Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today was my first full day in Beijing. I started the morning with a Chinese lesson to refresh my memory, during which I found out just rusty my Chinese is, but hopefully it will get better the longer I stay. I had forgotten how complicated the language is. I know that I know lots of words, but at the moment they are still stuck in my head where I can't find them. My Chinese teacher is very lovely and patient and I really enjoyed just having her there to talk to and to practice with.

In the afternoon i decided that is was about time that I ventured out of Dad's apartment and went for a little explore, so that's what I did. I walked to a place called "the place" and then checked out the silk market as well. At the place, Jake had told me there was a giant TV screen, so after walking through the whole complex I couldn't find it, i turned around and saw what I thought was the TV, which was huge, but then later I found out that the whole roof of the complex is a giant TV, so I felt pretty stupid for not seeing it and Dad and Zhang Wei (Dad's Driver) thought it was very funny.

For dinner Dad and I went to a great Dumpling house where I ate this very strange fruit, in fact I don't even know what it is called which means I can cross number 76 of my list. If anyone know what its called I would really like to know, the fruit is white with lots if little black seeds and tastes like a bit like a cross between kiwi fruit and cantaloupe. Dad seems to think you can get it in Queensland, but I am lost...actually I just looked it up on Google and its called Dragon Fruit, so there you go.

Psalm 119:37 "Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word"

Today I woke up and it was raining in Beijing, which is very strange but kinda cool because it doesn't happen very often. Apparently it even snowed in the mountains which doesn't really surprise me because today it was also freezing cold.

My day started with another Chinese lesson, which thankfully went better than yesterday, I think that my Chinese is slowly coming back which is good, because I have decided that I would really like to be much better at Chinese than I am currently. I think that it would be really great to have a second language that actually worked, rather than one the stops and stalls all the time. So when Zhang Wei and I went out this afternoon to get a guitars, i was able to practice my Chinese more with him, which was heaps of fun.

Then this evening I went across to the gym, which is also known as the Alexander club, and went for a swim. Little did I know that this particular gym is quite fancy so when I go tomorrow I will be a little more prepared so that I can soak up all its luxury. I guess today sounds pretty boring, but I actually had a great day, I really like being in china and being able to try new things and practice my Chinese, its also been really relaxing, which has been a nice way to wind down after such a busy semester!

Psalm 19:3 "There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ocean Park, The Peak and Beijing

Well today we headed out to another theme park, this one not as well known as Disneyland, but still fantastic. Today’s theme park was called “Ocean Park” and was a theme park based around the ocean and all it has to offer, a little bit like Seaworld, but with more rides that weren’t quite in the in the same squeaky clean condition. The park was built on the side of one the mountains on Hong Kong Island, which meant that the whole park was on split levels with large out door escalators separating each level and to get there dad and I had to navigate our way through 3 different train lines (including the Disneyland line complete with Mickey mouse train) and a bus, which we managed to do quite well, even if I do say so myself.

At Ocean Park dad and I (as white tourists) were defiantly much more of a minority than we were at Disneyland, but it made it all the more exciting. We decided that we didn’t really need to do any of the animal stuff and that we would just stick to the rides. We went on everything from the flying swing (pretty much just a glorified park swing) to the Abyss (one of those giant drop/tower of terror type rides). And apart from being afraid that the rides might break underneath us, sending us plummeting into the South China Sea, all the rides were great, a little scary but not too bad, that was until the Abyss. I convinced myself that it would be fine, but as Dad and I climbed in the tower, I suddenly realised that I did not at all trust this Hong Kong workman ship and that I was going to die, so as I sat at the top repeating to no one “oh my goodness, oh my goodness” I was the most scared I had been, probably ever and as we started to free fall down over 20 storeys I screamed louder than I ever have and then broke into this hysterical laughter as I realised that I would be ok. Dad and the guy on the other side of me found it quite amusing though.

During the afternoon at the park we also went and saw some giant Panda’s which were very exciting! They are very cute, just liked the stuffed toys, but bigger, and slower. Just before we left the park we decided that we would go on one more ride, the raging river, which left me soaking wet and walking like I had wet my pants, probably not my best idea.

That night after a quick stop at a very fancy shopping centre for some starbucks and some books, Dad and I rode the peak train to the peak of the mountain on Hong Kong Island to see the city skyline, which was amazing. At the top we went outside to the terrace where there was a little jazz band, where the horn player wasn’t playing your regular kind of horn, but one of those ones that your see in the Swiss alps, and she was pretty good, but not quite as good as the view, that was amazing. Seriously Hong Kong is an amazing place, so much stuff in such a little area, it’s incredible and everything is so steep I am not really sure how it all stands so straight. Just before we headed back to the hotel Dad and I got a gelati from geno’s gelati just because we could.

On the trip back to the hotel, via all the trains, we got attacked by a giant piece of hair on the train floor which was soooooo gross, but very funny and by the time we got back to the hotel I was exhausted but very thankful for the amazing day that I had had.

Gensis 1:21 "So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good."

This morning Dad and I had to get up super early to get a 6:20am taxi out to the airport to catch a flight to Beijing. Once we got to the airport I must admit I looked pretty silly walking through the airport with my suitcase, laptop bag, backpack and giant Eeyore toy. Once we were all checked in we went and had breakfast and then went and sat in the Dragon Air lounge until our flight. The flight wasn’t too bad, but I was sitting next to a very grumpy and unfriendly British man, because the flight was full so Dad and I couldn’t sit together. However, some how (must be because I am so tall) I was sitting in the seat with the emergency exit so I had lots of leg room, which was nice.

Once we got to Beijing, we lined up for what felt like hours to get through immigration, and then met Zhang Wei, Dad’s driver, who took us back to Dad’s Appartment, where he got ready and went off to work, and I settled into my new home for the next two weeks. After a bit of TV I went for a little walt to the local supermarket were I made the most exciting food discovery ever…you can still get Pop Tarts in China, so naturally that’s what I had for lunch!
Other than that today has been a very quiet one, just kind of getting used to my new, quite foreign surrounds, but I am looking forward to my time here, hopefully I will improve my Chinese a little and get some confidence and go for a little explore.

So there you go, thats the journey so far. Now that I am in Beijing, I think that the blogs will probably be shorter but hopefully more regular so that I don't make you sit down and read for ages...thanks for listening so far...Oh and before I go, I should also just say Happy Birthday to Kirsten, sorry I am not there to party with you, but hope you had a great day!

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Flying Solo

So for the next 3 weeks I am in China spending some time with my Dad, so my blogs will kinda be a travel blog for just a little while, because surely something funny is bound to happen if I talk for long enough, it will also let you know that I am still alive and I am hopefully having fun.

At the moment I am sitting in Hong Kong international airport in the dragon air lounge, using their free Internet so I thought I would take the opportunity to post my first two days....

Well this morning, bright and early, at 6am I left home and headed towards the airport and while I have travelled overseas before I was very nervous, excited and scared about what today might bring because I have never done anything like this on my own. Every other time I have travelled I have been with some one who knew exactly what they were doing, but not today because once I walked through the doors at Melbourne airport I was on my own until I met Dad in Hong Kong.

Everything went according to plan though which was nice, except for the fact that as we were booking in Dave happened to mention that I go to the toilet a lot so I should sit in the isle, which was fine, but not only did I have an isle seat but I was the seat right in front of the toilet, so I spent most of the flight trapped in my seat by the queue for the loo. I also had the security guard play a little trick on me as I walked through the doors at Melbourne airport, as he had me convinced that he needed to use my laptop to check his emails, so I felt like a bit of a twit while I waited to board my flight. Apart from the toilet line and the flight being 9hours, it went off with out a hitch, I sat next to the coach for an Australian TaiJing team (some kind of martial arts thing) but he was sick, and he had that sick person smell, and he kept passing wind, which did get a little disgusting, but what can you do? At least he was friendly!

Once I navigated my self through Hong Kong customs I waited to meet Dad, which after a little bit of confusion I did, then Dad and I headed out to our hotel, none other than the Disneyland Hollywood Hotel, which means I have now crossed no.27 off my list because I had never been outside Hong Kong's airport, so it’s a place I had never been. We had a lovely dinner, and explored some of the hotel grounds which were all very exciting because everything is just soooooo Disney. On our way back up to our room we meet goofy in the foyer which was very exciting! So there you go…that’s Day 1! I don’t think all my blogs will be this big, but we will see, it’s probably better reading if they aren’t! Tomorrow Dad and I are off to Disney land WOO HOO!

Mark 5:36 "Don't be afraid, just believe"


Wow Disneyland, what can I say it’s amazing, it’s perfectly Disney, everything about it, every last detail has something Disney on it, and I tell you what I love it! We started the day at a restaurant in the hotel were I enjoyed some pancakes, hash browns, and Mickey Mouse waffles. Once I was very full, Dad and I headed out to Disneyland.

The day was full of the good old Disney magic, we went on everything from space mountain (which was made so much better with Dad’s screaming before the ride had began) to the story of winnie the pooh. Being in Hong Kong I was convinced that all the characters in the streets of Disneyland would be Asian, but I was a little disappointed when all the characters around the park were the ones that required head pieces, like Mickey and Buzz, and the first few in the parade that didn’t have giant heads were just hired white people, but my wishes were finally answered when I saw Alice from Wonderland (yes the from was on purpose, because she wasn’t in wonderland she was in Disneyland), because it was an Asian women, and I must say it did look kind of funny.

Dad and I had a great time, and of course I did some very silly things too… I couldn't drive the little autopia Honda cars which are designed for 10year olds, I head butted the space mountain cart after getting my arms stuck in the safety bar when getting my sunglasses out of the little pocket at the end of the ride, almost falling out of my Mad Hatters tea cup as we span it ridiculously fast and running through “main street USA” to get a giant stuffed Eeyore.

After watching the fireworks show Dad and I walked back to the hotel and kicked off our shoes to rest our very tired feet. I must admit though I was very sad to leave the park behind, because who knows when I will be back again…and nothing beats the magic of Disney.
Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit"

Monday, November 05, 2007

Exams, Exams, Exams

Today I had my 2nd and final exam for this semester, and I am very grateful they are over...but I realised over this exam period that there are lots of things about exams that fascinate is just a few...

Why do I get soooooo stressed about 2hours, how can so much so much anxiety get crammed in to that small amount of time? Why can I never see that stressing wasn't worth it? Is just because I think I have to be stressed or I am not ready? Do I really honestly believe that all the hardest questions I can possibly think of will be on the exam? Is is just me that is sooooo irrational about exams?

Where do the exam supervisors come from? Do they get paid? What do think about during the exams? Are the worried about what they could have done with all that time? Do they actually care if people cheat? and do they think its weird that they have to follow students to the toilet? Is their worst nightmare a group of students going out to lunch before and having bad chicken meaning a mass toilet trip that they might not be able to control? Do they really like being stuck in a stuffy room handing out tissues?

What is the rule about food, can you or can't you take it in? I always get so confused because some people have food, but I am always to scared to take it in myself, but I tell you what a snack halfway would hit the spot. How do the people with food consume it so quietly? Is there the perfect food to have during an exam? As a nutrition student could having food be considered cheating?

Have you ever noticed all the little exam quirks people have? Why to people line up their pens? How can people only bring in one pen? Why are there people like me who bring hundreds of pens and two of every other kind of stationary? Why does everyone put their water in the same corner of the table? Why do some people take there shoes off?

I don't know...but its just want I thought about during and between my exams, all that matters now is that they are over, and so begins my lovely and long uni break!

Proverbs 24:3-4 "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."