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Published: August 13th 2006
Everything Fresh and Green
View to front gate of Taizhou Normal College.
It's around the middle of April and the weather is finally consistently warm enough to say that spring is really here!
Earlier this month the Rolling Stones performed for the first time in mainland China with a concert in Shanghai. I had hoped to snare a ticket through the Shanghai H3, but just missed out! As a consolation I met up with the hashers for pre concert drinks at a local well known H3 watering hole about a 20minute walk from the stadium. I then wandered up with them on the off chance I could talk my way into a reasonably priced ticket from the "yellow bears" (read "scalpers"). Needless to say, mission unaccomplished, even 30minutes after the show had started. Had fun checking out the "clientele" though. Every "wannabe" and "has been" rocker in town was there (not just jaded ex-pats, either!). They were there to be "seen" and to flaunt the local constabulary by defiantly swigging large bottles of beer in the street outside the stadium, wearing their shaggy hair, tight tees and jeans and the odd leather waistcoat here and there like badges of honour! A bit of a time warp, really!
All was not lost,
Someone from home!
Managed to catch up with my friend Dawn and her husband Shaun for a quick lunch in my favourite Thai restaurant, Simply Thai, before heading back to Taizhou.
however, as my friend Dawn (Cracka) was in town with her husband Sean on an annual ex-pat rugby jaunt. Managed to squeeze in a quick lunch at my favourite Thai Restaurant, Simply Thai (mentioned in an earlier blog) before heading back to Taizhou. Dawn had also kindly agreed to bring over some fresh homeopathic medicines for me, so all in all, a relaxing and productive weekend away.
Last week I said goodbye to my colleague Victoria and her boyfriend, Bobby. Sadly, Victoria's Mum has been diagnosed with a serious illness, so they have flown back to the USA. Such an abrupt and sad way to leave here, and I wish her mother a speedy recovery.
This has been my first weekend in the apartment by myself. Almost guiltily, I am revelling in having it to myself. We had planned to go to Wuxi this weekend, but since Victoria and Bobby had to leave, these plans were put on hold. Instead, Vivian offered to take me around Taizhou, as I really haven't ventured very far afield as yet.
A short taxi ride away from the hotel. we started our "explorations" at the traditional local Buddhist temple (Guangxiao Si).
Vivian seemed a little uncomfortable there, so I didn't linger too long and made a mental note to return for a closer look at the interesting statues and shrines at a later date.
Next- one of the most important outings for any female in Taizhou- the fashion shopping area! Lots of options from the preteen to more sophisticated, but I was not to be tempted today.
Time for a wander in the local park- Tai Shan Park. It's a lovely place to stroll, relax and watch the locals "at play". It was a beautiful day and many people were out and about enjoying the sunshine and the bright greenery springing into life everywhere. As usual, I was the subject of much curiosity, and many a brave young student/pupil approached me with a shy "Hello, where do you come from?" They are so keen to practice their English and delighted that I will take the time to chat with them.
Spring is also a popular time for wedding photos. The park was full of young couples posing in "natural" settings in their white regalia. These couples pay large sums of money to have a "portfolio" of photos taken
up to six months prior to the wedding date. The package includes the hire of the outfits as well. The photos are then shown off on the actual wedding day.
Today I arranged to finally get the courage to ride the bike provided by the college. Two of my first year students, Ann and Taylor volunteered to be my "chaperones" to ensure I didn't become a traffic statistic! As neither of them had had the opportunity to see much of Taizhou, we all agreed to go to Tai Shan Park! They were quite surprised I knew about Tai Shan Park- I finally confessed I had been there the day before. They thought that was very funny!
So off we went into the traffic, with a bit of trepidation on my part. Actually, it was less hair-raising than I had expected. Quite easy to get the hang of it- as long as you develop 270 degree rotation and eyes in the back of your head! No stopping me now!
The last part of the day was a late lunch in a small noodle shop just across the road from my favourite supermarket. The guys there were pretty excited
about having a foreigner eat in their establishment. There is a lot of prestige to be gained, apparently! For me, it was a great opportunity to watch them make noodles by hand. Amazing. They first make a dough and knead bits of it . They then swing it round and round between their hands. The process is repeated a number of times, until the noodles actually separate into strands! . They are then served in a broth with meat and/or vegetables. All for 4Y ( about A$0.70)
A relaxing and pleasant weekend, enjoying the simple pleasures of being with some of my new friends.
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