Night Writing in Hangzhou

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hi Everyone,

So nothing much to report this weekend. It's the first weekend I haven't gone out at all, the entire time I've been in China... shock upon shock! ... usually I'll at least head down the road to the winery for dinner on a Friday, but I didn't even do that. I basically spent the weekend just relaxing... also it's WAY to hot here to be doing anything else. Saturday arvo, Kelsey and I lay on a blanket in the park reading books and magazines and dozing in and out of consciousness... oh the hard life over here! hahaha :)

Though on Sunday night, we did head up to the top of the mountain to do some sky night writing... now for those who don't know what this is... it's where you put your camera onto a really long exposure and then use a torch to writing stuff in the sky. It's heaps of fun... and it's good for postcards and piccys for back home... I'm currently uploading them onto the link now... but if you have facebook... all the photos are already up on my profile. So anyway, yeah Kels, Dalila, Marte and I all went up there and had some fun doing that... kinda freaky walking back down the mountain later that night (about 10:30) ... but we had a guy with us so it was okay! :)

Now I'm sitting here in blissful air conditioning... procrastinating as I REALLY don't want to do all the homework that I have... but I have another test this Friday and a goodbye party to go to tonight as my friend Marte is leaving to head to Australia for 2 weeks travelling then back home to America. sooo .. I'm going to say bye for now, I hope you all aren't working too hard!

Steph xx

Basketball - China style!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hi guys,

so this week was just like any other really... the usually huge amounts of studying... and then in the afternoons lying on the grass in the glorious sunshine soaking up the rays (without getting burnt! ... got to love the Chinese sun .. not sure why but). Oh and doing a bit of homework here and there ;)

But on Wednesday evening we headed across to another basketball competition. After the tournament I've told you about earlier, they decided that our international students were so good they'd set up an international team and add them into the local Hangzhou basketball competition.
Well last weeks match I missed, but I headed to this one and it was so Chinese! :)

We had to walk down this weird little alley with really uneven broken concrete to reach the courts. They were inside this ... I don't even know what to call it... what looked like a very elaborate circus tent you might say?? ... but it wasn't a tent because it was an actually building with two levels to it and a 100m running track tacked on to the side (hard to explain...)
The courts themselves were covered in dust and players were sliding! (haha adding to the atmosphere!) ;)
Anywho... our international team was playing the Zhejiang Military Academy! No I am not joking with you. They were these crazy little buff guys with (I'm not kidding you)... 12 packs on their stomachs! The game was pretty intense and I'm positive that the refs were paid off, but it didn't matter cause our boys won the game 41 - 30ish something (I can't remember) the point is we beat the Chinese military! ... It got interesting at one point when one of the military guys gave a Korean student on our team a bit of a shove and sent him flying... it it was all good in the end our Spanish guys broke up the fight.

It was lot's of fun, I'm not a huge fan of basketball but this type of basketball I'll watch... it's so entertaining.... oh not to forget that the army guys had like half of Hangzhou down there cheering for them (CRAMMED around this tiny as court!) and it was hilarious... they even cheer in unison... very army like! it was like a war cry! ha!

So that's my exciting news for the week. We're heading out to a combined birthday/goodbye party for 3 of the students in the college tonight in the park behind the library (where there's no lights) soooo it should be interesting! :) I'm going to wear some padding I think.

I hope you all have a very exciting and lovely weekend. I'll write to you all again soon.

Zai Jian xx

Shanghai Weekend Sat-Sun


So after my brief ni hao from Shanghai and a really nice breakfast, we headed across town to the buddist temple. I must admit, I didn't really want to go to the temple, but the girl's really wanted to see it cause it's one of the main attractions in Shanghai... sooo we had to cross it off our list. It ended up that we went on Buddah's Birthday! (who knew). The place was absolutely packed out! There was shrines and statues everywhere, it was really confusing I didn't know who was worshiping what for what reason and with who. You had to give certain offerings to certain idols etc etc... Thank goodness that there's only one real God and he makes it nice and simple for us!

We also drank 'Buddah's tea' while we were there. I drank one cup to 'wake me up' the next 'to relax and help me to sleep' next, 'detoxification protecting the liver and losing weight' and finished it off with a good dose of 'promoting immunity and giving me energy'. Well, I have to say the relaxation one tasted really nice, but apart from that, I basically felt about the same, except maybe a little more of a need to use the bathroom.

Next came the fun part! ... SSSSSSHHHOOOPPPPIIINNNNGGGGG!!!!!!!
We started off in the expensive area by accident so we wasted a few precious hours there, but after lunch we finally made it to the nice cheap 'underground of course' part of the street. It was really good I bought 3 new dresses and 2 new shirts for about $40 Aus and they are REALLY NICE! :)
I honestly don't think I'll be able to shop when I get back to Australia. I'll take one look at the prices and think 'Oh my goodness I could have got that in China for next-to-nothing!' "TAI GUI LE!" (too expensive)

After all this lovely shopping we headed back to the hostel with the plans of heading back out again but it started to rain and we also had another unexpected suprise waiting for us! ... ... ...

So you all know about the latest world news on 'Swine Flu' ... WELL... when we got back to the hostel we were met by 3 sets of police cars with matching police in uniforms and about 8-10 people in white coats with masks on. SLIGHTLY FREAKED OUT AT THIS POINT>>>>>

They were in the middle of disinfecting the entire hostel because a group of Mexicans had been staying there the past couple of days (we didn't know this). We asked if there had been a case or if they Mexicans had it or not and they said that they hadn't it was just precautionary measures... but you never know if they're telling the whole truth or not... :( (it's okay now but, the incubation period was until Thursday.. and today is Friday when I'm writing this so I don't have anything) but it was definitely going down as memorable in my Chinese moments! (see my photos for pictures of the people in lab coats)

Anywho... so we kept on going about our normal business, had pizza for dinner again in the bar while watching 'Music and Lyrics' and then headed out to the ritzy and glitzy 'Cloud 9 Bar' This play is 100 kuai at the door and drinks start from 80 kuai. It is the tallest bar in Shanghai and over looks the entire Shanghai district! ... well we hopped out of the taxi, looked up and.... ... ... saw clouds.

... bummer. We didn't really want to pay 100 kuai to see clouds at eye level. So after a few random photo opportunistic moments we hopped back in the taxi and headed off to find 'The Wall' (This is meant to be the longest bar in all of Asia and very impressive - so says the guide on the back of the tourist map)... well all I can say is a repeat of ... ... ... bummer.

It took up 1/2 in the taxi to drive literally a block (going around the block at least 5 times and stopping and asking for directions)... found the place ... and you guessed it... it was closed.

Well after all that excitement... we just decided to head home. We'd had a pretty good weekend and we weren't really feeling like paying the taxi driver another 50 kuai to drive us over to the other side of town where the other bars were. Sunday, we basically got up, ate our French breakfasts, got on the train and came home.

So all together it was a very eventful weekend in Shanghai. I have to say I think my highlight was definitely the shopping, but it was great just to hang out with the girls and explore the never ending streets of Shanghai!

Hi from Shanghai

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hi guys,

So I'm sitting here in the bar of our hostel in Shanghai writing this to you!

Yes, I'm up here for the weekend in Shanghai and it's been really fun so far, Kels, Dalila and I are up here just to hang out for the long weekend. Yesterday we didn't really get up to much, just walked around and looked at stuff. We tried to get to see the Bund, but public holidays in China are CRAZY... we couldn't even get within 100m of the Bund, the police had blocked off all the streets leading up to it for crowd control.. I'll show you some of the pictures when I get back home so I can upload them.

Today we're having a French Breakfast (the best thing I've tasted my whole time in China!) it's 25 kuai from the bar... :D When we're done I'm heading with the girls to the largest buddist temple in China which should be interesting... and then my favourite!.... and I'm dragging them all along to qipu street which is THE cheap knock off shopping street in Shanghai! WOOOOOOOTTTT!! .. .I do like to shop! :D

Anywho... I'm going to go get them so we can get this day started!

Hope you're all enjoying your labour day long weekend and not studying crazily like little Justine said she was in her email! tut tut... too nerdy! :P

Steph xx