(Ed. note: be sure to go right to the bottom and check out the link)
Way back in basketball season, sometime in early March, we hosted another BC offshore school and got to chatting with the principal who invited us to bring our kids to a “fun” badminton tournament, tba. Early in April, we got an email that said it would be held on Thursday, April 24th, from 9:00-2:00 and every school could field a team of 10, 5 girls and 5 boys. So far, so good although it seemed rather an expenditure of school time and money for 10 kids, but wanting to be supportive, we decided to send a group. A teacher volunteered to go with the kids and I left it to him to decide how to pick the team. We don’t have a formal badminton team so he decided he would ask who was interested and take it from there.
On Monday, April 21st, we received an email telling us the tournament would be held on April 25th and the time was now 9:—4:00. Teams were now down to 6, 3 boys and 3 girls. If these had been the parameters from the beginning, there is no way we would have considered attending. However, we had made the commitment, so first we clarified that the date had not changed. Then cuts had to be made. Suffice to say that the selection process fell apart somewhat and the ‘fun’ tournament went sideways, threatening to become a reputation-damaging incident of mammoth proportions. The phone started ringing on Tuesday night, with Daisy transmitting messages from one upset family, and didn’t stop until about noon the next day. Apparently, the Chinese take their badminton VERY seriously and neither the kids nor their parents believed for one minute it could be just for fun. We viewed it casually–no practice, no play-offs to see who would attend, criteria that kept changing– then last minute cuts because of the change of format all added up to a major culture clash. Several apologies later, I still have kids threatening to change schools because of it. Live and Learn and always remember, TIC! Now for the tournament itself. I am merely recounting the story I was told.)
One school dropped out so there were 24 kids in total. Did I mention they take these things seriously? There were many badminton courts painted and available on the gym floor but only two were in use. Two to three refs were assigned to each game. Birdies had to be changed every 10 minutes (!) so an estimated 70 birdies were used over the course of the day. In one of our games, the ref stopped the game twice to take calls on his cell phone. At least he didn’t call for a smoke break. TIC, this could happen! We have noticed a large standing ash-tray with butts in it in our gym so were not terribly surprised that this gym smelled like smoke.
The kids kept asking what was going on. It seemed there was no clear pattern to the events,–singles, doubles, singles, whatever–but it worked out okay. By the end of the day, our kids had had fun, made some new friends and won a medal or two. With enough medals for 10 kids per team, some of the glow was off any win, but thankfully, a good time was had in the end. Note to self: do not, under any circumstances, mess with badminton! (Ed. note: Believe it or not, even Terry got a medal for allowing the students to go. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the real reason, but since there were, apparently more medals than kids, so our “coach” brought one back for her. I will get a photo and include it in an upcoming post.)
Now, some photos for you as they seem to be piling up on us.
Last weekend Shelley and Rob and their two boys, Matthew and Alexander, took a trip from Shanghai to the countryside. While waiting for them at the train station, I saw a woman worker rush out of the WC and get a maintenance worker and they rushed back in with mops. One of them placed the refuse containers and two signs in front of the door to block the entrance. In the five or so minutes I was there, four (4) people moved the signs aside and went in. I guess when you gotta go…
Also while waiting for them (they were seriously delayed), I also saw this. I have no idea.
We went to South Lake and saw a number of the swimmers out in the water. (Ed. note: I know, I have shown them before, but it was a very cold and miserable day) I figure it is about a 3/4 to 1 mile swim around the little island and back to shore, all the while dodging the tour boats. One fellow (not in picture) didn’t even bother with the buoy.
From South Lake it was back to the mall for some fishing and rides. Now you know how in Canada they have those little fishing pools where kids can catch a fish and win a prize? Well TIC. Think of a kids’ backyard plastic swimming pool about 5 feet in diameter. In the bottom of the “pond” is about an inch of water and maybe a hundred, hundred and fifty plastic sea creatures with a small magnet on them. Your fishing rod also has a magnet and you can catch as many as you want – one or 100, since they practice the catch and release philosophy. Nice – tell a 3 year old there is no prize for catching all these fish and check out the disappointed look on his face.
Then it was on to the water ride where you shot the seals or whales or whatever the things were.
The final ride was the kill the jungle animals ride. Matthew and Geoff went first and drew a crowd of about 15 adults. Terry took no photos, so you will have to settle for round two where it was Matthew and Alexander.
And speaking of Shelley and Rob, we got another order of wine delivered this week.
On our walk the other day, this guy was stopped at the corner, I guess waiting for someone to tow him away.
There was a fellow working on putting new wire into this manhole. It is pretty much filled with water, but the wires run through the pvc pipes so maybe it is okay?
A store in Jiang Nan Mall. Is it selling bras, as the name would suggest , or interestingly patterned men’s briefs as were displayed in the window?
Warning: The following is for those of you with strong stomachs only
For those of you who have farm, hunting or fishing experience the following will mean little or nothing to. To the vegans, vegetarians or squeamish folks, look away now or at least scroll down quickly with your eyes shut.
We decided to have chicken tonight, having found the absolute best recipe for roast chicken ever – and I mean that as someone who has made more than a few chicken dinners in his life. (Ed. note: Here is the recipe – seriously, you must try it!! http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/roast-chicken-rules)
We went to the market and got a fresh chicken. How fresh? Well that’s it on the right and it came complete with an egg still in it as well as some still forming. That’s them in orange just under the egg. On the left are other parts of the innards – gizzards, hearts, livers, “finished” and “unfinished” eggs – all available for purchase if one so desired.
This week at the office one of the baristas wanted to demonstrate her prowess with pouring the hot milk and her English proficiency.
The Shoe Blog
I have some great shoes in the next few posts, but let’s start with these. The young woman wearing these today in the pouring rain was handing out flyers worth 20 rmb ($3) off on your next meal at some buffet restaurant. This style is all the rage this spring.
(Ed. note: Hey – anybody else do one of these today? )