Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Culture Shock

Hey all, I returned to Onterrible just a few days, and man oh man, things have been pretty weird for me. Things back in Canada are so different than what I have gotten used to in China. I know that I wasn't gone for that long, but I still have a few questions to ask...

Has everything always been so expensive?
Has the air always been so clean?
Have people always spoken English so freaking fast?
Have Canadians always apologized so bloody much?
Has tap water always been drinkable?
Has outside always smelled so good? (as opposed to pollution and urine)
Has it always been so easy to walk around without a pack on your bag?
Have I always been so glad to be home?

Anyway, I don't know the answers to all of these questions but I look forward to finding them out in the coming months...

Until next time,


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Home Stretch..

So it's been a while for me, sorry Blogerinos, but I'm a busy man!!!

I'm currently writing from Beijing, after spending the last week or so on the road. Since I left Shanghai I have...

- been to Shaolin Monastery, unfortunately Kungfu Mastery can not be learned by osmosis.
- stayed in Zhengzhou...which we dubbed "The Oshawa of China", any Canadians will know that is not a compliment
- saw thousands of Buddhas carved out of stone
- had many people try to sell me "authentic" pieces of said Buddhas
- biked the city walls of Xi'an
- saw the Terracotta Warriors and almost cried
- went to Pingyao, a super old and small Chinese city
- met more travellers that I can remember
- was jealous of all of their stories
- hoped that I was making some of them jealous with mine
- took a tour of the back alleys of Pingyao where I met this fascinating guy who told us about life in the cultural revolution
- saw some awesome old stone houses
- was exposed to open sewer lines
- somehow kept my breakfast in after that
- spent four hours in Taiyuan waiting for a bus, a runner up for "The Oshawa of China"
- arrived in Beijing to pouring rain, but went to the Forbidden City anyway
- plan on finding a secret part of the Great Wall tomorrow
- bought myself an awesome pair of brown Converse High Tops to match my red ones
- continued to have an amazing time

In all actuality, I've been a little bummed out about leaving these last few days. I love being in transit, I love meeting travellers, I love having new experiences, being home seems so boring. Actually, I considered changing my flight ticket to August sometime, but there were a few things holding me back. First off, I can't really afford this trip as is, so extending it may not be the best of ideas. Secondly, I already have committed to Kodiak and could never let them down. Thirdly, I want to go to my grad ceremony, if only for my parents to be proud of me. And lastly, I don't think that I could go another two weeks away from my girlfriend, that would just be torture.

Anyway, I'm sure that this funk will pass in a bit after I get to Vancouver for a few days and have a fantastic time out there, I can't wait for that!!!!

I'll update more later and tell some more stories/provide some deeper insight into China after I get home, so keep checking back here.

Until next time,


Saturday, May 12, 2007

From Here..

Steve and I are getting ready to leave Shanghai and make our way towards Xi'an. We've been faced with a bit of a travellers dilemma of late, we're not quite sure where to go. This has lead to us spending a bit more time in Shanghai than we probably were expecting to (but we had day trips to Suzhou and Hangzhou, which the Chinese justifiably call paradise on earth).

Anyway we decided that we are going to go to Shaolin Si, home of the most famous monks in the world for a couple of days. It will be nice to get out of the city and into a more chilled out atmosphere. Plus we're hoping to get enrolled in some of the 1 day martial arts classes that they do. I may end up a brutal killing machine by the time that I'm done, so don't cross me.

After Shaolin, we may make a couple of stops along the way to Xi'an (Louyang looks pretty rocking) and from there...well we haven't figure that part out either, but such is the joy of travelling!!!!

I'll post some updates later on and maybe some pictures, if you're good...

Until next time,


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Enemies of the State and Tea House Treachery

Hey friends,

I just wanted to post two of my travelling stories here which will hopefully serve as a warning for some of you planning a trip to the PRC.

First off, on Sunday I was returning to mainland China after a few spectacular nights in Hong Kong and Macau. While those two cities were handed back to China in 1997 and 1999 respectively, they still retain a high amount of autonomy from the central government. So much so that you need to cross official borders and exchange currency when you go from one to the other or to the main land. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Anyway, as I rode the ferry from Macau to Shenzhen on the mainland, Steve and I got talking to this great guy from Germany, Joerg. Anyway, we shared some travelling stories and talked about some of the places that we planned on checking out while we were here. As we arrived in the mainland and began to walk through customs Joerg was stopped and had his bag searched.

For half a second, I wondered what this guy was trying to bring into the mainland, but it turns out they weren't looking for drugs or weapons, oh no, they were looking for books. After looking through his bag they pulled out his copy of Lonely Planet: China, an essential guide for any traveller. They told him that it was forbidden material and took it away from him. How weird is that?

So a word of warning for anyone coming into China, don't bring in the latest edition of Lonely Planet (the one with the Terracotta Warrior on it) it may get taken away. Funny because I was very tempted to through out my Let's Go guide and buy a Lonely Planet because they really are infinitely better.

Next up, was a scam that two girls tried to pull on us in Shanghai that we are really lucky that we didn't fall to. As we got off the metro in down town Shanghai two girls approached us and struck up a conversation. Now this is not a strange thing what so ever in this country, many, many Chinese approach foreigners to practice their English so this was not unusual. These girls told us that they were students travelling from out of town and were in Shanghai on their holidays. They asked us where we had gone and told us some of their favourite sites. They then told us that they were in Shanghai since it was the Tea Festival and asked if we wanted to go with them to a traditional Chinese Tea House. Again, not that out of the ordinary around here.

Thankfully though, our hostess with the mostest Carrie warned us about this in advance. She said that two of her friends had a similar situation happen to them before and the bill at the Tea House ended up being several hundred Yuan (100 Yuan is about $16 Cdn), because they are in with the Tea House.

So if you ever find yourself approached by two girls who claim to be students in Shanghai, think before they take you out for some tea. It really is a shame because since then I have started to second guess all of the kind Chinese strangers. I really shouldn't though, two tricky girls in a country of 1.3 Billion People ain't so bad now is it?

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Wow a week and a half without posting, I'm feeling all twitchy and weird...

Anyway, since I last posted I went to Vietnam (Hanoi and Halong) and then back to Nanning where Steve and I said goodbye to our friends and started on our own way. We went to Hong Kong and then Macau before flying to Shanghai where we are staying with an old pal from Acadia, Carrie. I have way too much to type in here to say the least, so I'll try to summarize as much as I can.

In the last week and a half I have...

- refered to many Vietnamese people as "Charlie"
- swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time ever
- went to the Vietnamese Military History Museum, surely an educational site
- took an 11 hour bus
- waited for the Hong Kong border to open at 6:30am
- bought a new camera
- threw out my old wallet that I have had since Grade 8, leaving me with one less leather product from my former life
- saw Spider Man 3, the Chinese subtitles really helped me understand the complexities of The Sandman's character
- lost $100HK (about $17Cdn) at a Casino without knowing how
- watched Steve win about $100HK at the same game, also without knowing how
- discovered a new meaning of crowded on the Shanghai Subway
- been asked to purchase sexual favours so many times I have became numb to it
- been offered a job (more on that to follow)
- watched no hoceky or wrestling, yet somehow kept my sanity
- realized that I'm more of a country boy than I like to admit
- had a fantastic time!!!!

Until next time,