Tuesday, May 31, 2005

sidewalk sale season

Ooh, nice alliteration.

Anyhoo, I went downtown today to look for a digital camera. Came back empty handed seeing as I know nothing about them and I can't understand any information from a Chinese sales assistant (if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations as to brand, model etc,  please share). Walking down the main street there were lots of street vendors, displaying their goods on blankets on the street. Mostly bracelets, necklaces and other little knick-knacks. But we did come across something a bit more... unique. There were a couple of people selling some interesting items, for what I can only assume to be medicinal purposes. There were very large mushrooms, antlers, and horns. One the the most intriguing items though, was some sort of paw. Perhaps a tiger's? Definitely something big and cat-like. And it wasn't so much just a paw, but more like a third of a leg. We even saw a couple of goat heads. Not a goat though, something with curved horns. Very strange.

I think they'll make great souvenirs! hahaha!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

food stuff

Just a quick post for now. I broke the promise that I made to myself yesterday. The "I'm only going to have ONE beer"promise.

One of the foreign teachers has his parents visiting, so last night we went out for dinner with them. We went to a 'Brazilian bbq', although I'm not sure what makes it brazilian. You pay about $7 for an all you can eat buffet, including soft drinks and one beer. Plus waiters come around with big skewers of different meats and things. It was good. I think I tried jellyfish accidentally. Not a fan.

Now that the weather is nice, there are loads of stands set up outside. There are little bbqs where they have selections of lamb, chicken, chicken hearts, chicken heads, whole egg-shaped chicks... Then there's the tofu sellers. Mmm, tofu is nice, you think. But wait, this isn't just any tofu, this is stinky tofu!!! Yep, that's really what it's called, and let me tell you, it lives up to its name! I have to hold my breath as we go by. It smells like crap. Literally. A whiff of that makes me feel like I just licked a big stinky pile of poo. Blech!

Anyway, I'm starting to feel my stomach sieze up so I need to get some food in there. Perhaps we'll make a nice western breakfast.

making toast with chopsticks - it's a skill!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Finally, some preverts!

At last I got googled for hot teens! I changed my title because it hadn't generated any hits, but I was too hasty. The pervs will come, I just didn't give them enough time.

I had to spell it funny because p-e-r-v-e-r-t is a banned word!!


I've written that China is a dirty place, so I figured I should justify this statement.

Yes, there is pollution, more than I'm used to. Although I shouldn't complain because Dalian is apparently one of the cleanest cities in China. As far as the air goes, it's at the bottom of my list of grievances. There is a lot of garbage on the streets, and that's during the day when cleaners are constantly sweeping. Late at night the roads are an absolute pigsty. There are heaping piles of trash in front of some homes. There is also constant construction going on everywhere, causing huge mounds of debris and dirt to accumulate. Restaurants dump buckets of dirty water into the street. Everything looks old, stained and lacking maintenance. The sidewalks have cigarette butts, stickers and dirty blotches all over them. The standards for restaurants are miles from what we would consider acceptable - we have often seen roaches while dining (once a few even crawled across our table).

Oh, and children go to the bathroom anywhere they need to. Babies don't have diapers, they just have an opening in the back of their pants. So suddenly you'll see a kid squat down to take a dump in the street, or pee in the middle of a store (once it went straight on the floor, another time the mother had the decency to make him pee in a plastic bag).

But the thing that disgusts me the most is the deluge of spit. Everywhere I am, I hear the repulsive sound of someone hawking up a big ole phlegm ball. And nowhere is safe from the onslaught of flying saliva. Streets, malls, restaurants - they have all been defiled! Men, women and children are all guilty. It doesn't quite shock me as much as it used to, but it still makes my skin crawl.

There, I feel I have substantiated my comment.


deadites: As far as nose-picking goes, yes, I've seen it plenty. However, i usually avert my eyes before I see whether they flick it! Ew.....

MMMM (and IV)

Yay, I did it! Nothing compared to everyone else, but who cares. Thanks to everyone for visiting!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Great day

Just a quick blurb because something exciting happened today. I had a conversation with someone in Chinese! It was the longest, most successful one I've ever had. I was walking home and a guy said hello, so I said hello back. Then he wanted to talk to me, but aside from "hello" he didn't know any English. But he was so friendly and smiley and keen that I couldn't resist. And he was so patient! I told him he was speaking too fast and that I didn't understand very much, so he spoke so slowly and tried using different words. Sometimes he had to repeat things about 5 times before I finally understood. And then it was so satisfying! We were able to talk about where I'm from, what I'm doing in China, that I live nearby with my boyfriend, work at a school down the road, when I finish work etc. I must day, I was extremely proud of myself, I never thought I'd speak enough Chinese to get that far. Yippee for me!!

Also, I taught a couple of demonstration classes in a public school today. It was quite cool. Each class has about 68 students (although they cut it in half for me), the building was old, the rooms were packed...it was just what I'd imagined a Chinese school to be like, but never experienced until now. And I was the only foreigner there so I got lots of looks. The students were really friendly though, and eager to talk to me.

Good day today!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

what's on the tube tonight?

I have occasionally mentioned uneventful, at times hungover, days when I am a blob in front of the tv. Now you may all be wondering (although it's unlikely) what on earth I'm watching here in China. Back home in Canada, I was spoiled for choices. Over 50 channels! Still a lot of crap, just more of it! But I could pretty much always watch A&E or the Discovery channel for something. When I moved to Scotland, I had to adjust to the fact that there were only 4 channels.

But that's nothing compared to China. There are about 15-20 channels, but only one in English. Unfortunately, this one English channel is also excruciatingly boring. It's all about China! BizChina, TravelChina, NewsChina, EntertainmentChina....you get the idea. It's like there is no world outside of this country. Honestly, I think there could be major stuff going on and all we'd get is a little blurb "and in other news, America has declared war on all of Europe. Now back to our feature story: new buses in Beijing!...."

Sometimes I watch a bit of the travel China portion, but that's about it. So I'll flip through the Chinese channels. There are lots of Chinese soaps, even one that takes place in this city, so that's kind of cool to see places I recognize. There's at least one soap that is a period soap, so everyone is in neat old costumes. Of course I don't understand what's going on, but it's still nice to look at. There are loads of game shows too, trivia type things, and I really wish I could understand them. Oh well. Sometimes I put on the Chinese Opera channel. Again, I don't know what's happening, but they have elaborate costumes and they do impressive acrobatics and stuff. It's okay to have on in the background.

That's about it. Oh yeah, sometimes there are English movies playing too, although they're almost always dubbed over in Chinese. So I'll just watch something in Chinese and catch words here and there, but otherwise just make up my own story.

Mostly I watch DVDs that I bought here. They are soooooo cheap (less than a buck each) and the quality is perfectly good. We have hundreds of DVDs - both movies and tv series. Last night we watched Million Dollar Baby. It was very good, but I didn't know it was going to be so sad! I thought it was a rah-rah-rah she's the champ, feel good movie.

It's funny though, not all of out DVD purchases are perfect. Our copy of The Grudge is a very badly pirated copy, complete with someone walking in front of the screen. The best part though is the guy filming it tried to hide it by covering the lens as the guy walks by! We recently bought the Interpreter only to discover that not only is it a Spanish copy, it also doesn't start at the beginning, but about 20 minutes into the movie.

This has become a very long entry so I'll wrap up now. However, I will be back with more on the subject - the write-ups on the back of the DVDs. Sometimes they are hilarious!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Okay okay, I've been blog-slapped! Damn you Stang, I thought my menacing looks would for sure keep everyone away. Off I go to inflict blog violence....

*update* Hit again! Is there no end to the madness?? Heh heh, I slapped a family of die-hard Christians. In fact, I know we're only supposed to smack two people, but I got 3. I hit JESUS!! http://spaces.msn.com/members/plaintruth. That's right, this guy has actually filled out his profile like he's Christ. It's okay, I'm not going to hell, I'm Jewish!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Yet more pics!

I have added a few more pictures to my albums. Please go check out Harbin Ice Festival, it was amazing there and unbelievably cold too. And I come from Winnipeg, so I know cold! Also, there's some cool fireworks pics and such in Chinese New Year. There's a few more shots of the city I live in, in Around Dalian. And finally, 2 karaoke pics have been added to Misc Hanging Out. And don't be so lazy, look at the BIG pictures!

Go look! I'm the boss of you and I said do it. Dooooo it. Do it do it do it.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

visitor counter

I don't know how this works....I'm trying to set up a counter like I've seen on other sites. I have a feeling I'm doing this wrong. Help!


Free Hit Counter


**update** this counter isn't accurate. I thought it would show the same number as my stats, but it doesn't, it's behind. So I'm actually more popular then it shows. Yippee!

Some new pics!

Yahoo! I have finally uploaded my holiday pictures! Please check 'em out, there are some nice sunset pics, beautiful beaches, cool streets and cute animals. I'm not thrilled with many of the pictures of me in a bathing suit, but oh well, what can ya do! It was so unbelievably hot there that wearing a bathing suit was about as much clothing as I could endure.

I already wrote about my time on Tioman Island, so perhaps I'll tell you a few stories about Singapore. First off, let me just say I LOVED it. Everyone was so polite and friendly, and it's amazingly clean there. Although I guess seeing as you get outrageously fined for everything, it would be. I heard it was a $10,000 fine for littering and $5,000 for spitting. No wonder it's so spotless!

We stayed in the Little India area of town, which was really cool. The buildings were all painted different colours, there were big vegetable markets, and of course all the Indian people wearing their colourful clothes. Really beautiful.

Downtown, we walked down this big avenue, filled with designer shops, nothing I could afford of course. I've never seen all the big names in one place like that! So, window shopping it was. We were more obsessed with the food than anything else. They have something in Singapore that is sorely lacking in China: VARIETY!!! We wanted to stay for a week and just eat. We got our Mexican fix with nachos and burritos...mmmmmm.......

Anyway, funny story. We're walking along the immaculately clean street, when I feel something strange on my shoe. Like a rock was caught in the grip and making me uneven. So I stop and look. IT WAS GUM!!! I've been living in dirty old China for almost 9 months now, and I've never stepped in gum. And then, of all the places for it to happen, it's in Singapore! I stepped in contraband gum! I don't even know where it came from seeing as it's illegal! Just my luck.

Unfortunately, on our last day there, it was pouring. That in itself was fine, we got drenched of course, but didn't care. At one point a car drove by and a huge tidal wave came straight at us, soaking any remaining dry bits. All we could do was laugh, we really looked pathetic, all soggy and dripping, everything squishing as we walked. The bad news is that my camera got soaked and no longer works. I loved that camera! Oh well, I guess this gives me an excuse to go digital.

Anyway, here's a pic to lure you into my photo albums....now go see the rest!

*Update*  It's much better to look at the full-size pics instead of the little weenie previews...plus, then you get captions!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

wasting time

Damnit, I was hoping to post some new pictures today, but of course I've spent all my time reading other people's blogs and I haven't even planned my lesson yet and the class is in an hour and a half! So...I'd better do some work, and hopefully I'll put some pictures up later today. If not, then tomorrow for sure.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

bitter defeat

Yes, I got greedy. I thought I was master of the claw machine, infallible, goddess of toy winning. So I went back. And there, in the middle of the pile, ripe for the plucking, was the Pooh I'd been hankering for for over a month. The Pooh in a piglet suit. It had always been buried too deep, but now it was in plain view, easily clutchable!

So to cut the the humiliating chase, I tried 15 times. I went through all of my coins, then all of my boyfriend's coins. Then I went and changed a 5 and wasted those too. There was pounding on the glass, gasps of excitement and shouts of despair. Every single time I tried, I managed to pick it up in what seemed like a perfect grip. But then as the claw was sliding over to the drop point, it would jiggle and the Pooh would fall back to the heap. In the end, I shuffled off empty handed and broken hearted. The worst, most pathetic part of the story is that I returned to the machine after school and tried another 4 times.

No, I will never learn.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I win!

First of all I'd like to thank everyone who left me a little note to help cheer me up. I'm in a much better mood than earlier.

Something else also happened. I returned to my arch enemy once more. It had been a while since I'd last popped a few coins into that infernal toy machine, but something in me was drawing me back. It was time.

As I approached the claw machine, I could feel my adrenaline start pumping. I took my position in front of it, peered through the glass, and saw it: Pooh was waiting. I fished a coin out of my wallet and grasped the toggle with my other hand. I drew in my breath and let the cold metal slip out of my fingers and into the coin slot. The music started up; there was no going back. Everything around me seemed to fade into blackness, it was just me and the machine. A deft maneuvering of the claw, gently guiding it back, tapping it delicately into position. This was it. The mechanical hand was lowered. It grabbed Pooh and raised him gloriously above the other animals. I was doing it! My heart was pounding so hard I thought it was going to burst through my chest. But I wasn't in the clear yet, many a time had the claw jostled and lost my Pooh before reaching the chute (haha, Pooh chute). I was almost there. Oh god, oh no! Pooh slipped through the claw!....and bounced off the pile of animals and down to the opening. Hurrah!! I'd done it! The world came rushing back to me as I collected my prize. Victory was mine!!!

And on one coin too. Yahoo.

Looks like one of the Poohs is a girl Pooh. Can you tell which one? haha

Monday, May 16, 2005

sad, mopey blog

I feel very blah right now. I'm sick of feeling this way. There's a lot about living in China that I like, but right now I just want to get the hell out of here. Actually, is that even true? I keep saying there's lots I like, but I don't know what it is. Maybe I just keep telling myself that so I don't feel like I'm wasting a year of my life being here.

I'm lonely here. I hate not being able to communicate well. I hate not being 100% independant. I hate not having a big group of friends around. Sure I feel all proud when I have a minor conversation with someone, or accomplish some insignificant task. But I want to really talk with people again. I just don't have the energy to put in the effort that's required to live here anymore.

I'm obviously just in a bit of a rut right now. Maybe when - IF - the weather ever improves, I'll cheer up. I just really miss home. My family, my friends, my house, my city. Everything seems so long ago and far away.

I started crying because I got an invitation to my 10 year high school reunion, and of course I can't go. I always looked forward to that, ever since graduation, and now I'm missing it. I wouldn't mind missing it if I was happy here. But I don't feel happy. I always considered myself a happy person, but lately... I just need to get out of here. I don't want to go home all bitter and joyless.

Okay, enough of this miserable, depressing post. I have to go teach kindergarten. Maybe the cute little kids will give me lots of hugs. That always makes me feel good.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bra shopping in China

I had a great day today! School went well and I was in a good mood for no apparent reason. All my kids seemed smart too, which made me feel like the bestest teach ever. Woohoo!

After I finished classes and tutoring I decided to wander through Parkson, a big department store nearby. When I hit the 2nd floor, I couldn't help but notice the big lingerie sale. Now I just can't resist going into lingerie stores and looking at all those pretty undies and other goodies, even though I rarely find something that fits. So I mosied on over, just to take a gander at what they had. There were a lot of nice things, but all I could see were As or Bs. So I finally got up the courage to ask a sales assistant for help.

"D?" I asked. She didn't seem to understand. "a, b, c....D," I explained. It clicked.

"D? Mayo" (= don't have.) But she pointed to a girl in another area. So I asked her the same simple question, followed by the alphabet for clarification. "D!" she understood. But unfortunately, I had to continue."Liang ge D" I told her. Roughly translated: "Two Ds." The shock was easy to see. Damn those tiny little Chinese bodies!

She sized me up with her eyes. Then reached out and felt my boobs. Yup, she nodded. Another girl came over for a quick feel. Honestly, I felt like I was being weighed! I was starting to laugh a bit, this really seemed quite funny. She rummaged through a few bras as I told her which ones I did or didn't like. Finally there was one that was okay.

Did I get sent to a change room? Oh no! She lifted it up to my chest and proceeded to put it on over my t-shirt! I was laughing pretty hard by this point, and I'm sure my face must have been a little rosy, but it was just too ridiculous not to laugh. So there I was, in the middle of the department store, with a bra fastened overtop of my clothes. Nice.

Eventually I did take a few to the changeroom, only to be followed in by the salesgirl, who put them on me. Tuck tuck, poke poke, pull pull. It's a good thing I'm not that shy! I did manage to carry on a small conversation with her in Chinese, which always makes me proud. Just about what colours I liked or didn't, too small etc. A lot of what she said was just made clear through gestures, the only word I really caught was piao liang (beautiful). Ah, salespeople are the same everywhere!

In the end, I didn't take anything, and I don't know if I'll be trying again any time soon. But what a funny experience!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Are you stressed?

Stress Test

I am not sure exactly how it works, but this is amazingly accurate.

Read the full description before looking at the picture.

The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on stress level at St. Mary's Hospital. Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored, scientific study of a group revealed that in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress would find differences in the two dolphins. If there are many differences found between both dolphins, it means that the person is experiencing a great amount of stress.

 Look at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may want to take a vacation.







HAHAHA! I guess I should take another holiday.....please?

Friday, May 13, 2005


I was correcting some homework tonight and I had a good laugh at one of the answers. It was a question about how you would describe these horrible people in a story. One student wrote:

"They are rude and shellfish"


Poopsie GizzardLips

I know these things are silly...but I like silly.

Use the third letter of your first name to determine your new first name:

a = poopsie b = lumpy c = buttercup
d = gadget e = crusty f = greasy
g = fluffy h = cheeseball i = chim-chim
h = stinky k = flunky l = boobie
m = pinky n = zippy o = goober
p = doofus q = slimy r = loopy
s = snotty t = tootie u = dorkey
v = squeezit w = oprah x = skipper
y = dinky z = zsa-zsa

Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of
your new last name:

a = apple b = toilet c = giggle
d = burger e = girdle f = barf
g = lizard h = waffle i = cootie
j = monkey k = potty l = liver
m = banana n = rhino o = bubble
p = hamster q = toad r = gizzard
s = pizza t = gerbil u = chicken
v = pickle w = chuckle x = tofu
y = gorilla z = stinker

Use the fourth letter of your last name to determine the second half
of your new last name:

a = head b = mouth c = face
d = nose e = tush f = breath
g = pants h = shorts i = lips
j = honker k = butt l = brain
m = tushie n = chunks o = hiney
p = biscuits q = toes r = buns
s = fanny t = sniffer u = sprinkles
v = kisser w = squirt x = humperdinck
y = brains z = juice

What's your new name???

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Haute cuisine

Last night was a real treat. As I mentioned, I hadn't been feeling too hot and neither Theran nor I were in much of a mood to cook.  The less effort the better. So we decided to have an imported North American delicacy, curtesy of a package from my dad at Xmas. Can you guess???

Mmm.....delicious. It was exactly what I was in the mood for. So yummy.

As for the kid's name. I went with Tyson seeing as that seemed to be a popular choice. The name is cute, but it kind of reminded me of Mike Tyson, so I was unsure. But then the Chinese teacher told me that this little boy is "different" and that we shouldn't make him angry. So that settled it, Tyson it was. Although the more I think about it, the more I'm considering changing it to Leroy. First of all because Margie scares me , but also, it just sort of suits him.

Anyway, time to go to my Chinese lesson.

My tan is peeling. Goddamn it all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I have a siggy!

Look what Ang made for me!!! Wahoo, I have been accepted into the club!

I'm pretty cute as a cartoon.

i dunno

The colour of me right now.

Many brain cells were lost last night, so I'm going to keep this short. Went out for beers after work to share holiday stories and complain about being back, and ended up having a few too many, not surprisingly. So today I sit in my pjs, sipping on water and trying not to dry heave. i HATE that, I'd much rather just puke.

I've been spending countless hours surfing through people's blogs, reading up on 101s etc. I'm slowly getting to everyone, I haven't forgotten anyone, it just takes me a while! So fun though.

Ugh, stomach doing something unpleasant.

Time to go be a blob on the couch and watch some tv.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Emergency naming - help!

Okay guys, I need some help here. I have a new boy in my kindergarten and he needs an English name! The chance to name a kid doesn't come all that often and it's an opportunity I want to make the most of. Luckily, I wasn't forced to do it on the spot, but I'm sure I'll be expected to name him tomorrow morning. The pressure!!!

Here are the past names I've given:

  • Luke (I suppose Skywalker, but I also just love the name - cute, worthy kid)
  • Sydney (from Alias - girl was cool and deserving of a neat spy namesake)
  • Xander (from Buffy - unfortunately the kid found it too difficult so it was changed)
  • Victor (annoying kid who was bestowed with a soap opera name as punishment - sorry if I'm offending any Victors out there)

So now is possibly my last chance to name a kid! I need all the suggestions I can get! Not to be callous, but the kid isn't all that cute, so it makes it hard for me to name him after someone really cool. Remember anything goes (see my past entry for examples) so be creative, just remember the kid has to be able to pronounce it. Names that have gone through my head have included Kermit, Guido, Batman... I don't know what to do!!!!

So please send in all your ideas asap and spread the word. Winning name gets a free skewer of chicken heads. Or embryos - your choice.

Monday, May 9, 2005

Holiday memories

Why is it that the moment you get back from holiday, the second you step foot in your own airport,  it feels like you never left at all? Honestly, it feels like my vacation was some alternate timeline, some dream dimension, some imagined reality (ooh, nice oxymoron).

Anyway, it was fanatastic. We landed in Singapore but pretty much went straight to Tioman Island in Malaysia. Man, I don't really know where to begin. First of all, everything was so easy. Which is a huge change from living in China where everything seems to be done in the most complicated, roundabout, inconvenient way possible. We caught one bus from Singapore to the Malaysian border city, then with perfect timing caught another bus to the next town we needed, and once again had impeccable timing when we arrived and hopped on the boat to the island.

The island was beautiful, the water was surreal in colour, and I know my pictures will never be able to do it justice. In some places it was an amazing shade of turquoise, other places it was more emerald, and some it was a deep and rich Toilet Duck blue. Without the dirty toilet connotations. And of course it was surrounding a prisitine white sand beach with overhanging palm trees. Breathtaking.

We spent 6 1/2 days on the island, mostly just lazing on the beach and swimming. It was so unbearably hot there that I couldn't even last 30 mins in the sun before I had to drag myself into the water. I'd be laying in the intense heat, on the verge of passing out, starting to hallucinate mildly, trying to hold off as long as I could. Oh, was it ever nice to get in that water. It was so hot though, that the water wasn't always refreshing. You had to go out a little ways in order for the water to cool down, near the shore it was like hot bathwater. Some days it was actually unpleasant it was so hot.

We also did some scuba diving while we were there which was fantastic. I've had my certification for about 9 years now, and my boyfriend decided to finish up his course. We dove 3 times and went snorkelling once. I love diving, it is so amazing! I saw loads of beautiful and colourful fish and coral, plus some puffer fish (unpuffed), stingrays, baracudas, scorpionfish and triggerfish (that are quite dangerous and can apparently eat your flesh to the bone - ew). Sigh...no turtle or shark sightings though.

The only thing I have to complain about is that I totally got bitten up by sandfleas (sandflies?) - those itty bitty, harmless looking things that left nasty, itchy welts all over me. Oh well, I've more or less stopped itching now, but for a while there I thought I was going to claw myself til I was just a bloody mess of ragged flesh. Nice, eh?

The island also had plenty of wildlife (beside the insects). We saw monkeys in trees and some massive bats as well. But the coolest were these giant monitor lizards that just meandered about, mostly swimming in this one stream. So neat, like little dinosaurs.

(I'll put up real pictures when I get my film developped)


Anyway, I don't want to overload everyone on holiday info (I know, too late). So I shall finish up later. Although it sucks to be back from holiday and back to work, it is good to be back to my blog! haha

Sunday, May 8, 2005

I'm back!

And exhausted. Although I'm sad that my holiday is over, I do look forward to catching up on all my blogging. I have a full day of 101 reading to do tomorrow! Will fill everyone in on the trip after a good night's sleep on my nice, hard, Chinese bed.

Ah...home sweet home.

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