A Travellerspoint blog

May 2006

Childrens Day Celebrations 2006

Hey Hey N a Big G'Day to you

This week has been such a wonderful week for the children and the school. The kids have been so full of colour, life and energy. That is if it can be possible for them to have more energy than the normal ten cans of Red Bull worth! For the last nearing two months they have been 'drill dancing' and when I say drill dancing, by this I mean they practice the one dance most of the day rain hail or shine! I have no idea where they got the energy from. How they still ran around like mad smurfs at break time and played chickens with me in class is an amazing feat! I would watch as they repeated the same steps for hours. Well, I wouldn't actually watch for hours but as I went here and there before and after class, there they were in the same spot doing the same thing day after day after day.

The music, oh the music was killing me. Get this...each level chose a song and a dance and every class for several months practiced this dance with the music on full in every corner of the school during every single available small bit of free time! Five minutes free, the teacher would have them out there practicing. The worst song of them all was 'I'm a Barbie Girl' by Aqua. Hated the song before and you have no idea how much I loath it now! Over and over, all day any day there was always a class lurking around a corner practicing to Barbie Girl. There were other songs chosen by different levels but they just didn't seem to tear my brain apart like Barbie Girl. As much as I dislike the song I must admit I did have a heap of fun joining in, stepping on everyone's toes and making all the wrong moves.

I lost my tape player by the beginning of last week. Prior to that I'd arrive in the office to find it had been 'borrowed' for dance practice. Hey, I didn't need it for class or anything! For a month or so it was always returned after class so I could hide it for my next class. Sometimes it was found, other times my class ACTUALLY got to sing along with some music. The last two weeks it completely disappeared. I searched but found no trace of it. I can't believe Barbie Girl 'tape knapped' my damn tape player man! I have no idea who had it or where it was, but I'm sure it was being forced to play Barbie Girl behind some dark distant schoolyard corner.

By Tuesday afternoon the kids were so excited about the two days to follow. Last year for Children's Day the school held the dance competition all on the one evening which was Children's Day Eve. Afterwards the teachers all went out and got hammered playing dice and card games during a huge feast. We all got to sleep in as the children got to stay home for the morning and came to school for a movie in the afternoon (Yes, Harry Damn Potter!). This year, I luckily found out the evening before whilst watching dance practice after English Corner that the dance competition was to be held over two mornings. This actually took three teachers and a student to tell me. Each had their own version of what was to happen.

You see, I've been here so long now they either forget I'm not Chinese or that I can not understand them. In the office they all talk in Chinese and forget I can't understand what they are talking about. Most times I have no idea in regards to the details about things I need to know about. You know simple things like cancelled classes, a holiday the following day and when the dancing will be for Children's Day.

You know the usual unimportant stuff!

The greatest example so far (which I may have written about in a past blog) is this. At the end of term last year the school threw me a party. How cools that and so sweet of them too. The only problem was, they forget to tell me about it so I went away for the weekend. I found out later that they all talked about the party in the office whilst I was there and naturally thought I knew all the details. Yes they did talk about it I'm sure, but in Chinese.

That's a perfect example of what happens if you're a foreign teacher here in China. It does happen to all of us and if you come here it'll happen to you too.

I hear some of you saying, 'you should bloodywell learn Mandarin mate!'

Of course I should. BUT for many things here in Tianyang it won't help me, nor will it help in other places in the south of Guangxi. Why? They all speak in their own dialects. Believe it or not, many of the older people don't even know how to speak Mandarin, I might as well be speaking in English to them as I'd still get that same look of confusion. Even if I knew Mandarin, I would still miss out on most of the information I need in the office as I can't understand the dialects.

'Mate, learn the bloody dialect' I hear you say. Did I hear you say 'the or a dialect'?

No no no, there is not one dialect my friends but many. They all know many of them too. Some people can't understand each other and have to find a dialect to share, or so I've been told. In some villages Mandy couldn't understand the people but Yang Yang could, in other villages it was the other way round. Mandy and Yang Yang came from different places. Mandy is from Pingguo and Yang Yang a village not far from Tianyang.

The easiest way to understand it is this, think of Europe with all its different countries and languages. Throw Europe into China and there you have the same thing but in the one country. When I was travelling with Chinese Policeman Brad down along the Vietnamese border there was several times he actually couldn't communicate with people as they simply didn't know Mandarin or his local dialect.

AND THEY WERE ALL CHINESE!

Most Chinese people can speak around three or four languages. Some of the dialects are so completely different that they become a new language. So what you really have in China is a country full of people who know several languages....and I know only English as do 95% of the people I know at home. Knowing only one language is hard for some of my Chinese friends to comprehend. Now that I'm here it's rather strange and silly for me too.

Oh, what did I do in school!

Anyhow, back to Children's Day.

So, there I was, standing talking to Annie. She is one of the happiest students I know. Sadly she is not my student as her family are too poor to pay the extra for her to be in my class...BUT...she actually has the best English in the school. Her father sits with her after school and on weekends and they study English movies, DVD's and books etc. Her comprehension is amazing for someone her age. I can actually hold a conversation with her without really having to explain much at all. Annie's in grade five and most of the grade six students could not even come close to having a conversation in English with her. I remember when I first met her last year (She was in Grade 4). She walked past me, stopped and came out with some strange question. I answered her and she understood. To my amazement she continued the conversation and we've been talking ever since.

So, there we were talking away and I mentioned dancing the following evening. She told me, No silly Shane its tomorrow morning. Bugger and ok I said and ran off to find an English teacher. The first one told me the dancing was the following morning, there were no classes in the afternoon and for Children's Day there was no classes in the morning and the kids got to watch a DVD in the afternoon like last year.

The second teacher told me the same for the first day and that there was a second morning to the dance competition. I asked about classes on the Wednesday and she said no. Later that night I rang my good buddy Lunar who hadn't been at school teaching for two days due to other commitments and she could actually tell me there was to be two mornings dancing, I had classes the first afternoon and the children would be watching a DVD Children's Day afternoon.

Man, you have no idea how confusing and frustrating it can actually get here. Usually I laugh it off but not to be told about the dancing being held in the morning! How much of a bugger for me would it have been to miss the first day. Wednesday I have my first class at 10:45 and the dancing would be nearing its end as it began at 9:00. (There were photos etc held afterwards). Sure I would have heard the music but it would have sounded just like practice every day prior and I would have turned Rob Zombie up louder in hope he would kill Barbie Girl!

I think it would have been the first time I actually would have been angry and not just a little either.

Both mornings dancing were just beautiful. The children were all dressed in what ever outfit or colours they had decided on as a class. They girls all had their faces painted and their hair was full of either ribbons or tinsel. The boys, well they are boys, most of them had the same colour tee shirt on and kind of the same colour shorts etc. Actually my Grade 5, Class 1 boys all had an outfit on, but they are all cool kids. In class they even work well with the girls. It took awhile for me to convince them that the girls didn't actually have germs, nor would they bite them. I'm working on my Grade 3's now, I think get to them early and it'll make it easier later on. Forget about my other Grade 5's and my Grade 6's, my gawd, anyone would think the girls all came to school looking like Freddy Krueger!

All classes danced so well with big happy smiles on their faces. Of course the older the students the smaller the smile! As far as I could see there were no real mishaps. By this I mean no one fell on their butt or face and got laughed at. That was my job at dance practice. I got through the song 'I'm a Barbie Girl' being played five times in a row each morning. I happily sat with all my classes at different times. After each one finished dancing some of the students would run and find me, drag me back and make me tell them over and over how good they were.

Class photos were taken after each mornings dancing and I got to sit in with most of my classes...oh, the tears were near! On the Thursday after class photos, the awards for the school year were handed out. As I was sitting with my grade fours at the time I had no idea what most of the awards were for, but I did guess that the students whom walked away with a new computer keyboard didn't win it for cooking classes or that the students whom walked away with an English book didn't win it for being the best at Chinese.

This is China, maybe they did and I'm the confused one!

All in all, Childrens Day 2006 was just perfect. The rain held out until the afternoon, the kids were perfect and we all had such a wonderful time.

My award goes to my three Grade 3 classes. They were the cutest. The best dancing went to my Grade 6's as I'm sure their only class for two months was my English class. They received a HUGE applause at the end of their song. As far as I know they took the award for both best in Grade 6 and the best for the competition followed closely by my Grade 5, Class 1.....or so I'm told. I'm sure if I ask two other people I'll receive completely different answers from both.

This is China and if you don't love or like it....don't complain, simply leave!

Beers N Noodles to you....shane

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

The Totel Hotel...Where Beer Meets Rock!

Anyhow, on a subject that has nothing at all to do with anything that happened to me today or yesterday here in China. This year the greatest Band Venue N Bar in the known world turned 21.

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I got an email from my buddy Richie Ramone who runs the show and somewhere in it he mentioned updating the website. I thought I'd feast my peekers on it for awhile whilst having a beer.

Mate, pulled at the heart strings it did.

I wasn't there for it's birthday.

What sort of punter am I!

Thats a real bugger for me!

Sorry Richie, the noodles got the better of me.

HIP HIP HOORAY AND A HAPPY FREAKING BIRTHDAY to The Greatest Pub On Earth from a friend so far far away

So if your in Melbourne Australia some time this year head over to 71 Johnson Street Collingwood and help celebrate with a cold beer. Maybe you'll stay until the early hours jumping to a live band or just hang out and listen to what has to be the worlds greatest Jukebox. I have never seen a selection like it anywhere in the world. Infact, I've never seen a selection of CDs and Records like Richies anywhere in the world. Well, there is Glenns!

Beers Noodles N Smiles to everyone at home...I miss you all heaps!

Mate, if you can't make it to the Tote in person grab a beer, turn up the music N click here

If you haven't guessed, this is me many years ago: pictures 3 & 13

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

Yippeeee, I Made It To The Travelpod Newsletter!

The Travelpod Newsletter

It's emailed once a month to a HUGE amount of subscribers, both guests and members. It's full of interesting facts and figures on all things travel and each month one lucky Travelpodder is selected to be 'featured'. It's a great way to be introduced to other Travelpodarians and their style of writing and travel. How surprised was I when I Carmella asked me if I'd like to be featured in the Travelpod Newsletter.

When I compare my writing to others such as 'Iraleigh', 'el condor' and Carmella herself as 'whereshegoes' I don't really consider my style of writing worthy of such an honour. Luckily for me I guess it's not all based on how a person writes...or in my case RAMBLES! It is also based on what a person is actually doing with their life and where they are allowing life to take them. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in such a diverse country as China and travel 4.5 months of the year. I've spent much of my life reading about those who have opened themselves to what gifts life really can offer on the long and winding road to 'nowhere'. Nowhere as we know always takes us 'somewhere'.

At first thought I nearly hit the reply button declining the offer. Luckily I didn't. After a beer and some noodles (every lucky mans thinking materials!) I thought to myself, why not. Through my travelogue I have met and helped many other people. These people to be emailing me must be reading about my life here in China. Some have been other teachers who want to know what China is all about and how I am treated here. Others have been fellow travellers from all over the world asking pretty much the same. I have also made a great friend in Singapore whom I don't spend enough time writing to...a big sorry to ya Mate!

Indeed, what an honour!

I completed the questions, quickly emailed them back to Carmella with a huge thankyou and Wallah, come May 2nd there I was in the Newsletter. As each day goes by in May there I have been sitting in the top right hand corner of the Travelpod Homepage. How cools that. I've never been featured before. Closest and just as honourable I guess is walking outside of my building here in China, everyone's eyes are diverted towards me. I guess it is kind of the same thing really!

Anyhow, for those who never got to see my 1 month in the spot light below is the list of questions and my rambling answers.

Heaps of Beers N Noodles to ya...shane

So either cut N paste the below into your browser for the real thing or simply read below. I tried to add the hyperlink but I'm a bit of a dumbass when it comes to some things on the computer. I have figured out how to bold, underline and make things go all italicy.

<U>www.travelpod.com/newsletter/2006-05-01_May_Newsletter.html</U>

STOP, don't cut N paste the above, give the below ago. I guess my dumbass just got a little smarter!

<A HREF=http://www.travelpod.com/newsletter/2006-05-01_May_Newsletter.html TARGET=NEW>MATE, grab a beer and click here for the News Letter. I'm all hypertext up now baby</A>

  • ****************************************************************************************

SHANE is now living his dream, but not the dream he expected. Here's how that works, in his words.

Shane - Melbourne (AUS)

What were your life goals and aspirations before you started traveling?

Strangely, I really didn't have many goals in life. My life was pretty much about being in the right place at the right time, when it came to work and many other things. I loved my work and my career advancement was rapid. I went from the Family Court of Australia, to the Federal Court of Australia to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Australian Football League Tribunal. For a long time I allowed myself to believe these were actually my dreams.

I guess my only real goal, the one I suppressed for far too long, was to actually be brave enough to join those walking freely around the globe. I met a guy when I was in my early twenties who had been in Japan teaching English. When I combined my new envy with my dreams of going to Asia my strange new goal in life was to STOP myself in any way from achieving my goal. I guess I didn't believe in myself.

What was your motivation for hitting the road?

My mother is from Scotland and since arriving on Australian shores she has never had the will to leave them. As I grew, I was surrounded by my mother's family and they all had strong Scottish accents. I always wanted to know why they talked so funny and about the strange country they came from. Sadly my family never helped me answer these questions in life. Understandably they were unimportant compared to working to earn money to raise a family.

As I grew older my attention was drawn to Asia. I was captivated by its oddness when I compared it to the world I lived in. The oddness soon changed to a burning desire to walk amongst its people and experience it for myself. My heart left Australia in search of these lands and it took my brain over twenty years to board a plane in search of a part of me that left so long before.

I know my father has always wanted to travel around Australia, unluckily for him my mother had never been bitten by the 'bug' and had no desire to travel. This was and always has been her decision to make. I also know this has caused my father a lot of frustration and pain. Things changed in his life many years ago and I now see regret in his eyes. He should have taken her advice and simply packed his van and fulfilled his dream. She was not going anywhere and would be there for his return. I also see the same regret in many other people's eyes whom far too early in life have made the decision to marry and offer their life to that of a family.

My motivation was for too many years too small. I spent years watching documentaries, looking at photos, eating a diet mainly of Korean, Japanese and Chinese food. This was, I told myself, preparing myself for 'next year' when I was 'gonna go'. Combine this with the exotic smile and almond eyes of an Asian girl and finally, FINALLY understanding the words said by so many: 'I wish.... I could' or 'I wish I had of'...

Finally, I found my motivation.

How did you feel when you stepped off the first plane?

Being the type of person who was 'gonna do this and gonna do that' for many years, my feelings when I stepped off the plane on my first journey overseas was that of unmeasurable relief. I felt bewilderment at myself and the reality of my surroundings. The excitement of it finally consumed me as the humidity of Thailand and its people swept over me.

What is your favourite travel memory?

My most favourite travel memory is on a small island off Japan called Shido-shima. I had spent a beautiful time in the mountains on Shikoku in a town called Awa-Ikeda. Here I met some locals and we walked, tried to talk and played guitar. We also watched a movie called '24 Eyes'. It was in Japanese with no-subtitles. I got the grasp of the story nearly shed a tear on several occasions. I had such a beautiful time and thought life just couldn't get better. I was going to head back to Honshu but a little man I was eating noodles with told me to go to Shido-shima. At the time we were eating Udon Noodles and he believed that Kusabe on Shido-shima was their birthplace. As I've always been a noodle freak I boarded the ferry at Takamatsu and under the bluest of skies I made my way across the bay.

I found the Youth Hostel and here I met two Japanese guys who were about to ride around Shikoku. We planned to spend the following day together as they wanted to take me somewhere special. That special place was the movie site where they re-made the movie '24 Eyes'. 24 Eyes means 12 pupils (and their teacher). Here we got to walk around the site and watch both the old and new versions of the film. My friends translated every single word for me. They left the next morning and I spent the following days sitting on a beautiful beach watching boats bob up and down, up and down, up and down. I did nothing and went no where but that beach (and to eat noodles). The weather was just beautiful and I allowed myself to relax for the first time in several months.

It seems that many of us forget that sometimes, doing nothing is just as special as doing 'something'.

How about your worst travel experience?

My worst travel experience was my journey across Russia onboard the Trans Siberian. I boarded the train after my government had sent me several warnings NOT to board the train. Of course, I knew better than they did! I travelled across Russia during the Chechnyan War and the Trans Siberian was being used mainly to transport soldiers across the vast land. These soldiers were unarmed, this meant no machine guns. What they did have was a large assortment of weaponary from pistols, machetes, swords and of course many bottles of vodka.

The drunker we all became, the more stupid and fearless they became. I was the only foreigner onboard and was adopted by several of the soldiers. They would do everything except drink my vodka and beer for me. It was fun for them to jump out from the door way when I or another soldier passed and hold a blade or a pistol to some part of the head. The real problems began when a Russian civilian began screaming in rage at me and spitting at my feet. His problem (I think was Religious based) was finalised when he spat in my face. Some of the soldiers carried him between carriages and put his head through two double glazed windows.

Over the following twelve hours, Military Police boarded and left the train. Soon several soldiers were taken from the train in handcuffs. I feared my arrival in Moscow yet I still had several days on board. Unrelated events occurred upon my arrival in Moscow and my fear and paranoia had gown so extreme that I believed they were all one, one huge bad dream.

Who is your most memorable character out there?

I really have no idea who to write about. How can you narrow a world full of beautiful and crazy clowns down to one person? I guess the one that comes to mind right now would be my market place friend's father here in Tianyang China.. As are nearly all stalls and stores in Tianyang, my friends stall is a family run stall or as I call it 'a side walk wok-em-up'. The mother and father usually stay until late and depending on the evening they leave around 11pm. How do they get home? Usually by pedal power. The family car is a three wheeler bicycle with a tray on the back so the can move stock from home to the market place etc. After much food, biajio (rice wine) and good cheer he jumps in the back and she pedals him home.

The reason he comes to mind is this. This family have adopted me and look after me very well when it comes to health, food and who NOT to sit and drink with. They treat me like a son they can't actually talk to with words. We can communicate in words only little. My phrase book helps a lot also. When I am trying to explain some things to them I do as I do in class and begin the game of charades.

After watching me several times my friend's father began to do the same. Now and for many months past as I walk across the highway towards the market place I know what meat we are having for dinner. He squawks like a chicken, barks like a dog, chirps like a bird and snorts like a pig. A lot of nights he even gets out of his chair and actually acts the part like I do. My favourite, along with all the other stall owners is when we are having a meal that includes pork and eggs. We are then witness to a pig laying eggs.

How did you feel when you stepped off the last plane?

I knew when I stepped from my last plane journey that I believed in myself and my dreams more than enough to fulfil them. I had given away all my belongings to allow my life's one real goal finally be accomplished. I had finally stepped foot on Asian soil with no near future plans to return to Australia. I had travelled these lands six years prior but I was not strong enough to live my dream. &nbspWhat I also felt when I stepped off the plane was to celebrate with a cold beer mate!

With reference to those life goals and aspirations above, where are you now?

Where am I now? I am living my life's dream. I am living in a small farming town in the south of China teaching English to primary school children. With reference to the above goals and aspirations new goals have been born. In Asia I will stay and move from country to country teaching English. My main goal now is to never become a 'gonna do' again. Life is much too short to age with regret and self anger. I no longer own belongings but I own myself and the strength to create a pathway in life to continue to live my past, present and future dreams.

&middot; Ready to answer the same questions in Your Words? We're ready to read them and we'll be choosing the best to show-off in future installments of Your Words.

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

Bloody Beautiful Mate BUT NOT for the Queezy

A friend asked me to email him what I considered a normal toilet in my town.

This, my friends is an example of what you HAVE to get used to if and when you decide to travel rural China or Asia for that matter.

On some scales this is actually considered a GOOD toilet!

On other scales it can be viewed as being bloody terrible!

On the scale of one to ten, how bad do you really need to go?

The choice is yours!

This one belongs to my a friend of mine and is at the rear of the shop where we drink much beer. Though compared to many of the toilets I've used around Tianyang and China this toilet can be classed as good, I prefer to pay and use the public toilets up the road. They are at least cleaned several times a day.

Sometimes I feel bad and give in to the look on their faces when they raise the roller door for me. They actually can't comprehend why I would pay and go up the road a little when I have all of this at my feet!

It's slippery, it's slimey...I feel a huge need to borrow someone elses shoes when I go!

This one also comes with a shower.

On the scale of one to ten, how badly do you need a shower!

Once again, the choice is yours!

On the scale of one to ten how bad is your need

On the scale of one to ten how bad is your need

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

MOTHERS DAY forgotten in Nanning. Sorry Mum!

Hey Hey and G'day to everyone,

Before I begin,

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO YA MAR KETTLE

I HOPE YOUR DAY WAS AS SPECIAL AS YOU ARE

Sorry I didn't ring, I actually FORGOT it was Mothers Day.

SORRY! SORRY! SORRY!

For the reader, I did remember later that evening and sent a text message from the Market Place. Oh the wonders of the modern world. How a simple text message can keep one in the good books and also in the family!

I had such a great weekend in Nanning. I wasn't going to go as I'm actually getting a tad bored with Nanning. The reason I did go was Jacque from Guigang had organised a weekend to meet Judy and I. She was in need of some 'Foreign Company'. It seems that 99% of all the foreign teachers have left Guigang and have not been replaced. Pity for the Nirvana Bar owners. I hear now that the foreigners have left no one really goes there anymore. Now that's a real bugger for them! It's such a great little bar too. Many Chinese were to be found there, mainly friends of foreigners and those who want to practice their English. Many of them beautiful girls too! Bugger! Now that there are no foreigners OR KTV there is nothing to keep the Chinese amused.

Anyhow back to it. Friday was an awesome day. My Grade 3's were fantastic. I was revising 'emotions' and they were happy, they were sad, they were confused and they were mad. I made up a song using the different noises we make when we express emotions, so I obviously called it the 'Emotions Song'. On the board I had a huge amount of faces expressing different emotions and after teaching each noise I turn into a conductor and as I point, the students go through the noises. They have such a great time especially when I point to sick and VERY ANGRY!

Strangely my Grade 3 day always ends much too quickly and soon I was on a roadside bus to Tiandong to meet Judy. We then caught an express bus to Nanning. We arrived around 10:00pm. After booking into the trusty Ying Bin Hotel across from the train station we headed out onto the Nanning streets. Being a hot night we slowly made our way towards BBQ Street where we found a sidewalk table and sat for an awesome meal and cold beer.

Saturday morning found us on a quest. It was a quest to find ANOTHER new pair of Sturdy Steeds for me! My new sandals purchased in Jinghong (Xishuangbanna) had been fixed so many times that they weren't worth fixing anymore. There was nothing left to fix. The actual sole had begun to rip apart. NOT GOOD, in fact unbelievable! After visiting many shops full of Sturdy Steeds I purchased what I've been told are a 'China Top Brand' or a very good brand called 361 Degrees. I'll keep you posted! Time will tell.

As Judy will be heading back to Aus soon we then headed off to find the CITS (China International Travel Service) so she could book her plane ticket home. Yes, another Aussie is leaving China for the comforts of the homeland. Here they all find jars full of vegemite, actual pizzas in the shops with a pizza painted on the window and a good clean cold Boags Beer all year round. Boags Beer, it's the best beer in the world mate!

Judy'll be leaving near the end of August. Prior we will be travelling through Yunnan up into Sichuan. From there she has some sort of plan. I can't remember what it is but from looking at the map it has to be something like from Sichuan we'll go up into Gansu, Ningxia, maybe to Xi'an in Shaanxi, through Shanxi and into Hebei and then Beijing. What ever and where ever we go it should be a good journey. I stayed with a friend's family six years ago in Xi'an so if our journey takes us there I will be looking forward to meeting up with them again. I haven't been to Beijing for six years and if we don't make it there I won't be crying. Much too big! It's just too damn BIG!

Whilst waiting for the English speaking guy to return from lunch we took a stroll through the Peoples Park. Lovely park and so nice and quiet. I had visited there with Kylie and Gary many months before. On that visit we hired a little motor boat and Gary continually rammed into other boats. Crazy man! Must be the Chinese in him! Gary, your a crazy bugger! The park itself is beautiful in places but I wouldn't trust the roller coasters and other theme park wiz bang fun things!

After booking the ticket we headed to the train station to met American Jacque. She replaced Aussie Karen. Aussie Kev found himself a girl and headed to Shenzhen and has never been replaced. It rained off and on through out the day. We found the Foreign Bookshop and spent a good hour or more in there. I finally found what I had been looking for a LOOOONG time. It's a 16 cd and 5 book set that teaches you Chinese from the VERY Beginning. From the first sounds to poems later on. It's a full on multi media 'thingamabob' so you use your mouse to do different things and also use your microphone to make sure you get the sounds correct.

Lately I've felt the beginnings of frustration at not being able to learn Chinese in my town. Up until now it's been a lot of fun but hey, I'm in China and I want to learn how to speak Chinese and decipher all the babble that goes on around me each night and day. I know I won't be able to practice it much in my town as they only want to hear me speak English. I think if I want to stay here in China for as many years as possible then it is time!

I've met other foreign teachers whom have been here for 6 months and are a million times better than Judy and I. The main difference is they are in cities and are around many other foreign teachers whom all practice together. The package I purchased was developed by 20 Mandarin professors over several years. Over many months it's been recommended highly by many people. In fact, Chinese teachers use it in class to teach Chinese, so it must be pretty good. We shall see!

After leaving the Foreign Book shop we headed to the Wando Mall to the cinema to see if there was an English speaking movie on. The Sentinel was, so after purchasing our tickets we headed in. Strangely it was actually a very quiet audience. Usually there are people talking on their mobiles, a million mobiles ringing and couples and friends having actual conversations. Not much one can do about it really. It's a Chinese movie theatre and we are foreigners, why should they change their ways for us! The movie wasn't a bad film, a bit predictable but fun. The Da Vinci Code starts next weekend so maybe I'll head back for that.

I love going to the movies so much. Back in Australia I used to see between two and four movies a week. Usually three. Friday nights was my multi billion dollar shoot em up night. I'd go see my first film and whilst leaving the cinema afterwards if there was a movie beginning I'd sneak into watch that one too. I'd plan the times prior to make sure I could do this. Tuesday was always my night for 'independent' or 'foreign' films. A kind of thinking night.

Saturday night we headed towards BBQ Street again and found a great little place to eat. It was kind of like a club but for eating. Maybe later each night it becomes a disco. Who knows. The owner had been lucky enough to have lived 'abroad' as they say here in China. English speakers seldom use the world 'abroad' just as we seldom use the word seldom. They are common speech for the Chinese just as Bugger is for us Australians. Anyhow, he knew some English and French. When he talked to us he kept mixing English and French. Lucky for us Jacque knew French and filled in the blanks for us. Around 12 we headed back towards our hotel and sat for a few more beers in the little eatery below the hotel. Here we met a rather cute Dutch girl who joined us. She had been in Hong Kong studying for 6 months and was on her first trip around the main land. Like many before her, she was stunned at the difference between China and Hong Kong. Around 2am we said good bye to the cute Dutch girl and decided it was time to sleep.

Sunday we headed out for a late breakfast and a walk around the little back streets. Around mid day we caught a bus to one of the four huge bus stations and caught the next bus home. Bad choice of movies for the journey home. 'Anaconda', one of the worst movies ever made. Thankfully it was in Chinese as usual so I could concentrate on the scenery as we raced down the highway dodging and swerving our way home. When I got home I headed out for a two hour ride and then washed my bike before heading to the market place for noodles and beer.

That's about it really. Classes were great today. I went for a market pace supply run. I'd ran out of coffee and other things like being at the very end of the toothpaste tube. Argh, no coffee. That's a real Bugger Mate! Not a good thing to happen!

That's it from me.

I hope all the mothers in the world (especially mine!) had a beautiful Mothers Day

The soundtrack to tonights entry is none other than: The Butthole Surfers 'Independent Worm Saloon'. Race to your local CD shop mate, you really do need this one!

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