Blogs from Ji'Nan, Shandong, China, Asia - page 8


Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 29th 2007

Between the constant honking of horns, the near accidents on the roads, the incessant "hawk pitooey" of people spitting all the time (it's the Jinan pollution cough and/or the smoker's cough that everyone has here), and the constant staring at me and the other foreigners, lies the calmness of Chinese life and the friendly folk of Jinan. In my short time here, I have become a tea drinker. Green tea is served instead of water at restaurants. I drink it at home almost daily. I never used to drink hot beverages much, but here I am into it. I have not had a lot of varieties, but I expect that I will over the course of the next year. The Chinese teachers at my school bring their tea every day. In a thermos or glass jar, ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 29th 2007

Some people celebrate Christmas on the 25th December. In other calendars, the 7th January. Some celebrate it in the snow and others the hot sun. But in China, Santa Claus and festive music will still be with you in late March with the blossom and warm afternoons. Now I'm aware of the arguments over His birth. Shepherds watched their flock that night which is something they'd do during the lambing season in Spring. But there is no such logic or foundation behind China wishing to continue the holiday past Dec/Jan. For them, Christmas is a recent discovery with irresistible gaudiness. So they tie it in with Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and now even a month later, I walk down the street in a tshirt and see images of Santa smiling back at me from shop ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 28th 2007

Have you always dreamed of owning your very own fluorescent chick? Do you want to buy a live goldfish contained in a water-filled Christmas bauble? How about a stroll through one of Jinan's parks to hear the sweet tune of caged birds. Well lets face it, the locals would probably eat the wild ones. Not enough? Having to plug headphones in to drown out the sound of the restaurant workers across the street take a stick to some dog during their break? I scream at them in English, they think I'm a lunatic. Want more? Want to buy a puppy off the street? Better tell them fast you want it as a pet before they chop its head off. Want all this and more? Then visit China! Heck, the fish are fresh. They leap out of ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 22nd 2007

So much for missing the big festivities in Boston -- we had St. Patrick's Day here in Jinan! we (the foreigners and a few locals too) went to Kiwi Corner, a restaurant run by Mimi, a fellow Westerner. There was no parade, but there was green beer! For dinner there was Irish stew (which I didn't have since I'm vegetarian!) and loads of cabbage dishes and slaws and yummy garlic bread and spinach quiche and carrot cake and fresh fruit. Everything was good. There were a lot of "old-timers" - folks in their senior years - out for the party. We were also celebrating B.J.'s 40th birthday, so there was birthday cake too. Very fun! Then the Aston teachers were off to Long Wei Fong's, our favorite bar/dance place. We bring the party every time we ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 22nd 2007

Last week I went to the PSB, the Public Securities Bureau (a.k.a. the police station) for paperwork processing. We each need a resident's permit to live and work here. I obtained my work "Z" visa in the US, in New York City. But then once you arrive here, you need the resident's permit. We had to wait a while but not too long. Mostly it's just sign here, take your photo, and you're done. Thankfully Aston takes you and covers the fee and translates, etc. For me and others that are here for more than a few months, a visit to the doctor is also required. My appointment was today. Quelle surprise, it was a bit unpleasant but not as bad as it could have been I guess. Once again, someone from Aston took me and ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 15th 2007

I've been here about 2 weeks now, and I'm settling into a routine. I had teacher training the first weekend of March, and taught my first week of classes last weekend. I teach many ages and levels, from 5-year-olds to 17-year-olds. Class size is 19 students maximum, which is nice. A few classes are smaller, maybe 5-10 students. There are no desks, just chairs in a semi-circle. The emphasis is on speaking and listening, not reading and writing (since most students get very good at that at their public schools). There are several levels at Aston. The beginner classes are parents and children together (PC1-PC3), plus there is a Chinese teacher (CT). The children are adorable! The foreign teachers (FT) -- that's me and the other "Westerners" -- only teach 30 minutes of their 90 minute ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 13th 2007

Hello and welcome to my blog! I arrived in Jinan, China 2 weeks ago today. It is great to be here and feels good to be settling into a routine. I was living and working in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) but was looking for a teaching job overseas. I found a job and was off and running! I moved my belongings back to Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA), my hometown. Then I was off to China from there. My journey to China started on Sunday 25 February. Thanks to a major snowstorm in the Midwest, my initial flight was cancelled. It was beautiful but not ideal for flying! I made a later flight to Chicago and spent the night there. Then on Monday 26 February I was on the 13.5 hour flight to Beijing. WOW! A long flight over ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan March 12th 2007

I have slowly but steadily warmed to Jinan. Its face changes as the day lengthens. In the early morning it is still and very cool, local people perform Tai Chi in the parks as I pass on my way to work. My favourite bakery takes delivery of soft sponges and sweet breads and crossing the road isn't an operation. By afternoon, the city has hurried itself into a circus, crossing the road is an ambitious task, kites soar high above parks and squares and below everyone is in a hurry. The evenings are lively and atmospheric, the city is lit up by neon signs and fairy lights. Crossing the road is an ambitious task minus the daylight. Merchants' corners and street sellers do bustling trade from toilet rolls and handbags to tortoises and goldfish. There are ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan November 8th 2006

Bonjour a tous de nouveau, Apres avoir quitte Beijing pour aller a Jinan par train - finalement l'horaire fut change et nous sommes partis a 13h30 au lieu de 10h00 a.m. pour arriver a Jinan a 18h00. Juste se rendre a la gare de train fut toute une experience - des milliers de personnes - en veux-tu en vla..... tout le monde te regarde - on est comme une aiguille dans une botte de foin..... finalement arrives dans le train c'etait la follie furieuse pour trouver de la place pour nos valises et nos places. Malgre tout, le voyage s'est bien passe par la suite. Jean-Guy continue ses decouvertes gastronomiques.... intestins de porc, pattes de poulets, peau de poissons.... en ti cas, lui ca ne le derange pas trop mais moi je trouve ca assez penible ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan July 29th 2006

Well.... our little trip to Tai Shan was definitely one of the most interesting 24 hour periods of my life. Tai Shan... Taoist and Buddhist holy place, center of Chinese creation myths, and the most climbed mountain in the world. The plan went something like this... we would take the train to Jinan, take a bus to Tai an, hike Tai Shan all night, watch the sun rise, hike back down the mountain (eight hours of hiking in total), and then take a train back to Tianjin and be there for class on Monday. We rode on a sleeper train from Tianjin to Jinan on Saturday afternoon, and got in at about 10 to Jinan. The buses were all closed for the night, but our "friend" from the train promised to find us a taxi that ... read more
The top...
cable cars
the bus on the way down

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