bya Gabrielle at 8:00 AM

The Emperor and his Wife

Categories: China,Hangzhou,Humor
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bya Gabrielle at 8:00 AM

Crossing the Bridge

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bya Gabrielle at 12:43 PM

Double Dragon

Categories: China,Hangzhou
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bya Gabrielle at 8:00 AM

At least they worked with the tree, instead of chopping it down.

Categories: China,Hangzhou
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bya Gabrielle at 8:00 AM

Ancient Eco-friendly Chinese Courtyard

Categories: China,Hangzhou
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bya Gabrielle at 8:00 AM

Cooking with Fire

Categories: China,Hangzhou
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Vacation Just Around the Corner

bya Gabrielle at 4:03 AM

There is no use in apologizing, so I’m not even going to try.  Let’s face it.  I suck at blogging.

I will however play the blame game.  The internet here just blows.  Some days it works and other days, well, it doesn’t.  What is a blogger to do?

Well, tomorrow is our last day and then it is VACATION TIME!!  A whole two months worth.  Why can’t we have awesome vacations like that in the States?  Oh, wait, we do, but you have to be teacher.  Hrm.  I suppose possibly being knifed or shot could almost be worth two months of vacation, but not quite.  :)

Our vacation is going to go something like this:

Linyi to Shanghai – Stay in Shanghai for 3 days, possibly see the Expo, get some good food.

Shanghai to Hangzhou – Spend a few days in Hangzhou, reminisce, eat some Dairy Queen.  Yum.

Hangzhou to Fuyang – Hang out with our good friend Jin for a few days and reminisce some more.  I am sure Fuyang has changed a lot since we left.

Fuyang back to Hangzhou – Catch a train or bus to Nanjing and see what Bo and Nashville have been talking about.

Nanjing to Guilin – We have to take a plane.  There is no way I am spending 24 hours on a train, even if it is a few hundred yuan cheaper.  Stay a night or hop on the first bus to Yangshuo.

Guilin to Yangshuo – Relax for a week and take in the sights.  Yanghshuo is mostly definitely the most beautiful place I have ever seen in China. Phil did say he would foot the bill if we stayed longer . . . so who knows how long we will stay.

Yangshuo back to Guilin – Catch a train, bus or plane to Kunming. I hear it is a pretty nice place.  It will be the first time Phil and I have been there.

Kunming to Dali – Once again, I have heard nice things and we have never been there before. It is always nice to adventure and see new places.

If at this point we aren’t completely broke, we may try to make our way to Qingdao, spend a few days there, experience Beer Street and then come back home to ever so wonderful Linyi.  If everything costs what we think it is going to cost, we are going to have to eat rice and noodles and nothing else for an entire month before we get paid again.  :)

Okay, moving on . . . Last weekend Phil decided it was time to have a new Chinese experience.  So, we went to the massage parlor down the street and while I got a standard oil massage, he got ba guan.  Ba guan is when the chinese take glass cups, light them on fire, and then stick them to your back – 16 of them to be exact.  They suck up your skin and break every blood vessel known to man.  After 5 or 10 minutes, they take them off.  It looks something like this . . .

Since I was getting a massage, I couldn’t take a picture of the glass cups on Phil’s back, but I took a picture of a friend who did it a week or so ago.  It was her first and last time.  I have no idea how she got the courage to do it.  There is no way in a happy hell that I would ever submit to it.

Song Hui and ba guan

And this is what it looked like after Phil had his little procedure.  It looks likes someone either sucker punched him over and over again or took a purple marker and went to town.

Phil and ba guan

A close up of the damage . . .

Phil - Ouch

And another . . .

Phil - Ouch - 2

I don’t think that Phil will be getting it done again any time soon.  And not because it hurt, at least he said it didn’t, but because he didn’t really feel he benefited from it.  It is supposed to suck out the toxins from your body.  They tell you not to take a shower for 24 hours afterward, but I am not totally sure of the reason.

Oh, and although this has nothing to do with vacation or self-induced pain, I thought I would post it any way.

There is an Australian in our building who has decided to turn the roof into his very own garden/farm.  He recently just added 4 baby chicks that he will either use for eggs or if they suck at that, he’s gonna eat them.  I really hope they are great egg layers.

Here they are . . .

Baby chicks

When he tends to the garden, he lets them out of their cage so they can run around.  They run so fast.  He says they are easy to catch and put back, but I don’t know if I believe him.

And the garden . . .

Roof garden

If I have internet connection during our travels, I will try my best to keep whoever it that reads this blog of mine up-to-date.  I can hardly wait.  This vacation is going to be a blast!

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Going to Atlanta

bya Gabrielle at 4:47 PM

Finally, a little vacation. I haven’t been anywhere really since I got back from China.

As long as the weather gods are nice to us, Phil and I should enjoy a lovely weekend.  First we are going to take in a long over due Atlanta Braves game.  I haven’t been to one since Mother’s Day 2005.  At least, I think that was the last time I was able to go.  Since the game is on July 4th, we will get treated to fireworks after the game.  I know it won’t even hold a flame to the fireworks I saw in Hangzhou, but I’m sure they will be pretty nonetheless.  You can click here if you want to see what I am talking about.  Even that video doesn’t do the display justice.  I wish those buildings hadn’t been in the way, though.

I really hope the Braves can pull off a win for me. They haven’t had the best season so far, so I am not going to hold my breath or anything.  There is still a chance that they could go on an impressive winning streak and take back their division.  That would be nice. Perhaps my presence will spark a season turn around or something.  :)

On Saturday, we are going to head over to Stone Mountain.  We are going to get the Adventure Pass for $25 bucks.  It will allow us to do just about everything that the park offers. I’ve been to Stone Mountain several times, but the only thing I can remember doing is taking the tram, climbing the mountain, and watching the laser light show. There is a lot more to do now, inculding this thing called Sky Hike.  It looks like a lot of fun.

On Sunday, we are going to China Town.  There are a lot of China shops in Columbia, but not like there is in Atlanta.  We’ll stock up on all the goodies we haven’t had in a long time, and then come back home.  I’m really excited.  This weekend should be fun.

I was looking through some of the videos of my past visits to Turner Field, and I found this one.  90 feet is a lot longer than it looks like on TV.  And yes, I was the only one over 10 participating.  :)

YouTube Preview Image
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Once Upon a Time in China Part 5: The Story of a Mouse

bya Gabrielle at 7:00 AM

One day, while I was walking home from Yong Xing Middle School in Fuyang, China, a student(not mine, I don’t think) stroke up a broken English conversation with me. She asked me a few questions about America, how I liked China and if I spoke any Chinese. I had been practicing my Chinese for a while and was pretty sure that I could at least say that I was a teacher in Chinese.

I cleared my throat and said, “Wo shi laoshi.” (I think that is how you spell everything.)

Well, as soon as I had finished, the girl crinkled her nose, looked at me, and said, “You are a mouse?” I busted out laughing. I apparently hadn’t been practicing hard enough. :)

“No,” I said, “a teacher.”

“Oh,” she said, “laoshi.” She said laoshi very clear and slow, as though emphasizing the correct way to pronounce it.

Before long, we reached the Hangzhou bus station, and we said our goodbyes. I was surprised to find out that she lived in Hangzhou, and that she took the bus to school everyday. Hangzhou is about an hour away from Fuyang. I guess Yong Xing Middle School is just a really good school. I can’t think of any other logical reason a middle school student would travel that far.

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Something I Missed in China

bya Gabrielle at 12:49 PM

When I lived in China, the one thing that I looked for as I perused the cities and very rarely ever found was water fountains.  I know the reason for this, but I’ve always been a fan of the fountain and the free access to unlimited gallons of water, especially if I’m thirsty.  In China though, the only places I ever found them were in the airports.  I found it funny that they had labels on them telling everyone that the water was safe to consume.  The one cool thing about the Chinese water fountain was that it produced cold water and hot boiling water, too.  It had two spouts.  I think it spat out hot water for the people that bought boxes or bowls of noodles.  There was a similar thing to a water fountain on the train from Hangzhou and Beijing, but it only produced scalding hot water.  Again, it was for the noodles, and not so much for drinking – unless, you wanted to make some tea.

Maybe one day I will be able to walk around China, whenever I make it back that is, and I’ll find the ever familiar silver contraption stuck to a wall somewhere other than an airport telling me it’s okay to wet my whistle.

On another note, work is still going well.  I’ve finally gotten in the habit of rolling out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and almost always wake up before my alarm tells me to.  Of course, this happens on the weekend, too.  I’m not quite sure how to tell my body it is Saturday or Sunday and that I don’t have to get up.

This weekend, I’ll take some pictures of the little garden that Phil and I have started.

Well, back to work, I guess.

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