China Trip 3 (9868 words)

01/02/05 – 14/01/05

Well I figured I may as well add an end of the story, I believe that anyone who reads this deserves and end to the story and hence I am writing this for you all. Anyways what to say….. Here is my description of New Years Eve for you all.

IT WAS LIKE THE APOCALYPSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gunpowder smoke everywhere (making it hard to see), fires burning in the street, fireworks launching in the sky, enough small bangs that it sounds like its raining VERY hard on a tin roof. Giant bangs that rattle your teeth every minute or so. Figures running around, fireworks that fell over launching crap at you, it was nuts!!!!!! The majority of the explosions ended at 2:00am.

And ever so fun, I blew up my share of stuff, and even threw fireworks out the window of my unit which is 8 floors up onto a main road. Didn’t burn myself at all. I would have gotten photos, but my camera stopped working. I guess the cold really affected it. Anyways it was a wicked cool time and I can still hear explosions going on.

Like it says it was a great time and I really enjoyed myself for the duration of it. Now… the trip home… uneventful really. Getting onto the plane was rather easy (hey I like knowing the right people), which Chinese customs not even looking at me. It was rather sad saying goodbye to Cookie and Angel who have been a rather large part of my life at this point. I wish them the best of health and luck in whatever they decide to do in the future. Anyways the trip as I said was nothing special and it wasn’t really that much fun. Oh well that’s long plane trips for you. Customs in Australia was also rather efficient. Naturally I declared a few things such as the Tea I wanted to bring in as well as my leather jacket etc… The people there looked at what I had (in the line I might add) decided I obviously wasn’t dangerous and flagged me through. I didn’t even get x-rayed which was a bit of shock. I cannot complain at all. As a result all of the DVD’s I wanted to bring into the country weren’t a problem at all. Meeting the folks was a nice thing I must say. It was a mixture of feelings when I saw them waiting at the airport. It was great in a word. I loved it. Getting back home was nice as well. Hence I will close this now. It has been a lovely experience and I have been very happy to share it with you all. This is the final blog that I will make, thank you for reading it and if I didn’t get to say goodbye to you in China I do apologize. You know who you are. Anyways signing out.

Hong Kong – Xian Odyssey

28/1/05 – 31/01/05

Right on the 28th we had a look at the amount of effort that would be required to get to the major attractions ourselves so we just booked ourselves on tours. Easier for us in the long run. The first things we wanted to see were the famous Terracotta Army Warriors of Xian. Unfortunately we ended up going to a heap of other places that we didn’t want to before hand. I guess these tours get extra money for plugging the tourist attractions. The main thing being that because it is the extreme low season for tourists here there is nothing to see really. Most of the attractions we closed etc… which was a bit of a plus since it means there weren’t too many hawkers trying to sell stuff. They can get really annoying even when you tell them in Chinese I don’t want it. One of them was very insistent, he was a small child, and I told him for 2 minutes that I didn’t want it and he kept following me. Eventually I told him to F off in Chinese and he took the hint. Now ignoring all of the boring stuff the highlight of this day was obviously the Terracotta Army. I didn’t get a sense of awe from the Great Wall or The Forbidden City, that was anything like the one I got from the Terracotta army. I don’t know if I can describe it. I remember feeling after the Great Wall well I climbed it…. But after the Army I felt as though OK I have seen what I really wanted to see I can go home now. I’m not going to repeat too much about it here, just look at the pictures. Another interesting thing was walking outside we walked past a group and a little boy in it was “Look Mum! Americans!” so I turned around and told them “We are foreigners but we are not Americans we are Australian” They seemed pretty shocked at that, saying wow your hearing is good. Muhahahaha. The 29th was also pretty good. The main things on the day were the Tombs of the Empress, and the Empress’s Son. They were pretty interesting. As was the final museum, which showed all kinds of Buddhist relics…. Unfortunately photos weren’t allowed to be taken…. Which means the ones I did take are a little fuzzy and from a distance. Don’t tell anyone however because I am sure someone will hunt me down. In my defense I didn’t use a flash which I think was the main consern for the exibit. Now the 30th was also a good day. Starting off we ended up at some Chinese medicine place. Tiff dared to tell the people there I had diarrhea and see what they suggested. The poor sales girl could barley control her laughter when I did tell her and then took me over to see what could fix it up. The thing she pointed out was a weird fossilized kidney thing. Anyways we soon left that. Supposedly 3 mountains are in China that need be climbed. One of them is Hua Shan in Shannxi province. On the 30th it was conquered… again. It was a bloody hard walk considering the mountain is 2,100 meters tall or so. Thankfully a Cable car (build by Austrians) takes you half way. The rest is all on foot. My lord it was a hard climb. Even with stairs it’s still dammed hard. The views are incredible however and totally worth it. Some Chinese girl walking along near us fell over with laughter when I told her we should have taken the lift to the top. Also some other guys were talking about us and Tiff told them that we understood and they quickly shut up. Anyways enough of me harping on, just go and see the pictures because they tell a better story. Tomorrow the plan is to check out the main parts of the city, and then the next day head back to Harbin.

22/1/05 – 27/01/05

It has been a big break since I last wrote in this. Well as I write this I am sitting in a hotel in Xi’an. Firstly about Hong Kong. We spent ages walking around the Kowloon side and on Hong Kong Island. We were really lucky in that the 2 times we went to the top of the mountain, Victoria Peak. The view at the top is incredible. It think it is better at night personally. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures at the top at this time. That day we also ate off the street which was nice. I ended up getting chicken livers in special salt. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. It was kind of chewy…. But not too bad at least. At the beginning of the day Tiff bought a Video camera. So if you see here, be sure to see all sorts of random footage since she was kind of excited and happy to play with it. We also went to Jumbos floating restaurant. The food was average, the service was average, and the prices were inflated…. But I guess its one of those things you have to do. The next day I bought a camera. Nothing fancy just a simple camera that I can take photos. All good and proper. We also went back to the top of the mountain to check out the view during the day which wasn’t too bad. I took a few photos. By the time you have read this they should be uploaded for you all to have a look at. Hmmm what else….. Oh we got totally mobbed by people at the bottom of the Chungking Mansion. There are a heap of Indian guys telling you to come to their restaurant. Now up to this point we had ignored them. However since we kind of decided to have Indian food one night, Tiff made the mistake of taking one of the pamphlets. The next 2 minutes were like dawn of the dead, with 20 or 30 guys standing around each of us trying to convince us that their restaurant is the best. It was somewhat scary in a way and we ducked into a nearby shopping mall to avoid them. In the end we went to the only place that has A/C and is licensed. The place was called Swagat. It was really quite good food. The next day we bought some silks etc….. And then checked out and headed for Beijing. Unfortunately we had been unable to get direct tickets to Xi’an so we figured we would go to Beijing then play it by ear. It worked out really well and we were able to get a train the same day to Xi’an. The only problem being that it meant going 30 something hours without a wash…. I did kind of feel very dirty at the end of it. Rolling into Xi’an the plan was to head to head to a Hotel that is very closely located to the railway. In the end a guy saw us reading up on it and carried our luggage their. We then booked in. The first thing being a shower and some much needed sleep. Getting up at 12 we wandered off the Main Bank of China. The other thing that was interesting is that I caught a child about 6 years old attempting to pick Tiff’s pocket. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. The child seeing he was caught wandered off. He is lucky I was shocked because the things I would have said to him might not been…. Errrr in good taste. We then stopped off for a meal and then back to the hotel. The plan being to go out and do things tomorrow after a bit of a recovery.

19/1/05 – 21/01/05

Well I am changed around on the subject of long Chinese train trips. Traveling Soft Sleeper, while more expensive, is much better. See the pictures. Anyways arriving at the station and sitting in the V.I.P. lounge (the first advantage of being Soft Sleeper) we then got onto the train. WOW!!!! Not only did we have our own T.V to watch (with some of the shows having English) we also had power! This meant I could play around with my laptop for most of the trip. Since we started at 8pm however I did go to sleep at around 12. Arriving in Beijing (awoken at 6 am arghh!!!!!) we got off the train and went for breakfast. Now at this point we didn’t have a ticket to get to Hong Kong yet. The plan was go to the West railway station and buy one there. We leapt into a taxi and off we went. Talking with the taxi driver was fun. He said he didn’t like foreigners because they were bad. Oh well it doesn’t matter. He took the fastest way to the train station which was nice. Now the size of the West railway station is well frankly enormous. We ended up having to ask directions about 8 times to get to the ticket office then a few more times to get to where we had to go to get onto the train. Frankly I thought leaving China would be a bit harder. They didn’t even frisk us for cultural relics or anything. Now when we go to onto the train we ended up in a compartment of our own. Unfortunately we didn’t have power or a TV on this train which was a bit of a blow. Oh well it means playing cards, reading books, and sleeping. Although I hate having nothing enforced on me it wasn’t too bad this time. We also went to the dining car and ended up talking to an English couple and a couple from Finland. This started because I asked the waitress to bring some Iced Tea (in Chinese of course) and they asked me what it was. So we talked about why we were here, where we were going etc…. They couple from Finland are going to Australia soon which should be good for them. Anyway after dinner back to the cabin to watch some south park then read and get some sleep.

The next day we were well into Southern China. The landscape was totally different to Northern China. Rather the view from the train is different. It’s more mountainous, and generally more interesting to look at. This may be because I am somewhat used to the north however. We went off for breakfast in the Dining car which was eggs and toast. Not too bad but too expensive for what it was. Then back to the compartment to pack etc…. Not too much to do really, however by 1pm we were in Hong Kong. Hurrah!!!!!! It’s totally different to elsewhere in China. Most of them speak English which is nice. A quick train trip across town to out destination. The Chungking Mansions. Now it sounds fancy but is perhaps described with the word ‘ghetto’. I have stayed in some pretty dodgy places in my life but this one takes the cake. The room is well…. About 1.8 meters by 2.5 meters long. 2 beds and a tiny (1.5 x 1m) shower/toilet. It’s really ratty, and so is the building. It is however very cheap, and clean which is the most important thing. It is also in the main section of Kowloon on Nathan road which is good. Being right in the middle is nice. The shopping is well fantastic. It’s amazing how much stuff there is around here. I am having problems finding the Bottoms Up club as seen in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. Never mind I will find it in time. Tiff and I wandered around for a bit with her buying a bag. There truly is anything you wish to buy here. We also managed to find the famous Tailor Sam’s. I will probably go there and get a shirt made or something like that just because I can. What else to say…. Not much really. Heaps of things are planned for tomorrow. So I will leave it at that.

9/1/05 – 19/1/05

Whoa! Look who is lazy…. Maybe I should have updated a little more then I have. What to say…. Getting a shirt made which should be cool. It’s some Chinesey looking thing with a dragon on the back and these threaded button things. Should be pretty fancy. It was nice getting measured up, and extremely funny to watch them do Tiff. The tailor basically told her hips were too big and her waist too narrow!!!! BAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! In other words she has a shape. Very amusing. What else…. Err not much really…. Oh I sang Karaoke can you believe it? More then once too… I need to get out of this country it is starting to effect me in a bad way it seems. Dancing singing… what next?! In any case it’s not too much longer come to think of it. Now at the end of today I should be heading towards Beijing. Hence this will probably be the last message/blog/entry for a while since I am planning on getting to Hong Kong then Xian. If I can I will put more on here, if not…. Well there will be a heap of pictures when I can get access to the internet again. So basically this is a small sign off. Oh I should probably mention, went to an all you can eat place last night. 35Yuan ($6) with unlimited beer as well. OH YEAH!!!!!!!

2/1/05 – 8/1/05

Well I actually have some things to talk about. The 2nd was pretty boring and mainly consisted of sitting around and preparing for the forthcoming exams. They weren’t too hard at all and I was surprised at how well I think I went on them. The rest of the week was more exams etc… which was quite good. We all went well and Tiff should blitz it since she knows so many more characters. On the Wednesday Tiff and I went out with Angel and Cookie. We looked around these really fancy shops and we found the coolest store ever… wait for it…. It sold Jackie Chan merchandise!!!!!! Shirts, pants, watches etc… however the big catch is that it’s all pretty expensive. $100 AUD for some of the shirts which are admittedly very cool looking. We had lunch in this store and ate some food that comes from different parts of China. The best thing being the Hamburgers from Xian. They are more like Kebabs then hamburgers and really quite tasty. Finishing it we wandered around the store which was preparing to have a 6 day sale because it is 6 years old in a day or two. Cookie and Angel have wanted to have their photos taken with us for a long time so we got them done. The way it was done is similar to those sticker photos that you see in many video arcades. Except this took forever to do. While it was a pain I did get to look at these girls getting their nails done which was interesting. They have these…. What can only be described as tasteless and tacky fake nails. They put small raised patterns on them, I.E. like raised flowers, and some even have small dangly earrings hanging off them. Really awful looking things. Interesting to look at but one has to ask why at the end of it. I suppose they aren’t too bad…. Just not my thing. Anyways afterwards we wandered to the bank and to the post office to post some stuff. I ended up getting some stamp sets because some people wanted some, and because I wanted one. They are kind of surprise gifts… (which were asked for…. So are they still gifts?) So I won’t go into details about them. Anyways when we finally finished the exams Tiff and I took Susan to lunch since she is going to England on Monday and we were likely to be busy on the weekend. We went to a BBQ place across the road and it wasn’t too bad cooking the food etc. We also that night went with the class to the 6th Harbin Ice and Snow World. WOW!!!!!!! The size of the things that can be carved out of Ice is incredible!! Tiff and I raced down the big slide that is the great wall. Well kind of… since it is partitioned you cannot really see what’s going on. It’s done luge style and seriously the tight is to hold on tight and try not to die. Totally worth it, and incredibly fun. Since it was with the class we ended up wandering around with Craig and Christina which was quite good. There was a wall of ice with a rope on it which I stupidly climbed. It’s the sort of thing that would require legal fees, signature on a rights waver and a harness in Australia. However I decided to climb to the top and then walk down the stairs. Naturally I conquered the thing. After this we headed to the giant Ice disco floor and after looking for a bit then headed to the Harbin Beer Snow Castle for a few cold ones. Stupidly we asked for 4 beers before asking what the cost was. 30 Yuan each!!!!!! Talk about being majorly ripped off. Oh well. Because of it we took the bottles with us. Normally you cannot do this because they cash them in for money. Pics of the ice festival will be coming soon. Back onto the bus and back to Uni. Meeting up with Zuran (spelling?) and a Korean guy whose name has escaped me we went to a hotpot place for dinner. It wasn’t bad actually as we sat and talked and drank beer etc… The consensus then was to head out to Kiss Disco. This is the big one that we had previously been to before with the floor that is on springs or something. I cannot believe that I someone who never takes the dance floor spent the majority of the time there on it. This is getting to be a bad habit of mine. Anyways we then headed to Blues Bar which has quite a few foreigners. There was even 2 other Aussies who have only been in Harbin for 2 weeks, and already getting into trouble with the Russians. I decided to bail at this point with Zuran and the Korean guy.

Next day. We had arranged to meet Christina and Craig. Craig said he knew of a place that sells decent hamburgers. He wasn’t kidding. They are ever so tasty. The place is run by some African bloke and is really hard to find. It has a reputation based mainly on word of mouth. Seriously I can only describe it to be like one of the cafes in the Blue Mountains. Quiet (rare in China), with the same sort of foods etc… Really good. Afterwards we headed to a DVD store. After buying a few Craig and Christina headed off while Tiff and I went in to get her another Web cam that has a light. It’s the same as mine and apparently works better then her original one which is good. Neways enough from me. I think the Hamburger is making me ill despite being so dammed good. I think I need a lie down for a few hours.

23/11/04 – 1/1/05

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Firstly I want to apologize for the lack of updates. I have been rather busy. However since things have calmed down somewhat I should be able to update a little more often. Right, on the 23rd Angel Tiff and I went to this Ice Festival thing. Angel managed to get some free tickets and we went. The pictures have been up for a while and show all kinds of things there. Most impressive of all were the Forbidden City in Ice and the Aircraft Carrier. The latter having a huge ice slide down it (more about that in a sec). The ice was filled with lights and everything was really pretty and clean. Tiff fell over and busted her knee which wasn’t good. However she did end up with “a colourful bruise”. Now the slide was 5 Yuan to ride. That’s less then $1, however the queue was really long, however behind the slide was a huge mound of snow and ice that people were sliding down for free….. If you could climb to the top. Tiff and my years in Scouts obviously paid off as we quickly ascended the slope and waited to slide down. It was fast, it was fun, and it was painful…. Very painful. You see the ‘slide’ didn’t have a nice end. It ended by becoming ground at a very different angle to the angel you slide down. As such I really nailed my tailbone. It was pretty painful I can tell you. Also while sliding down I kicked up so much snow I couldn’t see a thing since I was blinded with it going in my eyes. All good and fun. Afterwards we went to KFC to have a got drink and sit in the warm. I am sorry about the lack of pictures, the extreme (yes it was extreme) cold prevented my camera working.

The 25th being Christmas was the next big day. Tiff describes it quite well so I will just quote her here. BTW I will leave it as it is with no spell checking or anything.

“Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Hope everyone got everything they wished for.

Christmas eve was a riot … Ben and I went and bought chrissy supplies and copious amounts of beer from the supermarket and went out for dinner to a korean bbq which was heaps good. After dinner we came back to my room and watched EuroTrip – Its absolutely hilarious .. i recommend it- while watching the movie we had chips and beer … and this wine. Now, keeping in mind – we bought 2 bottles of this wine from the supermarket for Aud$3, it was absolutely foul. It was Red apple wine, and green apple wine… i have never tasted anything so bad in my life … so we mixed baijiu with it .. and it made it 10 times worse. It was so bad .. but we managed to drink the 2 bottles – we couldnt waste it .. lmao … i acutally think ben made me drink more as i always seemed to have a full glass and he wasnt filling his up – i think something suss was going on – anyways… it was brilliant fun…

Christmas was good. My mum rang at 2am to wish merry chrissy and then my family rang again at about 8am for the family round of merry christmases. Was good to hear everyone. Ben came down about 10.30 and we had biscuits and ham and cheese with pringles and chips and ice tea for breakie – while watching Love Actually. We tried ringing susan – but she wasnt there which was a bit annoying because we wanted to swap pressies and things, so after the movie at about 2… susan turned up so we did the pressie swap thing … Ben bought me this absolutely gorgeous bracelet – its red and has jade flowers on it … its brilliant… I love it. Thanx Ben :) … I also got a scarf from Susan which was nice. Angel bought me this head thing … i think its made of coconut shells … but its cool … also got a candle from oneof my students, and this huge chinese knot from James … its great – i dont know how i am going to get this stuff home!! … I got a card from one of my students which is really sweet. So after pressies and all , Ben and i headed down the street to buy more beer. We got Mirium and Robert a fruit things aswell. At 4, after giving the girls in the canteen around the corner a lil chrissy present, we headed out the ShuangChang to have chrissy dinner with Mirium and her husband – Mirium is one of our classmates from Switzerland. We turned up and OMG .. their house is gorgoeus. The Kitchen was amazing .. it was HUGE … so we sat around and talked with mirium, robert and another fellow that was there i cant remember his name … but he worked with Robert. They were so lovely. And then the food came…. damn there was so much!! … We had a salad to start with with this bread that mirium made herself, then we had soup. and then the mail meal. Roast Chicken, Carrot, Onions, Red Cabbage, Potato, brussel Sprouts, cawliflower with white sauce and gravy… it was soo good. And yes mum .. i did eat the brussel sprouts .. ben said he would vouch for me ;) .. So after stuffing myself with the food which tasted so good. We cleared the table and Ben and I got stuck into the dishes … we washed and dried the whole lot. Yes mum and dad .. thats right …. i washed every single dish that was dirty … and Ben dried. Mirium and Robert were so greateful for it … but hey … ive always been taught to offer for the dishes … and i did. So Ben and I had a good natter while doing the washing up while the other sat in the lounge room and talked. 2 soaking wet teatowels and lots of wrinkly fingers later, we had finished and headed into the lounge room where we all sat around the chrissy tree singing christmas carols while mirium playe dthe guitar .. it was aweesome. Then Robert read a bit of the Christmas story out of the bible and then deseert. Fruit salad and cream with coffee and things. We gave eachother pressies after that. Miruim and Robert bought me 2 pairs of socks …. both knee high and one pair are toe socks … also this pig thing you like pull them away from eachother and let them go and they like wiggle back to eachother .. its cool. By that time it was 10.30 and our taxi driver was waiting for us so we said our goodbyes and headed back to Harbin. It was an absolutely brilliant night .. i had a good time. And we’ve been invitied back for miriums cooking which is a bonus!! ..

Today has been uneventful. Just cleaning the mess up in my room that ben and i created yesterday with everything and fixing up some things for when i go home in a few weeks:)”

Boxing Day consisted of rest and recovery. Which was nice, however I missed the usual sitting under the A/C sweating and watching the Cricket and then the Sydney to Hobart start. A little later we also had a Chinese Character exam…. this is where my weakness lies. I don’t know nearly enough characters to pass these things with confidence. This is annoying. However if they are spoken I understand. Oh well such is life. I am still very impressed that I can read anything at all. In other news, New Years Eve and day… Before going out on New Years Eve Tiff and I wandered down to the bank and also went into the Bookshop. I managed to walk away with only 2 books. Both of which are on programming and so cheap compared to the cost of ones in Australia ($10 vs. $100), so I may as well stock up with a few. New Years Eve was somewhat uneventful (Sorry Tiff) we went out to a bar which was nice, drank some Coronas (even got a glass of Champagne which was nice) however for some reason I wasn’t feeling 100%. I did however spend the last moments of 2004 on the dance floor, and even did the countdown to the new year in Chinese which both Tiff and I were rather proud of. It kind of ended pretty quickly after that however. New Year’s Day however is a different story. Lucy, Shannon, Susan, Tiff and I went to Sun Island to see the snow sculptures. It was pretty cool. They are really impressive. However it was bloody cold which hampered on the fun a little. We also got to sit in the warmth of a real Yurt (round tent made of felt) which was pretty cool. Afterwards we had a meal in a nice restaurant (for which Susan paid for which was very nice of her. Thanks Susie!). All in all a good day. As I write this the day still isn’t over and Tiff and I are going out with Angel and Cookie to some place, which should be a lot of fun. Anyways that’s enough from me. UPDATE – Ok back from the big night out. We went to this classy bar with Angel. Nice leather seats, cool lighting, live entertainment, and cheap drinks. The entertainment was good, particularly when there were Chinese and Russian dancing girls in what Angel would describe as “too sexy clothes!” The highlight being however a guy who made a cocktail flipping the bottles, breathing fire etc…. Then the resulting drink was auctioned off. Now since our money is worth so much we were able to outbid everyone. Hence 220 Yuan later we had the cocktail. It was pretty dammed good actually. Angel really liked it. Speaking of Angel…. We sort of broke her. I do believe she ended up talking to god on the big white phone…. Interesting that we corrupted someone named Angel…. Makes me feel kind of dirty in a way. But I am sure she had a great time, since she has never been drinking before. In any case Tiff warned her to drink a lot of water before going to sleep after we piled her into a taxi.

14/11/04 – 22/12/04

Because of reasons I shall not go into here there has been a lack of updates to this site. Right anyways what has happened…. Flat out doing this project thing…. My god it’s a lot of work. Still should have it all done in time without too many worries. Now not too long ago I decided to go shopping and spend some dosh. I came back with the following, about 50 DVD’s including the Matrix Ultimate box set which was really quite cheap. A web cam (which for the price takes a really good picture) and a microphone. Also bought another CD wallet, because well my DVD collection is getting quite insane. Using the web cam I have set up internet connections to my folks and other people so they can see my insane hair (it’s really really really curly these days) and see the things I have bought for them. Other things I managed to do was get a decent voice connection to Toohey. It was just like a phone call, really crisp audio etc…. it was really quite good. Much better then anything else I have seen with regards to internet communications. Now other news the plan for Xmas is, one drink a lot of booze, two go out for lunch, and three go to a classmate’s house for a Christmas dinner. Should be quite good. Boxing Day as per usual will consist of sitting around doing nothing. Also it’s bloody bloody bloody bloody cold here. You literally have no idea what its like until you experience it for yourself. I cannot believe how dammed cold it can be. I never wear hats, but I sure do here because otherwise your ears freeze off. It’s even worse when it’s not snowing (due to the lack of clouds) and becomes incredibly bitterly cold. The most annoying thing is the amount of effort that goes into going outside, boots, hat, jacket, gloves, etc…. Really takes a long time to go anywhere. Oh also in the 15th it was Taylor’s birthday and the 21st was Christina’s. Happy birthday to both of them! Now back to getting this project done on time.

6/11/04 – 13/12/04

Ok it’s been a long time since there has been an update. This is due to two things. 1. My Laziness and 2. My lack of doing stuff. Yes that’s correct I haven’t really done anything since the last one so there isn’t much to discuss. However there was one thing that was pretty amusing that happened today. During tutoring with Angel and Cookie we established a “voice over internet” connection with Nick (Friend of mine). This was solely in the interest of Cookie who said she wanted a secret Australian lover. Nick, having admitted he wanted to see more pictures of Cookie was the obvious choice. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out too well. Stupid internet and its lack of a decent connection. So we switched to 1900’s technology and phoned him. This resulted in much amusement as they professed love for each other over the phone. Very very funny stuff, since Cookie is married with a daughter. All in all very very amusing. Now onwards to other things, I have decided to stay for the Chinese Spring Festival, (Chinese New Year) which is on the 9th February. However it will be quite annoying since it means I will get home and have only 5 days or so before Uni starts again. However I am going to tour and see the following, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Xian. Which should be quite good. Oh in other news it has snowed a few other times which is nice. Everything looks so nice and clean afterwards. I would really like it to snow a lot however. I also discovered why leather coats are so popular here; the snow just bounces off them. It’s really quite good, and they look semi stylish and are warm. Speaking of warmth, it’s bloody cold. It was minus 24 the other night, and minus 17 during the day. Really quite nuts. Also we know how to order certain things on the menu from our local restaurant. Which had one of the waiters posing in outfits tonight, causing Tiff and I to speculate that she was going out with someone special….

27/11/04 – 5/12/04

Yes…. Yes I know I should update more often. It’s mainly because I haven’t really done anything of note till the weekend. Since that is over as I write this there I have something to talk about. Now, the week was pretty standard. The only thing that I can really comment on is that, Hotpots are all the same as far as I am concerned, and it’s bloody cold here. IE my hair was frozen the other day, and so was my snot. It’s really quite an off feeling when it’s all in there and frozen. Oh and also stores don’t use fridges anymore. Ice creams sit out in the open. Also it’s SNOWING!!!! There is snow everywhere!! It’s great. It started in the night. What happened was that Angel had finished tutoring with us and walked outside. She then rang the phone and said it’s snowing. Naturally Tiff and I raced out and had a look at the snow. It’s really quite pretty when it’s falling. Like little sparkly diamonds. Anyway I then went to sleep and looked out the next day. Oh Wow! Snow all over the place. It was really quite lovely. The freshly dropped snow is like a fine power when you walk on it and looks like crushed diamonds or glass have been scattered through it. This was on the Saturday, and then Shannon Tiff Susan and I headed down the bank to get some dosh and things. We also went to the Music Street where Tiff bought a flute and some gourd on a flute thing, and Susan bought a big string thing, and a pot thing…. Sorry I can’t be more descriptive, but I don’t know very much about music instruments or music in general. Anyways I played in the snow for most of the time which was good. I even made a snow angel. So getting back Tiff and I then wandered out again with Angel! We went to a place near St Sophia Church and did some shopping… that is Tiff did, I mainly wandered around and looked at interesting things that were in the place. It was quite good actually. It took us forever to get a Taxi back to the University however. I cannot believe how long it took really. Anyway once we did we had previously arranged to go out to a bar with, Sebastian, Shannon, Susan, Tiff, Angel and I. We also got Sebastian’s Friend from Germany Ingle (Spelling?). It wasn’t too bad. We went to the place where Tiff and I are regulars now and had a huge feed. Played a bit of pool, which was a new thing for Angel. Generally had a good time. All in all it was quite good. On an interesting note, I put a glass of water outside to see how quickly it would freeze over…. 1 minute later it had… so it is pretty cold here.

23/11/04 – 26/11/04

Ok I admit it. I have been a little lazy with the updates, but that’s mainly because I wanted to let things build up so I would actually have something to talk about. Right…. Since I ran out of internet on the Monday I walked off to the place where you get more on the Tuesday. Wandering along I bumped into this nice girl who’s name has escaped me… Wang something (I cant read the 2nd character) according to this piece of paper. Anyway she is one of the people I meet reguallry at the English salon. Shes really nice and gave me a few maps… goodness only knows why, but hey. So when I went there I gave her a bookmark aussie pin and a pen. She seemed really happy about it. Now english salon. I actually got around to looking up what the word means,

  1. A large room, such as a drawing room, used for receiving and entertaining guests.

  2. A periodic gathering of people of social or intellectual distinction.

  3. A hall or gallery for the exhibition of works of art.

  4. A commercial establishment offering a product or service related to fashion: a beauty salon.

I wonder which meaning they are going for…. I am presuming the second…. You will question that meaning once you read what I have to say next. Walking in I was informed the topic was “Sex Giving”. I stopped in my tracks and said “What?!?!” and they said “Sex Giving”, at this point im considering walking out, however Looking at the board I noticed it had written on it “Thanksgiving”. Ahhhh now it makes sence, since they tend to have problems with the th sounds in english. I then told them I was an Australian and that Thanksgiving was an American holiday and I knew next to nothing about it. Dosnt matter… I was informed…. Yeah right. Dosnt matter I spent the rest of the night talking to several people and well its not too bad I suppose. I even got invited to dinner! From little, Wang ( I really should find out her name). Although I didn’t go, because all I wanted to do at the time was sleep. Speaking of which for some reason Susan, Tiff and I are continually tired and unable to sleep. Might be the food or something but yeah its not good. Now in other news. I managed to expunge all traces of Kirill from my computer which was nice. Its running back at my speed and respondes to things the way I like them to be done. He keeps asking to use the internet too whenever Im doing some work on the dammed thing. Sureley when you see someone working on something you leave them alone and let them get the work done. You certainly don’t ask how something works and then expect a length explination on the inner workings of SQL or something. Sigh dosnt matter I suppose. Now what else to say. Lucy got 6.5 on her IELTS test so she is all primed to goto Australia. Thank goodness for that. Its really starting to get cold around here. Its at the point where you don’t want to go around without a hat on. Anyway, I will attempt to get some more photos up in the furture. I just feel so lazy about the whole thing.

19/11/04 – 22/11/04

Winge, winge, winge. I don’t update my site for a few days and heaps of people have a winge about how I haven’t done anything. Well here’s the usual update for everyone. In case you didn’t notice I tend to have one every 3 days or so. So quit complaining. Now where was I, ahhh yes we couldn’t get into the Dragon Tower (apparently its quite popular) so we went into this nice dumpling place. Was one of the better meals I have had actually. Cookie and Angel (not Angle she gets upset and hits you if you call her that) were with us and showing us around and stuff. After it we went for a wander around the town. Wandering along the streets we got some paddle pops from this little street shop. I bet Cookie and Angel that I could fit the entire thing in my mouth, and I won! Wandering along we entered this street that was full of people playing hacky sack. So Tiff got a ball hack thing, and we played for a bit which was somewhat fun. I think I have some photos of it which I will upload at some point. The street had a really funny name Guogeli! We also went to the Sweet Chocolate shop, and bought… well Tiff bought some Tobelone (Spelling?) which she fed to Cookie and Angel since they had never had it. Angel was really interested in this alcoholic drink, so I bought her a sample one and some mints with Gurana. The mints are pretty minty…. Actually insanely minty. Ahhh well. The next day was….. Saturday! Oh what a day it was, well the day was pretty boring actually but the night. Tiff and I well drank a little too much. Let’s leave it at that. Suffice to say I don’t often wander down streets singing “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!”. Not exactly my finest hour and the next morning wasn’t exactly Tiff’s. Not that it matters we are young so yeah… Nothing much happened they day afterwards. As for today…. Again not too much… oh at some point on the weekend Tiffany dyed her hair, it’s a really cool red colour. She also has been off and gotten it cut. As you can see I don’t have much to say if I am mentioning things like that.

16/11/04 – 18/11/04

Would you look at that date! I honestly cannot believe it has been that long. A quick word count of this document gives me 21,000 words. Again I cannot believe it. Not bad for the occasional ramblings of things I have been doing around here. Anyway about usual things. Class as per usual. Except I haven’t gone. Not that I have been slacking, I am working on the other IT subject they have me doing. Class is getting a little monotonous at this point. I think the fact that it’s always the same really makes it a drag. I don’t mind it but really I would love a breath of fresh air. In other news I am feeling 1000% better then I was 1 week ago. The bags under my eyes are gone and I am smiling again and feeling really good. I guess I was just really tired when I was with Kirill. Don’t get me wrong he’s a nice bloke, but I never want to live with him again. I also think I am going to have the best self esteem ever when I get back to Australia. I can’t believe how good I am feeling right now. It’s really a great feeling I must say. Not much else to say really. I should have some more to talk about following the weekend. I believe that tomorrow Tiff and I may be going to the Dragon Tower with Cookie and Angel. Speaking of which, funny story about Angel. We were talking to her while walking outside. Being dammed cold Tiff states the obvious and proclaims “Its f**king freezing!” to which Angel asked, “what is the meaning of f**king freezing?”. So we told her that it meant it was really really really cold. Later on when we were talking Angel said something to the effect of “Cold, cold, f**king cold.” My god it was funny considering how quickly she said it. It had both Tiff and I in stitches on the floor. Angel also had her IELTS exam and I wish her the best of luck in that. Tiff mentioned something about that every student here has to go overseas and study or something. I don’t know if that’s for all students or just ones that are doing certain degrees here. Oh well doesn’t matter. I can look into it later, perhaps tomorrow.

PS – I do apologize about the swearing in this one. But any efforts to censor it would loose the effect that it had.

14/11/04 – 15/11/04

The opera wasn’t too bad at all. Tiff and I were semi dressed up and looking reasonably spiffy to tell the truth. We had dinner before going since we figure that it would go for 2 hours at least. We weren’t sure if we were supposed to meet our class to go or get there ourselves. Hence we took a taxi to the place. It was fun arriving as there was a great many people standing around on the stairs into the place. We walked up and waited near the front door to get it. It was quite odd as nobody from our class was there that we could see. It was also bloody cold. Thankfully they opened the doors nice reasonably soon after we arrived and we piled into the warmth. We then sat down and waited. Now before I say anything else bare in mind I have never been to Opera before. So my views might be a little biased. Beijing opera is well…. I have a mixed opinion on it. The seats were a little too small for me but nice otherwise. The performance was rather interesting I must say. It opened with a performance about a girl that drinks too much wine and gets drunk. My god her voice was annoying. Each note was like a shard of glass being driven into the brain. They were all skillfully delivered but crikey they hurt. I suppose the best way to describe it is “something really cultural you have to see” so that way you never have to see it again. The costumes that were being worn were fantastic however, really long sleeves on most of them that the performers pulled back in what can only be described “an artistic way”. The second act/scene was similar to the first. At this point I must admit I ended up resting my eyes for a bit. I didn’t fall asleep but I was certainly working on it. Thankfully the rest of opera was much better. The next scene had a smoke machine and seemed to be something about being in clouds or something like that. It was much better. The following one was placed underwater I think since it used bubble machines and had a bluish transparent screen cover it. It was then that one of the performers was using these large colored ribbons extended from each arm to make lovely patterns. That fantastic looking that there was a deafening applause from the crowd when her bit was done. The next few scenes had some fantastic acrobatics, tumbling etc… and this fancy playing with these springy poles that one of the preformed would kick back to each of the other people. Really quite skillful. I wish I could do that. Anyway all in all it was worth going to. I wouldn’t mind going again actually. Afterwards Tiff and I had previously decided to go to a bar that we like named Pacers. Walking in we were greeted by all the owners and so on. I ordered straight off 2 Rum and Cokes and 2 Martini’s (I wanted dry but got sweet ones, oh well). One of the bar managers then comes up and starts talking to us. He then gave us free coffee and a fruit platter. We stayed for a while, playing foosball but after a bit I felt ill so I left and went back home to sleep. The next day was reasonably uneventful. Tiff and I went out to the computer market. I went a little nuts buying DVD’s. I bought the entire James Bond collection, the godfather, South Park series four and Dilbet. I also picked up several other movies. Tiff got a microphone because I kind of lost her other one somehow (sorry about that Tiff). This was the same computer market that I visited before, that being the really huge one that’s 5 stories high. It’s really quite good in there. Anyways we wandered back home. We then went off and had a meal at this KFC like place call DICOS. It’s located next to the supermarket here and isn’t too bad actually. Much better food then most other places. When we got back and into the room I got the best phone call of my life. It was a Korean down stairs whose English wasn’t too bad, asking about if I wanted to take the free room! Hell yes!!!!! So I have my own room now. Hurray! I’m quite over the moon about it. Nice to have my own space and be able to go to sleep anytime I want. So yeah it’s all good really. Oh and here is another question I keep getting asked, “If Tiffany your girlfriend?” Dammed Chinese, but I suppose it’s a fair question since they don’t know that she has a boyfriend back in Australia. So here is a shout out to him (assuming he reads this) “Hey Sam!”.

11/11/04 – 13/11/04

Again room less. Oh well. Now onto interesting things. There was this Karaoke challenge deal going on between each of the foreign students on Friday. Our token homeboy was our entry and he did quite well. We had bed sheet banners, balloons & flowers (thanks to Tiff), etc….. All the songs were in Chinese and when out guys time came around he had a guitar and everything. I have no idea what he was singing so don’t ask. He was apparently pretty good because there was a lot of cheering. The clincher was however was when Tiff walked down the isle with a bouquet of flowers and upon giving them to him planted a kiss on is cheek. WOW! The crowd goes wild! I guess they just aren’t as open about that sort of thing as Aussies are. Oh well doesn’t matter, it made out class look better. There isn’t too much to report on, oh Kirill stayed up for 36 hours straight, then crashed so I managed to get a normal nights sleep so I am feeling quite good. I also really need a haircut; I am starting to look like Frodo Baggins from the Lord of the Rings. Oh and on another note here’s a shout out to all the people in Blaxland High. I don’t know how you got this address but hope you are all well!

In other news I told Shannon that several of my friend and their friends think she is cute. She turned bright red and got all embarrassed. Muhahahaha, I did the same thing to Cookie (who then asked to be set up with a secret boyfriend). She also was rather embarrassed. I don’t think these girls realize how attractive and desirable they are. They also are incredibly nice people. They would last about 30 seconds in an Aussie bar before being snapped up by about 30 crazed guys.

Talking to Kirill, oh damm he’s going to have his own PC here soon. It will be a desktop…. I need to get another room; if he has that I am never going to sleep. I can’t even sleep with a laptop on in the same room as me. How the heck would I manage with a full fledged desktop! Arghhh!!!!! Should be interesting to see if he makes class ever when he gets it. Not much else to say, other then that I am going to a Beijing opera tonight (13th) which should be well…… interesting.

6/11/04 – 10/11/04

Dammit. I didn’t get my own room as of yet. I’m still working on it, because frankly I cannot take this lack of sleep anymore. Anyways on a brighter note you may have noticed there is a huge amount of pictures that have been updated. I should probably talk about them a bit here. There is a heap in there about Shannon’s birthday. That was on the… Friday. It was pretty good actually. Not knowing what else to get her I bought her chocolate and flowers (hey why not). She said it was only the 3rd time she had ever gotten them. But dammit they are so cheap here and they make a nice pressie to give. Tiff and Susan gave her stuffed toys and the usual girly stuff that guys like me wouldn’t really think off. We went to dinner at this little place across the road from Heida, and had a great time. Plenty of beer etc…. It was interesting watching another party end and a few of the guests being carried off. A little too much beer for them methinks. Anyways one of the dishes we had was fish covered in chilies. IE there was that many they needed another bowl the same size of the dish to cart them off. The thing was the dish wasn’t really that hot, but oh damm there was a lot of chilies in one place. The other dish that really got me going was the corn thing. It was covered in sort of a flour and sugary thing, not too sweet but really tasty. We all had a good time, and we managed to get Shannon semi hammered. When we left we dropped Susan off and then walked Shannon, Taylor and Alana (I really like that name, I keep trying to get them to pick names like Alana, Karah, Aeris, Adara) back to their place. It was then I did the most stupid thing ever. Giant puddle of ice, room + beer. How could I not attempt to slide across it? I did. Till I fell hard on my arse. Oh well the beer dulled the pain and seriously I didn’t damage anything at all so yeah doesn’t matter. We then headed off to bar…. Which had nothing in it so we went back home. The next day Tiff was kind of sick. She had also scratched her eye. This resulted in a trip to the hospital for her to get some eye drops. Nothing too serious but it looked pretty painful because she doesn’t seem to be one to complain over small things. We also visited a nursery to get a Xmas tree. OK fine we ended up with and asparagus fern, but it’s the closest we could get and it will do the job. What else to say…. Not much really, only that it’s going to snow some more soon hopefully, and maybe in a few days I will have my own room *fingers crossed*.