A Travellerspoint blog

December 2007

Happy Yan Tan OR Happy Freakin New Year 2ya Mate!

Hey Hey and a Big G´Day and Happy New Year toya WOW, who would have guessed I´d reach three years in China? Well, most people I know me had figured that one out prior to me even leaving Australia. BUT, that doesn´t stop me from writing it and feeling it. It´s not quite three years all at once yet. BUT, give it another month and it will be. If you add my time here seven years ago then it´s three years. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha BUT, let´s not do that! The Chinese name for the Gregorian New Year's Day is Yan Tan or January 1 and on this Yan Tan I have a very lucky boy. What was that I heard you ask? Who came all the way to my little Fujian mountain city to visit me? I´m glad you asked. I was just about to get to that. Remember last summer holidays as I was casually drinking/making my way from city to town to city to town from Xian City all the way to the east coast of China. Well, if you do remember, can you tell me! Hahahaha! Just joking, if you do remember then you would remember a beautiful girl I met in one of China´s ancient capital cities, the ancient walled city of Kaifeng. I was walking along a busy main road and noticed a very cute girl across the road. I crossed to get a better look and we met half way type thing. Silly boy can´t speak much Chinese. Beautiful girl speaks English and is celebrating her birthday. We then never left each others side for as long as possible. That would be who has come to visit me all the way here in my little Fujian mountain city. We have continued to talk everyday since we met on that busy road in Kaifeng city. I tried to get to Xi´an during National Week Holiday but it never eventuated and she surprised me one phone call by telling me that she had already purchased a train ticket on such and such a day and would be in Shaowu at such and such a time. So after a mid twenty hour train ride (IN A HARD SEAT) all the way from Xi´an I met her at the Shaowu train station at the end of 2007. We even got to celebrate the passing of 2007 into 2008 together! How wonderful for us! I guess many of you are wondering if `Our New Year´ (meaning Western New Year) is actually celebrated in China. Hell yeah, it is now a bloody Public Holiday for the entire country. Huh! Go figure! We spent it at dinner with some of the schools staff. The food was awesome and the company was great. After dinner Luo Wei and I headed to the Miami Bar to meet Yan and friends and after many beers we continued over to Ting Tings Bar (which of course is and has been Ting Tingless for some time). It still has a comfortable feel about it but the beer has gone up in price and also sadly has been taken out of the fridge! What a complete bugger! Warm beer on New Years Eve! I fixed it by putting a heap into the deep freeze. On a happy note, a new imported beer has been added. One (meaning me) can now be found relaxing with a nice cold Tiger Beer! So, for my Chinese friends reading this, here is a bit of information on New Years for you. For everyone else, we really don´t need to know much more that it takes us from one year to the next and usually most of us don´t remember too much of that passing. There are also some photos at the bottom of the page. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane __________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the metallicfunksters `The Infectious Grooves´ The album was `Groove Family Cyco´ Funkmebaby! ___________________________ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/i] New Year's Day is the first day of the year. The Chinese name for the Gregorian New Year's Day is Yan Tan or January 1 On the modern Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated on January 1, as it was also in ancient Rome (though other dates were also used in Rome). In all countries using the Gregorian calendar, except for Israel, it is a public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the New Year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year. January 1 marks the end of a period of remembrance of a particular passing year, especially on radio, television, and in newspapers, which usually starts right after Christmas Day. Publications often have year-end articles that review the changes during the previous year. Common topics include politics, natural disasters, music and the arts, and the listing of significant individuals who died during the past year. Often there are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year, such as the description of new laws that often take effect on January 1. This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s has become an occasion for celebration the night of December 31, called New Year's Eve. There are often fireworks at midnight. Depending on the country, individuals may be allowed to burn fireworks, even if it is forbidden the rest of the year. It is also a memorable occasion to make New Year's resolutions, which they hope to fulfil in the coming year; the most popular ones in the western world include to stop tobacco smoking or drinking alcohol, or to lose weight or get physically fit.

Pagoda Hill with Luo Wei

Pagoda Hill with Luo Wei


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Pagoda Hill with Luo Wei 08

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

The Nanping 2008 Visa Medical Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G´Day toya, As my VISA will expire in just over a month it was time for my yearly `Complete Body and Health Check´. To obtain and live here in China on a `Residency Visa´ one must go through this process each year. During the process you have just about `Everything´ checked ie: chest, blood, urine, head etc. They have you hooked up and plugged in for well over an hour! A little bit of a worry prior but a great relief when you receive all the results and your next years Visa. I was lucky enough to have the school organise it all for me. I can´t imagine trying to do something like this myself. I can back pack all over the country myself but organising and completing a health check in a big city would be one hell of a foolish thing to try. I was supposed to be teaching today as China has a Public Holiday for the Western New Year we all work this Saturday and Sunday and then have Monday and Tuesday off. I love the way China can do this. A school can simply say `Hey, there is a holiday coming up. How about we work on these days and give ourselves three/five days off. As Amigo (Luo Wei) will be coming to visit I am only too happy to work this weekend to allow at least a few days together. Thankfully I wasn´t to go alone and Mr Huang came along with me. We were driven there in the schools van and after around two hours we arrived in what I found to be a beautiful little city situated along the Min River. It reminded me a lot of Kangding in Sichuan Province. Not as beautiful but as there isn´t much flat ground most of the city is built on hills which makes it a city full of motorbikes. Only an idiot like me would own a push bike! When I arrived at what is known as the `Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine´ Hospital (or something strange like that anyhow) we were greeted by a doctor smoking. I was then taken into a room for the first part of my examination and who came to do what was needed, Dr Smoke! During this part of the examination he proceeded to light up several more smokes. When it came time to have my blood taken another doctor was needed and he decided to come over after finishing and putting out his cigarette. Gee, thanks for considering my health mate! Don´t you just love China! Anyhow finally an hour or so later I finally completed all that was required for my `Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine in Fujian, Certificate of Health Examination for International Traveller´ (a bit of a mouthful!) and soon after we joined our driver and his partner and we headed to a nice restaurant for a delicious lunch. After lunch they both headed to visit our drivers `Wood Factory´ and Mr Huang and I headed out to inspect Nanping City. I´ve been told by many people that the city is famous for its suspension bridge so I was happy for it to be the first thing we visited. When you see it you can understand why. There are many metal cables holding it not only together but also holding it up. Unbelievable! We took some touristy photos for our families and then headed across the river to check out the Mountain Park. As I expected it was much larger than Shaowu´s, but then it is a much larger city than Shaowu. The park houses a billion stairs that take you to temples, a zoo, a theme park and many walks that take you all over the park. Sadly we had only two hours so we visited the temple and then simply walked various ways that seemed to take us down the mountain side towards the bridge. Once we were back across the bridge we did what any normal person would do, we visited Mc Donald´s simply because it was there. One Cheese Burger and Coffee later we were back in the van and heading North West back to Shaowu city. Below is some information I found on Nanping. Some interesting stuff in there too. Below that are a heap of photos. Meow....Woof Woof GRRRR!!!!!!!!!! Bye! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _______________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was POD The album was `the fundamental elements´ _______________________________________ Situated in northern Fujian Province, Nanping City has an area of 26.300 square kilometres and a population of three million. The industrious and intelligent people in northern Fujian invented the Shunchang bamboo paper, the earliest paper in China's printing history, and the Masha woodblock printing technology manufactured black glazed porcelain that holds an important position in the history of China's porcelain industry; and created a tea processing technology famous in and outside of China. At present, a tourist network consisting of more than 150 scenic spots have been formed. The network includes Wuyi Mountain, one of the first batch of major scenic areas designated by the state and a nationals tourist resort, at the centre which links the Wuyi Mountain Nature Reserve, Mangdang and Jiufeng mountains in Napping, Guizong Hill and Wanmu Wood in Jina'ou, Zhanlu Mountain in Songxi, Donggong Mountain in Zhenghe, Fugai Mountain in Pucheng, the site of the Song Dynasty porcelain kiln in Jianyang, the ruins of a Han Dynasty town in Wuyi Mountain, Xichun Park and the Temple of Li Gang in Shaowu, and Wujun Mountain in Guangze. Nanping is one of the important birthplaces of Fuijan's culture, and it is also one of the places in Fujian that gained the earliest exploration thousands of years ago. As early as 1,800 years ago during the Eastern Han Dynasty, administrative system was established here. Even its younger counties, such as Jianyang, Shaowu and Wuyishan, have been existed for about a thousand years. Physical Features: Lower mountains and hills construct the main landform of the city. Nanping is surrounded by mountains in the east, the west and the north. The whole terrain declines towards its central and southern part. Within the city, mountains and hills meander and rivers crisscross. Along the rivers, there are valleys dotted. Climatic Features: Nanping bears a subtropical oceanic monsoon climate, and the weather is humid and moderate all the year round. Autumn is warmer than spring. The average temperature of the hottest July lies between 28 and 29 degree centigrade (82.4 and 84.2 degree Fahrenheit), while that of January is 6-9 degree centigrade (42.8-48.2 degree Fahrenheit). April to June is Nanping's plum rain period

The Nanping Medical Adventure

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

Shaowu City School Performance. AWESOME!

Photos aren't the best quality, mainly due to the lighting and my camera but mate, it was an awesome night. My students were the best of course! They are the ones in green with the red umbrellas. Ha Ha!

Shaowu City School Performance

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

Happy Christmas To You All N Cake With Chopsticks

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya Christmas huh! Can't believe its Christmas time. It came and then it was gone just as quick. How quick does life fly on by now that I'm juuuust past twenty-one. I remember juuuust a few years ago when I was a boy, the lead up to Christmas was huge. Now it's like, WHAT THE! But it was July last month! Wasn't it? Seriously..........Mate..........it can't be Christmas! We've had a wonderful few weeks here in Shaowu. It was Canadian Jo's Birthday last week and we all headed out for a huge dinner with the school where of course we ate Birthday Cake with chopsticks. Well, most of us any how. Cute Jackie decided to just shove the entire thing in her mouth at once and not worry about fork or chopsticks. Last Sunday Joyce, Candy, Jackie and I headed to Canadian Jo and Rob's for a delicious Christmas dinner. They both cooked up a feast after which we watched the latest Mr Bean movie. Seriously, could anyone honestly say they don't like Mr Bean? This week school has been pretty much simple and fun revision games with a Christmas twist to them. I let some of the better students choose their favourite games and I simply added some little bells and whistles (so to speak). Rob, Jo and I headed out for a huge dinner with the Minister for Education and the School Leaders on Christmas Eve. Mate, the food was so delicious and there was sooooo much of it! The only problem was the beer was warm...China Huh! You can go to the most expensive place in town and the fridge is still turned off! New Years Eve next huh? Oh what to do? Oh what to do? At this stage I really have no bloody idea. I know there will be lots of food and beer so I guess the only question is where to sit and gorge oneself. We are working Saturday so we then have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off. I'd say it will be pretty much the same as Christmas Eve...a big dinner and lots of beer. That reminds me, we best ask when it will be as there is really no point going for a huge dinner with lots of beer on New Years Night when one has to work the following day. Eve, always celebrate on the Eve. Sometimes it takes a little bit of explaining here in China. Eve, always celebrate on the Eve! Oh, and I might ask them to turn on the damn fridge too! The weather has been warmish here the last couple of days which has made my poor feet happy. If I wear shoes/boots for too long my feet begin to fall apart. This has been happening since my Asian Adventure seven years ago. You can read about my poor feet in my other blog. Nara-ken, Japan, a beautiful Swedish girl named Anna and a few tubes of Arti-Skin. Get your mind out of the gutter! Now too much walking/riding in boots/shoes and I'm in trouble! So this week I'm back in sandals to help my feet mend. That's about it really, not much more happening in the life of Shane at the moment. I have just eaten about eight Freddo Frogs (sent from Australia...Thanks Judy) and now I have a huge chocolate headache (Once again, thanks Judy...hahahaha). I know I shouldn't eat chocolate but THEY WERE Freddo Frogs.....and.....ok you got me....and three Caramello Koalas! I think I need water and a walk and I'm sure if I turned Mr Bungle down that might help too! Have you gone insane...turn down Mr Bungle! Yeah Right! How is Amigo doing? I'm glad you asked, I was just thinking about her. Luo Wei was so lucky to have been found by an Independent Tour Company. They track and monitor wild animals (yes, such as Pandas) in the north of China and also take foreign tourists on small tours to show them their wild habitats. As her English is so awesome she's a guide, a tracker/monitor, an interpreter and a student. The company will put her back into school for several months a year to learn about her job, the animals, their lives and their habitat. They will also groom her to manage their new station when it opens next year sometime. The pay is low of course as they are funded by donations and the tours BUT the knowledge and work will be hugely rewarding for her. It will be very hard work and like some of the treks I've done the conditions won't be much to speak of. Most times no electricity, living in tents/shacks, harsh cold/hot conditions etc. They are in the wild after all and the aim is to leave it that way! . Living in China I have bugger all compared to at home but I honestly doubt I would last in such a job! Me....I doubt I would last a month! <u>BUT....all that could sadly change in the very near future</u></b>. [/i] The greedy and selfish family members who put her in a Temple to be raised (to save 'someones' money for their own children in the future) have their selfish hands at work again and sadly it seems there isn't much she or anyone can do about it. The near future may find her as the head 'Oral English Teacher' at her old Uni where she received the Uni's highest marks. So impressed was the school leader that he (who can speak several languages) tested her himself. He then offered her the choice of several jobs. Since then he has been trying to win her back. Sadly...happily...which ever, that may happen all too soon. Conditions and money will be much much higher BUT the dream will have been lost! HHHHHhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Enough said, anger is beginning to rise! GGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! So, life in general here? It's getting much colder and of course it is once again MUCH colder inside than outside. I'm back to putting on the gloves and beanie to go inside and then taking them off to go back outside. I'm serious! It's all concrete and tiles in here and its COLD. Nothing stays warm and nothing can be warmed. My three bar heater warms about a meter in front of it and that's about it. It seriously is like sitting outside back home in Australia during a winter bbq. What about Spring Festival? (You ask) Mate I wish you'd stop changing the subject so fast! Ok, Spring Festival is about happen once again. (Chinese New Year - Next Jan/Feb). (Yippee, Winter Break!) China is so wonderful to be in at that time of year. Everyone is so happy and everything is so colourful. There is so much going on all around. But it is so freakin noisy. The kids and adults are busy letting off fire crackers like crazy. ALL DAY AND MOST OF THE NIGHT! I can't put it into words how loud and how long this goes on for. Seriously, you have no idea unless you've been here at that time. There are stores FILLED with all types of fireworks. It's all cheap and it's all legal for anyone at any age. The noise continues until the stores are empty. WEEKS! LOUD! ARGH! This will be my 5th Spring Festival in China. The first was way back in 2000 in the Xishuangbanna Region (bottom of Yunnan Province). I have now spent two in that area and if next years Winter Break plans go astray maybe I'll head down there for a third. It is warm there after all! Probably my favourite place in the world! So, that brings me to this Winter Break. I'm hoping to spend some of it on Hainan Island (a Tropical Island across from Vietnam and the Philippines) with my boss Owen. We are hoping to catch up on some happy snorkeling. I can't believe it has been well over a year since we last caught up in Yangshuo. The other few weeks I'm hoping to head north into the big freeze and spend it with Luo Wei and her mother. That depends on her work commitments and my VISA which of course expires right in the middle of Winter Break. Good news is a new one can be obtained on Hainan Island. But the question is, how long are the government offices closed for. Amigo is hoping to come to Shaowu at the beginning of January for a week or two, but that depends on the outcome of 'the situation above'. Why the lack of Travelpod Posts lately? Not much been happening. Its cold cold cold at night and as explained above the thought of travelling and staying in a hotel with NO HEATING doesn't really appeal to me unless it is holiday time. Weekends have pretty much been spent riding like usual as the days are still blue and warm (sometimes 'ish'). Happy smiles to you all and for those who will be away or out of touch, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and make sure you have a great New Year. Stay safe ok, I've been reading how badly the road toll has been rising over the last few days and it hasn't been good news! Life's wonderful mate, keep it that way! Beers N Noodles to you all....shane PS: Besides the Christmas photos all the photos for this entry are simply of 'things that move' here in Shaowu. Mostly bikes with two to four wheels, with or without a motor etc. There are also a few of the river men who slowly float on by each day. Where they come from and where they go I have no idea. [/i] [/i] Why the ducks? [/i] [/i] Well, back home you would usually find a dog or two tied to a tree or a parking meter on the street. Here you have ducks. Each day I walk around the city I walk past several ducks tied to posts outside stores. It makes me laugh so hard each time. [/i] [/i] Oh the things I will never get used to here in China! [/i]____________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the one and only Mr Bungle. The albums (on random): California, Disco Volante and Mr Bungle

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