Looking Back on School

Hello! The time has come for me to write a blog post about Chinese middle school. DISCLAIMER: I dunno. Read it. So, looking back. Day one. I walk into school, wondering if today is the day I get in or if they opt to wait until a full day can be arranged tomorrow.
And guess what? It’s my first day at school. And I’m terrified. I sit there, at the TA’s desk at the back, staring at the board. I hope to God or something that the teacher (Chinese as a native language, no less) doesn’t come over and realise that I’m not understanding a word of what’s being said.
Also, everyone is looking at me.
Afternoon. The same damn thing. Except everyone is older than me. Because guess what? I’m at the uni. So… the youngest is 16, the oldest 23. I am downright terrified. So I copy. After a while, the teacher walks over and (presumably) notices the astounding similarity between the work of me and that of the guy next to me.
Day two. It is half seven. I am brought up to the front of the class. I am introduced. There are audible sniggers from my classmates, probably meaning that “Victor-of-a-Military-Battle Mountain” is an unusual name. I am sent to the back again. Ah, a few people have stopped staring.
I decide to stop cheating at CFL (Chinese as a Foreign Language). Conscience: clear. Understanding: eh, probably under 10%. Oh boy, I have a long way to go. Fast forward a little. Day something-something-dark side. I have endured it. All of it.
I have sat through CFL tests, maths tests, English tests (:D) and lots of other sh*t like that. And I have done fine. Fine enough to regret leaving? NO! And yet… yes. The kids and teachers have been more than nice. However brutal the hours may have been, however tough the homework…
I will miss that school.

Arse on the Ice: my Adventures at the Ice Sculptures

<wit></wit> I have spent most of my time outdoors, as the title suggests, with my arse on the ice. Today, I will be chronicling my great adventure at the ice sculptures, and the arse-plants involved. Our story starts when we have crossed the river, because the bit before that was just me whining about how my tears were freezing and how I needed ski goggles.

So, it starts with me slipping on the ice. My arse was unharmed, but my knee suffered grievous damage and I lay there hissing for about two minutes. IMPORTANT: I did not cry. My tears were frozen. Just clearing that up. Anyway, we set off for the ice festival with me grumbling about my leg, mum rejecting offers of rides and some dude in a car offering to give us a ride to the park.

Then… let’s just skip to the ice sculptures. What do we do when we get in? No, not gawp. Well, we gawp a little. Then we set off to have a cup of coffee for mum and heavily diluted, powdered milk for me. Oh, and guess what? THEY HAVE GIANT SLIDES SHAPED LIKE SWANS. MADE OF ICE. Yeah. Drink it in… I’ll shut up about the slides.

Just kidding! It is really scary, both in going up and shooting down, because… well, it’s ice. So, it’s slippery. So, when going up the stairs you’re in danger of slipping, and going down you go so fast that when you hit the snowdrift that serves as a buffer, snow goes up your sleeve. :( Anyway, on to something interesting.

Ninjas are interesting, but I don’t have any ninjas. Hm. Oh, I know! Next, I piss around on the smaller slides. I go on most of ‘em. There are loads of them. Made of bumpy, solid ice bricks, all of ‘em. Fun to slide down. Oh, and there was one really big one that truly shone. It had tons of people queuing for it and it was a bit tedious at first, but then I got the hang of it.

However, nobody really got my method of “waiting until the last person goes down, then shooting down at light speed”, so… pileups ensue. Boom, I shoot down because people are starting to cut in front. Boom, I collide (though not painfully; I slowed down some) and boom, the people behind collide. A pileup ensues, during which I switch to the second slide-bit.

And… well, that’s about it. There were some awesome ice sculptures, like a giant beer bottle made of ice (Communist my arse) promoting Harbin Beer. And ice castles. Disney style. But those are mum’s domain.

Bai!

Beijing Again

Hai there, faithful readers! Contrary to what at least some of you must believe, I’m not dead. There’s probably a spambot out there which finds a site, watches it and then, when there have been no posts for a given amount of time, asks, under many aliases, if the site admin(s) is dead. I’d rather not trigger such a bot, so I’m writing a blog post. Nah, mum told me to. :P
Quick warning: I’ve changed the theme to something less… Christmassy. You’ll get used to it in no time. I kinda miss the animated snow; that was awesome. Still, it’s not Christmas so I’ve got a new (but still sexy) theme. Also, I am in Beijing. It’s cold as Viking Hel. We’re in the same place as usual, enjoying the restaurant’s warmth (ahh) in our chilly hutong (alley-street).
We did the Railway Museum yesterday. That was fun. They had an exhibition, some puzzles (I did mine quickly), a 3D cinema and a simulator. In the simulator you got to drive a high-speed train. It was easy enough at the start, then I got a red light on the console and slowed down till it went off and then stopped at the station. The brakes really screamed on that thing.
Oh, and we did more of the Museum of China. There’s so much in there you need more than one trip to do it all. We’ve made two and still haven’t done it. My favourite bit was the space- bit but I honestly can’t even begin to describe it all. I also don’t wanna spoil it for you. I also can’t remember much. They did have awesome tableaux. I can remember/reveal that much.
Also, I lost my knife at customs in Kunming. ._.

Stupid Bloody Horse!

So this one is about mountains and horses. A winter wonderland of white snow, stunning views and fat sh*tting ponies. It’s also about my experience with scenic mountains and sub-zero temperatures, warm fires and smoky tents, and the ice-cold beauty of this new, strange environment.
I conquered it on horseback. And I was rewarded with extremely chapped lips. Now Chinese horses aren’t like European or American ones. In fact, they are fat, stubborn and have a tendency to, well, sh*t.
Imagining the terrifying Mongol horde charging into battle on them, whooping and yelling, is, frankly, hilarious. But enough about that for now.
Onto my experience. I was on a horse, cold wind blowing in my face. I was glad when we got off to let the horses go down a snowy hillside. That, for me, was the highlight of the journey.

Me on the mountain, enjoying the snow.

As you can see, I loved that snow. I didn’t feel cold, just happy. It was great. That was one of the only things that made it worthwhile. I was running around, sliding, making snow angels and even eating the snow. I made a snowman too.
Our camp was a scenic clearing by a stream, inhabited by a friendly family who had come to cut timber. I liked hacking stuff up with the hooked bark-stripping tool they were using. We slept in a two-person tent under several blankets.
My worst mistake was throwing a snowball at the kid. Apparently, to his mind, a snowball fight involves pinning someone down and rubbing snow in their face. :( Though at times it got so smoky I saw everyone as silhouettes, the tent, with its fire, was a welcome relief.
Everything they cooked was very nice, but entirely vegetarian. The reason for this, as I found out, was that leftovers were then fed to the horses. We ended up farting like they were!
Major drawbacks: Biting cold and an uncontrollable horse. Sort of uncontrollable, anyway. As my mother, the digital fascist, says, stopping my horse is beginner level control.
But enough about that. I hope this has been informative!

My tubby horse.


Note: It was in Tibet. Sorry for not specifying.

Tiger, um, jumping, gorge

Well then. That was fun. We’ve just come back from a trek through Tiger Leaping (or jumping, said the signs at the Tina’s guesthouse) gorge.

Apparently a hunter was chasing a Tiger, but the Tiger didn’t want to die (weird eh?) and jumped across the narrowest point of the gorge (and the Yangtze), hence the name.
Anyways, I got some lovely photos and the trek was, well, quite enjoyable (you win mum).

A pretty red flower, freshly Lightroom'd and such.

And it was well worth The Sims 3 for my computer. So, I liked it. Mum actually went down there and stood on the spot where the tiger was said to have jumped.
Yeah, um, I sort of stayed in the room a little watching Doctor Who. And now, guess what? So many unfit tourons haven’t been able to cope, they’ve made up a new spot where the Tiger jumped. Tourism. Honestly. Look, if you can’t do it, don’t complain.
Okay, I’m bored now. Post over. Bye. Seriously, bye. Stop reading. I SAID BYE!!!

Yes, another blog.

Welcome to my new blog. I’ve finally set it up, and I’m hoping to get an ad deal sooner or later and I have to say, I’m quite impressed with wordpress.org’s visuals. I’m writing this in a high-rise in Kunming, China after a 4 hours’ worth of intensive mandarin lessons while mum makes dinner. It’s one of the less adventurous parts of our trip.

We have a great view. It’s a swish apartment.

Our view

The view from our apartment.

 

We’ve been to Indonesia (and not just Bali), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Australia and Singapore on this leg alone. We’ve seen beautiful landscapes, climbed a mountain, dived WWII shipwrecks and ridden across roads that are, well, probably comparable to North Korea.

And it’s been (mostly) fun. We’ll be back in Blightain and then travel Europe (I had to force mum into that), and, well, have a base (sorta). But don’t worry, we’ll keep on travellin’, and I’ll keep on blogging. So welcome to Kidventurer.