Thursday, 26 February 2009
As you can see, winter is ruthlessly sweeping away the few Goa images I still cherished in my mind as the weather could not be in bigger contrast. Snow is daily practice now and my hopes for a sunny weekend have little ground. But sun I need because the next trip is already planned, coming Sunday I will honour the ‘Ten thousand Buddha Cave in Longmen Caves’ in Luoyang with a visit! Soon more on that!
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Picture and video displayed visualise the recent happening of Jack and Jao cooking at my place, preparing some tasty Chinese food. My endeavours of the night preceding that Friday of making something that should resemble an Italian pasta were, given the very limited ingredients I had at my disposal, not a total fiasco and hence Jack was eager to make me something tasty as well. Contrary to the food which is served at lunch in the canteen, which is of superb quality as I get to eat with the ‘leaders’, the meals served for supper are less tasty and hence I intend to utilize my kitchen more regularly during the evenings. This is also a great way to spend some good time with Jack and Jao, with whom I get along really well! The video also shows those sections of my 'apartment' that I have not displayed yet.
Monday, 23 February 2009
The city of Qingdao is famous for its German heritage and, interrelated to the German occupation, for its tasty beer. The old town displays a variety of architecture and churches which would lure one into the feeling of finding himself in a cozy German provincial town, though a look at the skyscrapers which line the coast underlines the very fact that Qingdao is a well established Chinese city. Strolling around Qingdao made my first weekend trip, and plans are to continue the sequence in five days by visiting nearby Luoyang. Soon more on that!
Saturday, 21 February 2009
When I've returned more on the visa experience and about Qingdao!
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
I am definitely more positive about my apartment than I was at first glance.. the concrete cold rooms with scarce furniture have been transformed into a new home for me during the last days. I’ve bought a big mirror, some carpet to cover the floor next to my bed with, have had twelve big pictures printed and spread them out over the walls.. The air conditioner is fortunately also capable to share warm air so that my room is warm and cozy compared to the rest of the dorm buildings, be it with the exception of my kitchen and bathroom. And it is in my bedroom, under the heater, that I write this story now.. Soon more and better!
the video below shows you my bedroom.. the other rooms are too cold for me to enter now ;)
Monday, 16 February 2009
Saturday, 14 February 2009
From the first second I set foot on Sanmenxian soil I was accompanied by Jack. The name Jack may spur an imagine of an American bloke in his late twenties, with short black hair, a motor jacket and a cool smile, but in China 'Jack' is the nickname chosen by my 'buddy' who's been chosen to help me out during my stay here. He's 24 and an English teacher here at the secondary school where I will be teaching and I am really happy for his company and help. Since I'm the only non-chinese person in the whole area it's nice to meet Chinese people with whom you get along well, and this certainly holds for Jack.
Bit of a bugbear however is my visa, as I am here on a one-month tourist visa I need to get an appropriate one that lasts for four months asap and up till now there's been little action regarding that matter. Anyway, we'll see how that works out!
In my next post I hope I'll be able to post the pictures I have taken so far, if the promised internet access has been realised by then you'll be supplied with a visual image of the scenario on the ground here!
As for now, all the best from China!
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
China itself is truly a new experience; the people, the food, the cities, the infrastructure, everything is so very different than India! I love it though, and the lays days I’ve spent at least two hours each day just roaming around the city, buying random food from the street without having a clue what I’m eating, drinking tea in various teahouses, and especially looking around and being excited to be in China. The city of Jinan itself would by most Western people be regarded as very ugly and grey, as it depicts much of what communism does to architecture and such, but .. it intrigues me. Like at the time I studied in Poland, I can wander around the concrete flats and square blocks and be fascinated about the people who live here and what it must be like to live in such a culture.
Chinese people are very kind and although hardly anyone speaks a word of English here they are willing to help you out. My first encounter was the taxi driver at the airport of Beijing.. think of it, the capital of China where the Olympics had just been held, you’d think the guy spoke some English. But no, he had no clue whatsoever what I meant by ‘train station’, nor had the guy in the yellow outfit who directed people to the respective taxis. Anyway, I decided to draw a train on a piece of paper and name the name of the city I had to go to. The yellow outfit guy shot a glance at the paper, made a sound that slightly resembled the whistle of a locomotive from the 30’s, and we were on the same line again. :D And well.. that’s how I deal with people here. ;)
More news about my new city will follow shortly! As for now, all the best from Jinan!
Monday, 9 February 2009
Small remark here.. depicted are one of the guards in front of our house and Johan who wants to borrow the guy's stick.. He didn't let him ;)
Thursday, 5 February 2009
The last day of our trip was spent in Fort Kochi, a lovely Portuguese town with picturesque streets, charming cafes and houses, pretty white churches and view on the harbour. The Dutch palace we visited was Dutch nor worth visiting but the two rupee entrance fee was not a big loss. On the airplane several hours later (after the usual rush within too tight a schedule and the slight touch of excitement that goes along with it) neither of us felt like going back to Delhi (to express it decently) but inevitably we ended up back home. Sitting in a cab Sunday night with my backpack full of dirty clothing next to me thoughts drifted back to the scene depicted below..
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Since we had only two days to spend in Goa, partially due to our previous delay and partially because we had a train booked that departed Monday evening, we decided that another full day at the beach would be a bit of a waste since Goa has so much more to offer. Hence we rented a scooter, grabbed a map of the state, and took off down south. Goa is a little paradise, as all you encounter on your way is beautiful and cozy and brings along an overwhelming feeling of holidays. As an ex-colony of Portugal it’s flooded with churches and Mediterranean looking houses, fortresses, and other features that the North of India so desperately misses. We followed the road down to an old Portuguese fortress which name I could not even remember every time we had to ask for directions and thus have no clue about now but which was certainly worth visiting. The fort itself was nothing special, just some remnants of the old walls and a church in the middle, but the view from one of the towers was breathtaking. The picture I attached does the scenery no justice but it is the closest thing I can supply you with.
The train to Kerala was two hours delayed, two hours which we could have spent on the beach that we had left behind with so much regret, but that’s India. Come to think of it, the train had departed in Amritsar (from the Golden temple, remember?) and had thus already covered quite some kilometers since Punjab finds itself totally in the North of India. This time we actually spent some time on the train planning our journey ahead and after repeatedly consulting our hope and salvation on the road – the Lonely Planet – we had decided on a plan: the backwaters! It took us another bus ride of two hours but eventually we had a houseboat arranged to cover the famous backwaters with, departing the next morning. Quite an expensive 22 hours, but the presence of three men with the sole devotion of making our journey as pleasant as possible, a great bedroom, welcome coconut drink and flower necklace, great lunch, even better dinner, and fantastic views on the way made it all worth it. The backwaters are waterways that function as roads in an area covered mainly by rice fields and jungle, and on the way we saw various houses, schools, villages, and plantations. Children go to school by school bus / boat, people go to church by boat, and selling fresh fish has become the profession of more than a few families.
(to be continued in part four)
Monday, 2 February 2009
(to be continued in part three)
The plan, insofar one could call this a plan, was to catch a night bus to Goa once we got off the plane. However, these buses tend to leave around eight p.m. if on time and up to eleven o’clock if late and thus our endeavours of finding one at 1 a.m. proved to be rather fruitless. Almost equally difficult to realise was Plan B; finding a room to spend the night. It took around seven negative responses of hotels in the area before we got admitted to a very shady place with grumpy employees who did not appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night by two random backpackers. They money we paid for the few hours of sleep could have gotten us a week in a guesthouse in Goa but once necessity arises these arguments are pushed back and the prospect of a shower and a bed are stronger than any monetarily dominated reasoning.
Mumbai by day treated us far better and I have to admit that it has everything that Delhi lacks; pubs and bars, the sea, a (modest) skyline, nice looking buildings, churches, efficient buses.. and apparently even nightlife (!). Things are definitely expensive though, as a city as such requires Westerners to live there for a while to know how to get around. But all in all a big plus for India’s biggest city, and it seems we’re in the wrong metropolis of India.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
You may wonder, doesn’t the guy have to work? All I write about is partying and travelling. Well, I finished my work as a teacher at the slum school just before Christmas. All in all it was a great experience and I got to become really close with the people but I really felt like taking on a new challenge. And that is why I disclose hereby my next stage in life.. China! Coming Friday I will fly via Honk Kong to Beijing where I will take a train to Jinan. More information on this will follow once I’m on the ground, for now a coverage of the previous two weeks will dominate my posts!