Padd Solutions

Converted by Falcon Hive

Wow, 102 days in China! Thats gone pretty quick for me. But... of course, its been an eternity for you guys back home... missing me every day.... right....right.......right?

Hehe, well... The Chinese g'vernment has blocked blogger (the site this blog is on) so I now have to blog a very long-winded way, and it means I can't upload images directly. *sigh*

So, you can check out the gallery here:

This time I've included captions with the images (but you have to view the big-versions to get the captions.) I recommend clicking the first image, then just hitting "Next, next, next" and scrolling through them that way.

Nothing else major to report... everything is business as usual. I'm hoping blogger gets unblocked soon, so I can resume a more normal blogging pattern.

Oh, and on another note, its currently 00:20am here on Friday the 22nd of May... which means it's my mother's birthday today!

Happy Birthday Mom!

I won't embarass people by telling them how old young you are. ;-)

... when you're having fun. :-)

The past few weeks have been a blast, but I've just been far too busy to blog. Then when I look back, I can't actually remember what I've been upto. So, I grabbed the photos off my phone, and that gives me something to blog about, so without futher delay:

^ Random snap of a couple of students. This tiny girl and huge dude are in the same class. I thought it was a cute contrast.

^ This old guy was using his brush and just water to draw calligraphy on the floor. You see many people doing it, but rarely do they do "bubble" letters / characters, so I was super impressed. I actually ended up talking to him, and was suprised at how much we could talk, apparently my Chinese is improving! That and the fact he was good at drawing, and he'd draw lil' drawings to help get his meaning accross. He was 76 years old!

^ Speaking of old men, here's me rocking a pair of "old man" sunglasses.

^ and Tim... looking like something from a BritPop group.

^ Random snap of Beryl preparing for a lesson. :-D

^ Took this photo in Rob, my manager's, house. This is about a weeks worth of trash. We think he has a problem... :-P

^ ...but, it was his birthday! To celebrate we headed on out to KTV. Always a fun night. Left to right: Dumi, Kristy, Rob, Beryl and Cheer.

^ Rob and Cheer knocked out an awesome duet of "unforgettable"

^ Towards the end of the night... Rob was in good spirits :D

Plenty of other shenanigans have been going down, but half I've forgotten, and half I'm too lazy to type up. My favourite story from the past week was probably last night. I went skating for the first time in a few weeks, and it was the first day it had been dry for 3-4 days, so there was a huge turnout of kids. Dwayne and his friends teach the kids before we start skating ourselves. So there were maybe 15 students, and a crowd of about 50 parents / onlookers. (Crowds flare up really quickly and easily in China.) Anyway, one of the guys was doing some drills with the students, and... long story short, I ended up doing the drills, the kids and crowd were amazed that a foreigner could count to ten in Chinese. Chinese people think their language is impossibly hard for foreigners to learn... I guess they're mostly right. :)

Well, this is the 2nd evening of my "weekend" and I have that Sunday night feeling, so I'm gonna go find something to do... take it easy people!
Okay, so yes, I'm alive! ^_^

Its crazy how time flies out here, I can't believe its been 11 days since I updated this. Hmm... Well, I can't really remember everything that happened, or in what order, so expect this blog to be a bit of a random brain fart!

So... one day... can't remember when, I was practicing some portrait photography with Beryl:

^ Smile :)

^ My love affair with black and white continues, dispite the fact I hate black and white photos. Go figure.

^ Some random flowers outside my apartment

^ :-D

So that was that. Oh, our school has an advert on a bus, and has had for some time, but I haven't seen it with my camera to snap it yet... until the other day! Unfortunately it doesn't feature my pretty face... in fact, it features a bunch of random American kids... but, I guess thats cool over here...

^ Our world is English!

( Due to the huge amount of photos I took on the holiday, I've thrown them all into a seperate gallery. CLICK HERE to view the gallery, all the images are in chronological order, so you can flick through the photos as you read this blog to get an idea what I'm talking about. )

So, May 1st here is labour day, and everyone gets a holiday. Woop! So, myself and Beryl trotted off to LuoYang. According to Wikipedia, it's one of the old capitals of China, and a place bustling with history and culture. We went by train, a 4-5hr journey through rural China and running parallel to a beautiful mountain range. Went through some nice cities, and eventualy arrived in LuoYang at about 9pm. We'd looked at some hotels online before going and eye'd up a mental short-list. I made out one of the hotels on the skyline, so we walked in that direction, and sure enough, it was the hotel we chose. The hotel was pretty funky! Nice and modern, and the bathroom even had a sauna! :D

As usual I'd packed my laptop, and the hotel had free (and decent!) internet. So I spent a short while scoping out Google Earth, and planning a walk around the city for the next day. Check the gallery for the photos I took while walking around. It was a super windy day, especially by the river. While walking alongside the river, we saw some peddle boats, and for £1/hour, couldn't say no. However, it turned out to be far from a pleasure paddle. The current was STRONG and the river was ROUGH. To cross the river in a straight line we had to tack at about a 45 degree angle. It was nuts. Then we almost got stuck behind some net-type things, and had to peddle like hell to escape. I say we had to peddle like hell... but it felt like I was doing 90% of the work! Then after escaping the nets, we rested for all of 2 minutes and ended up 100meters down river. So, returning to "base" was another huge effort. It was good fun though, if a little crazy!

In the afternoon we went to the longman grottoes.

According to the Longmen Caves Research Institute, there are 2345 caves and niches, 2800 inscriptions, 43 pagodas and over 100,000 Buddhist images at the site. 30% of the caves date from the Northern Wei Dynasty, 60% from the Tang Dynasty, and caves from other periods less than 10%. It is the most impressive collection of Chinese art from these dynasties, and, dating from 316 to 907 CE, represents the zenith of stone carving in China.

It was hot as hell, but a pretty place. It was full of Chinamen, and tourist traps. We didn't buy tickets to go into the actual grottoes, as you basically bought a ticket, and then que'd for hours to catch a glimpse of some stones. Check the photos to see the huge line of Chinamen.

The next day we went to the Shaolin temple. Again, hot, hot, hot! Full of tourist traps, and a gazillion Chinamen. It's the home of Shaolin Kung Fu, those crazy guys who break stones with their heads, etc. Its also the birthplace of Zen Buddhism, so a pretty interesting place. Well, I imagine the temple was an interesting place...before they tore the whole thing down, and rebuilt it in gash green and red lego colours. The actual temple was just a new building, with a bunch of rooms where you could stare through a window at some random statue or rock. See the gallery for a bunch of people just staring through windows. There was also a "Hall of 500 buddahs" which was a pretty cool museum of 500 different buddah carvings / statues. Again, see the gallery. We also climed a hill / peak of Mount Song. One of China's five sacred mountains. It was a good climb, and a good view at the top. It was way too hot to be climbing a mountain, but we got to the top in good time, and enjoyed the breeze at the top, and hung out with the huge Buddah statue. Here's a panorama taken at the top:

^ Click for huge piccie! :)

Next, there's a Pagoda forrest there. All the Pagodas were built over the centuries through different dynasties. It's a pretty crazy place. Made for some nice photos. :) After that, we watched a Shaolin Kung Fu display which was pretty awesome. Seating position wasn't amazing for photos, but I took quite a few regardless... again, see the gallery!

^ Shaolin-style baby! Watching Shaolin Kung Fu in the middle of a mountain range in the heart of China was a pretty cool moment

^ More juicy pics like this in the gallery!

I've missed out some stuff here and there, but for the sake of my sanity, I'll say that this blog is now up to date. 
Blog post coming soon. Its 0038hrs and in China I just can't pull the 5am bed-times I could pull in England. Perhaps I don't consume enough Pepsi Max here. Anyway, blog post coming tomorrow, but for now, have a picture of me at the top of a mountain!

I'll explain that photo, and many others tomorrow!