Sunday, May 29, 2011


I woke up this morning, opened the bedroom door, and was assaulted by the smell of rotting garlic and bananas. Oh no, someone brought over some durian! Wikipedia describes it just fine right here. It's a unique fruit that grows locally and is really quite delicious. It's the only thing I've ever eaten that tastes completely different from the way it smells.
Our friend must have brought it over last night. I went to bed early and the missus closed up the place before bed. It's outside on the balcony now, and I bet the neighbors are getting jealous of our good fortune as the bouquet wafts around the apartment complex.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Job

I got a new job. I was wanting to get away from the grind at the middle school. I was tired of the long commuting adventures, the repetitive classes, and the cumbersome bureaucracy that seemed an entrenched part of this particular school.
I found a private school group that owns three upscale kindergartens and is opening a fourth. It will be an "International Kindergarten" emphasizing English. The classes are small, the facilities very nice, the pay is better, it's close to home, and best of all, the RESTROOMS ARE CLEAN.
I'll be teaching the same four classes every day, so the kids will actually be learning something from me other than pronunciation and idioms. I have had very good success in my kindergarten classes that I teach on weekends and evenings, and I'm excited about taking my methods to a real school.
The owners and I have been discussing our future plans, which include English education for students who want to study abroad and American travel tours.
Right now I'm going through the stress of job change in China. We are negotiating the visa hurdles, and I'm also planning my return trip to the US which will happen at the end of next month. I also have to finish my semester at the middle school, and get my travel reimbursement from them, which is always a treat.
I will miss some of my awesome students that I have taught, but I look forward to the thrilling days of full time rug rat herding.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We are in the rainy season now. It rained about a foot and during a 30 minute period late this afternoon. Streets flooded and I had a minor adventure getting home. I managed to get onto a packed bus, the kind that makes you feel like a refugee. The driver couldn't get any more people on, so he just blew past the bus stops until we reached a massive lake in the middle of an intersection. He brilliantly managed a U turn and took an alternate route that ended in a traffic jam about a ten minute walk from my home. I strolled home through ankle deep rivers, puddles and idling vehicles. We are in the middle of an epic traffic jam now, with every street around us packed with hapless vehicle owners.

Tiger Mother?

Click the pix for larger picture.

What can I say?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


In order to protect the integrity of this blog, I must make a correction. This is important, otherwise people might stop believing what they read in blogs, and they might become no better than TV news, or the Washington Post.
I was talking to a student the other day about my friend's wife, and her superstitions about pregnancy. This student informed me that not washing your hair after birth was a Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, and thus a valid action, not to be confused with superstition.
Well excuse me!
I have been a happy recipient of some great Traditional Chinese Meds. My back guy is awesome, the nasty tasting teas for the common cold work great, as well. There are countless great practices, but there are some others that little more than snake oil, which you can also get here. Rhino horn as a boner enhancement is one that comes to mind.
Anyway, washing one's hair for a month after having a baby, even in August, is considered sound medical advice by some people, so I guess it doesn't fall under a superstition. Neither did bloodletting in its day.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Chinese people are more than a little superstitious, and the locals here have a reputation for being fanatical in their beliefs. I've written about the number 4, and bus cooties, but a friend of mine brought to light an impressive array of beliefs surrounding pregnancies. He is a Canadian citizen who was born on Taiwan. While working in China, he met his wife, a local woman from Zhanjiang, and they are expecting their first child at the end of July.
Now being a modern Canadian guy who grew up in Toronto, it's a bit disconcerting to him to have to deal with an intelligent, well educated woman who has more than a few alien concepts about what to do regarding gestation and birth. He would like to move to a new place, but you can't do that, it's bad luck. You can't move the furniture around either. He wants to open a restaurant, but that is also taboo until after the baby is born. He told me that after the baby is born, his wife won't wash her hair for a month. (This will be during the month of August in a steamy, tropical climate!)
I verified these beliefs with my wife, who said that some women won't even take a bath for the first month after the birth. I guess that puts my friends wife in the more reformist camp of the local voodoo.
I've known a couple of women here who have given birth since I have moved here. Now I know why I never saw them for the first month after the baby was born.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I was wondering what it would be like if I was on Twitter? If I was so self involved that I had to share every bit of inanity that went on in my daily life. There is no Twitter here, but if there was, and I deemed the world worthy of my awesome tweets they might go something like this:
May 6, 2011
5:46 Just woke up. Hate early classes. Muggy. Going to rain.
7:08 Got a seat on bus! Beat the hesitating cootie phobes! Woo hoo!
7:21 Need to get some photos of that market some morning. Very Chinesey.
7:31 Getting off bus, there's cigarette lady, with new hat, crossing street to g.pkmmm///kmkmkmlcvvb oiupf8;,;okl'/a'l;,............................................
May 7, 2011
9:12 In hospital. Got hit by motorcycle while tweeting. Teeth marks on cheek, broken rib, and many abrasions. This is my last Tweet.