A Travellerspoint blog

September 2006

Maaaaaate, Happy 57th Birthday to China

Hey Hey & a Big G'Day to you all,

Today is National Day!

Yeah, Happy 57th Birthday Mate!

Long live noodles and rice!

National Day this year was awesome. My school had its Happy 57th Birthday to China 'sing and dance' festival in the morning. All week the kids had been so excited. During class, after school and at home they had been practicing ever so hard. I gave some of my class time to help out and all were happy. The weather was awesome, two other people had short sleeves on but sadly no one else was wearing shorts and sandals.

The children were all dressed up, some in minority costumes and make up, others in the official school track suite and others dressed as characters such as mice and cats. I of course was dressed in my official school uniform as well, that of sandals, shorts and short sleeves. When I arrived I was shown the way to the official table and placed in the chair next to the head master. This was cool as he really is a great guy and young enough to still be Baiyin's number one badminton player! This lasted for about ten minutes as I was soon called accross by the students and found a chair right up the front.

Each class got to perform two songs and mate, they were all fantastic!

My favorite for the day was my Grade 2's singing Meow & Lowshoo (or Cat & Mouse).

The Birthday Party ended around one and soon I was making my way out the front gate with hundreds of students. I had tried to stay back and help clean up but of course I wasn't allowed to. I spent the next several hours on Eat Street slurping noodles with some of my students and their parents.

It was an awesome time and I had such a great National Day!

OK, for those who are sitting there saying, this guys a complete idiot, how can China be only 57 years old. Well, let's go back before 1949 shall we. The Long March had finished, the Japanese had invaded caused havoc destruction and by this time Mao Zedong was established as the leader of the Chinese Communist movement.

Yes people, the man who would become Chairman Mao one day said, 'HHHmmm, I wouldn't mind being Chairman for awhile!' So the big feller stood up on the 1st of October 1949 and said 'Hey Man, I've got an idea, let's become the People's Republic of China and I'll be Chairman!' So began the huge Communist Movement and the beginnings of the Peoples Republic of China, or the PRC to some.

When the big change occurred all the other big guys fled the country with all its wealth leaving Mao Zedong to become Chairman Mao. A massive change soon swept the country. They began land reform by giving back the land to the peasants (how sweet), women were recognized (MMMmmm mmmMMM, oops sorry, not that type of recognition!), inflation was grabbed by the butt and the big 'Five Year Plan' was introduced.

All seemed pretty good for most during those first five or so years. People were put into their Work Units, the country was divided into twenty one provinces, five Autonomous Regions and two municipalities being Beijing and Shanghai, there was food a plenty and everyone was in a big warm happy snuggle.

Once the Great Leap Forward kicked in, China was not heard of for a long time. Within its walls strange things were happening. Big people became little, famous people disappeared, special universities were opened, society changed, people were sent to agricultural communes, blast furnaces were created, people were too busy melting spoons and woks and no one was tending to the crops, famine hit, many people died and Mao said good bye to his job as the head of state.

Of course he was still Chairman of the Communist Party though!

Then came the writings of Chairman Mao, bounded together in the 'Little Red Book'. In kicked 'The Cultural Revolution'. Thoughts were thrown around and implemented, posters put up, families were split, romance really sucked, the Red Guards began their destruction, smart people disappeared, special things and places such as art and temples were torched and destroyed. Basically anything 'old' was not allowed eg: old customs, thinking and culture.

And due to clothing codes, in came the famous Chairman Mao suit!

After the big guy died in 76 Deng Xiaoping returned and soon thoughts of modernisation were thrown around. They were tossed here and there and finally the 'Four Modernisations' program was release. The new big guy had thought of things like agriculture, industry, science and defense and said 'Hey Man, we are nearing five thousand years old as a people but where are we globally?' The one child policy was enforced to slow down the population growth, farmers were given permission to sell surpluses on the market, political reform grew, religions were tolerated and Hong Kong was given back to China.

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 closed to make way for new brewery's!

Tee Hee Hey!

So there you have it, that's my little history lesson and explaination of what is and what is behind National Day. For most students and teachers and other members of society is a week's holiday. I'm still unsure what I will be doing but at this point of time I really couldn't be bothered donning the pack and going on an adventure. Strange thoughts for me but if you've been following my life here you should recall that I actually had the same thoughts this time last year. Thats the reason I purchased my bike in the first place.

Of course I ended up in Lingyun so maybe this year I'll end up in Lanzhou. But it's been too long since I've exercised and ridden a bike. There have been too many beers and smokes and now it's time for me to get back in the saddle on a daily basis and rid some of the roundness!

Tee hee, it's not that bad. I've just been feeling very lazy and tired and my body tells me each day I NEED EXERCISE!

So I guess that's the plan for the next week.

HAPPY NATIONAL DAY TO EVERY ONE IN CHINA AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ANYONE ELSE WHO SHARES THE SAME DATE

Beers N Noodles to you all...shane

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

The Bike Ride to Si Long N My Time

Hey Hey and a huge G'day to everyone

Just a quick catch up on everything that hasn't happened lately.

Like usual I've been spending my usual lovin' fun filled hours with the twin tub each week along with walking around town making sure I don't leave the city and it's green trees and venture out into the lovely bare hills. Teaching is going really well. I taught emotions this week and man did we have fun puking into each others pencil cases etc.

It was a very emotional week for us all...har har!

There is still no Tiger Beer on the shelves in the great supermarket on the edge of the desert! That's cool mate, the local drop is a good drop. I've eaten at several more little stalls for lunch and dinner on my search for the best lamb and beef noodle dish. The lamb noodle soup on 'Eat Street' is still winning.

I've been hijacked by several Chinese English Teachers from around Baiyin wanting me to come to their house and school and spend time with their students and their son or daughter on weekends and after school because he/she/they really need to practice their English and Oh, can I please have your phone number so I can organize a time for you to do this!

Unfortunately I tell them, I don't have a phone at all. I then ask if they have organized an English Corner at their school or an afternoon or evening where the students can ONLY speak English to each other.

Of course you haven't and that's the reason why they really need to practice their English.

If they don't use it and are not made to you it, how can they speak it!

I am serious, they will sit for hours several nights a week until they see me coming out of the supermarket. How do I know this, because they tell me. A tad baffling really!

Here in China the students are only taught how to write English and to say several sentences. I am truly amazed over and over again at the conversations I can have with a Middle or High School student....ON PAPER! Unfortunately they are not taught to speak. There is no time made for conversations to develop from what they are taught. This is why I will not give my phone number or begin to meet with high or middle school students. I tried in Tianyang and in the end people argue with me that I spend time speaking to 'him or her' so why can't I spend time with little Johnny.

In the end there is no time left for ME!

When you add the five Chinese English teachers from around Baiyin (so far) to the three at my school, all whom want me to spend time with little Johnny, there really would be no time to ride my bike or create new and interesting lesson plans!

And Mr Singapore, I'm not even going to make time for one of them. My students and my free time are what are important to me! Tee Hee!

If the high and middle schools began to teach Conversational English it would be much easier. In my Primary school I am asked if I can use chop sticks, when speaking to High and Middle school students I am asked the same questions. Also, I am pretty selfish with my time and teaching ends on Friday afternoon for me and that's all there is to it.

Conversation finished!

What else have I been up to......

Argh yes, yesterday I finally got my butt back on the bike after too many months.

Friday after school the usual questions were asked, that of 'what are you doing this weekend?' etc

My reply was 'Going for a HUUUUUUGE bike ride'

Some replies were 'You mustn't ride by yourself', 'what happens if your tire explodes?' Seriously, explodes! I had to explain that American cars, American planes and bombs etc explode and that my tire would simply 'go flat' and would be left in one piece.

After we all laughed several asked if they could come. Sure I said, if you want to ride for four or five hours feel free. After a minutes silence I said my good byes for the weekend and wished everyone well. An hour later I got many text messages asking me to call. I called and we all decided on what they thought was a 40km ride (there 20km & back 20km) to a little river town called 'Si Long' (which means Four Dragons) on the Yellow River.

I asked why they had changed their minds and was told that some teachers didn't like the idea of me riding on my own. I tried to explain that I had been riding in China for nearing two years and that I would love it if someone would join me a few nights a week. BUT, the fact that I usually ride 40kms a night scares people away

They insisted on joining me.

Saturday morning I met the two teachers who wanted to join me and several of their friends. So there was myself, three others on bikes and another on a motorbike with a passenger. It took about an hour to get going. Some didn't have bikes and had to ring around and borrow bikes, my bike had a puncture and had to be repaired and finally by around 11:30am we put foot to pedal and began our slow journey out of Baiyin.

For the first hour I tried to stay with them, soon after I got the riding bug and took off. Some tried to keep up but at the end of the next hour I sat waiting for about twenty minutes. I was pretty amazed at what I was riding past almost all the way. There was of course corn, some leafy green vegetables but what really amazed me were the fields full of sticky, smelly dope plants. They were huge mate and all were hanging to one side due to the huge head on them.

Note to self: DO NOT, under any circumstance touch ANY DRUG in a foreign country!

Noted!

I focused my attention on the.....corn and the beautiful bare hills around me.

The ride there was pretty easy for all. When we arrived at a tiny dusty town we sat for a huge lunch of sweet and sour pork, thick noodles and beer. After lunch I thought we were to continue but surprise to me, we had arrived in Si Long prior to lunch. We had in fact eaten lunch in Si Long and were in fact still in Si Long.

Si Long had been described as a beautiful river side town where many Baiyin and Lanzhou peoples went to spend time on the weekend. It was a place where you could relax, swim and walk around the neighboring hills.

I pictured a lush green leafy river side town.

We were in a dusty town with a brown river flowing through it and surrounded by bare hills.

I giggled to myself and quickly put myself in their shoes. They had lived here all their lives and I guess here in Gansu this really was a beautiful river side town where one could come to relax, swim and walk around the...um...hills.

We made our way down to the river side and spent many hours skipping flat stones along the top of the brownish yellow river top. We chatted for hours and watched one of the guys try his best to learn to ride the motor bike. In three hours he never once moved after releasing the clutch! Speedboats zoomed past us with passengers full of smiles and waving hands. During the afternoon the skies slowly turned back to the grey they were in the morning. I had expected it to rain when I woke so I didn't bring my camera along.

BUGGER! Just think of all those pictures of the lush green river side town I missed out on!

Now to the ride home.

Well, I'm unsure if they'll ride with me again.

I rode at my own pace (fast) and they all took it in turns to be towed by the motor bike to where ever it was I was waiting for them. I felt so horrible, by the motorbikes speedo it was around 65kms for the day. They all thought it was 20km each way. By the time we hit Baiyin some of their legs were so jelly like they could barely stand. I surprised them by asking if anyone wanted to go for a short ride today (Sunday) around the edge of Baiyin.

I took silence for a no and we all said our happy goodbyes until Monday.

It really was a great day and it was good to meet and make new friends, but man oh man how I wished I had my beautiful bike which is still in Baise at Brad's house! The bike I have here is a small mountain bike, the gears change randomly and sometimes if I'm lucky the chain stays on after a random gear change. It was like winning the lottery when I actually got an easy gear after a random gear change going up hill.

When I got home I had to carry my bike up five floors. By the fifth floor I could feel it in my legs. I never really felt tired until I sat down and man by butt was sore! A 65km ride after nearing three months without riding, OUCH!

Today (Sunday) I rose, spent a fun filled hour chasing my twin tub all over the lounge room floor during its spin cycle and then went for a ride around the edges of Baiyin. It never really hit me until this morning how polluted Baiyin really is. On one side of town there is heaps of 'Industrial Plants' spewing ugly amounts of pollution into the air that I breathe. It was then I really made my mind up that one year really will be long enough for me here in Baiyin.

I stopped and stared at the sight before me, it actually made me feel sick just looking at it. I wondered:

Are there no trees around the city because I'm living on the edge of the desert

OR

Did these 'horrible things' actually make Baiyin a city with a supermarket on the edge of the desert!

Ride To Si Long

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

Mate, Mans NOT a Camel!

Maaaaaaaaaaaate

I just went to the supermarket...there was NO Tiger Beer...ANYWHERE!

Mans NOT a camel

He needs a good beer after a hard days work playing silly buggers

A female store person whom knows my love for this beer noticed my distress

So began the game of Charades

I pointed to the empty space and began to cry

She laughed...whilst laughing others gathered around to watch the silly foreigner

I played aeroplanes landing and then carrying a case to fill the empty space

She laughed...so did everyone else!

I played aeroplanes again

She laughed...so did everyone else!

I played aeroplanes AGAIN and cried

She joined the game

She played Trucks and then carried a case to fill the empty space

I began giving her a clap...so did everyone else

She ran off!

____________________________________________________________ _____________________

Well...big apologies to you all,

That's about the most exciting thing that's happened for the past few weeks.

I've decided to get stuck into my teaching plans etc to make my future here in China easier. So I'm developing my own one year syllabus and filling it full of all the good stuff I do to make an idiot out of myself whilst teaching.

I've chosen thirty five topics and I've been busy going through my old material and rockin around the net gathering material such as songs, chants and of course a million games to use in them.

I'm also re-doing my all Flash Cards, making them even bigger, getting rid of the ones that are useless and writing up all the chants and songs onto good quality blotting paper.

I've completely changed my Lesson Plan format and have begun to add all song/chant lyrics and game instructions as attachments. I've got so much stuff that I'm creating three lesson plans for each topic. This way I can send a 'Complete Lesson Plan' to those whom email me with requests and have so much stuff that it will take aloooong time to get through.

So much stuff in fact that I'm creating three for Grade 1 & 2's and three for Grade 3 through to 6.

Strangely, I'm having a bloody good time and there is not a Market Place insight!

My market place friends gave me a call the other day and were horrified that I'm way up in Gansu. It was great to hear 'Hersherhers' voice. We couldn't get much through as we couldn't play Charades but it was a huge surprise all the same. I was saddened when he began humming the Wedding Tune. Oh so sad I will miss their wedding along with missing Brads Wedding (Baise Police).

I guess that is the real downside to being a foreign teacher hey...tis a real Bugger too!

School has been going great. I'm beginning to simplify my thinking when it comes to the Grade 1 & 2's but still have a little way to go. I think of a simple thing but think it won't teach anyone anything so I add that little bit more to it and it is that little bit too much so Jo Jo strips it down to what it kinda was in the first place. I'm trying to shred her brain of games and handy hints. She is so fantastic with the kids but sadly I will lose her next month when she leaves to have her baby.

OOOhhhhh, a little baby!

Hey, what about me!

OOOhhhhh, Poor Shane!

Grade 3 to 6 is rokkin! As I'm teaching the same topic to all classes each week it gives me an awesome opportunity to get each lesson right. So that means only four lesson plans...two for Grade 1 & 2 and two for 3 to 6. Same topic but much different.

What else....it was Teachers Day last Friday so we only had half a day of school. All the teachers went back to school in the late afternoon and the gym had been turned into a huge eating area. It was such a good time.

I've found that my new school...in fact, my new town/city is the complete opposite to Tianyang and Guangxi for that matter. Sure one is lush and beautiful and the other (Gansu) does have trees in the cities but is barren everywhere else...BUT the people are so much different socially. In Guangxi Baijo is huge and I mean HUGE! Here I don't really see anyone drinking it much at all.

A school dinner sitting at the Leaders Table was to be feared in Guangxi. It was biajo all the way and you had to drink it or you offended them. I kept away as much as possible. Eveyone else and I mean everyone else drank loads of beer. Here way up in Gansu, well the dinner was strangely mostly alcohol free. The leaders drank tea and water and were not to be feared at all.

The craziest thing about the night was the fact that there was a table of guys drinking biajo and smoking. No one else was drinking at all. The guys at this table were all 'not thin' so to say. I asked who they were and believe it or not, they were the bloody PE Teachers.

I couldn't stop laughing!

I've started English Corner but it just won't be the same as in Tianyang. There I had beautiful green grass, a pagoda, concrete tables and stools and a small group of around ten or so. Here I have a damn classroom, there is no grass, there is nothing to sit on at all outside the buildings and I have an entire class of fifty students.

HHHhhhmmm.....

I am determined to make the most of it though. Over the next few weeks I'll make it into something fun and NOT me being asked the same questions over and over again like the school wants to happen.

Do you like noodles?

What's your favourite colour?

Can you use chop sticks?

Do you like cats? (yes they taste great! I want to say after the tenth time)

Do you like Pandas? Yes I'm sure they taste great! I want to say after the twentieth time)

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!! Stop it!!!!!!!!!

The first night was horrible. When we talked about it I explained 'what I had' and what is comfortable for both students and the teacher and when I arrived I was told I had the meeting room and fifty students. I began walking home and the students all came racing over and asked me to stay. We had it outside and it was horrible. They were all yelling and asking the same questions over and over.

I left with a HUGE headache.

English Corner is for the students so like I said, I'm going to make it something special for them. The boardroom has a multi-media set up so I can bring my photos from all over world in to talk about. We can move all the chairs and tables and sit on the floor...there is a lot we can do to make it fun.

What else....I've dropped in at and eaten at many little market stalls and have pretty much found my regulars for lunch and dinner. There is an AWESOME clay pot noodle stall in the covered market area. In one clay pot there are three types of noodles, two types of meat, bok choy and another green leafy thing and four little tiny eggs along with to-fu all in soup. Across from that is the pork/Turkish bread stall. On 'eat street' (the market street across from the school) is where I eat another two types of noodle soups. I've already written about them in my last entry so I won't go on about them.

The lamb one is bloody awesome though!

Even though I live about five minutes walk from the school I've begun walking the complete opposite way and instead I walk around the big park I live beside. This takes about thirty minutes. I do this after lunch and on the way home from school. I also add an extra one in most nights after dinner depending on what I'm doing.

What else....haven't updated any photos yet.

No time, I'm a busy boy, leave me alone!

I've found 'my stores' to buy all my school stuff in. Plenty around but the people in these stores were great and love to play Charades with me. I've decided to only do washing one night a week and stuff as much as possible in to the blasted Twin Tub. We are not friends anymore after last night. I was emptying the fifth bucket of water into it and misjudged the side of the bucket, it hit the side of the twin tub and the water went all over the floor.

Yep, I was just as happy as the night I flooded the entire apartment!

Not much more to tell.

It's been all about lessons lately so I haven't really gone anywhere. I should be at a point where I will relax by next weekend or the following so I'll be off on the bike taking photos of....HHHhhhmmm, well not much really, bare hills with caves in them. I did go for a four hour walk last Saturday out past the train tracks. It was....well, boring! I got sick of looking at nothing so I turned back and walked around town instead.

Luckily there are some rather nice parks here in Baiyin for me to walk around. I'd go stir crazy walking and riding 'out there' every day. The male Chinese English Teachers want to take me to a few villages around the area. Believe me, I'm looking forward to it as I want to find these 'villages'. Maybe they'll have lush green rice fields for me to play in.

Anyhow, that's about it for now, I'm going to head out for clay pot noodles.

MMMmmm mmmMMM the ones I described above!

No Tiger Beer but plenty of bread and noodles to ya...Shane

Happy Teachers Day Weekend

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

Twin Tubs, Noodles N Beers To Ya

Hey Hey and a HUGE G'Day to you all,

I'm finally back online again and very happy and well up here in the north of China.

OK, just a quick description of Baiyin city so far.

The school...the school pretty cool. It's Baiyins No:1 Primary School. This I'm reminded of each day. Visually, it's no where near as nice as my last one. My school in Tianyang had a heap of green throughout which included grass to play on with the kids and big old trees to sit under during English Corner.

My new school has a few cactuses in pots inside of the windows. I'm sure I can live without trees though as the people are great. This makes up for the lack of trees in the school grounds. So far some of the teachers have gone so far out of their way to make me feel at home, so much so that I had to bring my world map from home to school and show them where I have traveled in the world.......... BY MYSELF! I have to continually say these two words.....BY MYSELF over and over again.

After a little time they got the hint and stopped telling me simple things like, 'This is your pencil Shane'. I'm serious! When one guy came around to my apartment he even told me that my toilet was 'for going to the toilet' and that the shower 'was for me to clean myself'. I reminded him that I am a big boy now and can take care of myself.

It's not as bad as it sounds but from what I have been told it just gets worse and continues to get worse for a foreign teacher who is the first foreign teacher at a school. I decided to put a stop to it NOW. I'm sure I sound maybe 'rude' sometimes, but I will not be 'babied' and 'looked after' and 'not listened to' when I ask them to stop.

Instead, I will put a stop to it!

FOOD...the food here is fantastic, too many noodles and not enough rice though. It's the complete opposite to the south. I'd rather rice so I've scouted around and found a few places that do different types of fried rice with side dishes of green vegetables etc. Across from my apartment building is a little noodle shop where I found 'spag bol'. It's not called that but it is unbelievable how similar this noodle dish is to 'our' spag bol!. It even has mince, tomato and some veggies.

Good find!

Near my school is a street market where I eat each lunch time. The lamb and beef noodle soups are to die for. They come with a huge chunk of very tasty Turkish bread. There is a huge Muslim population here and they cook the best meat in the world! People hunt them out even way down in Yangshuo for BBQ. They call them a 'Wicken Man' or something that sounds like that.

If you're in China, mainly in the north and a man has a little white skull cap on and is standing behind a portable bbq, run with your wallet open, get on your knees and beg for a few meat sticks.

Next to my building is the city square and park. This is the old square as in the west of the city a new huge, and I mean HUGE Peoples Square has been built. The west is where all the new 'things' are being built. The new apartment blocks, the new department stores etc. Kind of like building a new city. I doubt I will spend much time out west. The new China doesn't really do much for me at all.

Out of my balconey window and about fifty meters away is a Chinese Castle...type thing. It's awesome to just sit on my balcony and stare at this castle...type thing and say to myself...Mate, there's a freakin Chinese....castle type thing right outside your window! Who else that you know, has a Chinese Castle...type thing outside their window!

Life, it really does blow my mind sometimes!

I've attached a panoramic shot taken from my bedroom balcony where I sit before bed with a beer watching people go to and fro in the square below. The park and square begin outside my window and go back for about.....well, I don't know really as I'm really bad at guessing lengths. Maybe somewhere between half a km and 1 km. The main section of the square is on the other side of the park. Where I am is pretty lively each night though.

Sometimes too lively!

Underneath the park is where the underground shopping and a market place are...great for the snowy winters that will I'm sure soon be here! I think I'm expecting it to be worse than it is really going to be. They assure me that it doesn't snow 'that' much or get to -40...usually -10 to -15 'or so'.

HHHhhhmmm, we'll see!

To the east is where the 'very poor' area is. These places are in a very bad state of affairs. Whilst walking around this area I felt so sorry for the people whom lived there. There was so much rubbish and so much mud. It was like the houses were actually made from both. There were poor areas around Tianyang but that was completely different. The people whom lived in those areas were known simply as 'Farmers'. They were so happy and their houses, even though a simple shack, were looked after and clean. Here it is different. The people look at you with a blank stare and seem to just look into the distance. Maybe they have given up.

In China I believe they will never be able to change the way they live or their status. I visited this area first with Judy on my first visit. On my second visit to this area I didn't stay long at all, I felt an urgent need to get out. Why? I have no idea. The last time I had the same feeling was six years ago at the old Hanoi train station. I was dropped off at some old decrepit station where I was told the train to China left from. Pretty soon I was surrounded by several Vietnamese.

'Get Out!' my stomach told and Get Out I did!

What else...the supermarket stocks Fosters Larger, Fosters Ice, Tiger Beer (best beer in the world by far! Great Find), Tang, Milo and a heap of other strange foreign things I remember from home. The super market is one place I'll try not to visit very often. Too many luxuries for me. Part of the reason I'm in China is to learn to live a simple life without things like thousands of books and a fridge full of stuff I'll never finish but felt the need to buy. I've done a great job so far and plan to continue doing so.

Bike riding won't be as beautiful as it was in Guangxi. No rice fields here mate! The city is surrounded by barren hills which don't make for much of a beautiful ride at all. I will surely miss the happy and smiling face of the Guangxi farmer and their friendly 'Hello' from beneath a pointed cane hat. I will miss the lush green summers and the fields that seemed to change over night.

I have a feeling not much will change here except from sunshine and warmth to snow and freezing cold.

This is a real bugger for me!

My apartment has a HUGE screen TV that I'll never watch, two balconies, one for drying clothes and drinking beer in and the other for cooking...why? I don't know why there is a separate little room for cooking in. Why don't you just cook in the kitchen..Why build another little glass room? I've been told it also to helps keep the place warmer in winter. I certainly hope so.

Strangely though, I WILL be warmer here in winter than down south. Down south there is NO heating in any building except for an electric heater if you buy one. Up north everything is heated by steam pipes, even the markets and schools!

Now that is real cool for me!

BUT.....there is always a damn BUT!

The problem I've been told, is that the heating is government controlled

The problem I've been told, is that 'THEY' say when it is turned on and off.

The problem I've been told, is that it is turned on several weeks too late and turned off several weeks too early.

HHHHhhhmmm, we'll see!

Everything in my apartment is new, even the new Twin Tub washing machine! Boy, wasn't I over the freakin moon when I was shown that beauty! 'Look' the man said, it even dries your clothes....Yes, I thought, and wastes half your damn day! It looks great in my lounge room though. It goes well with the big screen TV!

Why is my gleaming twin tub machine it in my lounge room you ask.

Because Chinese bathrooms weren't built for washing machines. They are small and there is no laundry in the house or apartment. The laundry IS the bathroom. The washing machine up until not so long ago (for those with money) was and actually still is for most of the population (the farmer etc) a small basin in the bathroom OR the local river for hand washing.

I'm not one to complain, it beats hand washing and or the local river. So if it's a twin tub, then it's a twin tub. BUT, I'm sure hand washing in a basin or the local river would take a third of the time!

I figured out how to use my gleaming machine today. I also found out that it really does waste half your day. The pipes are not long enough so I have to fill the bugger with buckets of water. This made me real happy when I spilt half the bucket on the tiled floor after just cleaning it. I ended up following my dirty foot prints to and from the kitchen sink where I had to fill the bucket from.

I won't even mention how much the washing machine cost that I gave up in Queensland. The steel bucket had a 3 Yuan price tag on it, this made me smile. I was sure the gleaming machine cost more than most could afford. To have it in my lounge room to wash my clothes for me is something I should be thankful for.

Even if I have to fill it with bucket loads of water, most don't even have this!

On the good side, the clothes really do come out near dry.

What else can I say for now? Not much really. I will have some of my summer holiday photos on travelpod in the next few weeks...why so long? There are over 3000 of them to go through. Don't ya just love digital cameras!

Mate, I'm a Happy Snapper!

I'm outta here, it's time to go meet a friend for bbq and beer.

Twin Tubs, Beers, Noodles and Turkish Bread to you...Shane

Hey Hey and a HUGE G'Day to you all

Hey Hey and a HUGE G'Day to you all

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