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Why?? Facebook came along... No need to keep updating the same stuff on two different places.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I... a teacher...

Can you imagine having me as your teacher?

Don't fear because for all of you this nightmare won't become reality! However chances are very high that a bunch of Chinese students will have to deal with me next academic year... The interview on Friday went great!! I talked to the Head of the Department of Foreign Trade and after half an hour he decided my educational and professional background and my English are good enough to become a Foreign Expert for Yunnan University. In this position I will be teaching economic and business courses for one year. The final decision still needs to be made by the Foreign Experts Office, but I heard that is mostly a formality. So I kind of expect an offer next week and hope it´s all reasonable what they want me to do and what they are willing to give me in return.

Last night we had a party to celebrate everything and we decided to go out. The pre-party in Trish's room was great but going out afterwards wasn't that spectacular ;-) In the SpeakEasy (the most well-known bar around here) an Italian band was performing and their music was horrible! So we got out of there in no-time, had some meat-on-a-stick and went back home. I still haven't been to Kundu which supposedly is THE clubbing district of Kunming, so that is next on my things-to-do-at-night list! Have to know where to take Mark when he's visiting ;-) Luckily I still have some time left before that happens...

More nonsense next time!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back in Kunming

Strange weather...

A call to the consulate at 14.00 on Wednesday taught us that the passport arrived that morning and Shos could pick it up. Luckily there is a 16.10 train to Kunming for which we still could get tickets!! Racing around Chengdu in taxi got us to the train station just in time :-)

So this afternoon we arrived in Kunming after a 20 hour train ride. It feels good to be back "home"!! Had a very nice time in Chengdu, although in the end we were really waiting to be able to get back to Kunming. Nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves and did a lot of fun things and met many great people! The first few days it was really hot in Chengdu (around 32-36 Celsius), but the last few days the weather turned and it got a bit colder and even rained. Here in Kunming it is cloudy and rather chilly at the moment and I have no idea how it's going to be in the next weeks. Hopefully nice, warm and sunny!!
Below you can find some pictures and a movie from our little holiday!

Playing cards & drinking tea and beer in People's Park with Sam & Shos

American Style Birthday Diner

Little panda cubs having a great time
Watch the movie

Pretty hard to put a whole "hotpotted rat" in your mouth ;-)

Now I'm off to get some food and hopefully get a good night rest for my job interview tomorrow @ 16.00!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pandas, mountains and Chengdu


We are having a nice little holiday in Chengdu! Visited the pandas, went to several parks in Chengdu and made a two day trip to Qingcheng Mountain. Now we are back in Chengdu and don't have a lot left to do except waiting for the call from the consulate that the passport is ready and we can pick it up!
But we are not bored! The weather is good (really hot), there are many nice parks with tea houses where you can easily spend and entire afternoon drinking tea, playing cards and reading. Food is great as well! Had hotpot twice, some delicious dumplings, great noodles and a fantastic hamburger... (no not McDonald's!!).

Other really good news is that I will have a job interview this Friday!! It's an interview for the position of economics/business teacher at Yunnan University and I would really like to get that job! It would be so nice to continue the kind of education I did in Maastricht only now you are the one that is supposed to know everything ;-) So instead of presenting 2-4 times a semester you have to do a "presentation" in every class!

Hopefully the passport will be done on Thursday latest so that we can travel back to Kunming together, otherwise I have to go by myself since I need to be back on Friday for the interview.

Pictures and more stories in a few day when I get back to Kunming!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Change of plans


Because this morning someone pick-pocketed Shoshannah and got hold of her wallet. Normally that just would have sucked, but unfortunately she still had her passport in her wallet from our previous trip so this time it really sucks. To get a new passport she has to apply for one in person at the American consular in Chengdu approx. 1100km from Kunming… And it will take 5-7 working days for them to process this request. So she’ll have to wait more than a week to get it.
Besides that it is her birthday this Thursday (same date as my dad!), so we decided to combine the good with the bad and turn the trip to Chengdu into a little holiday. So once again I’m going on holiday :-)

Today we got another taste of Chinese bureaucracy. Shoshannah has to report the incident at the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of the Bus Company, then at the Kunming Municipal PSB and even at the Newspaper… And since it takes the Chinese so long (you have to get a ticket to be allowed into the PSB), we only did the first PSB today. Luckily her supervisor at the University is very friendly and tries to help when possible.

That’s it for now, tomorrow I’m going to teach one of Shoshannah’s English classes (exciting!!) and then I’m off to Chengdu for another holiday!!!

Mr. Luud

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Chinese food

Has nothing to do with the Chinese food as we know it in Holland!!!

This week we actually cooked twice ourselves! Shos made Chili Con Carne and I tried to make "boerenkool met worst". The chili was so spicy we could hardly eat it and proved to be a valuable lesson in the spiciness of Chinese peppers. To prepare my dish I needed curly kale (boerenkool) but as that doesn't grow in China I used Chinese cabbage. Added some potatoes and a very mild kind of yellow pepper things to it (tasted like piccalilli) and I had a great mash pot (stamppot). And of course the real Dutch Unox smoked sausage completed the feast!

Besides that we always have diner at restaurants. Mostly Chinese, but sometimes we go to Thai, Korean or other types of restaurants just to enjoy different tastes. Chinese food almost always is prepared in a wok and their dishes consist of vegetables, meat, tofu, eggs and cheese (local goat cheese). Just order a few dishes, add some rice, a beer and you have a great meal for only a few (2-3) euro per person! The dishes we know in Holland like Fu Yong Hai or Babi Pangang just don't exist in China! Doesn't matter because this is a lot better :-)
And although I do eat and drink quite a lot here I don't gain any weight. Probable reasons: 1) Enough exercise, 2) Healthy food, 3) Increased metabolism due to all the spices, and 4) Hardly any candy...

This week I really started studying Chinese and got a call about a job possibility at a Dutch/Chinese company. More about that when I have more info! Besides that it has been a lazy week. Did some cycling and fitness, watched a few movies and that is about it!

Next week more news from Kunming!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

May Holiday

Back to the Gorge!!

After a really nice Queens Day celebration on Saturday evening, we left for Dali on Sunday morning. We arrived in Dali after a six hour bus ride and went looking for our hotel. Nice place with friendly people! The first day consisted of nothing but walking around the old city and enjoying the great weather. The second day all of us decided to go on a bicycle ride to the Shaping market about 30 km outside town. After a pleasant ride (on old, rusty, dangerous MTB's) we got to the market and did a little tour.

After the market Shoshannah and I wanted to go further north while the others decided to head back to Dali. We cycled another 20 km and towards the place we thought we could catch a boat to Dali... but we were wrong. The boat would bring us to a place about 25 km outside Dali. Luckily a bus stopped right in front of us and was heading to Dali!! So we threw our bikes on top of the bus and had a very nice ride back to our hotel! Very nice day, although everyone was caught by surprise by the strength of the sun... Everyone had a sunburn somewhere ;-)

On Tuesday we took a bus to Lijiang. Same story here, first day everyone explored the town and the second day we went to the Black Dragon Pool Park. Again it was very sunny and the Yulong Snow Mountain looked amazing! Took some great pictures in the park!

Shoshannah and I left on Wednesday afternoon to go a day early to Tiger Leaping Gorge because we didn't feel like getting up at 6.00 AM. The bus was small and packed with tourists and half an hour before we should have arrived at the gorge the bus broke down... But sometimes break downs are fun! And this was one of those times! Right next to where we had to stop was a garage and 100 meters down the road was a little restaurant that served (cold) beer... so the three hour break wasn't bad at all!!

I won't say too much about the gorge... Once again it was incredibly beautiful!!! This time the tops of the surrounding mountains were still covered in snow and it was a lot less green than last time. Just check the pictures! I once again enjoyed every meter of it even though I was glad when we arrived back at Jane's on the third day. Jane's is the place I stayed several times now and she is a great person that runs a great hostel! Always willing to help you, cheap and comfortable rooms and good food! That same night she arranged a sleeper bus for us. We left Jane's at 19.00 and got back in Kunming at 6.00 the next morning.

Trish, Paula, Amy, Katie, Morgan & Shoshannah, thanks for a great May Holiday!

I wonder what will happen in Kunming the coming weeks...
Auf wiederschnitzel,