Saturday, April 29, 2006

Well, have been busy wrapping up my last week of work before the holiday. Had my Wednesday classes repeated yesterday as that part of the timetable is running again until Sunday although I am, as of today, officially on holiday for a week. So yesterday's classes were a bit weird as I basically used them to review some stuff and show them some photos of my family. While I have enjoyed the teaching it's going to be nice to have a break. Looks like we're definitely going to Shaoxing on Monday with some of the other teachers here and then Zak and I are going to Hangzhou for a couple of days. I expect it will be incredibly busy and hectic but it will be nice to get out of Ningbo for a little bit.
Went to the ballet last night - Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. It was at the Ningbo Grand Theatre, a newly built place that is as modern and well built as somewhere like Bridgewater Hall so it all felt very civilised. Of course, the atmosphere was a little different, less stuffy and many people were quite happily snapping photos and chatting through the performance which made the visit more interesting. I've never been to a ballet before but I guess it was about what I expected except that I enjoyed it more than I thought. Namely a bunch of people dancing around to music, but it was pretty impressive. The dancers are incredibly fit and manage to make what must be really difficult look very graceful and easy. Don't think I would rush to see another one but I'm glad that I went. I was a little disappointed by the music as it is a little blander than I thought it would be but I guess it's really more like a film soundtrack, an accompaniment, rather than a symphony or something.
Today have mostly been lazing around, doing a few chores and soaking up the heat. It's a hot day today...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Thanks to those of you who have given me feedback on the podcast. I will do another one soon.

This last week has been pretty quiet. I've caught up with some of my DVD watching, taught some lessons and that's about it. We went out for some food at a nearby restaurant on Friday night and then a few people ended up back at mine for drinks afterwards. We bought a crate from a local shop and the owner was good enough to drop it off for us although in the end we didn't make much of a dent in it as Ardon had some whiskey so we had some of that. When Rowena came back from work she told us that some Russian ballet people are coming to Ningbo this Friday to do Swan Lake.So it looks like, for reasons I'm still not quite sure about, I'm off to do that.

On Saturday night we went to Le Cargo, one of the other few bars in town. It's incredibly expensive, even compared to the other places, and it's also too small for the number of people who were there, but it does have the best music - mainly because they have someone playing it rather than a computer for anyone to use to select their favourite Bon Jovi tracks.

Next week is May Day, which is a week long holiday for many people here in China. Still don't have any definite plans as such but it looks like we're going to visit Shaoxing, which is another nearby city, and maybe do some of the sites around Ningbo. While it would be nice to go further away it's all going to be pretty busy with everyone in China on the move.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Georgina was talking this morning about the dust storms in Beijing. They've been really bad this past couple of years but this year looks like the worst. Today has been really hot and nice until I walked out of my last class this afternoon. There is dust everywhere and a massive cool wind blowing. Pretty weird.

Also, just had some real, actual toast with jam. Awesome.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Well, I've entered the age of podcasting, so if you'd rather listen to than read about my past week in China follow the link. I'll see how it goes but I may do one once a month or so instead of a blog entry. It's only a couple of minutes long, just to try it all out. For those of you who can't be bothered, a Happy Easter to you anyway.

My Odeo Podcast

Monday, April 10, 2006

Went out Friday night which was greatly helped by getting paid for the tutoring I've been doing although the Shamrock was full of businessmen and LBBs full of idiots so came back reaosnably early anyway.
Saturday morning went to get Zak's bike fixed and had a look at some myself. Looks like I can get a pretty reasonable one for cheap so I may look into that this week. Getting around locally isn't difficult but a bike would just make everything a bit quicker and easier. I also bought a couple of plants. One is on my table in the main room which is really nice, kind of cheers the place up. The other is a bonsai which I've put on my balcony. Total price less than 3 quid.
Watched Dog Day Afternoon in the evening, which I haven't seen for years, and is still a really good film. Had to get an early night though as we were required to be up for 7:30 to get a tour organised by the school to a local festival in a town called Hengjie. It was a kind of food competition so got to try lots of different tasty things - although it did keep raining. I guess local festivals are the same all over. After that we went for lunch although I was still pretty stuffed so couldn't eat much. Then we were supposed to go climb a mountain and pick bamboo (the area has a lot of bamboo) and Nick wanted to go panda spotting. Of course there are no pandas but it gave us something to talk about. Unfortunately the narrow streets of the town meant that the bus got trapped by another bus that had broken down and we ended up just sat on the bus for an hour. Then we came home.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Keen students (sometimes)
Originally uploaded by grazulis.
It's been kind of a mellow week in the run-up to pay day. Got called by a friend at Webb, a language school in Ningbo for adults, to see if I could take an English Corner as a one off that evening. I said yes, it's a bit extra money and I figured it would be interesting to talk to grown ups for a change. The chosen topic was adoption, although I was able to pick any I wanted, so I talked about that. It was pretty interesting to see what questions I got, like: "Do people adopt babies so they can get tax breaks?" "No"; "Is homosexuality legal in your country?" "Yes"; "Is that why there aren't many babies to adopt?" "No"; "Why are you left-handed?" "Because I'm smarter." (Well, ok, that wasn't the actual answer I gave to that one). When I got back Nick was just heading out to the shop so we went out and bought a crate of beer as it was pretty warm and we all needed a drink. It was pretty heavy to carry back though.
Tuesday was hot, apparently up to 30 degrees. A little taster of what the coming months hold for us as it has cooled off a bit since. Other than that it's just been teaching, drinking and watching the odd dvd. Although 24 bottles lasted four of us 4 days so it's not been excessive. Also been playing frisbee after work a bit and doing some weights (so Mike, you'd better get to it too) which has been fun.
Got one of the Chinese teachers I work with to take some pictures in my Second grade class this morning so I've posted them for your pleasure. The lesson is to teach shapes by getting the kids to learn how to describe aliens. It works quite well. Afterwards Linda suggested I could use this lesson plan for a demonstration class for other teachers and parents. Gulp.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Got woken up this (Sunday) morning by John Zhu telephoning me. Apparently a parcel has arrived for me. Yay! But I really could have waited a couple of hours to find that out... Especially as drinking to the wee hours last night with Nick and Ardon. Well, 1am, which counts as pretty late in these parts. So it goes.
Weekend has been pretty quiet. Zak set off for HK yesterday to try and get her visa sorted so we went to the Indian Kitchen in Ningbo on Friday night. Had the All You Can Eat buffet for 78 yuan. Kind of expensive but it was really really tasty. Nice to have a proper curry again. Only managed about 3 plates, though, including starters.
Yesterday mostly just lazed around but got some GTD stuff sorted and did some writing. Watched an old John Woo film called A Better Tomorrow starring Chow Yun Fat. Good fun but pretty ludicrous. Then everyone started congregating at my place in the evening.
Found this article in the China Daily the other day. The China Daily is the official English language newspaper in China. Serious topic. Made me chuckle.
Guidance needed to prevent teen pregnancies

2006-03-18 07:01

They were 16-year-old classmates, studied together regularly and were clearly attracted to each other.

One afternoon, they were in the girl's bedroom with no one else at home doing their homework.

A brush of limbs, a touch here and there, then kisses, leading to the "forbidden thing."

O, yeah, for those of you looking for love Google is branching out...