A Travellerspoint blog

March 2008

Beers N Noodles to My Nieces N Nephews!

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´ ___________________________________________________

Nieces & Nephew Photo Walk

Nieces & Nephew Photo Walk


Nieces & Nephew Photo Walk 01

Nieces & Nephew Photo Walk 01


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Nieces & Nephew Photo Walk 39

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

Tree Planting Day & Depressing Bare Ugly Hills

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, 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. Ha Ha! Oops, sorry I lie! There were no trees, branches, sticks, twigs or even grass on the hills that surrounded Baiyin City in Gansu province so that means, no changes! The changes I am talking about are that one month hills in a certain area will be covered in trees and a few months later the hills will be identical in nature to those that can be found that surrounding Baiyin City in Gansu Province. There will be no trees, branches, sticks, twigs or even grass! Everything that was once green has completely gone! What would have been left, now burnt! What is left is such a depressing sight! What was once beautiful is now ugly! But, before we judge, (and we in the west are very quick to judge!) we must remember that probably half the population of China uses wood for almost everything. Most rural Chinese have no gas and many have no electricity. Wood is used for all meals and heating throughout the freezing cold months of the year. Everything we foreigners import from China that has wood somewhere in its making has come from these now ugly bare depressing hills. Thankfully another thing I pass on my biking adventures is fields full of tiny treelings. Sorry, that's my word for baby trees. When I first noticed these fields I had no idea what was actually planted in them. It wasn't until Li Ping (Joyce) and I were riding together that I found out. Being a silly bugger I asked her what kind of vegetable it was. She laughed and told me they were baby trees. Oh treelings! I said. I knew that! Ha Ha! There must be hundreds of thousands of them in some of the larger fields and once I knew what they were I knew that the ugly bare hill I had begun noticing would once again be full of life again in the near future. I then began to see the big picture. China and its people have been here for a long long time, a lot longer than my people have been in Australia. There would have to be some structure and timetable to this process for all the other hills to be covered in trees. I also then began to notice other things attached to cycle of these hills. Living in shabby huts located on the side of the dirt roads that have been made for the movement of the felled trees are some of the families who spend their lives stripping the life from the lush green hills. I would pass by these shabby huts and like the trees they would be there and then they would be gone. I became close to one of the families that lived out past the Temple that I pass on my afternoon Village/Temple Bike ride. For many months I would pass their home and stop to give snacks or small presents to the twin boys who lived there. These families pretty much have nothing. Their house is made of four wooden posts and they then wrap black plastic around them and add a door type thing. They then cover the plastic in straw and leaves. Maybe this acts as insulation? Here they sleep, eat and live. There never will be school for the kids. They too will relocate their plastic home and strip the life from hills. Their homes can always be found next to a small running river as this becomes their bathroom. During winter time they must be freezing and during summer time I can only imagine how hot it must be to live in a house made of black plastic. On top of that, think of the billions of bugs that they must have to live with. During the warmer months there are many evenings I swallow so many bugs that I barely need to eat dinner. So now we come to the reason for all of the above. These ugly bare hills where no trees, branches, sticks, twigs or even grass can be found today will be soon covered in small new growth tomorrow. I guess several decades pass and then it will be time for the loggers to relocate their black plastic homes somewhere nearby. <u>Arbor Day or as it is known here in China, Tree Planting Day.</u> Yes we have it in most countries but here it is treated a little differently. I seriously can not remember once in my entire life ever being asked to plant a tree on Arbor Day nor do I actually ever remember hearing about Arbor Day until I moved to China. It's kind of like Women's Day and Children's Day. These too I sadly don't remember ever hearing about. The Chinese are people who love a good festival. Give them a reason and they will create a festival around it and celebrate it for a thousand years to come. I'm serious. Some of the more ancient and less celebrated festivals have now been given Public Holidays. What used to be a weeks holiday for May Day (May 1st or Labor Day) has now been stripped of all but one public holiday. The rest have been allocated to some of these other festivals. Why? This is how a society keeps its culture and its history. Past Australian governments would have said, 'Hey they are trees, a public holiday for trees, I don't think so! We would then have been stripped of the holiday as planting trees would not benefit the economy or pockets! Strangely in Australia we really don't have a history or really even our own culture. We are of course Australians and we 'do' have a culture but we have only been living together under the one roof for just over two hundred years. Who is an Australian? What is Australian food? Are Australian girls beautiful? What does an Australian look like? These are just some of the, what seem simple questions that the Chinese ask me over and over. They seem simple until you are asked them by a Chinese person who's people have been here for close to five thousand years and who pretty much all look alike until you've been here for several years. Think about it and try to answer the last two questions. Is an Australian girl beautiful? Of course she is but who is an Australian girl. She is pretty much Asian, Greek, Italian, English, Brazilian etc. What does an Australian look like? Pretty much like everyone. It is very hard for a Chinese person to comprehend what you are trying to explain to them after they ask you these questions. Anyhow, enough of that. Back to Tree Planting Day. Here in China Tree Planting Day is taken very seriously. I guess with 1.3 billion people under the same five thousand year old roof it has to be taken seriously. Everyone needs trees to survive. They all need paper, they all need to keep warm and to cook and to satisfy the demands of Foreign Countries who want cheap labour. Below is some information I found on Tree Planting Day. Below the information are some photos of the depressing bare hills I rode past today. You will have to look into the distance in many of the photos to see the tree stripped hills. Some of them are now covered with re-growth and thats why you will miss it at first glance.

Who are the kids? For those who read my blog you will have seen them in several past entries. They come from a small village a few hours into my ride.

When I arrive they all race around gathering each other and until I take about one million photos I am not allowed to leave. Ha Ha, it really is a wonderful time. I teach them their ABC's and numbers. Lately I can't take the photo until they have counted to twenty. Even the young young ones count to ten or make it to H before they get confused and simply move their mouths until the alphabet is over.

What a wonderful life I live! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the awesome Dinosaur Jr The album was 'Without a Sound' Without doubt, the feedback kings! ________________________________________________ Arbor Day is on March 12 to commemorate the passing of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese revolutionary, in 1925. In 1981, the fourth session of the Fifth National People's Congress adopted the "Resolution on the unfolding of a nationwide voluntary tree-planting campaign". This resolution stipulated that every able-bodied citizen between the ages of 11 and 60 should plant three to five trees per year or do the equivalent amount of work in seedling, cultivation, tree tending or other services. Supporting documentation instructs all units to report population statistics to the local afforestation committees as the basis for workload allocation. Moreover, those failing to do their duty are expected to make up planting requirements, provide funds equivalent to the value of labour required or pay heavy fines. Therefore, the tree-planting campaign is actually compulsory, or at least obligatory (that is, an obligation to the community). The "voluntary" in the title referred to the fact that the tree-planters would "volunteer" their labour. This Month, more than 3 million Beijing people will plant trees at nearly 30 places designated by the Beijing Greening Committee (BGC) and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Forestry. According to the BGC, since a city resolution on tree planting was enacted in 1981, more than 3 million people join in the tree planting campaign every year. In the past 24 years, the capital has had 150 million trees planted, more than 133 million of which have survived. <u>And....where did Arbor Day really come from?</u> <u>J. Sterling Morton and his wife moved from Detroit, Michigan to the Nebraska Territory in 1854, where he was the editor of Nebraska's first newspaper. His influence as a journalist led to his involvement in politics, and he became a promoter of the settlement of Nebraska. The lack of trees, however, was an obstacle.</u> <u> </u> <u>The Great Plains had been described as the "Great American Desert." The tallgrass prairie that covered much of Nebraska at that time could provide rich farmland, but without wood for building houses or for fuel to heat homes, few found it convenient to settle there. Even the allotment of free land by the Homestead Act failed to entice sufficient numbers of families to relocate to Nebraska.</u> <u> </u> <u>Morton first proposed Arbor Day as a tree planting holiday in 1872 at a meeting of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. On the first Arbor Day, April 10 1874, prizes were offered to counties and to individuals for properly planting the largest number of trees. It was claimed that more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on that day.</u> <u> </u> <u>April 22, Morton's birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance.</u> <u> </u> <u>During the course of the 1870s, several other states passed legislation to observe Arbor Day. Schools began to adopt the tradition beginning in 1882. By 1894, Arbor Day was celebrated in each state of the United States.</u> <u> </u> <u>Morton's home in Nebraska City, Arbor Lodge, is a state historical park, which includes an arboretum and extensive landscaped grounds. Adjacent to the public park, Morton's farm, now called Arbor Day Farm, is run by the National Arbor Day Foundation.</u>

Why is the above underlined? Buggered if I know mate. I cut and past it and it was underlined afterwards and I can't be bothered retyping it. Sorry...you'll have to live with it!

Arbor &#38;#39;Tree Planting&#38;#39; Day

Arbor &#38;#39;Tree Planting&#38;#39; Day


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Arbor &#38;#39;Tree Planting&#38;#39; Day 17

Arbor &#38;#39;Tree Planting&#38;#39; Day 17

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

International Womens Day In Fujian Province China

Hey Hey and a Big G&acute;Day toya What&acute;s the old saying? Women, can&acute;t live with them, can&acute;t live without them...defiantly the latter! Though they are smarter than us men who have started and contributed to a HUGE percent of all history&acute;s BAD DEEDS along with Mother Earth&acute;s rape and pillage, women have always received the lower end of the deal. 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;? Who, who who? This list could go on for pages if you really sat down and thought about it. Sure you could create the same list for women as they aren&acute;t 100% perfect, but could you really compare the two lists. A doozey for you to begin with would be the topic of religion and its history. Anyhow, not being one to go on and on, the above were just a few thoughts I threw around my empty head during dinner last night. Why is it this way, why has it always been this way and how long will it continue? Maybe the future of `MANkind&acute; would be safer with a bit of a shift in the sands over time! OK, though the women's rights movement here in China was `a little&acute; slow, it is here. It is called Women&acute;s Day and it is celebrated by the Chinese society. The achievements of women in China are celebrated on this day at annual events held by central and local government agencies, including public tributes to the Ten Outstanding Women of the Year. The extent of the local celebrations I believe depend on where you are in China. When I was living in Guangxi, Women&acute;s Day celebrations were such a beautiful occasion. All the towns around mine would celebrate with a graceful singing and dancing event. The women would dress in colourful minority dresses and perform at either the town square or similar place. All knew several types of Asian Dance so the night would be filled with beautiful and exotic movements. After the dancing everyone would head to local restaurant&acute;s where the men would spend the evening yelling toasts to the women around them. It really was such a beautiful time. Here in Fujian the celebrations weren&acute;t as exotic but Women&acute;s Day was just as beautiful. Two nights were set aside for `female only&acute; volleyball games and last night Canadian Jo and I headed out for a Big Celebration Dinner with Mr Du and friends. I don&acute;t ever seem to recall it being celebrated back home. Maybe it is just another of those occasions that are printed on the calendar and forgotten about like Children&acute;s Day. Both are happily celebrated here in China with large public events. It&acute;s a start and I&acute;m happy it has finally started here. Today I headed out into the fields again, took the same trails as last weekend and you may have noticed that I even took some of the same photos. You think I&acute;ve gone mad don&acute;t you. The same photos! Are you crazy? What a waste of time! Ha Ha! There is a reason behind my stupidity. Well....um....maybe there isn&acute;t a reason behind my stupidity (that comes natural) but there is a reason I took some of the same photos. I finally got myself a new camera/phone. It is the latest Nokia N95. BUT. It is not the normal N95, it is actually the N95 8GB. Yes, you read right, it has 8 Gigs of memory onboard along with the 5 mega pixel camera. I also got it much cheaper than the normal N95 that has only 1 Gig. Either I teach the business owners child very well or maybe it fell off the back of a ship somewhere in the East China Sea somewhere in the Taiwan Strait. Anyhow, I just wanted to see how long the photos take to upload onto Travelpod and also to compare the photos once they are on. Even though it was a dull day weatherwise, the photos actually make it look better than it actually was. It&acute;s a bloody bewdy mate! Beers N Noodles to all the women of the world...shane _____________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the wonderful Mr Bungle The album was the wonderful wonderful wonderful `California&acute;

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride


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Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 18

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 18


Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 19

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 19


Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 20

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 20


Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 21

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 21


Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 22

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 22


Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 23

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 23


Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 24

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 24


Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 25

Womens Day Feast &#38;amp; Ride 25

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