Birthday Shenanigans

So my birthday is coming up this week. As a big surprise, some of my friends here called up a bakery, and convinced them to let us use their kitchen to make a cake. As you can see, we are all on our way to becoming expert bakers. Look out Danielle, when I come home, I may have to call up the club and take your job. That was on Saturday at supper time.

Saturday night, a colleague took me for a foot and back massage.

Then tonight my co-workers took me to a KTV and we had a good ol’ singing time. PLUS they bought me a fountain pen as I have been writing on paper since getting here. It isn’t always convenient to take my laptop with me. So I thought a book and pen was a better idea. Now I have a REAL pen, not a 5 cent crap stick “borrowed” from Air Canada.

A shout out “Thanks” to all of my China friends for making my 29th year celebrations a rocking fun time.

Dragon Boat 2008

This past Sunday was the Dragon Boat Festival in China. Unlike Saskatoon, this festival means a day off and mass festivities. I went to Xixi Wetland to check out the action. The amount of people that were there was simple nuts. Unlike in Saskatoon, where there is ample wide open shore to watch from, Xixi has trees, small paths and other obstacles to viewing and taking pictures. Also, check out the media circus. I have never been in a scrum quite like that before. My one saving grace was that I was taller than most other people there.

The coolest thing, was after taking pictures for a few hours, I went to a small village where I was invited to paddle one of the boats! I jumped at the invitation. Part of the boating is docking at various houses to take offerings of rice and money. They then light off fireworks and you continue on.

The fireworks, however, are not the simple roman candles that you buy at truck stops in Canada. These are the 1/4 sticks of dynamite that crazy Americans use to blow up barns. At one point, one came quite close to the boat and we all ducked as it zipped past out heads, mere inches from one guy, just before it exploded.

Despite the intensely polluted water, I got completely soaked and had a killer time. I can’t wait for next year…

Hot Pot.

These shots were from a week ago when some friends and I went out for hot pot. My god, there was so much food! Top it off with some dancing, a walk up Linping hill, and some late night shopping. Full on rocking night.

B&W Time

This was taken at a street market. The place gets very busy and for the most part people ignore me and my camera.

These were all taken while I was sitting next to a big Ronald Mc Donald statue. Many people found this immensely amusing. Some would turn and do a double-take, the more bold would stop and take my picture. Strangely, the last one, no one is even looking at me.

Once again, pictures are down

Looks like once again, pictures on blogger are not working in my part of China. Too bad, I was out walking around the other day taking more street shots. I’ll try again later.

I have now been in China for over three months. I have a resident card, a year long visa, and have settled into my life nicely. I have a decent base of friends. The city is not unfamiliar to me any more. I am picking up more Chinese words every day.

Some things about China are irritating however.

Spitting. Everyone here spits. In Beijing they are trying to curb it before the olympics. Here, they are not. You can’t walk ten feet without someone letting some golden phlegm exit their mouth. It is a habit that I refuse to indulge in. I find it rather repulsive. Always have, always will.

Public urination. At least once every couple days, I will happen to pass guys going to the bathroom in the side of the sidewalk. Without shame, they step to the side without finding a bush or any other means to obstruct themselves from view, and open their pants and water the street. I am all for getting back to nature and fully embracing ones primal urge, but at least walk two steps to the light pole, or shrub. A little tact is not hard to muster up.

Courtesy. When I say this, I mean for waiting in lines. There are no lines here. If you are waiting to get a burger at Mc’Donalds, it is a free for all. You just shove your way to the front. If you don’t, you will be a hungry and unhappy Mc’Person.

That is all.