Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya How crazy is the weather now? What has been happening ? And what will happen soon? Last Thursday the Aussies (Martin and Georgia) left the building, yep gone from Shaowu never to return. They headed to Xiamen for a few days (full of rain and storms) and then back to Yangshuo where they will teach for another month or so before pakkin it around China, Nepal and India etc. It was fantastic to get to know them and how cool was it to be able to sit and chat about all things 'Home' as they too are from Melbourne. Joyce, Candy and I had a fantastic last week with them cramming the evenings full of dinners, card nights and the first season of LOST. Hows LOST hey, no one told me how good it was. Now I have to find all the other seasons. Then I'll have to find time to watch them. Man life's tough! A mega huge thanks needs to go to Martin for helping me set up my snazzy new computer with Linux and doing all the techo stuff to allow both Linux and XP to operate happily together using the same files. I tried watching to learn something but he was zipping and zooming in and out of the 'techo promt screens' so fast my head was spinning. We sat until around three in the morning chatting all things Linux and then had to get up for the last days classes. Yep, sadly I am now on holidays again...Wah Wah! The school year has come to an end and when the new year begins on the first of September; My grade 5's will become my grade 6's My grade 4's will become my grade 5's. And Alexa and Georgia's grade 3's will soon become my happy grade 4's. So with over two months off to venture anywhere I please here in China I find myself still torn between choices of what to do and where to go. I am writing this entry to you on my new flashy wizzbang HP/Compaq Note Book which ate a huge amount of my savings, therefore heading way way west to Kashgar will take the rest of what I have. It's a dream and it is what I had originally planned. BUT...another dream is to travel Fujian and put some extra places on the map for foreigners to visit. The problem I face is that no one really knows where I should go and what I should see. Don't get me wrong, I am quite comfortable pointing to a town on a map and heading there but I have usually had some information on what can be found in that area if I was to head there alone. It seems strange to me that the people of Guangxi know so much about their province and could inform me of so much about places they had never even visited yet longed to. Here in Fujian it seems that no one really knows much about their province and has no real advice on where I should go. I've been taking my Fujian map here and there and asking friends if they know of places to go and what is there. I always get the same answers which are the places I visited on my winter break. Tings Tings been a great help but even she hasn't been able to come up with enough for me to stay here for two months. It seems Fujian really is an unknown province with little or no information available on both the internet or orally by those whom live here. Should I spend two months going from place to place, visiting little towns and villages missing out on what that town really has to offer or should I fulfil my dream and head west to Kashgar? Yeah yeah, I hear you...Shane if you could speak Chinese you could ask the villagers yourself when you get there. Yeah yeah I know! Problem is many of them probably don't speak Chinese either Remember under fifty percent of this country don't speak Mandarin. A huge attraction of heading west is not only visiting Kashgar but stopping in at Xian where Terry and Eve (my family's best friends from Australia) are now visiting her family. As I've never finished my blog from seven years ago most wouldn't know that I stayed with a family in Xian and this family was and is my families best friends wife's family.
(Could I have made that sentence sound any more confusing!).
How awesome would that be. Back then Ha Ha (Ping and Bo's son - Ping being Eves sister) was in primary school and now, next term he will begin university. I taught him how to play chess and within several nights he was beating me. He found out his university entrance exam scores and they will easily allow him to attend any of China's top uni's. Smart...very very smart! But thinking of the seven year gap kind of makes me sit and think that the same thing will happen to me and my nieces and nephews. The longer I stay here the more I will miss of their teenage years. HHHHhhhhhmmmm! Anyhow, back to where to travel. Oh how hard is life hey! How can one live with such difficult choices! You see what I have to live with over here! Talking about living mate, try living with this insane weather. The weather here is totally amazing at the moment. Fujian Province has entered Typhoon Season and for me this is a totally new experience. In Guangxi and in Queensland I was used to the humidity and the rain and electrical storms during summer but this beats anything I've lived with. None of this is a weather complaint as I love storms. Its been raining, raining and raining constantly for several months now sometimes stopping for a few days to allow travel and sunshine, so the two beautiful days I had at Wuyi Shan with the Aussies were actually two of the very few sunny days Martin and Georgia had here in Shaowu. I got used to riding in the rain in QLD and Guangxi but this is a little too scary for me to ride sometimes. Several million people in the southern provinces have been left homeless due to the floods wiping out their villages and crops. Hundreds have drowned and many killed due to being hit by lightening. This happens every year as it does every year in other countries that are in the typhoon belt. But my gawd, the storms are awesome! Wake up and it's usually happy and sunny, not long after the thunder begins. Once it begins we are assured of least five to six hours of constant rumbling from above. Then in the late afternoon the lightening begins. This for some reaons makes the thunder gods very angry so soon the thunder gets much louder and sometimes, like about five minutes ago, so loud and sharp that it actually made my ears ring. I actually jumped and was covered with goose bumps for a second or two. So with the thunder and lightening fighting for the most attention, the wind god then looks over the fence and figures that he wants all the attention.
Then.....the wind begins howling. If I'm home when the thunder begins to get louder, if I turn down my music I can sit for about two or so minutes listening to scores of windows being shut all around the area I live....bang...bang...bang...bang...bang. This goes on for a few minutes and then there is silence again. Then it begins, thunder, pouring rain, lightening, lights flickering on and off and the worst of all is the wind.
If I don't shut my little back windows right it actually rips them open and my house becomes like a scene from a horror film.
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'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. Most times I struggle to shut the back windows and usually end up half soaked within a few seconds. Yesterday was pretty scary. Over the past week I have been spending five to six hours a day riding out in the fields and mountains. I was determined to link all my rides from way out there so I don't have to retrace my steps...um...that can't be right...I'm riding not walking...ok, so I don't have to retrace my peddles! Finally I found all the trails I needed to get me around the mountains. I even found a beautiful valley that I didn't know existed that sits between two of my rides.
There is so much mud that to the amusement of every one I pass on my return journey, I look like a Rice Field Mud Monster on a Rice Field Mud Monster Mountain Bike. That was really dumb wasn't it!
So now I can do a huge square that links my newest ride where I watched the lightening dancing many weeks ago to my village/temple ride and then way way out and around to another ride that myself and Daniel rode part of. Yesterday I spent many hours riding out in the hills and never kept my eye on the time. The skies had been rumbling for several hours and then whilst I was in the middle of nowhere it started. From out of the blue came winds that actually stopped me in mid peddle. My first thought was 'Oh Fark, I'm really buggered now'. Then came the rain and the thunder and lightening. In the fields the farmers simply squatted to wait until the storm passed. What did I do? To the amusement of passing motorists.....whilst struggling to keep my bike standing I washed my bike on the side of the road! It hadn't been washed for weeks and was caked with mud. There was so much rain and the drops were so huge in size that it was like using one hundred hoses. By the time the winds stopped my bike was sparkling clean and I continued on my way. Lightening was dancing all around me, sometimes much too close for my liking as after some of the flashes all I could see was bright spots in front of me. By the time I finally made it home all had stopped and there was an eerie silence. You could actually feel the electric tension in the air. Just as I got into the shower it all started again with the loudest BANG I've ever heard. It's like it's not thunder but a bomb exploding. I then had to run naked around the house forcing doors and windows closed before they were ripped from their hinges. Not long after, it all stopped again. Most of the time the storms are over quickly but other times like the other evening when I was chatting to my friend Kitty from Baise on MSN (who's been in Japan studying Japanese language and culture for nearing a year) I simply turned everything off, unplugged my computer and sat in the lounge room with the lights off listening to it going crazy outside. I heard several windows smash as they were being thrown around by the wind. And if I don't learn to close mine before leaving the house this will happen to my back little wooden windows. So that's what's been happening in life.
As to what will happen over my summer break I guess the next day or two or maybe even a week will tell the story. I'll simply wake up one morning knowing where to go, go by a ticket and go. My small pack has been almost packed and ready for the last few days so all I have to do is choose the right direction that will make both myself and my little amount of money happy. I'm almost certain it will be Xian to see Terry and Eve so now it is just finding a pathway to follow to get me there. I haven't much money and they will leave for Australia on the 27th or 28th of July so I have around three weeks to get there. Tonight I will create a rough pathway there and back that will take me to as many wonderful places my money can buy. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane The soundtrack to this entry was the 'Twin Peaks Soundtrack'. With all the craziness that's going on out side my windows I thought creating a nice calm atmosphere inside would be nice. Just as long as who ever it was that killed Laura Palmer doesn't come flying through my window!