Location: Still in Beijing !!!!!!!!, China
I really shouldn't be in Beijing at all. I should be on a train heading for the south but I bloody missed the train last night by a couple of minutes, I can't believe it. !!!! I have to go now so I can get to the train station really early !!!!!!!!!!!!
Location: Beijing, China
THE PEARL & SILK MARKETS + THE GOOSE & DUCK
Having to haggle for a decent deal let alone a bargain is bloody tiring work. The two markets I went to today were extreme to say the least. You are quoted the most ridiculous prices and it can take a while to get what you want. Even though we pay more for things in Australia, shopping is a much quicker task due to set prices. I usually have fun haggling but today, at times, it really was a nightmare. The sellers approach you, no, they actually attack you and I have their catch phrases in my head still. "Lady you Look", "Lady you like", "I give you very good price" and on and on it goes. The verbal stuff I can handle, but these two places the girls trying to sell actually touch you, well that's putting it mildly, they grab you and push and pull and it get's a bit much.
Location: Beijing, China
THE SUMMER PALACE & KUNG FU
Location: BEIJING, China
FORBIDDEN CITY & ACROBATS
Location: Beijing, China
THE GREAT WALL & MIA'S Birthday
The great wall was awesome. I walked 10km of the wall. At the end of the section of the wall that I trekked there was a flying fox which was so cool. It was a great way to get down to the car park after a 3 and a half hour hard walk.
Happy Birthday MIA
Location: Beijing, China
I'M IN BEIJING
The Yangzi river was awesome, I'm apart of history, I went through the soon to be damned, Three gorges.
Tomorrow I'm off to the great wall.
Location: Chongqing city, Chongqing, China
SPITTING & TRAINS
I'm up to my eyeballs in spitting and it really is the spits...oops I mean pits !!! The Chinese believe that it's better out than in and the spit where ever they fill like it, including restaurants and this net cafe I'm in.
I'm tired but happy, I've spent the last couple of days traveling by train (where a lot of spitting also takes place) and in major cities and I can't wait to get on the boat in a couple of hours and head down the Yangzi river.
On the 11th and 12th, I was in a beautiful pklace called Yangshou, in Guangxi province. The place is surrounded by limestone pinnacles and it's a great place to see, even if every Tom, Dick and in the town tries to rob you blind. I went on a scenic river cruise and met two lovely ladies from Hong Kong who I later had dinner with. The night before I had dinner on my own whilst watching a performance from the balcony where I ate and had a few beers.
Well my times up in the net bar, but I will return with more news of my travels...........I just hope the boat is safe and I can have the shower I really need !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Location: Guilin, Gaungxi Province
HOORAY & GETTING MY ARSE BACK ON THE ROAD
I have been oh so slack with this diary entry business but I've had some difficulty with the auto save feature that saves the diary entry and to be honset it ended up being a right royal pain in the arse, I lost about 3 entries and gave up. Now for some reason everything seems fine so here I am again to give a brief entry.
The Tiger leaping gorge was phenomenal to say the least. What an amzing place of natural beauty. We trekked two hours up the mountain on Feb 1st and decided that that was enough for one day. We retired at this little villiage and stayed with a really kind and accommodating family, the wife or "Ma ma" was the greatest host and she had the most beautiful nature about her and she was also a great cook. When we arrived there was American guy (Michaal) already there and we ended up bumping into him many times over the next week.
"Ma Ma Lu Ye" appeared later on in the night with a huge piece of slate tied to her back and she wanted us to help her make a sign that would encourage others to stop over at her guest house. Michael wrote the sign and Ma Ma was so chuffed.
to be cont.................. (gotta go orgainse train tickets and get on a bus, I've been so slack as it's too bloody cold, I'm not sure that I am going to be able to handle Beijing !)
Location: Li Jiang, Yunnan Province, China
I am in an amazing place at the moment. It's Old town, Li Jiang city, Yunnan province and the only way I can describe it is, it's like ancient China meets the modern world with a bit of St kilda, Brunswick St and the Vic market thrown into the mix. I must say though that due to Chinese new year holiday there are way too many tourists which spoils the charm a little. The buildings are all ancient Chinese style (exterior) but the interiors have all been re furbished. They've been made into shops (clothes & hand made local souveniers), cafe's/bars/restaurants/hotels & hostels and unfortunately there is a a couple of fast food Chains (KFC is here but McDonalds is yet to raise it's fat ugly head). The place is a tourist spot but it has a lot of quirky charm.
In a couple of days we're heading of to do a 2-3 day trek at a place called the Tiger leaping gorge. It is supposed to beautiful, but I'm dreading how stuffed I'm going to be trying to carry my back pack !!!
Location: Huizhou, Guangdong, China
IVAN - GOD LOVE HIM
I had my second last class on Saturday morning and the kids were great for the first half of the lesson we had fun doing role plays the second half was not so great as they were intent on doing anything but learning. I guess I can't blame them, two hours is a long class and it is the holiday period also. I should've just had a party and enjoyed their company for the last class.
Anyway after class one of the kids, 10 year old Ivan broke into tears because I was leaving, God love him, but he'll get over it.
After that, I went straight to bed, it was if 5 months of teaching had taken it's toll and later that night I didn't go clubbing like I'd planned, I was just too buggard.
25th January...................after a big night last night (I finally did the "finished teaching clubbing night), I had the biggest hangover ever. All self inflicted of course, I knew I shouldn't hae set yes to the double Tequila slammer, but gee we had some fun. But I still had to pull myself together in order to pack and leave for Yunnan............Robbo and I got to the train station 2 hours early (3.00am) and then the train was 3 hours bloody late !!!! We didn't leave until 8.00am on the 26th January.
Note....this has been a entry that I have saved and added to, I have been a little slack in the writing department.
Location: Huizhou, Guangdong, China
I am finding it hard to believe that I have been living in another country for nearly five months, how time flies. I only have five classes left to teach, the last class finishing at 9.00pm on Saturday night (21st), and then I will head off to my favourite club and party hard.
I sit here listening to Guns & Roses (Sweet Child O'mine), oh hang on, I am now listening to INXS and I am wondering how I am going to cope with the second part of my China experience ........ traveling the country. I leave next Wednesday, the 25th and I will travel for just over a month. I'm a little stressed due to the language barrier and also I'll be traveling solo for the most part. It is a very busy time of year to travel in China - Chinese New Year and from all reports, every man and his dog will be traveling. I have become quite comfortable here in Huizhou and it will be sad to leave but I can't wait to see Dave at the end of my travels. We have never been apart for more than 6 weeks, and I have come to realise that nothing will ever seperate us, not even an ocean !!
Well in true form, it is well past any normal persons bed time, I have to go ........... Oh I saw a Grandma helping her 2 year old Grandson set of a fire craker today !!!!!!!!!!! Oh yeah. I am back to catching motorbike taxis again, God, I love it even though I'm throwing caution to the wind. Oh X 3 ........ I've seen the "Lion the Witch & the Wardroble (Narnia) and I loved it, but I am still a loyalist and have to say that the book is better, but the film portrayed a few scences just as I had imagined..............okay okay I'm going...........goodnight (morning!)
MORE FIRE CRACKERS & LATE NIGHTS
My oh my, I am turning into the local neighbourhood old bag. I have decided I want to throttle the kids that are detonating fire.....sh*t...........works....- .....a mouse just ran under my feet !!! I kid you not the pesky little bugger had no fear and did the bolt of his life, and I can tell you, I jumped quicker than he ran. My oh my, I must say I wont miss that !!! My heart is pumping, I scared myself outta my seat & I'm convinced that that deserves a cigarette...okay, I know it's an excuse, but it's a damned good one......I'll be back in a tick.
Okay the nerves are settled and I just turned an episode of Sex & the city on to inspire my writing. I'm set to write now at the the late night hour of 2.11am, anyway I feel good even though I only slept 3 hours the previous sleep and I nearlly shopped til I dropped after my first Winter class today which was a bit of a failure I might add. I had 3 kids in the class and all that I had so poorly planned was hard to work with when I only had 3 students. What a classic, I'm usually complaining about large classes but 3 students is nearly as bad. Actually, it wasn't so bad, it's just that I was expecting 8-10 kids.
Anyway, I had another great dining experience tonight in regards to chatting with the staff. I love eating late at restaurants here coz' that's when the staff also have their meals. And when I say late, I only mean 10.00pm. In China town in Melbourne the good restaurants are open to 1.00-2.00am. Anyway, as I ate, the staff also ate and we conversed across tables. The male staff at one table and the girls at another. Gee it made me laugh, the boys had finished their alotted amount of food and most of them moved onto their final duties, except for 2 who quickly b-lined it for the girls table as there was still food left on theirs!!. Men and food............I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
Anyway. I really should be in bed, but I have left out so much in the past fortnight. I'm sure I wrote about the fact that I was interviewed for the local T.V. news whilst at a school function with the other teachers. Well, I actually got to view myself on Chinese T.V. and I'm still laughing/blushing/proud/ashamed, all in the one hit. So many emotions, all over a 2 minute clip on T.V., how can that be ?
I still have so much to write about but I must drag myself to bed because I need more than 3 hours sleep. I am happy about the fact that I have managed to write 3 consecutive nights in a row, so that's a bonus in the grand scheme of my good habits and bad habits.
Ciao......oooops, I mean Zhi jian xoxoxo
Location: Huizhou,Guangdong, China
Sex & the City & My local Muslim Eatery
Well today (the 10th, it's now 1.41am) was my day off and I spent it sleeping, shopping (I didn't buy anything) & pondering. I've got so much that I want to do before I leave this city and I was wondering why I hadn't seen some of the sights long ago. I took comfort in the fact that when I'm living back home in Melbourne I don't do the tourist thing because I'm working and that no one does the tourist thing where they live and I have been living in China. I'll soon be able to do the tourist thing, I can't wait.
Anyway we had a Sex & the City night tonight. Jodi, Rayner & her Chinese boyfriend and myself, sat through about 6 episodes back to back. We laughed our selves silly whilst trying to explaining some of the finer points to Johnny, Rayners boyfriend. God love/help him, sitting in a room with three western women watching sex in the city was an education for him to say the least. All he could say by the end of it was, "our countries and cultures are so different" to which Rayner replied, "I'm not a New York girl, baby". She makes me laugh. Come to think of it, I don't know what was funnier, Sex and the City itself or the look on Johnny's face during some of 'Samantha's' scenes and then Jodi trying to explain it all to him. It's a night I wont forget.
Watching Sex in the city got me thinking about writing (not sex!), some of the show is so well written and I realised I still have such a burning desire to write creatively in many different mediums. So I will try and get some writing done when I am traveling on long train and bus trips around China and see what I can come with.
After watching Sex & the City I was hungry and I headed off to the local noodle bar which is a muslim eatery. I love this place. For one, the noodles are yummy and two, it's so cheap, but what I really love is the people and the cozy atmosphere. A big family run it and they are always happy to see me. 'Ali' the teenage son and I always have a bit of a language exchange. I point to things and say the English word and then he tells me the Chinese word or vice a versa. Sometimes I bring in my Lonely Planet Mandarin guide and we go through it together, like we did tonight. However tonight Ali was mainly busy with his duties of noodle making (which is so cool to watch), so I had a table full of people (Ali's family and a customer) surrounding me and the book whilst I scoffed down my noodles and we all tried to converse the best we could.
Anyway, I walked out of the noodle shop thinking to myself that it is moments like those, that I will miss when I return home to Australia.
Time to call it a night
Location: I haven't gone anywhere, China
TIRED & TESTED OUT
Well the owl is at it again, I officially suffer from insommnia ! It's 3.04am and I am just about to hit the hay.....or so I say !
Today was test day for two of my beginner classes and I have just finished marking their papers as well as adding up their oral examination scores. I really found it difficult. I now know how hard it must be for teachers of any capacity to grade students. Seriously there is so much to take into consideration. The majority of my students, scored as I expected, however some of my better students did not do as well as I expected and vice a versa. I found it very difficult to give them a lower score than others, when deep down I know that on any given day they would normally perform much better. I also found it hard to find a bench mark when grading the main part of the oral examination. I seriously can understand how some teachers, especially in high school, find grading essays and exams, such a difficult task.
Being a teacher is so much more than it is cracked up to be. I have always known this but now I really respect the fact. So many people think it is a bludgey job and that it is all just fun and games with a little bit of work on the side. All I can say is that I can now feel okay in saying that it can be tough being a teacher. Of course there is a great side to teaching, there is a lot of satisfaction, but it takes a lot of hard work to get that satisfaction. Earlier on in the term I had to do some reports and I thought to myself that it wasn't so hard, the big differecne was that those reports were progress reports and weren't based on test results, they also acted as an encouragenment guide rahter than a deterrant so to speak, what I mean is that they were commentary rather than just grade based.
Anyway, I have to get to bed so I can drop of the results first thing in the morning, shit it already is morning..........as usual !
I bought some hiking boots today....(speaking of bought, if there is one thing I hope I have taught my intermediate students is the differnce in tenses between buy and bought, I will find out when I test them in 2 weeks!).....and I will go shopping when I wake up for more traveling gear.
YUNNAN HERE COME, I HOPE YOUR READY FOR ME !!!!!!!!!!!!