Friday, 29 February 2008

More canals

There are canals everywhere. Just behind and beside our apartment are more canals. One is quite fascinating as there is some interesting activities there.

Some days I see fishermen - they have a fish trap in the canal. I've get to see them catch any fish, but I have difficulty seeing what is going on. They quietly ply the water in their little boats - I'm not sure what they are called, but they look a little like "sampans". They are very steady in the boats and stand up without wobbling the little boats.

Against the wall is a vegetable garden and every now and then a lady comes along in her little boat, picks some vegetables and puts them in a bag. She throws something that looks like white powder (nutrient of some sort I suspect) and then using the paddle/oar sweeps water from the canal onto the plants.

I am told that every now and then this canal is emptied - and her garden is dismantled (it must be illegal?) but after cleaning out the canal she returns and builds her garden against the wall of the canal and starts all over again.
In this photo you can see two fishermen in their boats, and up against the far wall, the vegetable patch (it is one of two along the wall).
(this photo was taken from the kitchen window of my apartment)

Canals of Shaoxing

The city of Shaoxing is large with a population of over 4 million. It is a very modern city - but many parts of the city are quite old as well. With a long history it is not surprising that a lot of the old buildings are kept and are still in use.

There are canals everywhere. The canal above is in a little village which is opposite the college. We can go there to purchase food from the many street vendors there, and a variety of other things. There are hairdressers in tiny shops, cake shops, shoe shops, clothing shops, kitchen/household items, and at the end of the laneway just past the bridge over the canal are the fresh food markets. Some lovely fruit and vegetables can be purchased here. Some of the vegetables I have never seen before.
I've also added a photo of the village lane. Cars, motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians all use this laneway and one just has to keep one's eyes open, and ears, as the cars and motorcycles toot loudly so that you jump out of the way in a hurry. It is a noisy busy place.
Everyone is friendly to us Westerners. They wave - and try and sell us items, but negotiating with them is difficult. The language barrier again. But they all seem to have calculators and can understand numbers!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

The Classroom

I am fortunate in that I have only one class room to attend. It is pretty basic with blackboard and chalk, but I discovered that I have a data projector etc in my class room which will be great.

Today I had someone come to show me how to connect to their system. I'm sure he didn't speak English and he didn't understand what I wanted. I have found out some of the information I wanted, but not all. It took three men in the end, and not one word to me - so much for my instruction on using it.

The desks are timber, and no doubt very uncofortable. Not easy to sleep in I guess. The room has good curtains, so using the a/v should be good.

Unfortunately they fiddled with my laptop and I have to fix things up a little. Oh, well.

The students are all very helpful - so should be interesting times.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Teachers' Apartments

I was pleasantly surprised to see the teachers' apartments. There are six floors of units - with four on each level in our building. The doors are metal, and a bit tricky to open, but once inside it is OK. (I don't think it would be easy for anyone to break down the door!)

The apartments have two large bedrooms - (much bigger than my one at home) with a Queensized bed, two bedside tables, a desk, and a wardrobe.

In the main "living room" there is a timber table with four chairs (in my case only two were safe to sit on!), and a TV and phone in one corner on a "entertainment cabinet". (I have found one television station in English - where if you miss the program one day, it is repeated the next!)
A little kitchen with two gas burners, a microwave and a hot water system, a huge sink, and marble benches - no drawers, and in my case almost nothing else. There were two glasses, a grotty mug, a small tea cup, and three plates.

The bathroom is quite good - large with two hand basins, the shower and toilet. The shower is really just a corner of the room and a shower curtain, so after showering one has to mop up all the water with a squeegee. The toilet is pretty much a western toilet, with two flush buttons, just like home. However, there is a trick to making them function correctly (which I won't go into here), but easy when you know how.

In the living room there is a fridge/freezer, and something that looks like a water cooler. It is in fact a water sterilizer - with big bottle on the top and two taps. One for boiling water, and the other for warm water. Water directly out of taps is not potable. (My water machine makes awful noises - like a buffalo drowning.)

Also in a corner is a Chinese washing machine - no instructions, either in English or Chinese. I wonder if I will find it easier to wash by hand?

I have had to purchase eating utensils, glasses, dishcloths, towels, tea towels - almost everything, and I still have a small list of things to get to make my life more comfortable.

I have the two bedroomed apartment to myself at this point - which has advantages and disadvantages. I've been able to choose the best room without negotiation (it has the softer mattress - the other one was like sleeping on granite!), and as I have my laptop I don't need the Chinese computer. (I hope my roommate, if I get one, can manage the Chinese one, or bring her own laptop.) I understand three new teachers from Australia are due in the next few weeks.

I have bought one small lamp - the bright lights of the fluorescent lights in my bedroom and the loungeroom cry out for a dimmer switch, so it is easier to purchase a couple of lamps. I have one on my bedside table, and will get another one for the living room.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have a couch - something that no one else has. It is a bit faded, but it is a three seater, and is good if I want to watch television or have guests. (The wooden chairs are a bit hard to sit on all the time, so I am lucky!)

I must say there are some foreign teachers who have been here for long periods, and they do spend money on making their apartments more comfortable. I think the bare walls will get to me at some stage, and I'll find it necessary for some decor. I'd love a pot plant too. An orchid perhaps?

(My apartment is on the fifth floor and there are no lifts/elevators. I have already lost weight!!!)

Getting adventurous with meals

We go to one main canteen - partly because now two of the commissions have English menu, and we are getting a little bit more confidant. The staff know us as the English teachers (foreigners), and try to help us.

We can now go to the other commissions and watch what the students are getting and then follow their actions. Last night I had a wonderful noodle soup, with vegetables and a few things that were unidentifiable. Very tasty and very filling.

There is no dessert, and the only drinks served are soft drink, and milk drinks.

Meals cost very little in the canteen - and as we are given credit to use in the canteens we choose to do so mainly. I have had one meal in the city, and I've made some noodle meal (simply add boiling water!) in my apartment.

We have breakfast in our apartment - cornflakes, coffee, fruit, yogurt, and usually have one or two other meals in the canteen. All the foreign teachers meet there and sit together.

Maybe one day we will venture into one of the other three canteens on campus. But we've much more to try out in the one we already go to.


In Australia many years ago we used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with great displays of fireworks. Every family or neighbourhood would gather around a big fire which the local men and children would put together complete with "Guy Fawkes" right in the middle.

But it was all stopped. Too many people were being injured, and fires started by these activities. Only folk licenced to do so can work with fireworks, and hence on special occasions we have wondrous exhibitions of fire works.

In China it is different.

Fireworks are let off frequently. It is not uncommon to see or hear several fireworks let off at the end of the day. Sometimes every half/hour there are more let off in a different area. These are celebratiory fireworks. A business might have broken a sales record, school exams might be over, anything that is achieved is celebrated in this way.

This morning it started just after 4 am. I am not sure, but I suspect that is because someone has died. This is part of the celebration of someone's life. An announcement that a death has occurred.

I find it someone interesting that in a place where they are trying to reduce pollution that these fireworks are a regular activity and fill the air with more smoke.

Life goes on in China.

Monday, 25 February 2008

The bus trip to the city

On Saturday we caught the bus into the city of Shaoxing. There are regular buses from opposite the West Gate of the College, and we line up with the other students. When the bus comes there is a rush - it is not uncommon for the bus to be already fully loaded, but everyone squeezes in to fit more in.

(I don't know whether I look like a weary senior, or whether it is the blonde hair, but each bus trip I have been offered a seat by either a young girl, or an older gentleman on the return trip.)

One of our trio, M1, had already been in Shaoxing so we felt some comfort in knowing that he knew his way. The ride was fascinating as the bus weaved its way through traffic of all sorts, and one wonders how there are not more accidents.

The bus stops at the railway station so we disembarked and wandered back through the city. We went to a huge supermarket which has more imported foods, and were able to buy cereal, milk, yoghurt, and other items. Here there are more staff who speak English so a little easier to find things. The customer service was extra ordinary!

Dragging our bags we went back to the street, only to bump into one of the other teachers (who hails from the Gold Coast). Fancy that - amongst the masses we find one of the handful of people we've already met!

We walked along the street trying to take in the sights, smells, and experience of it all. It is overwhelming.

And where did we have our lunch? KFC of course! Very much like at home, and very busy.

Afterwards we went to help M2 organise a mobile phone - and that was an experience and a half - it took almost 2 hours. All sorts of explaining to do with folk who speak little English even in the big bustling office of China Mobile. In the end he got what he wanted, while M1 and I just sat and watched the activities in the building. Chinese people are very superstitious - and they like phone numbers with the number 8 in them. There is a big wall of numbers - and those wanting to get a mobile phone spend ages choosing their preferred number.

Back onto the street, and by this time the traffic was heavier. We found our bus stop and once again had to find a tiny spot for us on the very crammed bus for the return journey to the college. It is a good feeling to be back inside the college gates again!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

The College

This is the view from my apartment window - the college buildings are on both sides of the canal. It is such a grand scale that it is overwhelming.

The college has some 7000 students - mainly girls - who are keen to study and get good jobs. It is a private college, so they have to have supportive parents or family to pay their fees.

The College is on 106 acres of land with impressive buildings with marble staircases, and Grecian columns everywhere.

According to the information given to us there are nearly 400 teachers, most of whom are full time at the college.

It is the biggest college specialising in cultivating foreign language talents in Zhejian Province.

There are four canteens where we get meals. We have a plastic card with our credit on it, and we choose a meal at any of the counters of the canteen. Within seconds you are presented with a freshly cooked meal - you can see it being cooked from the counter. It is put on the plate and handed to you as you hand over your plastic card for processing. We take a pair of chopsticks or a spoon to eat and sit down at the many fixed tables and chairs. It is all so quick. And the students/teachers are in and out in no time.

The meals are good - we have found one place where the description of the meal is in English and we can point to the number on the menu - and we only choose things that seem OK to us. Pigs intestines and vegetables, or similar meals are not on our list of preferences!

There are many street vendors, especially around the West Gate and beyond where you walk through the winding lane ways of stalls all seeming to do brisk business as you dodge cars, bicycles, motor scooters and students and other strange vehicles. One can buy almost anything in the stalls.

The fruit and vegetable stalls look OK - I will buy carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and some green vegetables there - but I have nothing to cook on. I'm looking for a cheap wok somewhere. But no hurry.

I have quite a list of things I need to get - so bit by bit I will set myself up in the apartment to make it comfortable for the next four months or so.

One thing I find amusing is that it is so cold children are rugged up so well, that they could not possibly bend their elbows with the layers of clothes they have, and women carry the little ones around and they look like dolls with arms and legs extended and unable to bend.

We have found the cold hard to deal with but it will warm up soon. Spring starts next week.

The bus trip to remember.............

But I get the feeling that there will be more of them!

Shanghai's roadways are modern and uptodate - a massive series of motorways, overpasses, bridges, toll gates, and traffic. Traffic of all kinds. The number of big (OK, not quite as big as we now see on our Brisbane roads), trucks, carrying all sorts of products, wind there way along the three lanes dodging cars, and buses, in a hair raising manner which would see many of them being chased by police with lights flashing. But none of that.

Cars, buses, and trucks often at great speed wend their way across lanes, pushing (without touching) the other traffic out of the way. Horns blare to signal that there is a vehicle trying to get into your lane, or is in your lane. Double lines? Ignored. Everyone seems to dive back and forth across the lanes at speed.

I think my mouth was stuck in "wide open in awe" as we watched the extra ordinary pace of life in the fast lane in Shanghai. On either side of the roadways were great plantings of trees and bushes. Nothing is green. Much of it suffering from the recent cold weather and snow, but no doubt getting ready for the warmer weather, rain and with any luck - if it can get through the smog, the sun. But the plants are all neatly trimmed.

Our journey of "three hours" took over four. The two girls (our welcoming party) slept for most of the trip and M1 andM2 and I just watched the events and tried to make sense of the views of life in China.

Of course there were many buildings - old houses (some set for demolition), and new houses. Old factories, and new factories. Acres and acres of small versions of the plastic hothouses (slightly smaller) of the sort we grow our Gerberas in, back in Gough Hill Farm. Advertising signs everywhere - on both sides of the freeway for as far as the eye can see great poles with huge posters advertising all sorts of things, including cars, phones etc.

On either side of the road there were small farms, and small collections of houses which were two or three stories high. On some of the farms there would me men with hoes, digging at the soil. People on three wheeled vehicles - with a box of things in the front, or being pulled behind them were on the small roads. These vehicles do not venture onto themain motorway here, but you see many of them on the side roads.

Canals and lakes are everywhere. I'd have loved to stop and take some photos but it was impossible to stop on the freeway - and on and on we went, still in awe.

The land is pretty flat, but every now and then you could see a hill/mountain, and on the top would be a pagoda. Then flat land again for miles. We were told it would be three hour trip, but it took much longer.

We were tired, having not really slept for 48 hours, and we were glad to make the outskirts of Shaoxing. Leaving the freeway behind we drove right into the chaos of traffic in the city. Hundreds and hundreds of people on bicycles, (some battery powered or motorised) and trucks, and cars, and pedestrians - all seeking some space on the chaotic roadway. It was quite frightening as our driver seemed to ignore all roadrules to get us to our destination.

The things we saw and could make no sense of. Nothing is the same, and I will be saying that often. Nothing is as we know it. It is a different world. This is China.

Arriving in China

We left Brisbane at 11.45 pm and arrived in Singapore around 5.15 am (Singapore time) knowing we had some 2 hours to wait. I was last in Changi/Singapore Airport in 1991, and how it has changed.

It is much, much bigger, hugely friendly with displays of wonderful Singapore orchids. Altogether friendly and welcoming. I was travelling with two gentlemen - friendly Aussie blokes whom I met at Australian City College - and we were soon lined up at the Sports Bar for our first drink. I had a lovely red wine and the guys had a few beers.

We were very tired - sleeping sitting up in economy class is not a good sleep, but we were OK. One of the guys had been to Yuexiu before, and I was the only one of the trio that had never been to China.

There is now an airtrain that takes folk between the different parts of the airport. M1 managed to get on the train before the doors closed and M2 and I were stranded, until the train returned. We boarded and found that we had taken a different route. Back to the origional departure spot, and then on to the right destination and we were reunited again. Lots of laughs!

It wasn't long before we boarded the next Singapore Airlines flight - the 5 hours to Shanghai.

As it turned out we landed early in Shanghai and jour meeting and greeting party had not arrived. We had been given instructions to wait for two young ladies who would have "a plate with characters on it and our names." Eventually M1 found them - with the sign with thename of the college in English and Chinese and with "Dianne Michael" on it. The two blokes are both called Michael - which is why I will call them M1 and M2. Easy for me.

The girls had travelled three hours by bus and went off for something to eat, leaving us with our luggage to watch the world (in Shangai) go past.

The Shanghai airport was more than adequate - but compared to Singapore - well, there is no comparison. Shanghai was stark and functional, without the glamour and welcoming of Singapore. No doubt Shanghai Airport will upgrade one day to cater for the increasing number of Westerners to the country.

Eventually we found our bus driver and bus and were on the road to Shaoxing. Will I ever forget that bus ride? Never in a zillion years.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Two more sleeps..................

my grandchildren would say. Yes, it is getting close now, and some things are not going well. There's been a holdup with the Visa - apparently the Chinese Embassy has changed some of their "rules" as they are being inundated with people planning to go to Beijing for the Olympics later in the day.

I've been assured that all is well - but on the day I leave I will be picking up the visa from the Embassy. I don't like cutting things fine.

I had my injection today - to protect me against a few things including typhoid. My arm is hurting bit now.

I have done all my washing and my suitcase is partly packed. Still a few things to go - but all up I think I'm ready.

I also purchased my Travel Insurance - through
World Nomads. I was insured with them for the Irish trip in 2005 - and found them easy to deal with but I did not have a claim then, and I hope not to have one now. They are less expensive than other insurance companies, and I'm happy to be with them. They also let their clients have a journal on their site. I did use it a bit last time, but probably won't this time. But I have downloaded their Mandarin lessons.

I still have a list of things to do though and a busy morning tomorrow.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Teaching Tools

I have my books from Teach International, and some other material that I have gathered from the Internet and other sources, but I don't need to be too clever. I'm told my only "tools" will be a big blackboard and a box of chalk. Now if only I had one of those tiny data projectors I might just take it, but I haven't and am resigned to having to use what is there.

The computer that is provided in the Teaching quarters is of more use to Chinese speakers and readers apparently - I shall be interested to see how it works, but I'm not concerned as I shall do as others do and connect my laptop and find my way around the internet in English.

Despite the assurances in some material that there is supervision of teachers, and support, the reality might be a little different. The size of the classes seems to have grown too - much bigger than I have originally been told, but discipline is not a problem in the class, so that is nice to know. All a bit daunting though.

No printer is provided with the teachers' computer, and it is almost impossible to get any printing or photocopying done - so I think I will be using the scant paper available, and my coloured pens. Oh, my. What a challenge.

One of the teachers that I met last night who is going next week, never learned any Chinese - other than shie-shie, he said. (shie-shie or shay shay is thank you)

I already have two or three words that I might just remember at the right time. We will see.

(I'm pleased to learn that the Chinese students like going shopping with their English teacher - so that sounds like a good idea)

One week to go..............

Things have been moving very quickly. I do have more information about the place I am going to, including the College. I still don't have my Visa, nor my tickets, and I won't collect them until the day before I go.

Yesterday in amongst all the things I have to do I sprained my ankle too. I didn't think it too bad when I first did it but over the next few hours it got worse, so I ended up at the doctor. I'd iced it, and taken analgaesics, but it was very difficult to walk. The doctor strapped it and gave me a note to get it xrayed today if necessary, but luckily it seems to be improving already - just 24 hours later than when I did it.

I had made contact with someone who had recently returned from the college at Shaoxing, and she gave me some of the information I had been seeking, which was good. And yesterday I went to the Australian college for a session on "Cultural Awareness" which was interesting, and I met the two guys I will be travelling with. One of them had returned last year from working at the college, and the other is new to teaching English, just like me.

I can't imagine what the school will be like really - oh, I've seen photos, but it is hard to contemplate the logistics of a school of 9,000 students who board at the school. It has 4 canteens - so we can choose which ones we go to to eat at.

The toilet (bathroom facilities) sound like they will be an interesting experience - even in the teacher's quarters. I'm not looking forward to that!

The students are around the 18 t0 22 years of age mark, and their English is pretty good, although they only use it in the class. As well they learn other languages so it must be hard for them.

From a teaching prospective the facilities are poor. Blackboard and chalk. For one that is used to using videos, computer, data projector it will be a challenge. As well there are no printing or photocopying facilities, so one has to be creative. Especially with so many adult students in a class.

And I won't know until I get there, what I will be teaching! Of course the most important part is the teaching English, but I believe I will also be teaching History, and Meeting Procedure subjects. Mmmm.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Things are moving.

I have a copy of the contract and have filled in the application for the visa. And I have more information, so I'm feeling a little more relaxed about it all. It is two weeks today before I leave.

There will be others going - so that is good and I shall meet them next week I hope. I haven't checked the weather in China, but suspect that things are settling down as everyone celebrates the Chinese New Year - the year of the rat.

One very funny thing has happened - the folk looked at my passport and at me and decided that I might have trouble getting into China as I don't look quite like the photo in the passport. My hair is a little blonder, but it is the shape of my face. The 7 - 8 kilos that have gone since Christmas have given me a new look! I'm pleased.

I think though that so few people really look like their passport photos - especially as you must not be smiling in your passport photo. And I so hate having my photo taken.


I found two books of interest in the library - had to go to Carindale Library as the local one did not have them. One was Living and Working In China by Andrew Williamson, and the other is Live and Work in China by Jocelyn Kan and Hakwan Lau.

Both books have great information, and I've learned quite a bit.

Today I am supposed to see and sign the contract - as I go to Springield to visit the folk I'm negotiating with re China. It will be good to get some of the information that I have been seeking and perhaps see the ticket for 21/2/08.

Magazine of Interest

I've kept up my research - there is so much to learn about working in China, and I found a magazine, that I have decided to subscribe to. It is called Get Up and Go, and is available from newsagents and by subscription. I'd not seen it before but it is a mag for Seniors. I had a look at their website, and into the Archives to look at some of their previous stories.

One featured a couple who worked in China for a while. Click here to read the article.

I'm impressed by the magazine - some really good articles.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Still no paperwork

I am just a little concerned - it is just over 2 weeks before I'm due to leave Australia for China and still have not seen any paperwork - other than the registration form that I sent back several weeks ago. I phoned the college and have made arrangements to go tomorrow (Thursday) and see the contract and the other material.

It's funny - I have complete trust in them - more because I have been in contact with others who have been very satisfied with their relationship with the College here in Australia and in China. But I do think it is a bit weird that there has not been more information "on paper".

There are many warnings about going overseas to work, and not all overseas English teaching positions are "safe". Only recently a big "franchise" went broke and stranded a number of teachers in Japan. One needs to have some funds to be able to survive when one does not get paid, or to pay for a return to Australia if necessary.

I will be glad when I have resolved things on Thursday! It's funny - when I rang, I was assured that there was indeed a ticket for me for Singapore Airlines on 21/2/08 - at least to Singapore. But I've not got it - and I've not seen it. And I've not seen any documentation that my Visa is ready. Scary?

In any case I proceed as if all is well.

I went to the Library yesterday and on the Catalogue I found some books on living and working in China. They did not have any copies at my local library so I went to Carindale and found them. One is "Living and working in China. The complete practical guide to living as an expatriate in the People's Republic" by Andrew Williamson.

I was very impressed with the book and have read much of it already. It is certainly a comprehensive guide to anyone who is thinking of living and working in China, though was printed in 2005, so I guess some things aren't quite up to date.

The book would be great for anyone who is living independently in the country especially as so many western countries are doing business with the Chinese and are sending people to live and work, or to negotiate. As I will not be renting/buying accomodation, hiring and firing staff (domestic or corporate), keeping dogs, driving (I can't imagine trying that - I couldn't read the road signs anyway!) much of it did not pertain to me, but I read it anyway.

With all the research I have done (in books, on-line and in person) I'm sure there is a lot more information that could be helpful to me - but I'm going to learn as I go. And fingers crossed, I hope I don't get into any trouble.

At my writers group yesterday I met a Chinese lady who attended for the first time, and I hope to meet with her next week for a few quick lessons in Chinese. I need to know more than one word!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

The weather in China

I've got to say it is a little concerning - but at this point I am hopeful that the awful weather in China will be over by the time I arrive.

Snow and blizzards have caused much damage and inconvenience and many places do not have power. Shanghai has switched off a lot of it's night lighting to help preserve the power as there is a shortage and many people are suffering dreadfully from the cold. As well there will be food shortage as many rural areas have been decimated by the snow and storms. Oh, well, I'm going to try and lose more weight - maybe I'll lose more than I bargained. Food parcels from home? Could be interesting.

I've found a good site for news from China - which reminds me I will try to keep with news at home by visiting the Courier Mail while I am away. I remember when I visited Dr John Herron in Dublin, he was well informed, thanks t his visiting the Courier Mail website.

Meanwhile I keep my eye on the weather and other news from China, as I continue my preparation.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Prepared for the cold?

Well, a little more. I've managed a "donation" of a ski jacket which should keep me warm, some black "long johns", some great woolly socks, a beanie - all courtesy of my daughter from her snow expedition a couple of years ago. The jacket is great - and is now at the dry cleaners!

I also went into the city to see what other winter gear is available - and purchased a black skirt, and a teal blue long sleeved skivvy from Damart. Along with my new walking shoes, I'm happy that I have enough things to take. Sure to be cold there, but I can purchase extras I expect.

I walked from South Brisbane station, over the bridge to the city and around Elizabeth, Queen and Adelaide Sts, and back to Central station for the return trip. I noticed that there were so many people from other countries - languages other than English filled me ears wherever I went. And the only person I "bumped into" was a girl who was on the same TESOL course!

I'm still a little amazed that I have not received any paperwork from the College - it is less than 3 weeks and I'm still waiting for the "offer" and "contract" which were promised some time ago. I don't have the departure date in writing. I shall have to phone on Monday and hurry things up. I'm strangely confident that things will be OK - but just the same I'd like to see it in writing. (I would have thought it would be helpful to the College too, to ensure that we had all "signed off".

Today I am meeting with some great friends - women who have been in business, and with whom we have networked for a long time. We meet once or twice a year for a chat etc, and today we are going to the Wang Dynasty restaurant which is at Southbank. It was one of the restaurants that operated throughout Expo 88 - on the Brisbane River.

A Chinese restaurant - how appropriate.

Friday, 1 February 2008

The weather in China

Is attrocious right now. The news on several channels last night reported on the number of blizzards and snow storms and that the Chinese Army is being deployed to remove the snow from main roads. Also there were many power outages and some 60 people have died from the cold.

Airline chaos resulted and in places there were queues of people fighting as they are headed into the Chinese New Year celebrations and so many people are returning to their homes for this important celebration.

I hope it didn't register with my mother who is not keen on my going to China! And I hope the weather improves dramatically over the next three weeks!