Sunday, 28 November 2010

Thanks for the giving

We had a rather lovely Thanksgiving pretending to be American with our Americano friends. We had a feast worthy of kings laid out on a very long table which made things quite official. Apparently you don't normally eat KFC buckets as your central item, but I enjoyed that part very much. We also had a wide array of dishes including yummy cheesy pasta, broccoli and crackers, green beans, mashed potato, cheesy mashed potato, turkey subs from subway (oh yes) and then more... plus desserts, which were amazing, and all home-made by the chef supreme David. I had a bit of all three naturally, seeing as I was a newbie to one of the desserts... pumpkin pie! It was uber tasty too.

And now for this week the celebration will be... my birthday! To Shanghai we go...

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


My parcel finally arrived from home. It contained mostly knickers, for my woes with buying new pantaloons here were extreme.

To estimate... the Chinese customs have had my pants for about a month.

Should I still even wear them...?!

"Examination Notification: Your mail has been examined by China Customs."
I liked the flowery touch.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Spoils from last night

My new best friend, Dewey. You think that's naughty... one of our friends borrowed the entire collection of Tin Tin books.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Pandas, Parents and Presents

There are three things I would like to update you on today.

The first is that my favourite door guard guy here in our building, the one that me and Iain call 'Panda man' for his friendly demenour and look-a-likey status to the very animal, saw my Panda jumper today, pointed at where the panda was on my chest, and gave a massive thumbs up. He definitely knows what he likes. And it was clearly the panda and not my actual chest.

The second is that my Parent's Day showcase showdown was a relative success. Despite many of the dads being on their mobiles pretty much the whole time, we had a few laughs, had a rousing sing-a-long, and none of the kids made a mistake which would be the type to lead to them getting no dessert with their dinner that night... hopefully.

The third and final update is that I have now finished my exams with the first four university classes. Hurrah! There's now four fresh groups of students to poke into talking every week, which will definitely be more fun second time round. I will actually see at least one of my ex-students again though... he emailed me and asked for his grade, I told him what he had scored, he asked to be given a better mark of 75 instead. I was very confused after being asked to just give a nicer number, and said I couldn't do that really, not without a resit. So I will see the happy chappy again at Christmas time!

Here is one parting gift I was given:

It's a snowglobe that also lights up with a variety of colour patterns... I love it.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Cleaning and Protesting

Today we witnessed two things I feel I must share. One is China at its best, the other at possibly its worst...

The better event is that here in Nanjing, the government has a street-cleaning van drive around every now and then to spray water on the roads and 'clean' them. You don't normally get wet if you're on the pavement, but if you're cycling next to the road at the time, you get a nice little sprinkle. Usually you are informed of their approach in advance though, thanks to a handy little tune the van pumps out - a bit like an ice cream van, only edgier. This tune once upon a time went like 'doo-doo-doo-dooooo' but today, yes today, they changed the tune to JINGLE BELLS!!! I was most excited. It's like seeing the coca-cola adverts on TV back at home - you know it's nearly Christmas time when the street cleaning van changes its choon to Jingle Bells.

(Fig. 1:It looks a bit like this)

The lesser event of today was that we witnessed our first protest here in Nanjing. At first I thought it was a Chinese police officer's day out - there was literally about 200 officers, no word of a lie. They were stood around in what looked like a solid square, a solid square of police officers on their picnic day. But when we got closer we could see inbetween the officer legs were ordinary Chinese citizens sat on the floor, and they were in fact being surrounded by the police, three officers deep at least... shocker. We wondered whether it was the street vendors protesting about being forcably moved on from their selling hotspots (as that's what we've been hearing recently) but sadly we were too chicken to get too close to investigate. There were even three buses stood waiting, ready for all the policemen to go home in. We walked past as slow as possible and then escaped into McDonalds to get a McFlurry and hide from the law in peace. When we'd hid enough to feel safe, we went back around the crowds to get to the subway, and they had started chanting!! Modern China is a changing place it seems...