The world is just awesome


The world is just awesome!

We were tired, unenthusiastic and basically worn out from the high stress sales positions we both held. Being treated badly by companies where the catchcry is 'It's just business, nothing personal'. Our faith in the system had run dry. We couldn't feel anything anymore, totally drained of emotion. But in the last year we have earned the right to say that we are living, feeling human beings again. And to travel and witness purity and innocence has been most rewarding. Even if these events happened at home we would not have reacted the same. From witnessing baby turtles scramble to the sea against all odds; to meeting and playing games with children in all the countries so far; to making an elderly woman or man grin with a hello in their own language (you know the kind of smile that makes them lose their eyes and expose their gums).

We are now two totally revitalised people who are living and working in a country on the rise. We highly recommend this kind of shot in the arm to revive the soul. Anyone can do it. It just takes a little guts, flexibility and willingness to let go of the fears we sometimes hold on to.

Previously visited countries are shaded in yellow.😱 Our home country in green 😱

Asia » China » Beijing » Temple of Heaven May 3rd 2009

The Temple of Heaven Monday morning and an early rise for me. 5.30am and I'm walking to the great park of the Temple of Heaven. I pass Tian'anmen Square where bus loads of chinese tourists are already wandering around in an orderly fashion following the yellow flag of their guide. This city is alive and kicking at this time of day. It took almost an hour for me to walk the distance. I enter the park and see many people enjoying their exercise. See pics. I'm asked to join in. So I play a game that is like badminton and pingpong combined. There are 2 bats each and you hit the shuttlecock on the full. It can also bounce. The next group of people are throwing rings of sand filled material like the door snakes that ... read more
Forbidden City entrance at night
Be one with the tree
Still using the olympics as a gimick!

Asia » China » Beijing » Tian'anmen May 2nd 2009

The Peking Duck I had booked a table at a restaurant that served Peking Duck for 7.30pm. We ordered the duck, what the hell, and it was expensive. We tried to work out if there was enough of the duck to feed us both and, needing some vegies anyway, we ordered a plate of sauteed broccoli. Good thing too. A chef appeared and put on a wonderful display of carving the crispy skin and meat off the bird. But what appeared on our table wouldn't satisfy either of us. Glad we ordered the veg. Although it tasted wonderful I won't mention the restaurant (couldn't remember the name if I tried) somewhere near the eastern gate of the Forbidden City. We were still hungry and wondered where the rest of the meal went. We asked an 'almostenglishspeaking' ... read more
What a sight of beautiful tulips.
Pretty reflections
Carving the bird

Asia » China » Beijing May 1st 2009

Hi all, forgot to add the videos to the blogs. We travelled the Jinyu street food markets. Remember though this market is catered for the tourists. Prices are higher but the experience is great! One thing you do have to do is to know the price of your purchase before you buy because as with all markets they are there to make money and if you can't read the sign and figure out the fruit stick should only be 5yuan and you pay 15 the vendor is not going to say a thing! The second video is the backstreet market of the mall. This had more local atmosphere, still touristy, but more realistic prices. This place is cool, crowded and busy. Some of the food is the same as the street market but it has more ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing » Mutianyu May 1st 2009

Hi everyone, This is a long blog so I've split it into smaller bite size pieces. So much to do in Beijing. The Train Trip Today was the start of our 5 days off. I had already purchased the tickets from the local agency for the D train to Beijing from Tai'an (Taishan). We have been on some dodgy trains in our travels so we weren't sure how this trip would be. But right from the get go, it was smooth sailing. The train station in Tai'an is tidy, clean and orderly. People sit in the appropriate section. Mind you, they still barge through the crowd as if they had to race for their seat. But as all seating was assigned we strolled leisurely up the platform and found that carriage 8 on our ticket happens ... read more
The Great Wall - Mutianyu
At Mutianyu wall
Photo 2

Asia » China » Shandong » Tai'an April 27th 2009

Found it! Well maybe not. What we thought was a zoo turned out to be a tiger park with some monkeys and a couple of peacocks thrown in (not as food). The monkeys were happy to see tourists as you are allowed to feed them. The peacocks looked as indignant as they always do. The Tigers were the main attraction. As we walked slowly, oooing and aaahing at the Panthers and some sleeping tigers, a keeper approached us and as they do here started to chat (in Chinese). So politely we nod and agree, yes i see it is a big one....Hmmmm. Soon we are joined by a petite female keeper who picks up a bucket of fresh liver bits and begins calling to a tiger. Soon the big cat approaches and with the grace and ... read more
A strange white stripe of tail feathers
That's Lynne's hand...
Give it to me...

Asia » China » Shandong » Tai'an April 20th 2009

Our travels have taught us many things - to have more tolerance and understanding of the different cultures and their behaviour; to accept that some things will not happen quickly; to be fast and furious with chopsticks; that a smile and nod will go a long way; that children are the same all around the world. But the most confounding is the many times we have found a difference in how history is recorded. When we were kids growing up and going to school we learned about Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo and Captain Cook. The adventures of just a couple of the most significant explorers in European (or Australian) history. Now, I think I'm old enough to understand that there are many different versions of history or for that matter, current affairs. I am somewhat baffled ... read more
A gnarly piece of wood, man.
The blossoms last for 2 weeks in a year
A watery focus on blossoms

Asia » China » Shandong » Tai'an April 7th 2009

We were told a couple of weeks ago that we will be going on a picnic. All the staff from Always English School in Tai'an. Ok. That sounds like fun. Where are we going? I ask. To Yi Shui. I am yet to find it on the map. It's about 200kms west of here. Well today is the staff holiday for Tomb Sweeping Day. A Day when everyone mourns their ancestors by burning incense and (fake) pay their respects (get it?). The actual day was Sunday and Tai'an was inundated with tourists. Many to hike the mountain for the luck it brings. The air around Tai'an and Taishan was completely filled with smoke and smog because of the burning ritual. The mountains were hidden behind the smoke. We found today that our day trip destination ... read more
Cave shots
at Yi Shui sa da gu - roughly translated to water underground, we think.
A view of the temples

Asia » China » Shandong » Tai'an April 1st 2009

Well I've had some colds in Australia, and I've had some which just don't go away for at least a week but this sucker i have now should definitely should be re-named klingon! It just will not die. I must admit it may have something to do with the fact i have a kindy kids class twice a week where i get up close and personal with some tiny mucus production plants. One especially is just a ball of energy and oozes liquids everywhere. He is a great kid and i would not trade places for anything. We had a bit of a bad session last week and i saw an angry Chinese mother at work. Blue is his name and he did not want to do any English learning this session! That was self evident. ... read more
we go that way!
Oh look Mickey, a camera!
Some sort of memorial

Asia » China » Shandong » Tai'an March 23rd 2009

David writes... I will include some pictures of Lynne's birthday gift from Dio in this one too. Well, we found it here, Yes it is a big deal! so get off my back! I mentioned we have been able to find coffee shops where we can pay 30yuan for a cup, today we actually found a shop with an espresso/cappuccino machine(GASP!), but today we ventured forth and found a coffee distributor. We woke leisurely after a hectic weekend of 8am to 8pm work this was because we held our Easter parties, yea i know it's early but hey, it's China so who cares. 100 kids per night and some activities and some chaos. Easter - In typical Asian fashion the kids are bustled around from room to room just going along for the ride, one adult ... read more
Serious street Mahjong!
Please be a nice tourist
For meeee! you shouldn't have

Asia » China » Shandong » Tai'an March 16th 2009

Ok, well we have been here a little over a month now and yes we have caught our first bug, a cold. But as Aussie's do we soldier on. It's a toss up on our days off weather to scour the markets or just stay at home, when we are not feeling so good it is not a hard decision. Lynne has just had her B'day and it is a big deal over here so the staff put on a cake and some loud happy birthday music.....hmmmm. The weather is fining up and the temperature is rising quickly from -6's to +6 in the first 2 weeks to +7 to 21 this week. the locals are out in force prettying the place and planting small gardens. It look like humans hibernate in the cold too because ... read more
Look happy for the camera honey!
Mmmmm Cake, mock cream and everything!
Can't you wait until after lunch like everyone else?

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