Hey Hey and a Big G´Day toya, Nieces and Nephews hey! I´m way way over here and they are way way over there! The longer I´m way over here living my dreams they are way over there growing up and getting older! 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? Except yourself! After I decided to leave my normal life behind I started this blog for my family as a way for them to try their hardest to comprehend the life I left Australia for. Being here many years prior I knew what I was in for and how unusual it was for foreign person to be in a country such as China. What I originally tried to do was to capture the colours, the smells, the noise etc of the crazy life around me and allow my family to live with me though my photos and words. BUT each time I rang home I continued to get the same questions. What, where, when, how, who etc. Over a period of time it became clear that the only family member not asking such questions was my good ol´ Mar. She has followed me from day one and even purchased Lonely Planet´s `China´ guide to help. Then came along emails full of questions about China and compliments on my photos etc from so many people I had never met. After ninety thousand hits it is a strange feeling when you know that thousands of people you don´t know and have never met actually know more about the life I´m living than most of my family do. So I guess the reason for this entry is my nieces and nephews. I was talking to several of them last week and as usual they were asking a billion questions about what I do, what I see around me, do I eat dogs and cats, do I eat rice, why is it so noisy etc. I said `but you can read and see all of this in my Travelblog´. Then there was silence and finally one of them asked what a travelblog was. I explained what it was and then there was another silence followed by the fact that had never seen it. HHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? From the small market place in Tianyang (Guangxi) where we used to catch rats and frogs and have Ms Her Sher Her wok up a feast for us to eat over too many beers to the east coast sands of Beihi where a million Chinese jump in unison and shout WAHOO each time a small wave comes to where they stand no more than waist deep in the South China Sea. From the incredibly picturesque border that separates China and Vietnam where the beer freely flowed and where poor Chinese Policeman Brad spent half the time confused as to why the Chinese around him couldn´t understand him nor him them to the colourful and lush yet very non Chinese Xishuangbanna Region where monks run around like insane children with fire crackers in their hands. From my extremely dangerous yet incredibly exciting bus journeys that have taken me on crazy highways and roads upon which drivers attempt to drive, hock, eat, drink, and yell into their mobile phones all simultaneously to more of the latter that have found me many times with my heart in my throat blocking a silent scream as we stop much too close to the side of a mountain road that over looks a river filled valley far below. From all the wonderfully quaint ancient villages and towns in which I´ve walked happily through in silent glee (most of them I´m sure haven´t changed at all from when their first posts were laid until now) to the crazily, insanely, incomprehensibly noisy, aromatic (both good and bad) busy streets of all the cities and mega cities I have visited. From the silent snows that fell upon the harsh northern desert in Gansu that gave it a gentle and attractive quality to lastly to the bamboo filled province of Fujian where I can now be found riding though gorgeous green rice fields. All the above and everything in between has been missed by a lot of my family. The future holds what it holds and one thing I do know is that Asia still holds me deeply captivated within her bosom (Oh Er! Yummy!). Sometime in the near future I will head home for a visit or two but what I would really like is to take my family with me as I journey down the unpredictable and chaotic pathways of my Asian life. I am but a computer away. Download Skype and call me, read my blog, look at my photos, I am probably closer now to you than I have been in a long time. If I was to move home now I would be living far away in Queensland where the winters would still find me upon my sturdy steed peddling my way here and there and the summers would find me doing the same, between Body Surfing the waves. Work would maybe have to fit in there somewhere too! The photos for this entry are what I promised. They are a simple walk from my apartment to the Market Street and back. This is what I saw around me as I walked to get my breakfast supplies. For regular readers you can breeze through the photos but I thought hopfully if my nieces and nephews read this for the first time then they can begin here and continue as I do. The photos will answer some of what they asked last week. As to what I eat and have eaten? Pretty much everything in these photos along with an entire list of `other assorted treats´ that I´m sure most people wouldn´t eat. Maybe I will add a few entries about some of the meals I eat and where I eat them. In many past entries I´ve added photos mainly from `big dinners´ and some bbq´s. In this entry I will begin with my breakfast and the kitchen I prepare it in. So to my nieces and nephews, as it´s a Friday evening, this beer´s for you! I´ll be home for a visit soon enough but until then I´m only a Skype call and a blog away! Beers N Noodles toya....Uncle Shane __________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by the greatest busker of them all. Melbourne´s, Lindsay Buckland. The album was `Eclipse of The Common Sense´ ___________________________________________________
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day! Breakfast for me is usually a delicious noodle soup and a coffee. Sometimes I may have one or two 'Tea Eggs' on bread with a coffee. For those who don't know what 'Tea Eggs' are they are simply eggs boiled and left in tea. Sometimes its green tea but usually it is black tea. Once boiled some eatery people either peel them and throw them back in the tea or others choose to crack the shell and throw them back in to soak. Either way they are delicious and make for a speedy meal at a bus or train station after a long night either on the turps or onboard a train or bus. My noodle soup as you can see in the photos is very much a combination of what ever I feel like buying at the Market Street. Usually tomatoes, bok choy or another type of green vegetable or two, mushrooms and either tofu or assorted meats. Or both if I'm feeling feisty! When I get home I grab my trusty meat clever (here in China I'm sure the meat clever is used for even the most delicate operations like a vasectomy!) Some people grab a beer from the fridge when they get home, others, like anyone over the age of forty here in China simply grab a meat clever and begin chopping away at anything they can find and that will fit on the chopping board. I think I wrote about the same thing a year or so ago but it really is like everyone has some sort of internal alarm that trigger an urge to chop, chop and keep on chopping. Come 6:00/7:00am or 5:30/6:00pm and you have this zombie like situation where most of the population simply stop what they are doing and begin chopping. Everywhere you walk you can hear chop, chop, chop. I lay in bed in the morning and I seriously don't need an alarm as my alarm is the lady above me, the lady to the right of me and the lady to the left of me (sadly not all in my bed at once) all chopping...chop, chop bloody chop! It's not like a butcher back home, this is like speeds equivalent to the wings of a dragon fly. Another thing I don't do and stopped doing a long time ago is to answer my door. If anyone wants to visit me they know to either text or ring first. The chopping really is that loud in the apartment I'm currently in. I used to think that people were always knocking at my door but I quickly realised that it was the people in my head hahahaha! No really it was the people around me chop, chop bloody chopping. If I didn't know the people who lived above me I would seriously believe they are running an abattoir up there. She chops, chops bloody chops from sun up to sun down. She is always moving things around as well. Things get dragged from here to there to everywhere up there. I think I would be rather scared if she chopped, chopped bloody chopped from sun down to sun set.
Then I would believe they were running the spare parts department of the city morgue!
And don't you just love the view from my kitchen window. Thats the Ancient River Quarter. Most of what you can see are second and third storey add ons. If you look to the right of the photo you will see roof top with curvy sides, thats the Ancient Northern City Gate and what is left of the northern city wall that runs along the river.
The white buildings in the back ground are on the other side of the river Anyhow, that´s enough from me, the photos below here are as I wrote above the above are simply my stroll from my school to the Market Street and back. What I really do love are the three photos at the top of the page. Open them and have a look. They were all taken about twenty seconds or so apart. Just love that bamboo shoulder pole mate and the pram is what is considered a normal pram here.
There no plush 'things' that we call prams. Most mothers carry their young on their backs.
And the man in the white cap is Chinese. He is actually from Gansu Province where I used to live. His family own the Northern Noodles eatery where I eat Langhou Noodles several times a week. The further you go west in China the more you really have no idea what country people actually come from. It really does make the surreal world I live in even more bizarre! Once again Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ___________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this part of the entry was by the bizarre Primus The album was the surreal `Suck On This´ ___________________________________________________