </a>Society and social sciences</a> </a>Technology and applied sciences</a> <u> </u><u>WELCOME TO WIKINEWS</u></b> The free news source you can write!

Crime and law</a> - Culture and entertainment</a> - Disasters and accidents</a> - Economy and business</a> - Education</a> - Environment</a> - Health</a> - Obituaries</a> - Politics and conflicts</a> - Science and technology</a> - Sports</a> - Wackynews</a> - Weather </a> Africa</a> - Asia</a> - Central America</a> - Europe</a> - Middle East</a> - North America</a> - Oceania</a> - South America</a> - World</a> <u>WELCOME TO WIKTIONARY</u></b> A collaborative project to produce a free-content multilingual dictionary.

Designed as the lexical companion to Wikipedia, the encyclopaedia project, Wiktionary has grown beyond a standard dictionary and now includes a thesaurus, a rhyme guide, phrase books, language statistics and extensive appendices. We aim to include not only the definition of a word, but also enough information to really understand it. Thus etymologies, pronunciations, sample quotations, synonyms, antonyms and translations are included. Browse: Global alphabet</a> &middot; All languages</a> &middot; Topical index</a> &middot; Grammatical index</a> Appendices</a> &middot; Abbreviations</a> &middot; Thesaurus</a> &middot; Rhymes</a> &middot; Frequency lists</a> &middot; Phrasebooks</a> <u> WELCOME TO WIKIVERSITY</u></b> Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources and learning projects for all levels, types and styles of education from pre-school and school to university, professional training and informal and lifelong learning. We invite all kinds of learners (teachers, students, and researchers) to join us in creating educational resources and collaborative learning communities. Pre-school Education</a> &middot; Primary Education</a> &middot;Secondary Education</a> &middot; Tertiary Education</a> &middot; Non-formal Education</a> &middot; Research </a> English</a> &middot; Mathematics</a> &middot; Modern languages</a> &middot; Classical languages</a> &middot; Physics</a> &middot; Art</a> &middot; Biology</a> &middot; Chemistry</a> &middot; Geography</a> &middot; History</a> &middot; Information technology</a> &middot; Music</a> &middot; Physical education</a> &middot; Arts</a> &middot; Humanities</a> &middot; Social sciences</a> &middot; Physical sciences</a> &middot; Life sciences</a> &middot; Applied sciences</a> &middot; Information sciences</a> &middot; Mathematics</a> &middot; Educational sciences</a> &middot; Professional and vocational studies</a> &middot; Interdisciplinary studies</a> &middot; Wikimedia studies</a> <u>WELCOME TO WIKISPECIES</u></b> Wikispecies is an open, free directory of species. It covers Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Protista and all other forms of life. </a>Superregnum Archaea</a> Superregnum Bacteria</a> - Superregnum Eukarya</a> - Regnum Protista - Fungi - Regnum Plantae</a> - Regnum Animalia - Virus</a> (classification still unclear) WELCOME TO WIKIQUOTE</b> Welcome to Wikiquote, a free online compendium of quotations from notable people and creative works in every language, including sources (where known), translations of non-English quotes, and links to Wikipedia for further information! The English version of Wikiquote has 15,435 pages so far with many thousands of quotations and proverbs. Visit the help page or experiment in the sandbox to learn how you can edit nearly any page right now; or go to the Log in page to create a user page. Films - Literary works - Occupations - Proverbs - Television shows - Themes - Electronic games - Mnemonics</a> <u>WELCOME TO WIKIHOW</u></b> wikiHow is a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. With your edits, we can create a free resource that helps millions of people by offering solutions to the problems of everyday life. wikiHow currently contains 37,168 articles - written, edited, and maintained primarily by volunteers. Please join us by writing on a topic not yet covered, or editing an article that someone else has started. Arts & Entertainment</a> Health</a> Relationships</a> Cars & Other Vehicles</a> Hobbies and Crafts</a> Sports & Fitness</a> Computers & Electronics</a> Holidays & Traditions</a> Travel</a> Education & Communications</a> Home & Garden</a> Work World</a> Family Life</a> Personal Care & Style</a> Youth</a> Finance, Business & Legal</a> Pets & Animals</a> wikiHow</a> Food & Entertaining</a> Philosophy & Religion</a> Other</a> <u>WELCOME TO WIKIMEDIA</u> </b> Wikibooks is a Wikimedia community for creating a free library of educational textbooks that anyone can edit. Wikibooks began on July 10, 2003, since then Wikibooks has grown to include over 29,405 pages in a multitude of textbooks created by volunteers like you! Natural Sciences Department</a> Biology</a> - Engineering</a> - Health</a> - Mathematics</a> - Natural Sciences</a> - Chemistry</a> - Physics</a> Social Sciences Department</a> Business and Economics</a> - Education</a> - History</a> - Languages</a> - Law</a> - Social Sciences</a> Computing Department</a> Computer Science</a> - Computer Software</a> - Domain-specific Languages</a> - Information Technology</a> - Programming Languages</a> Humanities and Arts Department</a> Arts</a> - Games and Athletics</a> - Foreign Languages</a> - History</a> - Humanities</a> - Language and Literature</a> Special Groups</a> Cookbook</a> - Good books</a> - How-to Guides</a> - Study Guides</a> - Technology</a> - Wikijunior</a> - Wikistudy</a> - Wikiprofessional</a> - Wikilearn</a>

<u>WELCOME TO WIKISOURCE</u></b> Wikisource is an online library of free content publications collected and maintained by the community </b> Authors</a>: By alphabetical order</a> By era</a> Works</a>: By genre</a> By subject</a> By type</a> Index of Audio recordings</a> <u>

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Wonderful WELCOME MAT Moments: Shaanxi Province

THE WONDERFUL WELCOME MAT OF SHAANXI PROVINCE July 2008 to Present To keep the Great Welcome Mat Of China clean I've created this page to seperate my time in the South and North of China.

From here you can walk beside me on my current pathway in Shaanxi Province.

After a year and a half teaching, travelling and eating noodles in the wild terrains of the east coast province of Fujian it is time to begin a new adventure and that adventure will take me to the middlish province that is considered one of the cradles of the Chinese civilisation where an unbelievable thirteen feudal dynasties made their capitals over a period of one thousand years. The province's capital city Xi'an is one of the four great ancient capitals of China and is not only where one can find the Terracotta Warriors but it is also the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, which leads to Europe, Arabia and Africa. Once again I will find desert but happily that can be found in the north where the province borders with Inner Mongolia. I will be found riding amongst the Qinling mountains which run east to west in the south central part and happily there will be a subtropical climate. Life will be as beautiful as always and weekends and holidays will once again hopefully find me with my pack on travelling to small rural towns with friends to relax with a beer and find China's greatest BBQ.

XIAN CITY - As both Luo Wei and I live near Xian we both meet there several weekends each month so I have decided to treat Xian City the same as Shangzhou city (as my local or home city).

I HAVE ALSO WOVEN ALL PHOTO'S FOR EACH ENTRY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE. SIMPLY SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW THEM! Aselection of interesting enteries from Shaanxi July 2008 - Present

September 2008 - Space Sharks and My New School and Apartment Besides Shangzhou County the Shangluo area is made up of six other counties and one hundred and ninety six townships and villages. Shangzhou County is one of the less developed areas of China in terms of education. October 2008 - The 2008 Great Aussie Vegemite Care Package Seriously, where would be without our friends and family? Today I received a Care Package from both. November 2008 - English Week Prep & JB's & No F n C's What! No F & C's even after a few JB's! Yep, the Youth Hostel I eat at in Xian now stocks Jim Beam and Cola stubbies December 2008 - A Pre-Christmas G'Day & a Catchup Coffee Life moves on and waits for no man! Live in a rice field or marry your sweet and have a few kutchie koo's! A wise man once said, Do That Which Blows Your Hair Back Young Fella! February 2009 - Black Saturday Friends Family & Southern Australia No matter how hard I try I will never understand the human mind. We have almost destroyed the very thing we need to survive. February 2009 - How Much MORE Can A Koala Bear? Extreme drought, ferocious bushfires and urban development are killing Australia's koalas! And could push the species towards extinction within a decade! Koala is an aboriginal word meaning "no water". April 2009 - My Chopsticks Will Fly in a Furious Frenzy My chopsticks will fly in a flurry of furious frenzy if I find out who stole my bike. You can steal a mans iPod, his computer and even his girl (only because 'to be stolen' actually means she wants to go) but never, EVER steal a mans Beers N Noodles and defiantly not his damn bike, especially when he's just started riding again and the weather is perfect riding weather.

Aselection of market place nights, festivals and celebrations from Shaanxi July 2008 to present September 2008 - Happy Chinese Teachers Day N Pagoda Hill Walk There was only one bottle of beer and of course it was bloody warm! In the other 'big party' room everyone was yahooing and having a great time. September 2008 - Mid Autumn Festival N its Strange to Feel Strange Do you often sit and look at the Shangzhou hills and wonder what is up there? Me either, I just thought I'd ask. Actually I did today so I went on walkabout to find out and do you want to know what is up there? October 2008 - Happy Birthday China N The Martyrs Cemetery Soon Shane entered China, left China, went home for a spell and thought to himself, 'Hey Man, I think it's time to get me one of those Chairman Mao suites, I'm heading back to China for awhile. In his wake schools have flourished and new breweys opened. October 2008 - National Day..Green Parks, Temples N Good Friends As they had only an afternoon left I put plan B into action! That being what I normally do, allow a completely unplanned day come to life! October 2008 - The Aussie Roo's 4th Birthday in Mysterious China Do you ever sit and wonder where your time goes? So do I and I think we all do! Can't bring it back! Bugger! December 2008 - Today Is Dumpling Day & Winter Solstice Festival Today is the Winter Solstice Festival and you guessed it, its also about food. Happily for me the food consumed to celebrate it is Jiaozi, or dumplings which I gorge myself on regulary. I was told I HAD to eat Jiaozi today as they help stop your ears from freezing and falling off. December 2008 - Happy Xmas Beers & Noodles 2008 Mate I know it doesn't sound strange like maybe a box of lego. Or maybe even porn flick or two from your girlfriend's mother. But isn't it beneath a Christmas tree where your presents are supposed to go? December 2008 - 2009 New Years Beers N Noodles To You All I am sitting comfortably and warm before my computer and Luo Wei is out like a light. Happily for me, this time she is sleeping soundly on my couch right behind me. What a lucky boy I am! February 2009 - Its a Bird! Its a plane! Its the Lantern Festival! Falling on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year, the Lantern Festival takes place under a full moon, and marks the end of Chinese New Year festivities. The entire city has gone mad! March 2009 - The Months Wrapup and a Family Birthday Catchup Birthdays, they say its good to get most of them out of the way in as little time as possible that way you have less chance of forgetting them and therefore you can stay in the good books with almost everyone. June 2009 - Celebrating Change, Friendship & Childrens Day Oh sweet Sheezus, just one more bowl full please! They are so good and I know you think you know how good they are but it is impossible because they are mine, mine, mine all mine but now they are finished and you will never ever know how good they were....tomorrow I will restock and begin again!

Aselection of bike rides and walks around town from Shaanxi July 2008 to Present July 2008 - A Warm Welcome N To The City Bell Tower The Bell Tower or Zhong Lou: Located northwest within the Muslim Quarter. The Bell Tower is a stately traditional building that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the Tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty. July 2008 - Xian City Walk N Inside The Big Drum The Drum Tower in Xian was initially built in 1380 during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and was renovated twice in 1699 and 1740 in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is a two-storied post and panel structure, 34 meters (about 112 feet) high and 52.6 meters (about 172 feet) long from east to west as well as 38 meters (about 124 feet) wide from north to south. July 2008 - Islam Markets N Stoopid Tourist Faces Just as its name implies, Moslem Street is the hub of the Moslem community in Xian City, Shaanxi Province. Located beside the Drum Tower, it is about 500 meters (about 547 yards) long from south to north. This street is paved with dark colored stone with green trees providing heavy shade during summer; the buildings on both sides of the street are modeled on the styles of both the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). Some of the constructions are restaurants; while others are stores. July 2008 - The Muslim Quarter - The Great Mosque & Ancient Taoist Temples Behind Drum Tower, built in a perfect mixture of Islamic and Chinese architecture styles with seating for 1,000 worshipers and the Muslim Street around it. The Great Mosque in Xian is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China and its location is northwest of the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on Huajue Lane. August 2008 - Walking The Ancient Xian City Walls So, am I to begin calling Xian home? For some reason I always end up back here! August 2008 - Around The Ancient Xian Walls In Eighty Ways Back to the walls again but unlike yesterday where I walked the nearing fourteen kilometers on top of the walls, today I decided to walk the nearing fourteen kilometers around the bottom of the walls but in the opposite direction. Mate I had a fantastic day and I got to see so much. August 2008 - The Awesome Xian Music Fountain Some of which look old enough to have seen the beginning of the Pagoda and the others are the young children gleefully dancing around beneath the fountains. Who of course have no 'comprehension and are oblivious to the confusing world of their China they are being raised in. August 2008 - The Banpo Prehistoric Museum Adventure 'Xian Banpo Museum is the first prehistoric site museum built in 1958 since Liberation. The remains of cultural relics unearthed show the brilliant intelligence of Banpo people in the Neolithic age. August 2008 - The Historical Residence Gao Yue Song All tea tables are beautiful and seem to be a large cut from a rather large tree trunk. But not all tea girls have such large.....um.....tea cups here in China! September 2008 - The Temple of The Eight Immortals The monastery is said to be built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and was repaired and expanded many times in succeeding dynasties. The structures that can be seen today were mainly built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). August 2008 - The Xian City Arts Corner N Freddy Kruger Turtles After viewing the paintings and calligraphy I decided to quite my art life. Mine are obviously of greater quality and I wouldn't dream of making anyone else feel bad. The real reason was that they didn't stock crayons! September 2008 - A Casual Walk Along the River Side of the City For the first time since the dreaded colds of last winter I actually put my feet into shoes. I have worn out both heel of the sandals I purchased prior to my summer adventure and they are now giving me very sore feet. I guess you could say I have two flat tyres! October 2008 - The Dragon Back Mountains Dam & Temple Adventure Well hidden gems! Don't you just love finding things that you weren't actually looking for! Isn't it strange what you find after asking what there is too find and being told there is nothing to find! November 2008 - The Temple on Breasts N Evil Hoe Hacking Boy We could have little Evil Hoe Hacking Boy, who of course would have to look somewhat like Samuel L Jackson, (maybe we could call him Samuel L Wang - you know, little chinese boy with a beard and all) running around the corn field with his evil hoe in hand yelling out 'I'm sick of deese Mutha F*ckin Snakes on this Mutha F*ckin corn plain. November 2008 - A World Of Strange Colours & How Cold Is It! Snow really needs to take a page out of the oceans book! At least the ocean has the decency to be in one area and stay there. February 2009 - The Adventure Ends with Stelaes & More Snacks So what are the main thoughts gained from this winters adventures? Food! Food! Food! Honestly it is all about food here in China. March 2009 - Ancient Whispers From The Silk Road Besides smelly camels, barely habitable and isolated lands and heat I think mainly of the beautiful colours of the spices and the fabrics that were once transported. Of course there was much more than these two things being transported but for me they are always the two things that come to mind. March 2009 - Back In The Saddle Again & A Night At The Local Bike riding huh! Who ever thought I could have lasted nine months without a bike ride? After killing two bikes and nearly riding myself in to the ground in Fujian Province I promised myself big long rest from the bike and to take it easy and walk for the year. April 2009 - Hua Shan...Is It Really The Most Dangerous Trail? After reading this blog and viewing the photos ask your self this; Would you be game/stupid enough to walk the plank? April 2009 - A Most Awesome Weekend With The Gadget Family This year they chose Xian city for their 'extra city adventure'. How excited were we when we figured out that their choice was actually only two hours from where I live. April 2009 - Too Many Beers With Guangxi Brad & Englands MikeTV Finally this weekend busy Brad could put work aside and then too many beers before him. Some of it is a little hazy especially going to the street bbq at around four or five on Saturday morning. We had an absolute ripper of a time and I can even remember most of it. May 2009 - Jing Quan Shan & Backyard Hanging Temples..Awesome The Chinese from what I can gather, have been hacking into cliff sides, creating rooms, carving stone statues and then building and attaching wooden facades at the mouth of it all since the Tang Dynasty which is around one thousand five hundred years. But they have been hacking into cliff sides without attaching wooden facades for much longer. May 2009 - Angels, Gut Instinct & The Dragon Boat Festival Seriously, what type of idiot would look at these montains and say, I will find a way to ride over you! Me! Yes, I am that type of idiot. I will spent days, weeks or even months to find a way through! June 2009 - The Colours as Spring Welcomes Summer A selection of my favourite photos from over the past few weeks

Aselection of towns, cities and villages that I have visited July 2008 to Present Each selection will take you to my one favourite day in each city. All of them my sandals and I spent several days exploring. XIAN CITY will not be included in this section. As Luo Wei lives near Xian we both meet several weekends each month so I have decided to included Xian City in all of my Shangzhou city or Local sections. July 2008 - Shanxi Province - The Ancient Walls N Romantic Lanterns of Pingyao What's unique here is this well-preserved ancient city with its grand, solemn city wall, its residences and shops, and even the government office all in the style of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911). In 1997, when it was declared a World Cultural Heritage site for its Old City, Pingyao gradually opened up to the outside world and more and more people have come to have a look at this old city representing the prosperous past of Shanxi during the Ming and Qing eras. July 2008 - Shanxi Province - Taiyuan Jinci Temple N Lazy Old Trees Situated at the foot of Xuanweng Mountain and about twenty five kilometers southwest of Taiyuan city is the Jinci Temple. Construction on this little Buddhist beauty began around AD1023 and most of the ancient buildings are made from wood. Built at the start of the Jin River the temple is not only located in a beautiful part of Taiyuan but the temple itself really is an awesome place to spend an afternoon. July 2008 - Shanxi Province - Too Many Temples N Begging Monks on Wutai Shan The most holy land of Chinese Buddhism. Mt. Wutaishan lies in Wutai County in Xinzhou Region, Shanxi Province. It is rated on both the list of the first group of national scenic spots designated by the State Council, and the list of the Top 10 scenic spots in Shanxi Province. It is as famous as Mt.Emeishan in Sichuan Province, Mt.Putuoshan in Zhejiang Province, and Mt.Jiuhuashan in Anhui Province, all of which are renowned as the four sacred Buddhist Mountains. July 2008 - Shanxi Province - The Beautiful Adventure to Shahe N Beyond The road wound its way through huge rocky mountains that sometimes gave way to huge grasslands to be then eaten away by another breathtaking peak. Small rivers cleaned the feet of the huge slopes and small villages could be spotted on some of the beautiful grasslands. July 2008 - Shanxi Province - Datong The Crazy Craftsmen of the Yungang Grottoes The Yungang Grottoes are ancient Buddhist temple grottoes near the city of Datong in the Chinese province of Shanxi. They are excellent examples of rock-cut architecture and one of the three most famous ancient sculptural sites of China. The others are Longmen and Mogao. The site is located about 16 km south-west of the city, in the valley of the Shi Li river at the base of the Wuzhou Shan mountains. July 2008 - Inner Mongolia - The Xilamuren Grasslands Adventure The tour was actually really great and we got to meet some awesome people from all walks of life here in China, all of whom fell for Luo Wei before we even arrived at the grasslands. The tour was for two days, one of which was spent at the grasslands where we got to spend the night in a Mongolian Yurt, ride horses, watch Mongolian horsemen do things with a horse that I never thought possible (without gumboots!) and pretty much relax and get to know new people. July 2008 - Inner Mongolia - The Resonant Sand Gorge Adventure The Resonant Sand Gorge carries this odd name, because it is said that the echo of the sand that moves in wind creates a Shhhh-sound that reverberates through the gorge. And because of the structure of the rocky left side of the gorge and the changes in the wind, that sound can become very melodious with tones similar to that of a pan flute. Just as all the other visitors there, I was very keen on hearing the song of the sand (as the signs poetically call it) and we all listened very carefully at various places in and around the gorge. August 2008 - Ningxia Province - Ten Thousand Year Old Faces N Ancient Xia Tombs Walking amongst the carvings was for me a real life experience. There are over two thousand or so pictographs of animals, hunting scenes and faces. Most of what you will see if you visit this site are faces. So many faces! They seem to be staring at you from thousands of rocks within the cliffs that surround you. August 2008 - Ningxia Province - The Freaky Sikou Sandstone Gorges in Zhongwei Situated around sixty kilometers from Zhongwei City is the new play ground for the Chinese tourists. It is an area opened only several years ago filled with a few temples and caves all located in sandstone gorges that were formed millions of years ago by both earthly upheavals and rushing water. Now it has been broken into two parts; the east playground and the west playground. August 2008 - Ningxia Province - Foreigners Must Pay at Xumi Shan Grottoes in Guyuan They actually reminded me a lot of being in South Korea at such places as Sarakson National Park. Surrounding you are huge mountains of rock upon which greenery does its best to survive. The difference is that in the distance (here in Guyuan) there are desert sand hills as far as the eye can see. August 2008 - Henan Province - The Qingming Garden & The Old Quarter of Kaifeng City Located on the western bank of the enchanting Dragon Pavilion Lake, the (what is now known as) Millennium City Park covers an area of near four hundred thousand square meters and it is a large scale historic culture theme park. The park was built on the basis of the painting of Qingming Riverside Landscape which is a painting that has been handed down for generations. August 2008 - Henan Province - The Sun Shines N Splendour on Ji Gong Shan It really is an amazing place to walk around and it is so easy to get the feeling of what it would have been like to live here in its heyday. There are several churches, a small hospital and from what I can gather most things were obtainable. All roads, paths and grounds are covered by huge shady trees and vines cover many of the colonial stone buildings. August 2008 - Xinyang Henan Province - Borrowed Time! How Much Time Is Good Time? The very grains we are made to rely on to give us some sort of structure to our lives. Both our days and nights pass us by under the ungrateful and greedy eyes of time. Forever taking from us, yet never giving in return. Our sands begin to flow from our very first breath. When we give birth we give new life. Yet strangely at the same time are we not also taking the same life. For do we not also begin our pathway to death from the very same first breath that gives us life? January 2009 - Guangdong Province & Delicious Cantonese Cuisine To begin the 2009 Winter Beers N Noodles Adventure I put together this page (from www.wikipedia.org) for those who have Chinese friends and also love Chinese food. For those who don't, I'm sure you will find it rather interesting as well. You will be surprised at how much Guangdong Province (Guangzhou/Canton City) has actually immersed itself into and influenced the Western World without us even knowing. Chinese immigrants from Guangdong helped build many of the rail roads from which our societies flourished, dug and found wealth in several of the rushes and simply worked the jobs that nobody else wanted to do, even today. January 2009 - The Nanfeng Ancient Kiln Fires & Foshan City I've been here four years but I will never tire of watching the old family bike going past me. Especially when its Grandma peddling and Grandpa kicking back in the back with grandchild. February 2009 - Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks For those of you who don't know, Kaifeng city is one of my most favourite cities here in China and besides the Jinghong city (Xishuangbanna) night food market, Kaifengs night market would be at the top of my list. April 2009 - Mount Huashan With The Fisher Family After reading this blog and viewing the photos ask your self this; Would you be game/stupid enough to walk the plank?

in Zhongwei

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Wonderful WELCOME MAT Moments: Fujian Province

THE WONDERFUL WELCOME MAT OF FUJIAN PROVINCE December 2006 to 30 June 2008 To keep the Great Welcome Mat Of China clean I've created this page to seperate my time in the South and North of China.

From here you can walk beside me on my Fujian Province pathway.

A Big Greedy English School cut my time in the north short and life once again took me to the south but this time to a south east coastal province. I left my life amongst the arid hills and the bread and noodle eating tall peoples and once again found myself amongst lush greens. As usual I rode for hours in search of little villages full of happy smiles and lush rice fields where I continued my waving and saying hellowwwww to bamboo peak hatted farmers.

Life was as beautiful as always and weekends and holidays once again found me with my pack on travelling to small rural towns with friends to relax with a beer and find China's greatest BBQ. What will the future bring? I'm still hoping for the trip to Laos & Cambodia and have now added the spicey train journey to Kashgar to my mental list of millions of things to do and places to go.

I HAVE ALSO WOVEN ALL PHOTO'S FOR EACH ENTRY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE. SIMPLY SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW THEM! Aselection of interesting enteries from Fujian 2006 - 2008 December 2006: Good Bye freezing Gansu Hello Green and Lush Fujian Remember in my last entry when I wrote the words; `Who knows what will happen between now and then&acute; regarding moving to Xian. Well, things did change! I now write to you from the coastal province of Fujian. December 2006: The City So Far.....Beautiful Mate! What a wonderful life and what a wonderful place to live February 2007: In Memory of Billy Thorpe Whilst living and working on Queenslands Gold Coast I worked with a guy named Matthew March 2007: The Second Great Aussie Care Package Maaaate, it finally arrived. My second Aussie Care Package! Aussie Santaroo finally found his fatass way to China with my Christmas present! April 2007: The Great Aussie Easter Care Package Yeah Yeah, it&acute;s late I know! Build a chocolate bridge and get over it! Put me in my room and roll a rock in front of it! May 2007: Mate Whats Been Happening and A Quick Catchup That's it mate, they've gone home! I can't believe they've gone. Shaowu will never be the same again. The English couple have left the building. June 2007: Exam Time, Bus Patience and an Ancient Village With 1.4 billions people in one country and many of them being middle and high school students all fighting for spots in high schools and universities you have major life changing exams. If you miss out on the university you need to attend to become `something&acute; then most of the time you will have to change your career choice. June 2007: A Bad Beginning Only Means a Better Ending I then walked into the lounge room and there at the front door was a huge brown rat. We stood staring at each other wondering what the hell the other was doing and who was going to make the first move. He made the first move and it was across the room and beneath the couch. June 2007: Christine or Cybil or Both I couldn&acute;t stop laughing when the first thing Joyce said was `You&acute;ve killed your bike again haven&acute;t you!&acute; The tally so far for this bike is five pedals, one chain and now two sets of gears. I think I need a sponsor! June 2007: Mate, It's Summer Break & This Weathers Insane Windows and doors opening and slamming closed by themselves. I look to the floor expecting to see the cellar door from Evil Dead opening and closing with screams of laughter filling the air. It seems the wind is moving in many directions at once and when it&acute;s allowed inside it creates a separate storm in my apartment. I have to run around catching flying paper and stop myself from being tangled and strangled in the curtains that somehow have grown an evil personality. November 2007 - The Ancient Facts Behind The Modern Face of Shaowu The city obviously began as a small village over one thousand years ago. I knew this had to the be the case as Shaowu houses one of Fujian&acute;s three Ancient Mosques which was built over 700 years ago but today Mr Doo confirmed that the first village was built over one thousand years ago. As the village grew into a town Protective Walls were built and soon surrounded the fast growing town. These walls were built somewhere between three to five hundred years ago and only several hundred meters from my school and my home sits the last remaining section of the city wall and the last ancient city gate that faces the beautiful Min River. November 2007 - Yet Another Strangely Perfect Day In Shaowu Photos Only But they are nice photos...hahahaha! November 2007 - Aliens, The Flu and Fishless Fish Farms After speaking to Super Shirley the Chinese English Teacher I thought about texting her a reply to her caring well wishes of `get some sleep, relax and take care&acute; type thing. I remember thinking this and I was just about to raise myself onto my elbow to grab my phone when I must have been abducted my Aliens. March 2008 - Beers N Noodles to my Nieces and Nephews Life is full of so many wrongs and rights. What is the right thing to do when it comes to family? Do you do what most would say the right thing to do is? Do you head home and give yourself back to your family which will satisfy almost everyone? May 2008 - Four Canadians & One Super Sneaky Northern Train Girl Not long after arriving home from my Asian Adventure seven years ago I was driving along a highway with some friends and we came across a guy making his way hitching. After the many that have gone missing around the world due to either hitching or picking up a hitchhiker it is not often that I would do such a thing. On this day (like I said above) I was with friends. On this day I met a guy I named Kev The Canadian Backpacker. May 2008 - The Day The Northern Earth Crumbled Supposedly predicted in 2002 to happen sometime in the following seven years the earth certainly did not only as predicted but almost at the very spot. The predicted area was only 120 kms away from the epicenter. Though predicted, who is going to stand guard for seven years under a door frame or sleeping in a tent on a football field. May 2008 - School Markets For Those Still Buried Beneath In response to Mondays earthquake the school quickly gathered the teachers and students together and they all decided the quickest, easiest and most fun way to raise money for those in need was to simply bring 'things' to school and spend two afternoons buying and selling. So beneath a cloudless deep blue sky we all gathered in the playground with money in hand and bargained our butts off for several hours. The stalls were news paper pages set upon the ground and upon these were placed the 'goodies'. May 2008 - An Earthquake Update From Another Hometown Boy Around the same time I left Australia three and a half years ago another guy from my home town was packing and getting himself ready for the life I was already flying towards. Though our parents have known each other for a long time we had no idea that we were both planning to live and teach in China for the many years that followed.

Aselection of market place nights, festivals and celebrations in Shaowu 2006 - 2008 December 2006: Anyone want a Chinese Burn for Christmas Though I'm far far away from all of my beautiful friends, family and my homeland , I just wanted to let you know that..sniff...sniff...sniff...sniff I will be eating noodles for Christmas dinner...AGAIN!!! December 2006: Christmas in China Mate, I even went to church Fan dancing and photos with the big Guy and the Dancing Girls January 2007: Back in the fields & a night with the Russian Orchestra Once we had all placed our chopsticks upon the table we made our way to the hall where the Shaowu Chinese Army was in full force checking tickets and making sure all would be well for their Russian Friends. January 2007: Happy Australia Day to all my Friends and Family Dinner was spent with some teachers from Daniels school at a Hot Pot eatery dipping assorted foods into our individual Hot Pots, drinking a heap of beer and happily chatting about anything and everything. February 2007: Spring Festival & Chinese New Year Information Spring Festival really is a most amzing time to be here in China. For some it would be too much especially in a large city and for others they would become totally lost in all the different ways it is celebrated. February 2007: Spring Festival Lunch in a Beautiful Village An awesome afternoon spent in a friends tiny farming village. The festival feast was more than anyone could ask for. The company was just as great. March 2007: The Spring Festival ends with the Lantern Festival Falling on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year, the Lantern Festival takes place under a full moon, and marks the end of Chinese New Year festivities. The Lantern Festival dates back to shrouded legends of the Han Dynasty over 2000 years ago. March 2007: Womens Day Celebrations Sure Bra&acute;s were burnt, Women&acute;s Rights were introduced into most western societies but is there really equality in our societies? Who is killing the world around us as they dominate society? Men! Take a look at history then look at the present. March 2007: Dining with Chickens at My Feet In A Small Village I&acute;ve had a friend here in Shaowu since I first arrived at the school. We have always got along really well. She&acute;s a heap of fun and very feisty, always trying to beat me or throw me off a balcony or the other way round. She invited Daniel, Alexa and I to her village where her family still live farming rice and tobacco. March 2007: MMMmmm Those Great Northern Noodles Not only in Gansu can you see this beautiful happening but also along the Sichuan/Tibetan Highway and I'd say all the way across to Kashgar. It&acute;s such a treat to sit and watch the Noodle Man throwing a ball of dough around and then by way of magic turn it into many long noodles that you will soon be slurping away on. May 2007: The Yunnan Snow Mountain Minority Peoples Evening Hey, minority girls in minority dresses. They could spend the night playing chess and I'd still be happy! May 2007: Bugs Slugs N a Wonderful Weekend Last night I headed out with the Martin and Georga for a night on the town. I introduced them to the wonderful friendliness of `Yellow&acute; and its delicious menu. We then took a walk though the neon coloured streets and we then headed to Shaowu's newest bar called the Miami Bar. BUT, some of the signs actually say the Maiam Bar. I really don't know how they can get it both right and wrong, but this is China. From there we headed to Ting Tings Bar that we now have to rename as Ting Ting has left the building. June 2007: International Children's Day in China Until coming here I always thought it was funny that we celebrated the birthday of a Queen none of us had ever met (and for many, nor really want) along with celebrating a three minute horse race called the Melbourne Cup. Don&acute;t get me wrong, public holidays have become rare in Victoria Australia and I&acute;m happy to celebrate any `Old Jack or Jills&acute; Birthday to get a public holiday. But should we really celebrate the Queens birthday over celebrating Children&acute;s Day? June 2007: The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival The Dragon Boat Festival which is also known as Double Fifth Day falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. From what I can gather there are many different stories as to where and how this festival came to light. But the most popular version and the one officially accepted is about Qu Yuan, a minister during the Warring States Period - (475 - 221 BC). August 2007: Chinese Valentines/Lovers Day One love story for this day is about the 7th daughter of Emperor of Heaven and an orphaned cowherd. The Emperor separated them. The 7th daughter was forced to move to the star Vega and the cowherd moved to the star Altair. They are allowed to meet only once a year on the day of 7th day of 7th lunar month. September 2007: Teachers Day Celebration In 1939 the Ministry of Education pronounced that Confucius' birthday would be celebrated on August 28, and designated it as Teachers' Day as well as a national holiday to remember Confucius' enormous contribution to Chinese culture and society. October 2007: Chinese National Day Celebration Soon Shane entered China, left China, went home for a spell and thought to himself, `Hey Man, I think it&acute;s time to get me one of those Chairman Mao suites, I&acute;m heading back to China for awhile. In his wake schools have flourished and new brewery&acute;s opened. October 2007: Celebrating My Third Birthday In China After dinner we all rocked on to a rather swisho KTV (karaoke) place where we met up with Joyce, Candy and a few others. Here (after many beers) they came face to face with the legend my voice really is. I&acute;m serious! It&acute;s been compared to Pavarotti on acid breaking wind and my gawd did I sing up a storm that night. October 2007: Young Pioneers Day Though all students have being spending many hours practicing I was more than proud of one group in particular. Many of my Grade 5 students made up the school band for this years celebration. Each night for many weeks they have been.....ANNOYING THE ABSOLUTE SHITE OUT OF EVERYONE WHO EITHER LIVES AT THE SCHOOL OR ANYWHERE AROUND THE AREA! October 2007: Flippity Flippity Flop, Joyce Ran Up The Clock I kind of went...HUH? Didn&acute;t we celebrate your birthday on the 6th? Well....yes we did, but today is my `Lunar Birthday&acute;. Oh, is that right? You Chinese keep that one up your sleeves for extra presents don&acute;t you! November 2007 - FIRE FIRE FIRE! 119 Celebration Day Today we celebrated what is known here in Fujian Province as 119 Celebration Day. 119 is the emergency phone number for FIRE here in Fujian and tomorrow being the 9th Day of the 11th Month is the day all schools celebrate the heroic efforts of not only their country&acute;s Firemen but the Firemen from all around the world! November 2007 - Lets Go On A Picnic Chinese Style! Bring The Wok! Mate, have you ever been on a Chinese picnic? Let me tell you about the Chinese picnic I went on today. First step is to buy as much food as humanly possible. Second step is to pre-make nothing at all. Third step is to carry it all there, then make it and eat as much as humanly possible! December 2007 - Happy Christmas To You All N Cake With Chopsticks Christmas huh! Can&acute;t believe its Christmas time. It came and then it was gone just as quick. How quick does life fly on by now that I&acute;m juuuust past twenty-one. I remember juuuust a few years ago when I was a boy, the lead up to Christmas was huge. December 2007 - Shaowu City Schools Performance. Awesome! Photos aren't the best quality, mainly due to the lighting and my camera but mate, it was an awesome night. My students were the best of course! They are the ones in green with the red umbrellas. Ha Ha! December 2007 - Happy Yan Tan OR Happy Freaking New Year 2ya Mate Remember last summer holidays as I was casually drinking/making my way from city to town to city to town from Xian City all the way to the east coast of China. Well, if you do remember, can you tell me! Hahahaha! Just joking, if you do remember then you would remember a beautiful girl I met in one of China&acute;s ancient capital cities, the ancient walled city of Kaifeng. January 2008 - The LABA (Eight Treasure) Rice Festival Falling on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month, Laba Festival was originally an occasion for people to give sacrifices to their ancestors, and to pray to heaven and earth for a good harvest and good luck for the family. Many years later, it has become a Laba rice porridge eating event. A porridge that contains different types of rice, beans, dried nuts, bean curd, and meat. February 2008 - Spring Festival and Chinese New Year Information Of all the traditional Chinese festivals, the New Year was perhaps the most elaborate, colorful, and important. This was a time for the Chinese to congratulate each other and themselves on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the New Year. February 2008 - My Fifth Colourful and Squawking Chinese New Year My first was spent in the Xishuangbanna Region (Yunnan Province) in the year 2000. My second was spent in Yangshuo (Guangxi Province) in the year 2005. My third was spent in the Xishuangbanna Region (Yunnan Province) in the year 2006. My fourth was spent in a small Shaowu Village (Fujian Province) in the year 2007. And here I sit once again in my beautiful little mountain city of Shaowu (Fujian Province - 2008) bewildered by the fact that I have actually celebrated my fifth Spring Festival here in China. February 2008 - Dining In A Village With Chickens At My Feet 2 If you are ever invited to a small village for such an occasion, simply feel an honoured guest! You can try to find words of thanks but usually they will be waved away! What you will eat has taken much money and time to prepare! Don&acute;t force your thanks, simply be thankful! Walk away feeling an honoured! Life is not always so beautiful! February 2008 - The Beer Man Wedding Feast N Back In The Fields What ever the time line is, I&acute;ve enjoyed every Chinese Wedding I&acute;ve been lucky enough to have been invited to. I feel sorry for the groom though. As they invite such a huge amount of people the poor bugger is hammered by the time the couple finally finishes going from table to table toasting and being toasted. Silly `Beer Man&acute; chose to carry a bottle of red wine or two with him. Not a good idea when you have so many guests. I think I would have stuck with beer...man! February 2008 - Super Northern Girls Surprise Valentines Visit Knock Knock Knock Knock! So she who was supposed to be in the north had just spent another twenty two hours on board an extremely packed train taking her from north to south. This time though, as there were no seat tickets left she had to get a standing ticket. February 2008 - Three Years Living In China Well Well Well! Three holes in the ground! Five Spring Festivals and three years later I continue to live a wonderful life here in China! Yes, on this day three years ago I flew from The Land Down Under to the Confusing Land Uphere! Doing so made most of my dreams become a reality and a reality they still are. February 2008 - The Chinese Lantern Festival 2008 Well from my experience all it actually does is remind everyone of their remaining fireworks along with the fact that soon the Fireworks Stores will either be empty or closed. So really it only enhances the fact that everyone should or MUST be the last ones remaining with fireworks to annoy the complete shit out of everyone around them who have pretty much had enough by now. March 2008 - International Womens Day in Fujian Province China Sure Bra&acute;s were burnt, Women&acute;s Rights were introduced into most western societies but is there really equality in our societies? Who is killing the world around us as they dominate society? Men! Take a look at history then look at the present. In the past and in the present, who have held and continue to hold most of the top positions in all societies? Who makes up a huge percent of the armed forces along with filling most of the beds on the `inside&acute;? March 2008 - Tree Planting Day and Ugly Bare Hills Being an obsessive bike rider I get to see so much of China that will never be seen by most foreign visitors. Add to this the lucky fact that I get to live in a place for a long period of time and when you put these two together this means I simply get to see some of the changes that happen. One change I am quick to notice in all the areas I have been lucky to live in are the changes in the hills that surround the town or city I am living in. March 2008 - The Qing Ming Toomb Sweeping Festival In short it s a time for people to head outside and enjoy the greenery that springtime offers and to also take an adventure into the hills and both celebrate and 'sweep clean' the family graves. As of this year it is now an official public holiday in China. Prior to this year it was a public holiday in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. April 2008 - Happy Birthday to Yan and Thanks For The Hangover Why we actually went to another restaurant was anyone's guess. From what I could gather everyone was full yet once we began we all found we had spare room in both our food stomaches and our beer stomaches. It was such a happy and wonderful night by the end of which everyone was pretty messy yet still in high spirits. So here's a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Yan! I hope you had a wonderful time mate! Always a big thankyou for a great meal! May 2008 - International Workers Day With Happy Luo Wei This year there was no time to pack the pack and bugger off into the wild blue yonder. Shaowu was the place to be and I was ever so happy to be there as Luo Wei was with me. Yes the Super Northern Train Girl boarded the train a week before and spent another twenty something hours in a hard seat rocketing her way from north to south. May 2008 - The May Fourth Movement and Why China Is China There is a reason behind China's dramatic pathway change and it made this change after dealings with the Western World, especially America who very much slapped it about and treated it without importance. May 2008 - Happy Mothers Day Toya Mar Ya poor bugger, stuck in bed with the flu! Bloody hell mate! Who gets the flu on Mothers Day? Rise and shine and give the flu to Par Kettle or your other son or daughter for the day. I'm sure they will be happy to bare your burden because that's what loves about right! And that's what you do for ya Mar/Wife on Mothers Day! June 2008 - International Childrens Day - Part I This will be part one of this years Children's Day Travelpod Entries. This year, Children's Day is on a Sunday so we had the 'Bezerk Classroom Fun' on Friday, 30th May. Usually we would have celebrated it on the Sunday but this year is a special year for my school. At the end of next week we will have several teachers and students come to stay with us from Singapore. June 2008 - The Dragon Boat Festival Less The Festival So I find out that there actually were Dragon Boat races in Shaowu.....LAST FREAKIN YEAR! I don't know how many people I asked and they all said the same thing. No, no Dragon Boat Festival in Shaowu. Today (a year later) several people said to me 'Pity, no festival this year. The Dragon Boat races last year were beautiful and much fun.' What can I say? The Chinese are not known for their communication skills. June 2008 - International Childrens Day - Part 2 Colourful and happy photos only

Aselection of bike rides and walks around town in 2006 - 2008 December 2006: A walk through the Old River Quater I zipped in and out of the alley ways lined with moss covered little houses, noodle shops and old men and women hocking and coughing up lungs all over the place. Somehow I ended up back in the other `old quarter&acute; and spent many hours ducking in and out of little alley ways and dodging hand pulled carts and three wheeler bicycles. December 2006: A Beautiful Mountain and the alleys of the old town This is the section where I find 99% of the cities `real&acute; smiles. Though they have sweet bugger all in comparison to the rest of the city, they are so happy to have what they have and to actually be alive. January 2007: A picnic and a walk with my High School friends Daniel and Alexa had already been invited to another picnic with his students so it was only me and several 18 year old females. DAMN! Could life get any tougher! January 2007: The search for the Ancient Mosque Finally, this evening ended my search for an ancient mosque that has remained hidden in the labyrinth of small alleyways in the `old quarter&acute; by the river for the past two weeks. March 2007: My Daily Village and Temple Bike Ride The silence, the colour, the happy smiles offered by farmers in the fields, the screaming and being chased by the school children, the earth buildings, the chickens and the old temple I found. I then leave the small villages behind. May 2007: My Daily Village and Temple Bike Ride Part Two I've been trying to find a ride like back in Tianang that takes me way out into the villages and then around and back again. I've found and taken many off tracks but they always end at another small village. It's always great to find a new village full of yapping dogs and small grubby children chasing chickens around the place. June 2007: Happy Birthday Candy and the Aussie Village Bike Ride After showering the dust and sweat off ourselves we were joined by the most beautiful Joyce. She really is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. We then headed out into the stormy afternoon in search of a birthday present for Candy who is Joyce&acute;s best friend and fellow Chinese English teacher at our school. June 2007: A Bad Beginning Only Means a Better Ending What is the worst sound a bike rider can hear? Most would say the whooshing sound of escaping air from a tyre. Wrong! Some would say a truck a few centimetres away. Correct but luckily for me it wasn&acute;t that. So what would the next thing be. Maybe a crunching sound from the rear wheel followed by your back wheel locking up, and then more crunching sounds then your back wheel moving again. The sound was my gear box falling apart and the two little cogs coming free releasing the springy `bar thing&acute; and it getting jammed into the gears. June 2007: Christine or Cybil or Both I couldn&acute;t stop laughing when the first thing Joyce said was `You&acute;ve killed your bike again haven&acute;t you!&acute; The tally so far for this bike is five pedals, one chain and now two sets of gears. I think I need a sponsor! October 2007: The Great Autumn Rice Harvest Bike Ride Rice mate! I&acute;ve never seen so much of it. It is literally everywhere. It&acute;s growing in the fields in all its different shades of green. It&acute;s spread all over the roads drying. It&acute;s in piles on all the roads waiting to be put through the rice machine that separates the husks. It&acute;s on everyone&acute;s front porches. It&acute;s seriously is everywhere you look. January 2008 - The Village Temple Bike Ride With Amigo Anyhow today I borrowed Canadian Jo&acute;s bike and I took Luo Wei (Amigo) on my Village/Temple and Loggers bike rides. She took a tumble even before we made it out of the school gate. I&acute;m sure the young kids here are fed rice wine for breakfast. None of them can walk a straight line. One second left, then right, then straight, then left and then right again. Poor Amigo had no idea where Rice Wine Baby was heading and soon she was off the bike and had landed on her knee. March 2008 - What An Awesome Week It Was How was the week you ask. That&acute;s bloody amazing mate! I was just thinking about how great my week has been! Besides two punctures in the last two days, as usual I couldn&acute;t be happier if I was twins. May 2008 - The Beautiful Chinese Village Hop Today I rose and after a big bowl of noodles with vegetables and eggs I almost ran with excitement to my bike. The day was so beautiful and it was the perfect day to find a new bike ride and I knew exactly where I was going to go. I always feel like I'm about fifteen when it is time to find a new bike ride. I'm always finding new places to go but when I want a new 'bike ride' I mean one that will take me 'way out there' for many hours.

Aselection of towns, cities and villages that I have visited in 2006 - 2008 Each selection will take you to my one favourite day in each city. All of them my sandals and I spent several days exploring. January 2007: Xiamen City - Gulang Yu, is this really China All around I found heaps of little alleyways filled with normal Chinese daily goings on. On Gulang Yu the colonial architecture was plentiful as were the giant Boa Trees. They were everywhere with their long beards flowing in the breeze. I also visited the Nanputo Si Temple which was built 1000 years ago during the Tang Dynasty. It was ruined by the Mings and rebuilt by the Qings, so it&acute;s pretty bloody old and worth a visit. I also visited the beautiful Botanical Gardens and Xianmen University and ontop of all that, I met a very beautfiul girl. She was like a romantic Song! February 2007: Yongding - Hakka Minority Peoples 'Earth Buildings' Day 1 The first thing I&acute;ll say in this entry is this: `wouldya farken look at that! Wouldya farken look at that!&acute; That was the first thing I said when I got out of the mini van. February 2007: Yongding - Hakka Minority Peoples 'Earth Buildings' Day 2 They have been proven to be fire, damp, earthquake and heat proof. Some are round and consist of one to five rings. Some are square or squares within squares. Others are half moons or spirals but it doesn't matter what their shape is, all are simply put...unfreakinbloodybelievable! February 2007: Quanzhou City - Zhongshan Road & Around Town Temple Tour Awesome Quanzhou City which I found to be a city of temples, electric scooters and bicycles. If you like any or all of these things then Quanzhou is the place for you. If you fear one or all, stay in Xiamen. I absolutely love all three so I fell in love with this city pretty much on arrival. February 2007: Chongwu Town - The Ancient Granite 'Walled' Coastal City An ancient walled city made entirely of granite was my plan for the day. Not a bad plan when you think of it. In fact a bloody good one I reckon! February 2007: Xiamen City - The Full Wrath of Spring Festival Back in what was now a very very gridlocked Xiamen City where I faced the full 'wrath' of the Spring Festival Transport Chaos! It really is insane. I also spent Valentines Day with lovely Ms Li. February 2007: Fuzhou City - One Rainy Night in Fuzhou A perfect end to a perfect coastal `Earth Building, Ancient Granite City, Temple and Beach Frolicking&acute; Romantic Adventure. February 2007: Sunchang Town - A Walk on Huayang Shan with Two Beautiful Girls Finally two hours after leaving Shaowu the bus arrived in Sunchang Town where I was met with a happy hug from Eva and warm welcoming smiles from her mother, Aunty and Eva&acute;s friend Shania. March 2007: The Bumpy Road to the Ancient Town of Heping Moss covered cobblestone alleyways allow you to zigg zagg your way around town and visit some of the 300 or so buildings. These buildings were built during the Ming (AD1368-1644) and Qing (AD1644-1911) Dynasties. On both the inside and the outside of many of the buildings you can find beautiful stone carvings. April 2007: The Tian Chen Valley & Broken Bowl River Adventure Everything was so alive and so full of colour due to the crazy amount of rain we&acute;ve had over the past few months. When we weren&acute;t passing through huge rocky cliffs filled with strange crater like holes we were totally enclosed by a thick blanket of green. April 2007: Shanghai City - The Shanghai Sandal Temple Adventure My walk today took me from the Nanjing Road area all the way up to the borders of the Puto and Jing'an Districts and then all the way down to the Xuhui, Longhua, and Luwan Districts. It was a huge walk but I got to see so much and see how the city changes between districts. The difference between the Jing'an District and the Longhua District is so huge. They might as well belong to two completely different cities. Of course my favourite for the day was the Longhua District. It was more old china. It was dusty and pretty much what I am used to. April 2007: Shanghai City - The Chinese Old Quater & Futuristic Pudong When we arrived in Pudong there really was only one place to head. The Oriental Pearl Tower. This is the freaky futuristic triple bubble tower. I loved it mate. It cost us 85 Yuan each to go up 263 meters where we spent nearly an hour walking around the observation deck. It was awesome! As far as your eyes could see are skyscrapers, not in one or two directions but in every direction. I had never seen anything like it. When you are on the ground, Shanghai City is a huge super city as you have been told it is huge but until you get a birds eye view you really can&acute;t comprehend its size. If you have the money it is worth the visit. June 2007: Fujians Wuyi Shan: Prices and Details It has a total area of 1000 square kilometres and its core being 636 square kilometres. It has a huge amount of unique and natural scenery that includes the nine-twist river, thirty six huge crags and what have been described as one hundred grotesque rocks. It is also an area for global biodiversity conservation. June 2007: Fujians Wuyi Shan: My Second Days Adventures You begin the journey at a small stone bridge and you are then taken along side a small stream known as `Zhangtang Brooklet&acute; that runs beneath huge cliff faces on both sides. The vegetation is so lush and green and the water is crystal clear. Easily the cleanest water I have seen in China. Our first stop was the Huiyuan Temple. This temple was first built during the Song Dynasty and then rebuilt in the late Ming, early Qing Dynasty&acute;s. July 2007: The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure began in Xi'an - Shaanxi Province When we finally reached the fifth floor and walked into the apartment, I found it exactly the same as it was in the picture I had posted on my `old blog&acute; a few days before leaving for Xian. Eve&acute;s parents then came out to say hello. WOW! It was seriously like they hadn&acute;t aged at all. How awesome it felt to be in their apartment again and how beautiful if it was to see them again. July 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Louyang - Henan Province After paying the 80 Yuan entrance fee we spent an awesome day together climbing stairs that took us along the cliff walls on both the east and west banks of the River Yi. These walls have more than one hundred thousand Buddha engravings in them. They are found in more than one thousand three hundred grottoes and two thousand one hundred niches. Their height is from two centimetres to seventeen meters. There are also more than forty pagodas and over three thousand six hundred inscribed steles/tablets. July 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure on Song Shan - Henan Province Mate, you know when you watch a action packed movies full of martial arts and get all worked up and want to go out and Hoo Haar people, well everything you have just watched began here at this temple. Kung Fu/Karate, Taekwondo/Judo etc, it all began here! July 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Kaifeng City - Henan Province The streets are full of people, wonderful smells, colour and energy. Everyone should come to Kaifeng. Why go to Shanghai when you can go to Kaifeng! When the Good Book (LP) states that it is a charming city that offers gastronomical delights it isn't telling lies. It is that and so much more. Oh yeah, I met a wonderful girl today and we will spend tomorrow together! Slow down, slow down, more about that later...ha ha! July 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Zhengzhou City - Henan Province Amigo and I chatted our way through until seven in the morning. It was such a wonderful time, full of happiness and a new found friendship. Soon the house was waking around us and we all then headed out for a local breakfast soup which neither Amigo or I liked much. It was gravy. Seriously, it was just like gravy but with chili in it. No noodles but you had a thin crusty bread to dip in. This was nice! July 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Bozhou City - Anhui Province After having to say good bye due to too many car horns and people yelling around me I headed across town to the old quarter near Huaxilou Lu (near the river) and found my way to the Bozhuo Museum and mate, was I not prepared for the building. What an ancient beauty. It oozed stone carvings and colour. The intricate carvings and stone work made it hard to enter the building. Surely what lay behind these walls couldn't live up to the building itself. I would put it right to the top of the list of `The Most Beautiful Things I&acute;ve Ever Seen!&acute; August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Hefei City - Anhui Province When I reached Mengcheng Lu I headed back in towards the city and as I was walking I found the most wonderful coffee shop. For those like me, Hefei not only offers a billion parks but it also offers an Audrey Hepburn Coffee Shop called 'Roma Holiday'. On the outside are pictures from the Roman Holiday movie and on the inside are many pictures of beautiful Audrey. August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Nanjing City - Jiangsu Province A city where many years ago the Japanese did some disgusting things to the people of this city. The women (young girls, pregnant women, the elderly and even nuns) they raped, disembowelled, sliced off their breasts, nailed them alive to walls, ripped out their unborn, roasted them, hung them by their tongues, raped them with bats until they bleed to death and gang raped them over a period of weeks until they died. August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Yangzhou City - Jiangsu Prov Just across from the ferry terminal and down a little back alley I found another Salt Merchants 'former residence'. I paid my 10 Yuan entrance fee and wallah, another outstandingly beautiful abode. These places really are unbelievable! They all have an extensive use of expensive wood for everything from window frames to stunning carved furniture. All the gardens are stunning and I'd say they are some of the most beautiful places I've ever entered! August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Zhenjiang City - Jiangsu Prov The grounds were crowed and the entrance to the first building was filled with the thick aroma of incense that was being burned by the hundreds of Chinese who were doing their `North, South, East and West&acute; thing. After leaving the first building the three of us spent a hysterical time trying to feed stone dragons coins for good luck. They were mounted high on the rear stone wall and watching Cheng Ru was the funniest thing for everyone watching. She really had no co-ordination at all. Xie Xiao Lin and I got several in but poor Cheng Ru continued trying time and time again. In the end her coin finally landed on the dragons head and the crowd that had gathered to watch decided that was good enough. We left with a cheer for poor Cheng Ru whom bowed to the crowd as we left. August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Suzhou City - Jiangsu Province By the 12th Centaury the city was pretty much the same size as it is now. A city wall used to surround the central city along with a moat. Sadly the Suzhou Smurfs knocked the walls down and filled in the moat but thankfully they left many of the canals. By the 14th Centaur y Suzhou was Chinas leading silk producer and by the 16th Centaury over one hundred beautiful gardens had been established within its walls. August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Zhouzhuang City - Jiangsu Prov Zhouzhuang Village, built by Puppa Smurfs Great Great Grandpa Smurf over nine hundred years ago is thought to be where they smurfed to when they smurfedup and Smurfpakked away from Suzhou. It really is more beautiful than you can imagine. BUT, I don&acute;t think as beautiful as Lijiang in Yunnan Province. So why did the Smurfs Smurfpack away from this beautiful part of the world? Tourists mate! After a few hours all the people Smurf Hunting begin to make one a little edgy! All the Smurfs wanted was a beautiful place to smurf and raise their young. Sadly their popularity (which Elvis and Beatle Mania never came close too) never allowed them to find a permanent home for very long. This is why they now live in mushrooms and live the life of nomads. Like the Mongolians who can pack up their Gurt and move at will, the Smurfs luckily were smart enough to learn from their Smurfgolian Brothers and now live a more Smurfmadic existence. August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Hangzhou City - Zhejiang Prov When I finally made it to Xi Hu (West Lake) I was where Susan and I had been last night so I began my lake side stroll going the other way and slowly made my way down Nangshan Lu. Man, there were so many people. Doesn&acute;t anyone work in this city? It&acute;s like the cities 6,000,000 people all hang out at the lake and watch the 1,000,000 Foreigners. The first Gardens I came to were the Liulangwenjing Gongyuan (say that one several times!). They were extremely beautiful and there were many green lawns that as usual you weren&acute;t allowed to sit or walk on. August 2007 - The Beers Noodles & Temples adventure in Ningbo City - Zhejiang Province Sorry baby, if I can&acute;t afford to ride the ferry to Putuoshan I certainly can&acute;t afford to ride you either! She didn&acute;t understand most of what I said but the parts in Chinese she did and get this, she then began bargaining with me. Her price dropped quicker than a bride&acute;s nightie

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Wonderful WELCOME MAT Moments: Sichuan N Gansu

THE WONDERFUL WELCOME MAT OF SICHUAN & GANSU PROVINCES 1st July 2006 to Mid December 2006 To keep the Great Welcome Mat Of China clean I've created this page to seperate my time in the South of China to my time spent travelling and teaching in Sichuan and Gansu provinces in the North of China

From here you can walk beside me on what was a very new pathway.

Life took me away from the south gave me a new home in the north where I got a taste of life amongst the arid hills and the bread and noodle eating tall peoples. As in the south I rode for hours on my bike. Sadly the hours were not be spent in lush rice fields waving and saying hellowwwww to bamboo peaked hatted farmers, but amongst the bare hills that surround the city of Baiyin. The city and the surrounding country slowly crept in and when it was time for me to leave I didn't want to leave.

Life was just as beautiful as always and some weekends were spent travelling to small rural towns with friends to relax with a beer and find China's greatest BBQ.

A Selection of interesting entries from Gansu 2006 August 2006: Baiyin City & prior A quick catch up on life and my new city September 2006: An amazing moment that I just could not comprehend What would you do if your girl hocked a loogey, snorted, wiped her nose with her hand and kissed you September 2006: Food, Twin Tubs, Heating & New City Information A run down on life so far in Baiyin city September 2006: Mans NOT a freakin camel Oh Man, the Great Supermarket on the edge of the desert is out of Tiger Beer! October 2006: Back in five Mate This is my short walk to grab a 2 Yuan bowl of noodles. It's colourful & it's noisey but it's rich in taste

A Selection of Market Place Nights, Festivals & Celebrations in Baiyin Gansu 2006 National Day October 2006: Happy 57th Birthday China School Celebrations & a bit of information on what National Day is all about

A Selection of Bike Rides, Towns, Cities and Villages that I have visited in 2006 Summer Break July 2006: Yangshuo & Baisha A day spent in a most beautiful 'hidden' valley visiting the stone village Summer Break July 2006: Yangshuo Electric Scooter Day Grab a pillow and join Irish Shaun & I as we take electric scooters whre no scooter has been before! Summer Break July 2006: Back in beautiful Dali The first day back in Yunnan's beautiful Dali. What an awesome town! The second day was spent walking around a little fishing village on the edge of teh lake. Summer Break July 2006: Back in Zongdian or Shangrila The first of two days spent back in Zhongdian. Not my favourite town but it was good to be back. The second day was spent visitng tombs and walking around the litte new 'Old Town' Summer Break July 2006: The Sichuan Tibetan Highway Join me as I venture into new territory adn take the Sichuan/Tibetan Highway to Xiangcheng. A great town filled with Monks on motorbikes. Kind of like Damenlongs Sister Town! the second day was spent in a most beautiful monestary. Xiangcheng also has China's bitchiest bus ticket lady! Summer Break July 2006: Litang & China's Real Life cowboys Another beautiful bus journey through the hills ending at Litang. A town full of real cowboys. Good for a giggle! Summer Break July 2006: Kangding, what a beautiful suprise Kangding really is the most beautiful town I visited on this adventure. I spent two days and upon leaving really wished I had of stayed longer Summer Break July 2006: Ya'an city or some would call it English City Ya'an was a great experience and really is the friendliest town I've ever visited in China. There is not only English everywhere but Pandas and another new 'Ancient town'. This is the first of four days. Summer Break July 2006: Leshan & the worlds Biggest Buddha What can I say, he really is a Big Bugger! Summer Break July 2006: Emei Shan First of two days spent at China's 'Number 1 Sacred Mountain'. Was a relaxing time but I'll climb it another time. Summer Break July 2006: Awesome Chengdu The first day in a week spent in Chengdu City. Let me take you to see the Pandas, the Sichuan Opera, on many city walks and a beautiful day climbing Qingcheng Shan Summer Break August 2006: Songpan really is sooooo beutiful The first day in a week spent at Songpan. Join me on a three day horse trek to Ice Mountain where I was thrown off my horse. It was cold, beautiful & a little scarey Summer Break August 2006: Langmusi Town What can I say but Runs Forrest Runs! Summer Break August 2006: Xiahe Town & Monastery Several days spent in the mountain town of Xiahe where I got to visit 'da da da da Da Lama Factory!' Summer Break August 2006: Lanzhuo City in Gansu The first day in Lanzhuo city. A vibrant & very long city. It quickly became one of my favourites! Summer Break August 2006: Baiyin City. To teach or not to teach? The first day in Gansu's Baiyin City. The reason for the visit was that I had had an offer to teach here. To spend a year without lush greens? Why not! Summer Break August 2006: Lanzhou City Back in Lanzhou City for a huge city walk Summer Break August 2006: The beautiful walled city of Xi'an A week spent retracing the footsteps I took six years prior. I got to visit the Big and Little Goose Pagodas again, said G'Day Mate to the Terracotta Warriors for the second time and retraced history in the Shaanxi History Museum. Summer Break August 2006: Yangshuo and my return to Salems Lotshuo All roads seem lead to Yangshuo and many all nighters at MC Blues! September 2006 : Si Long Riverside Town A bike ride with friends to the lush green river side town of Si Long (NOT!) October 2006: Baiyins Dirty Industrial Outskirts Let me take you on a bike ride around the outskirts of my city. It might be wise to wear a mouth mask. It's more than a little dirty! October 2006: A ride through the north eastern hills An afternoon spent in the hills where upon my return I finally found fields with a little green and happy farmers

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