31 December 2007

Holiday Hilarity Hits Hongkong Happlessly Ho Ho Ho!

Warning, the following warnings contain instances of stupid and silly predictions. These two seperate warnings were issued by the HK Silly board sometime today.


Cold Weather Warning
The Cold Weather Warning has been issued by the Hong Kong
Observatory at 4:20 p.m."

So it's going to be a freezing cold fire? Huh? Do I put on some mittens or get some marshmellows? Which one is it!!!!???

"The Hong Kong Observatory is forecasting cold weather in
Hong Kong in the next few days.

The minimum temperatures in the urban areas for tomorrow
will be around 11 degrees. It will be a few degrees lower
in the New Territories.

As Hong Kong is being affected by a cold winter monsoon,
people are advised to put on warm clothes and to avoid
adverse health effects due to the cold weather. You must
also ensure adequate indoor ventilation."

How do you avoid Health "effects"? Can I just avoid Health all together?

"If you must go out, please avoid prolonged exposure to
wintry winds."

Yes, you wouldn't want to get frostbite. Your Starbucks might freeze!

"If you know of elderly persons or persons with chronic
medical conditions staying alone, please call or visit them
occasionally to check if they need any assistance.

Make sure heaters are safe before use, and place them away
from any combustibles. Do not light fires indoors as a
means to keep warm.

Whatever the temperature, please ensure that there is
plenty of fresh air in your room when you are using an
old-type gas water heater.


Be careful everyone, don't slip on the ice. And be prepared to run from the massive flames spouting from Kowloon. Funny how there is a fire warning yet they tell people to avoid having indoor fires, but say nothing against having them outside... Bonfire away!

22 December 2007

Christmas Party!

Yesterday was the Christmas party at school/work. After the stressful (not for me) few weeks preceding Christmas, some of the teachers were happy to finally be done with December. Honestly people, they're all 4-5 years old, it's not that stressful. I had a good time at the party. It was the last chance I would have to spoil my class as I'm changing to the K2's next month. I don't really want to leave my K1 class as they're all awesome, but the K2 teacher is having a baby and calls in sick 3 times a week, so she got kicked out of her teaching duties. It should be an interesting switch, every time I 'subbed' for her the K2 kids would cheer cause they hate her (she's grumpy).

The Christmas party consisted of all the grades performing one carol each in front of the whole school. This went pretty smooth, but when you prep them a month in advance to sing a song they already know it should be smooth. The K1's sang Jingle Bells. It was hilarious, I wish I video-taped it. My class sang the loudest, cause once again, they're awesome. The K2/3's sang their songs and then it was time for Santa. Ms Grumpy was leading the party, so it could have been slightly more 'festive' but the kids loooooove Santa. Everyone took a picture with him, and then it was time to eat...sugar!

Most of the children eat quite healthy compared to Canadian kids but the menu for Christmas was anything but. We had doughnuts, cheese sandwiches, chips, cookies, juice (100%sugar), and chocolate crackers. The parents surely hate us all after the sugar rush for the afternoon at home. All the kids left post candy-feast and it was up to the teachers to clean the school before we could go home.

The most memorable thing of the morning was Mr. Mark showing up dressed like an elf. He's a big rugby player, just picture it. He had pointy ears as well. I had a snowman tie.

Merry Christmas!

20 December 2007

3 Seconds of Heaven

I think we saw the Temple of Heaven. My pictures seem to say that we did. Honestly the tour was so quick it was hard to stop and take a picture. It was a very impressive structure, although the freshly painted surface made it seem quite new. It's at least a few hundred years old, if you want details you know where to find google.


MLB Christmas

Christmas China Funnies

17 December 2007


So far this week/weekend I have booked and cancelled about 3 different hotels. We're not going anywhere for Christmas so I thought it would be nice to go somewhere to get outta the 'flat.' Hong Kong doesn't agree with me on this one apparantly. Everything is either fully booked or rediculously expensive. As of right now I can fly to Canada cheaper than stay in a hotel for 2 nights.

I have found slightly better luck in booking a restaurant. Numerous hotels and restaurants have super-duper buffets for Christmas. Numerous means a lot, I think every hotel has one. Most of those were booked as well unfortunately. Gah! Anyway I have managed to secure a booking at some restaurant 29 floors up somewhere in Kowloon. The group it's a part of is quite nice and it has good reviews and views as well.

On the phone they told me we had to finish in two hours, ha! What are they gonna do, kick us out after 2 hours? Sure, they can settle the bill themselves with that attitude. Maybe they'll cancel the bill! Just like everything else!

11 December 2007

Went for a stroll at night, through Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Sqaure is pretty quiet at night. The gates shut around 5pm, and then it gets dark and the light go on. It was a very foggy night, which added to the atmosphere. There weren't too many people out and about other than policemen and rickshaws.


This is what Beijing used to look like for anyone who can not get there before the Olympics. All the old villages or 'slums' are being torn down or covered up in order to make the city look nicer. You wouldn't know it, but this particular village was only about 5 minutes away from where the Emperor used to live in the Forbidden City. Some of the old villages are hundreds of years old. All the people being forced out of these small 'enclosures' are being relocated sometimes hundreds of kilometers away to the outskirts of the city, or 'suburbs.' Many are happy about moving to a newer home, but not a new location. Instead of the people taking a few minutes to walk downtown, it will now take them a couple hours. Many of the poor people are being kicked out of Beijing altogether. Where are they going? That's a good question. Many are being moved temporarily because of the Olympics, but will they be allowed back in? I think the IOC is a total sham for letting this go on, and I hope at least one country boycots the Olympics because of it.

Deck the Halls on a Silent Night

One of my duties at work is to teach oral English lessons to the Japanese half of the school. I only teach the K2 and K3 students 2 times each per week. It's a lot of fun and sometimes very humurous, as the students have no clue what I am saying. It's very different from my main class in the International section where all instruction is in English.

In case you didn't know, it's Christmas soon, so that means wonderfully repetitive carols sung over and over until your ears bleed. Yay. The whole school is having a joint party (Japanese + International kids) where we are attempting to have them sing carols together. It seems easy enough, songs like Jingle Bells everyone knows. But Deck the Halls and Silent Night? Most English speaking people can't get past the first verse.

I have the awesome task of trying to teach 4 year old Japanese kids the 3rd verse of Deck the Halls. Anyone who can send in the correct words WITHOUT looking them up wins a prize. At this moment I am writing, I don't even remember them all. I have to read the song sheet. How are young lads and lasses supposed to learn this when half of the English in the song is not even used anymore in everyday talk?

In any case, it doesn't matter, because no one is going to be watching, only other kids. If it was up to me the kids would all come, see Santa, get a present, sing some funny songs like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf, then everyone goes home at noon. But noooo, we have to drag the life out of them by singing Silent Night. A song about some Christian tradition in a non-religious school, in a non-religious country, about sleeping. Meeeeeerry Christmas!

10 December 2007

Walking on The Great Wall of China!

We made it! After a rather interesting morning we finally had a chance to see the Great Wall of China! The section we went to was the Badaling leg. Rumour has it parts of it are somewhat "fake" or slightly over-renovated, but it's still impressive. The two hours we had to walk it were once-in-a-lifetime steps - it's still hard to believe we were actually on it.

09 December 2007

The Great Pull-Car of China

Before I post any pictures from our walk along the Great Wall, you must see how we got up to the top of the section we visited. Walking perhaps? Nope. We took a "pull-car." Our tour guide had described it as a "cable-car" which would mean floating in the air usually, so I thought it was hilarious when we arrived to take this thing up the hill.

I enjoyed how it was lit with nice colorful neon lights in the tunnel.

There were random signs telling you "Do not get off!"

This thrill ride took about 7 minutes. The Great Wall is quite long so you can't really get to "The Top." It goes up and down and up and down many many times. Some parts much higher or steeper than others. We went to the Badaling section, which had a theoretical "top" you could climb to. We would not have had enough time without the help of the amazing pull-car/cable-car wannabe.

I think the Wall is losing some of it's mystique. The people who built it would be rolling in their graves at the state of things now.

04 December 2007


Hooraa! I've almost completed looking at and editing down the few hundred photos I'd taken from Beijing! Everything is starting to look the same so I should post a little about our trip before it's all a blur. I will elaborate more in future posts, but the trip was very very fast paced, we didn't stop to sit for more than a couple minutes. Our "tour-guides" were morons employed only with the task of taking our money at every turn. "Cash Grab" anyone? Beijing is an amazing city, but you cannot go anywhere without someone trying to rip you off, no matter how you look or how you talk to them. It's a way of life I guess. I didn't mind so much having lived in Hong Kong for awhile, but my parents seemed to not like the bargaining and bartering for everything as much.

One tip for travellers to Beijing, do not swear at your tour guide, they don't like it. Naughty words are worse than complete idiocy to tour guides...

We spent a total of 4 days in Beijing, which wasn't near enough. I'd love to go back but not in the winter. It wasn't really that cold, but it felt like it being a Konger now. I think it went down to -3 while we there. Up on the Great Wall was chilly with the wind. BTW I'm going to post photos and stories along the way trying to keep in order with what we accomplished in our 4 day sprint.
The airport was dirty, crowded, cold, and smokey. Good first impression Beijing, make a note to Olympic organizers. The taxi ride into the city took about 10 hours, but it only cost 10 cents. Cheap taxi considering the thrill ride you get. I think we hit at least 10 cyclists. Mai's parents had met us at the airport so it was very nice and easy to get to our hotel. We were staying in the centre of the city, which didn't mean much as it takes 1 hour to go 4 blocks during rush hour. Walking is the best way around without question. Our hotel was decent enough and had hot water, so I was happy.

The first night we went to a really famous Beijing restaurant for Emperor's Duck. It was awesome! Best bird I've ever had. The skin was amazing, I usually don't like skin but it was pretty tasty. Apparantly George W has eaten there before. Mai's dad had to book a month in advance so thanks to him! After dinner we went back to the hotel(s) and had an early evening as the next day was the Great Wall and Ming Tombs!

I checked later, and yes! prancing and brisk walks are allowed.

Damn I wanted to doodle all over the fake hats.

First impression, Ming Tombs is probably better explored on your own, without a tour in a rush, as we didn't see much of the actual tomb area. It's really quite huge, spread around the mountains. Next time, next time.... You'll probably here me mutter those words a few times in the next few posts.