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Chengdu Bicycle: Missing

So the school I work for Tian Fu College, soon to open a joint venture with a university in Missouri, has the foreign teachers ride bicycles from one campus to the other, which are about 2.5 km away from each other and there is talk of a mystical bus appearing but no signs of it yet. Another option to riding a bicycle is taking a san lun che (like a tuk-tuk form Thailand) for anywhere from 6 to 10 yuan one way, this really isn’t an option for the cheap and those who like living since these things can be very dangerous. So the school has bought several bikes for the teachers to ride however these bikes were made for children not my 95 kg behind. I have been riding them to and from the other campus in hopes that this helps me get some exercise and the fact that I am too cheap to pay for the tuk-tuk. I also had one fall over on top of me the other week because the driver turned his head and then turned his entire body to look behind him at someone speaking. Well today the 27th of September I rode my borrowed bike to the other campus as usual and had class as usual but when I came out to go home the bike was missing…I looked around and at all the other bikes parked NEXT TO THE GUARD SHACK that was occupied by two guards and a small boy. The bike that I had used and locked up next to the guard shack wasn’t there. As I was looking around one of the guards came out to help me find the bike I had used I told him, in Mandarin, which number bike I was looking for and he asked was it this one or this one and I repeated the number. He then asked to see my key to make sure I had the correct number, which I did. No one could find the bike, but they did offer me another bike but was speaking horrible Mandarin or a completely different language, I couldn’t understand it so I’m not sure.  The process of getting a new bike took ten minutes; all I really needed to do was fill out some information.

The most amazing part of this was the proximity to the guardhouse that was occupied by the two guards to the bicycle that went missing…You have to wonder what the guys are doing and why the school would pay them for it? Oh China, you truly are a mystery.


Arachnophobia: Mianyang

While spiders usually don’t scare me today was different. I was taking a shower when I turned to get some shampoo and saw a visitor was easing down from the ceiling. I looked at spider and admired the size, since this was the first time I had seen a spider of this size, especially this close and not on its web. I am able to identify the two types of spiders that can hurt you back, but this isn’t Tennessee and I had no idea if this spider would very friendly climb over things or watch me with an evil grin while its toxin shuts down my body’s ability to pump blood through my veins. I choose to err on the side of caution. In the most gingerly of ways I went to go get a rolled up towel so that we could play catch. When I came back the spider was not up on the rules of catch and tried to advance, I can only guess to get the ball. I backed up in a quick manner only because I was ready to get on with the game. I threw the makeshift ball to spider and he moved, maybe still unaware of the rules of catch or I may have thrown it harder than spider was used to. He hid behind the washing machine for awhile and I waited for him to get ready again to play. He reemerged and began heading towards the door but he looked like he was ready to play again. He tried to catch the ball this time but unfortunately while he did catch it I may have thrown it too hard and spider did not survive. RIP spider, we spent some special time together, but you will not be missed.

(with leg span it was about the size of my palm)

And here is the second and final installment of the pictures taken this summer. These links include the Buddhist Mask Dancing Festival and the horse race that took place the day after in the temple that is down the mud trail from Ba Mei

Links for your viewing pleasure: Buddhist Mask Festival 雪顿节 Horse Race 赛马节

Her are the links to the pictures from this summer’s trip in the Tibetan part of western Sichuan…

 Tagong 塔公 Ganze 甘孜 Dege 德格 BaMei 八美镇

More to come later.

When I first arrived in China I was working with a woman who wanted to try and publish her memoirs. I have always been a bit of a smartass and I suggested that she call her book “Drinking Water Gives You Cancer: And other stories heard in China,” of course I suggested this thinking that this was ridiculous, until I woke up one morning to find this article. I personally have certain water that I like in China and certain ones I think taste funny, and in-turn don’t like them.  I wish they had listed which specific water was going to kill me, however I do realize that this would tank their operations (well deserved) and this is coming from a Chinese paper about Chinese companies so a cultural issue may have stop them, though they do list companies…I guess it is time to translate that Nongfu bottle to see if I’m dying.

Carcinogenic found in 6 bottled water brands

I am usually not too proud of my Chinese but I thought I write this anyway. My graduate program sent every student to China for “internships” and two of my teachers were native Mandarin speakers, with great English as well. One of them is from Sichuan, the province I currently live in. While she was working for the university she made a trip out to the PRC, while work was in Shanghai her parents are still in Sichuan. As any good child would she visited her parents in Sichuan, which I found out through a popular social website’s news feed. I thought I would try and contact her since I did enjoy her class while I was in it. I left my number and while we are most likely not going to be able to meet it was nice to talk to her. She called me and began speaking Chinese, I did not have her China number and thought it very strange that someone was calling me asking if i was still in Mianyang and which school I was working at. I finally stopped to think and asked who she was and behold it was my teach. While I’m sure she would’ve spoken English to me I’m glad she didn’t because it forced me to speak in length using Chinese, which I had not done a a few months. I was most impressed that I was able to understand about 75% of everything she was saying and she seemed to understand my broken Chinese, it really isn’t very good. But since this is my blog and I get to write anything I want I am writing this to toot my own horn.

This article is about the conflict going on between Beijing and the Vatican. I have always thought the the separation of church and state and think this is a great reason for it. This is not Beijing’s first meddling in religious affairs, see a certain western region in the PRC. I am not Catholic and have never been a big fan of the Catholic Church however I do respect their power within their own realm, those who choose Catholicism. But to interfere in the appointment of Catholic officials is taking it a step too far, again I know this is not the first time they have done this kind of thing, but not to this kind of world religious power. I will be interested to see how all this plays out and how many more will be excommunicated…could we be looking at a “Holy” Church of (The People’s Republic) China?

Church and State Divide

Being an English teacher the connotation of a word, I have found, to be very difficult and this little article gives a nice visual.

English Swear Words: The Definitive Guide

This is a video of some kind of pimple cosmetic operation. I really don’t understand why this person doesn’t just do it themselves…

Toothpaste Face

So in China the bellybutton is a very important part of the body. This magical place is a direct “door” into the inner body. I was dating a typical Chinese girl in the spring of 2011 when I found out about the intricacies of this holy of holies. We were sitting on the couch when I had my arm around her while watching a movie when I put my hand over her bellybutton. She jumped and swatted my hand away telling me about the highly delicate part of the body that if touched can cause sickness. Now, this became a game where I would see how close I could get to touching it before she would swat my hand away. I would usually get pretty close and once or twice I had my finger covering the hole. During that once or twice I felt something hard within the sacred realm. Now I have had many years of exploring my own belly button through my younger years of just being curious to the now lint trap that is has become and having to empty it. Needless to say I wanted to find out what was this strange substance that I had touched. Trying to find out was like pulling teeth since I had to fight through squirming and playful slapping. I finally discovered what foreign object had lodged itself in the dark crevice. I had found what could be considered the most disgusting thing to ever find in a partner’s bellybutton, dirt. Now, just dirt in itself I would not consider to be so gross, everyone’s gets a little dirty every once in awhile but this dirt had been collected and aged over 25 years. Things like wine are great when aged but dirt that has never been cleaned because of some old wives tale makes you want to…have someone hold a bag for you. Now here is the story gets a bit stranger. Well I have always enjoyed picking at things, as my mother did, and I wanted to help my, now ex, girlfriend to clean her bellybutton. One day she was taking a nap on my couch when I decided that this was an excellent time for an expedition and possibly minor surgery. Armed with my tweezers and nail clipper and nail file combo. I was very careful to not disturb the patient but started to take a closer look into the dark cavern that was obstructed by a dark object that I was determined to remove. After about two minutes of separating the obstruction from the walls keeping it in place she began to wake up and the extraction became a bit more hurried. I dislodged the dirt and pulled it out and showed it to her. She looked at it and could only talk about how she was surprised that she didn’t feel any pain when I exercised the foreign object from her body. She went on and on about this talking about how I should be a doctor, I guess that game “Operation” really helped to prepare me for days like this. While she was going on about the lack of pain I was thinking about the size of the dirt clump with a diameter a little bit larger than my pinky nail and how anyone could live with something that large in a location that small. She was very worried that she was going to become sick after I pulled it out, but she never did. Even though we are no longer together I hope that she will be thankful for a clean bellybutton, as long as she keeps up on the maintenance. I also asked her friends if they cleaned their bellybuttons and they all said no or only on occasion because they did not want to get sick…