Monday, September 25, 2006

One more year

It was my birthday a few days ago, and believe it or not I had a birthday party. With 30 of us working and living in close quarters, it was almost unavoidable. And so, after work we headed out for a dinner of Korean BBQ (gelbi) and then we went to the neighborhood pub for a beer. That's my roommate Gord suprising everyone with a cake.

It was a tasty one.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

QinYun Shan

More of XiDi

It's not really a ping-pong table, but we thought we would hold an imaginary tournament anyway.

Landscape and poem over someones front door.

This was actually the main tourist market area.

Anton and Aki examine what remains of last night's dinner. The fields around XiDi are full of mulberry trees, the leaves of which are harvested for silkworms to feed on. It must be a pretty big "cottage industry", because every morning the streets were dotted with piles of stems and the odd dead worm.

Mornings are also a good time to dry some wheat.

Inner courtyard with hanging pumpkins.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I've been here for a week now. I've seen the big city sights, and met a friend from Taiwan.

Anton was born in Taiwan, grew up in New Jersey, went to University in California, and now lives with his parents in Shanghai. He's been studying Chinese for the past couple of years, and he is going to start a five year program in Traditional Chinese Medicine next week. The whole program is in Chinese of course, so I guess he should be absolutely fluent when it's all over and done with. Then he plans to move back to the States and open a practice.

Finally got out of the city a couple of days ago, and right now we are staying in a little village called XiDi in AnHui province. This one's a UNESCO world heritage sight with hardly any tourists. Amazing place. We are staying in a guesthouse in the middle of the village that some friends of Anton's parents own. They bought a 500 year old farm house and renovated it into an amazing living space. Apparently the UN folks stay here when they come.

Looking out over the village from the third floor.

First floor - recieving room, dining room and sky well. There is an opening in the roof three floors above these plants that lets in the sunlight and the rain. Letting the rain in has something to do with letting wealth in... It's really beautiful.

Anton and Aki.

The neighbor's place.

And more neighbors still.

P.S. LiJiang sucks.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Funny story...

On the day that I got back from the bike trip, I went out to the pub with some teachers.

I had already decided to stay in Korea for the coming semester, but I didn't realise that the semester didn't start for two weeks. I originally planned to cycle about Korea, but I found the heat uncomfortable.

All I have to do during these two weeks is wait for the Korean Government to process my working application, and then go out of the country to get the visa. Most people take the hydrofoil to visit the Korean consulate in Japan. The next day they come back, visa in hand.

But back to the pub. A couple of the teachers mentioned that they were soon flying out to a country I hold dear to my heart... I mentioned that I wished I could go as well, and they pointed out a computer conveniently located in the corner of the bar.

Within half and hour I had purchased my ticket, and the following morning - about seven hours later - we headed out to places unvisited.

Here are some pics. Name that city?

Old buildings in the "Concession" - an area put aside for use by the European countries doing trade in the port way back in the day.
GuiZhou Road, in front of the Railway Hotel where we stayed a couple nights - a hotel where Zhou EnLai held a secret meeting in 1937 to rally fellow revolutionaries to resist the Japanese Imperialists.

Consider yourselves taught. I know I did.

This should be a dead giveaway. The landmark of the city. It's surely the ugliest building in existence. Contrast this building with my favorite, the stunning Bank of China building in Hong Kong - See Images (1) (2) (3) .

From the 88th floor of the JinMao Building, third tallest in the world I hear.
There are hundreds and hundreds of skyscrapers. They are located all over the city, rather than in one concentrated area, which gives you the impression that you are in the biggest modern city in the world. There are bigger ones though...

I also added some more pictures at the bottom of the previous post from the bike tour.