Monthly Archives: May 2015

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Well, well just when you think you are learning things, you receive a great big shock. Remember the title of the last it should have been post –
I An bhfuil Tar, Been buailte Chun Mo Glúine agus Tite i Grá – Ah Ireland

Well, according to long time Irish person Lynne it actually translates as
” I (in English) are you (gaelic), been (in English), comma (Gaelic), to my knees and (Gaelic) (tite i, isn’t anything) love (Gaelic).”

If I wanted to say I Have Come, Been Beaten To My Knees and Fallen in Love – Ah Ireland it should have been
Bhi me ann ar mo gluine agus ta gra orm – Ah Ireland” (bearing in mind Lynne has not spoken Irish in 41 years!!)

The moral of this is don’t believe everything you read when you use Google translate.

Now Martin (supported by Ken) thought I made several errors in the last post. As I pointed out in my pointed retort, I was just Brian Williams’ messenger and it was my truth. Nevertheless, I admit that the words on the page were not 100% accurate and this becomes another example of don’t believe everything you read from a normally very reliable source who has got their information from someone else secondhand.

I will provide a further example later, but right now let’s get back to the golfing marathon.

On the Wednesday we were scheduled to play Ardglass and Scrabo. (Ed. note: 1. Did I mention in the last post that after all of us played Castlerock in the morning (another fantastic golf course), the other 3 played a round at Royal Belfast Golf Club on Tuesday afternoon, which was arranged by Lee’s wife’s cousin? Well they did. 2. Did I mention that after the round at Royal Belfast they showered and got changed as we had been invited to Peter’s relatives for dinner? Did I mention that just as we got there and walked around the corner Patricia was getting into her car to go out for the evening? Did I mention that it is first time I think I have ever seen a truly shocked face? Did I mention that we were supposed to be there the next night when she had invited a number of people to come and meet us? Did I mention that we couldn’t go as we were going to Lee’s relatives – Connie and Arnie who had arranged Royal Belfast – for what turned out to be a delightful dinner? Did I mention that Stanley and son David invited us in and served us a wonderful meal anyway? Did I mention that Peter will likely never get over his embarrassment since it was mentioned right in the email he received? I didn’t mention it? Oh well, I’ll let it go then.)

Anyway, back to Ardglass and Scrabo. When we told people we were playing those two, their reaction was “You will love Ardglass” “Scrabo? Really? That is a dangerous place.” The morning round was at Ardglass which is on the Irish Sea. First of all, it is the most spectacular golf course I have ever been on. The views were magnificent and the course itself very very playable, even with or, mostly against, the wind.

Ardglass Golf Course

Ardglass Golf Course – taken from their website

The clubhouse is the oldest in the world. It is actually a castle which dates from approximately 1400.

Ardglass Clubhouse - where old meets new

Ardglass Clubhouse – where old meets new

Mike, Lee, Peter and (Open your eyes) Geoff - this was taken by the Honorary Secretary who literally runs the course. He, the Financial guy and I spent an hour chatting in the restaurant when the other 3 decided to skip Scrabo and play a second round here.

Mike, Lee, Peter and (Open your eyes) Geoff – this was taken by the Honorary Secretary, Brian Magee, who runs the course. Brian and Brian McMullin, the Financial guy and I spent an hour chatting in the restaurant when the other 3 decided to skip Scrabo and play a second round here.

Hole #1 - wind in your face, uphill, coast to the left. The green in way up there in the green circle.

Hole #1 – wind in your face, uphill, coast to the left. The green in way up there in the green circle. A great start!

The 2nd tee. It is hard to hit a quality shot when you are mezmorized by the view.

The 2nd tee. It is hard to hit a quality shot when you are mezmorized by the view.

Hole 2 - don't go left.

Hole 2 – don’t go left.

Hole 3 - a simple little par 3 - except for the wind, the cliff and the gorse.

Hole 3 – a simple little par 3 – except for the wind, the cliff and the gorse.

By the time we finished the 6th hole, we figured that we would be saying goodbye to the seaside and hello to inland holes. Not so, Batman. 11 of the 18 holes have some or all of them along the water. The architect did an incredible job. The 11th, for example is a reverse of the 18th at Pebble Beach – the water is down the right hand side and is just as magnificent. If you are a golfer and you go to Ireland you must play this golf course. We paid £59 in the morning and the other 3 paid a further £16 to play the second round. Plus, you can become an International Member for £250 a year which allows you to play as often as you wish while you are there. Finally the people were all fantastic – from assistant club pro, to bartender to Honorary Secretary. What a wonderful experience.

Coming home. Downhill, with the wind. I could easily have reached the green. The aiming point is on the left (fuchsia dot). Land it in that general area and it runs to the green in the distance. Yellow dot is my ball. Sigh....

Coming home. Downhill, with the wind. I could easily have reached the green. The aiming point is on the left (fuchsia dot). Land it in that general area and it runs right to the green in the distance. Yellow dot is my ball. Sigh….

Then it was back to Belfast to Connie and Arnie’s – see above.

The last round was at Layton and Bettystown Golf Course. It was a tad confusing. First of all, who names a golf course after two towns just because it sits on the boundary between them? Then why do you go in to the office to pay green fees and not the pro shop? Then who has a traditional 9 holes out and 9 holes back in and then changes the numbering of the holes – thus invalidating Peter’s Sky caddy, so that people can play the 6 from the front nine and then three of the back nine in order to play just 9 holes? Then who makes the cards and the tees in meters, but the 100,150, 200 yard stones in yards? Finally who has a pro who clearly has no idea what is going on with the golf course and apparently doesn’t care either, given the rolling eyes and shrugging shoulders when scribing all of this to us? Apparently, the Irish in the Layton and Bettystown do all of the above. Still and all, it was a nice golf course and although I lost 10 Euros to Peter, it brought our golfing sojourn to a wonderful ending.

On the first tee: I am getting to where I understand Chinglish, but does this really mean what it says?

On the first tee: I am getting to where I understand Chinglish, but does this really mean what it says?

Opposite the first green stood this building. Someone thought the roof on the left was asbestos - but I have no idea.

Opposite the first green stood this building. Someone thought the roof on the left was asbestos – but I have no idea.

The beach along the golf course. Every year there is a horse race along the here. It used to be a steeplechase, but, unfortunately 6 horses died one year and it was changed to a flat race.

The beach along the golf course. Every year there is a horse race along the here. It used to be a steeplechase, but, unfortunately 6 horses died one year and it was changed to a flat race.

Which way do you think the wind predominantly blows?  The beach is on the left, so I agree, it blows from left to right. However, on the day we were there it blew right to left - go figure.

Which way do you think the wind predominantly blows? The beach is on the left, so I agree, it blows from left to right. However, on the day we were there it blew right to left – go figure.

Enough of the golf now. I still have to tell you about Peter’s night in Dublin and Lee and my cruising on the River Shannon, but for right now let’s get back to don’t believe everything you read. When I first told Lynne and Martin that I was off to Ireland and would be starting out quite close to Skerries, where they are from, Lynne strongly encouraged me to go. I thought it would be great to see as on the neat it looks like a pretty cool town. Sadly, I never did get there. But, if you use Google Earth Street View, Screenshot and Photoshop you can actually convince people that you did get to their home town.

Shennick Island, off the coast of Skerries from Weldon's Lane

Shennick Island, off the coast of Skerries from Weldon’s Lane

Sorry you two, but it is an excellent example of Don’t Believe Everything You Read – even if it is a picture.

The Shoe Blog

Friday night before we head downtown for Peter’s big night in Dublin, a group of 10 adults and 2 kids wander into the lobby of our hotel. They were, as Terry would say, the full Poco. The lobby seating area also serves as an adjunct to the bar. I spy these three pairs of shoes among them. As you can see, the dark pink ones on the left are pretty much a cute pair of shoes being warn by a woman in sensible flowered dress trousers. The other two though. Whoa!  The other pink pair were worn by a woman who could not take more than two steps without pulling down the elastic band she was pretending was a dress. She was 40 – pushing 45. The ones on the right belonged to a woman around 20 so I would say that her short short short dress was more age, if not weight, appropriate.

Ah Ladies, do you mind?

Ah Ladies, do you mind?

Now the real story. I sit talking with Pete, Lee and Mike for about half an hour before deciding what the hell. I warn them that this might be the last time they see me alive, get up, wander over to the group and squat down next to sparkly pink shoes. As 20 eyes stare at the intruder, I explain that I am from Canada but living in China and that my wife and I write a blog, incorporating unique and lovely shoes into it, showing her the blog on my phone. I go on to explain that “I don’t have a shoe ..” “Fetish” comes from the other side of the group. “..problem” I continue. As I look up I see one of the younger men – 30 – 35 staring at me. I ask if he is okay with this and he says “Sure, what the hell” I get the photos, laughingly comment that I thought I was back in China as I watched them take a whack of selfies (Ed. note: I was the only one laughing), thank them and go back to my own seat. Now I don’t know what Peter said to them when he went over as I sat down, but no one came after me.

I An bhfuil Tar, Been buailte Chun Mo Glúine agus Tite i Grá – Ah Ireland*

(Ed. note: I started this post on Sunday while cruising on the River Shannon. After 31 hours of wakefulness from Monday morning to Tuesday night, 10 hours of sleep and a visit to the office, I will continue from our soon to be vacated home in Jiaxing.)

Last week I told you about the first few days of my Irish Experience. Today, less that 24 hours before I go back to the warmth and humidity of Jiaxing, I will tell you all about the last 8 days. 6 days of golf – 10 rounds for the other three and 6 for me.

On Saturday Lee and I wandered down O’Connell Street. This spire took the place of the Nelson Monument which was blown up by the Irish government in 1966 on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Now apparently it took 20 or 30 years to be replaced, but at least it happened and it is no longer a monument to Nelson, just to Irish – ahhhhh – creativity.

The Spire and Blue Sky

The Spire and Blue Sky – Coming from China, I don’t know which was more impressive.

From there it was off to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, an illustrated colour version of the Four Gospels. (Ed. note: Never got arrested in China, but could have been arrested in Ireland as there are ABSOLUTELY NO PHOTOGRAPHS ALLOWED.) It is quite an amazing book, done by four unknown scribes. Every illustration on every page meant something and the illustrations were incredible. The way they corrected their mistakes was also quite ingenious – no whiteout for them.

The Book of Kells from the 9th Century

The Book of Kells from the 9th Century

On our walk, we spied The Brazen Head pub – the oldest pub in Ireland.

The Brazen Head Pub - serving continuously since 1198.

The Brazen Head Pub – serving continuously since 1198.

As we drove in and wandered around Dublin, this sign was quite prevalent. Turns out it was regarding a referendum voted on yesterday (May 23) regarding the legalization of gay marriage.

They lost. Ireland is the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage.

They lost. Ireland is the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage.

From there it was off to a tour of the Guinness Brewery. It was, perhaps, the least interesting tour I have ever been on, with a couple of exceptions. First was the fact that while there were an awful lot of people touring the place, most don’t like Guinness. With your admission ticket, you get one free pint at the Gravity Bar, on the top floor. Lee and I had three each since most people got their pint, took a sip and offered it to anyone else around. The other impressive thing was the huge marketing machine that is Guinness – if it is made, they have their name on it – shirts, hats, golf accessories, towels or on it and in it – chocolate bars, toffee, potato chips, etc. etc.

The Famous Gates to the Famous Brewery

The Famous Gates to the Famous Brewery

My free pint - ok the tour cost 18 pounds but this was free.

My free pint – ok the tour cost 18 pounds but this was free.

Some of the crowd who get free Guinness but don't drink it.

Some of the crowd who get free Guinness but don’t drink it.

Saturday evening Peter and Mike arrived and we went back to the hotel, getting there around 7. Now remember that the south/Republic of Ireland is predominantly Roman Catholic. At the hotel, which is really just a stopover from the airport, there were two communion celebrations going on. Between the two they had over 250 attendees – of which it seemed that 300 were free running children. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate – maybe only 275. (Ed. note: Yes I Know, I said 250 but I learned all about hyperbole from Terry) I would have thought I was back in China except for all the Guinness on the tables and the crying women in the bar watching the celebration of some guy named Gerrard playing his last home soccer game.

Follow the bouncing, rolling, wind blown golf ball!

Follow the bouncing, rolling, wind blown golf ball! 900+ kms and 15+ hours driving time (Time shown doesn’t include getting lost, driving back to hotels, time getting to gracious Irish hosted dinners)

The next day the golfing marathon started – 10 or 6 rounds, 9 or 6 golf courses. Peter, Lee and Mike teed off at 8am on Seapoint (Ed. note: Right next to County Louth on the map), the first of the links courses to be played.

A Real Links course - County Louth

A Real Links course – County Louth

Did you know that the term links course came from using the unusable land which linked the sea with the arable land? I didn’t. Anyway, after arriving at 6 the night before, listening to screaming kids, little sleep and playing 18 holes, by the time they got to County Louth at 12, the lads (Ed. note – one of the favourite terms in Ireland) were a tad shanked.

Wake us for our tee time, please.

Wake us for our tee time, please.

Just in case you’re lost, the signs in the clubhouse were quite helpful.

If you miss the toilets and the bar, you probably need the exit.

If you miss the toilets and the bar, you probably need the exit.

Monday we were up bright and early for the road south to the Portmarnock Golf Links Course. It was a lovely day with almost no rain, but a strong wind or, as the Irish told us, a gentle breeze. Ha. I purchased a rather fetching fleece lined top.

I subscribe to the theory that if you can't play or ski well, the least you can do is to look good.

I subscribe to the theory that if you can’t play golf or ski well, the least you can do is to look good.

This was the first course we came across gorse – which is actually the Irish word for ball-eating, arm-ripping thorn-covered bramble plant. I know many of you won’t believe this, but in the 6 rounds and roughly 800 shots I took, not one went into this stuff. (Ed. note: 1. They went everywhere else, just not into the gorse. 2. This cannot be said of the other three! Ha)

Delightful to look at....

Delightful to look at….

The Portmarnock Links Clubhouse is a fine old building dating back to the mid 1800’s. In 2002 the hotel added a new wing. Now I don’t know if the “architect” was drunk, bitter at some slight, hated golf or was just a reckon amadain but the addition looks like a prison. It has plain grey walls with windows – no colour, no balconies, no relief. One would not dare to even use the word minimalist. It is as though it is waiting for the final surface to be added. Think early SFU. I looked on the internet to find a better photo, but they haven’t seemed to focus on that part of the structure for some reason.

Sadly, it is difficult to see the clubhouse in the distance.

Thankfully, it is difficult to see the clubhouse in the distance from the 18th tee.

After that it was a three hour drive to Castlerock, where relatives of Peter welcomed us into their lovely holiday home for two nights. We played at Ballyliffin – 4 of us at Glashedy Links, then the 3 at The Old Course. To say that the weather was typical Irish weather means that we saw all four seasons in one day. There was a cold biting wind all day, hail that fell so badly Lee tried unsuccessfully to hide under a three foot stone cairn for protection, rain which drove sideways, and sun that had no impact of warmth due to the wind. Even the pro thought we were crazy to go out. By the afternoon, though, there was just mostly sun and wind.

The wee village of Ballyliffin

The wee village of Ballyliffin

This was not even as dark as it got.

This was not even as dark as it got.

Just a gentle breeze they say. The Irish are Feckin something...

Just a gentle breeze they say. The Irish are Feckin something…

If you do like the weather just wait 5 minutes...

If you do like the weather just wait 5 minutes…

Absolutely spectacular

Absolutely spectacular

Now, to be fair, at this point in time Peter has been in Ireland just about 72 hours and has played 5 rounds of golf. But still,

At least he didn't drool...

At least he didn’t drool… (5 rounds down, 5 to go and only 3 days left!)

The Shoe Blog

The Irish people are wonderful people – friendly, helpful, solid imbibers and very very welcoming. However, I was quite disappointed that I couldn’t understand them very well. I thought that their “English” sounded more like Polish. They have a very large Polish immigrant population. In fact, in walking around Dublin and hearing conversations on the street, in seemed there were far more Poles than Irish. Anyway, these two were waltzing along on Friday evening decked out to party.

Out of respect or something or other, I made the background the Polish flag. Pretty creative, huh?

Out of respect or something or other, I made the background one of the two or three official Polish flags. Pretty creative, huh? (Me, not the Poles) (Well, I’m not saying the Poles aren’t creative, but I am only talking about my creativity at this time.)

 

Nest time: Does Geoff get to Skerries?

St patrick Island, off the coast of Skerries from Weldon's Lane

St Patrick Island, off the coast of Skerries from Weldon’s Lane

*The Title of this post:

I An bhfuil Tar, Been buailte Chun Mo Glúine agus Tite i Grá – Ah Ireland or

I Have Come, Been beaten To My Knees and Fallen in Love – Ah Ireland

(Ed. note: At least according to Google Translate, so don’t all you Gaelic speakers come down on me – write Google a letter)

 

The Rose of Tralee

(Ed. note: Now I admit that in many areas of world culture I am, let us say, blissfully ignorant. That blissful ignorance cost me some minor embarrassment the other night, which was quickly assuaged by two lovely young women and one very nice young man. But I digress – back to that later)  

Here I (Ed. note: Geoff) am in Dublin – 10 days of relaxation, sun and good golf! I am meeting three gentlemen from Vancouver – Lee, Peter and Mike and we will embark upon a marathon (9 games in 6 days for them and maybe 6 games in 6 days pour moi) of golf.

Lee picked me up on Thursday evening after the absolutely most uneventful flights I have experienced since coming to China. There was not one anecdote and only a couple of photos worth sharing with you.

A view of SOME of the mountains of Russia

A view of SOME of the mountains of Russia and a HUGE lake still with ice – May 14th

 

A patchwork quilt of Dutch fields

A patchwork quilt of Dutch fields

 

They also come in lined patterns.

They also come in lined patterns.

Once in Dublin, aahh that changes things. If you wish to see multiple nationalities without going to multiple countries, come to Dublin. We stayed at the Gresham Hotel where the only Irish staff person we came across was the overnight custodian. Front desk – French and Romanian, Restaurant – Polish and Romanian, guests – English, Russian and Japanese. All of them were, however, honest.

My first Guinness (and Lee's second) in Ireland - aahh!!

My first Guinness (and Lee’s second) in Ireland – aahh!!

I bought Terry a wee memento, left it on the counter when we checked out, realized it after Lee had driven for about 10 minutes, went back and there it was – still on the counter.

Anyway, before that, Lee and I wandered around Friday morning.

Now this is how you deal with illegal parking, and if they don’t see the huge yellow boot, maybe they will see the sign on the driver’s door.

Hey, I have been booted!

Hey, Have I been booted?

Yes, apparently I have.

Yes, apparently I have.

Our first major stop was at the National Whiskey Museum. It was an interesting tour – highly computerized with holographic images explaining the history of whisky/whiskey. (Ed. note: The change from whisky to whiskey was purely a marketing ploy by Bushmills Irish Whiskey to gain market share.) At the end of the tour you can sample 3-4 whiskeys – we did 5. And who out there hasn’t sampled whiskey at 10:30 in the morning, I ask you.

Only the finest whiskey passes our lips - at least up to 1921

Only the finest whiskey passes our lips – at least up to 1921

From there it was off to meet David and Daphne (Ed. note: Relatives of Kathleen, Lee’s wife) for lunch at the National Art Gallery.

David, Lee and Daphne at dinner - a looooong time after lunch!!

David, Lee and Daphne at dinner – a looooong time after lunch!!

What a fantastically gracious couple. After an extended lunch, they invited us to spend the rest of the day with them. We went to one of their two lovely homes. (Ed. note: Who but the Irish would build two homes on one and a half acres and then move from the one to the other and try to sell one. I mean Location, location, location only goes so afar David. Ok the real story makes much more sense but isn’t as attention grabbing.) They live in a lovely, exclusive area about 30 minutes north of Dublin and are just wonderful people. After having tea with them, it was off to the Kilbeggan Race Track. David was involved for an number of years with the Irish Racing Commission and was able to procure some passes and an invitation to the Hospitality Suite for us (Ed. note: No charge for wine!!!) It was great fun. In the first race David won some Euros, so then we decided to pool all the money and have Lee and David pick the horses.  Ergo, no more winners. It was a steeplechase with the horses running counterclockwise, jumping hurdles and riding up and down hills. It was almost the best part of the day.

The home stretch is up hill

The home stretch is up hill

The best part of the day, however, was meeting Denise Bracken, the area’s representative to the Rose of Tralee Competition, a world wide event, and her partner in crime Natalie.  (Ed. note#1: See above for my mea culpa. Ed. note #2: Ok, they were accompanied by Steve, a nice enough guy, but c’mon 2 Rose of Tralee women? Not a chance Steve was high on the radar) I had no idea there was a Rose of Tralee but was soon educated about it. Denise kindly agreed to a photo. And then a photo with Natalie, who had been a representative 6 years ago in 2015. Denise is a chartered accountant and Natalie a teacher of special needs children. Clearly the Rose of Tralee is open only to intelligent, gracious, convivial women.

Geoff as close to a Pageant winner as he could ever get without being arrested.

Geoff as close to a Pageant winner as he could ever get without being arrested.

Denise and Natalie - a lovely example of Irish women.

Denise and Natalie – a lovely example of Irish women.

By the time the final race was run, we had left to avoid the traffic.

Luckily none of us had to actually use this gate.

Luckily none of us had to actually use this gate.

From there it was off to one of the best Indian restaurants I have been to for dinner in Naas. For all the non-Irish (Ed. note: this is you and Martin and Lynne) people out there, send in your opinion of how this is spelled phonetically. Bet you can’t do it.

Then back to Dublin and the Gresham Hotel. I will give you more details on navigating the streets of Dublin next time. Until then I give you…

The Shoe Blog

Two for you today

Who would think that wearing these to a horse race was a good idea?

Take a snake's eye out - if she could keep them on her feet.

Take a snake’s eye out – if she could keep them on her feet.

Saw these early on in our time at the horse races, but could never get a good photo. Turns out they are Denise’s. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or proud.

Denise Bracken has good taste in shoes!!

Denise Bracken has good taste in shoes!!

 

 

 

 

 

Things that make me go, ”Hmmmmm”…….and “Yay!”

Things that make me go, ”Hmmmmm”

April 20th we went with the entire staff and our student body to a place where, we were told, we could have a mass BBQ. It was not our idea because what do we know about such places; however, it was terrific—fun, educational and with lots of food. So here’s the thing: the name of this place translates to Plum Island. It is famous for, wait for it, peaches. People apparently come in droves just a week or two before we were there to view the lovely peach blossoms. Nor is Plum Island an island. It’s an old village with authentic buildings, an orchard, greenhouses, and a covered area for BBQs. Hmmmmm.

A sampling of the fare

A sampling of the fare – fish, tofu, shrimp, wieners, chicken

BBQing is the man's area of expertise - even in China

BBQing is the man’s area of expertise – even in China

BBQ fish starts off this way ...

BBQ fish starts off this way …

...and ends up like this.

…and ends up like this.

An old village in the heart of Jiaxing

An old village in the heart of Jiaxing

Inexplicable signs: MadameNarf is a women’s dress shop. Hmmmm. Magic Li has the best store name in Jaixing—Li is pronounced Lee, ergo Magically. Sadly, I don’t know what he does or sells but love the name! And it does make me go Hmmmmm.

Magic Li (Ed. note: Get permission from Magic Johnson?) is not just an Internet Coffee House, but a COMPETITIVE Internet Coffee House

Magic Li (Ed. note: Get permission from Magic Johnson?) is not just an Internet Coffee House, but a COMPETITIVE Internet Coffee House

Who wouldn't buy from Snimay Integrated Wardrobe. And who is Snimay?

Who wouldn’t buy from Snimay Integrated Wardrobe. How would you like to be Sammy Snimay – or Susie Snimay? And what is an Integrated Wardrobe?

Madamnarf? Madam Narf?

Madamnarf? Madam Narf?

At soon to be completed apartment complexes, they always have retail shops at street level. They put names of prominent products implying those companies are moving in. Never happens.

You also will see Stoly, Bacardi, Grand Marnier, Coach, Nike etc etc signs above empty shops.

You also will see Stoly, Bacardi, Grand Marnier, Coach, Nike etc etc signs above empty shops.

Don’t know what Misch Masch will sell.

Real store? Miscellaneous goods?  Or just can't spell ?

Real store? Miscellaneous goods? Or just can’t spell ?

And then there is

Titty

There is a “saying” in Jiaxing that addresses the changeable weather of Spring: “You put your coat on, you take your coat off. You put your coat on and you take your coat off. You put your coat on, you take your coat off, you clean your coat, you put it away. You take your coat out and put it on.”  Can all “sayings” be this long? Hmmmmm.

Things that make me go “Yay!”

The community bicycles have been upgraded! A lot of the old ones were seriously damaged– pedals bent, wheels wobbly, seats that could no longer be adjusted. These new ones are terrific because the frame size is a good 8″ longer than the old ones and much more suitable for the likes of me.   Mind you, young people are growing bigger, now that there is no shortage of milk and other healthy foods (Ed. note: KFC, McDonalds, Subway etc.).

A new community bike.

An old community bike.

Another new community bike.

A new community bike.

We may finally be finished with winter. It’s been warm and looks to be seriously moving in the direction of hot. If so, I may have put my coat away for good. We should see a week or two of great weather before the humidity hits and then we will be complaining about the humidity. But Yay! No more multiple layers!

The Shoe Blog

Another contribution from a loyal reader. Thanks Rich.Gnomes

Don’t think I have showed you these yet.

The Chinese women - and I - like red. Mao's colour, you know.

The Chinese women – and I – like red. Mao’s colour, you know.

The BC Lions Come to Jiaxing

(Ed. note: For those of you who have been undergoing Express withdrawal, fear not. In the next short period of time you will be saying, “Not another #$%^&*g one”)

In this issue:

  1. Spread those legs and Not in my seat you don’t
  2. Who makes these?
  3. Your friendly neighbourhood dry cleaner
  4. Call the cops
  5. The Education Fair comes to town
  6. You’re Going Out in THAT? Really?
  7. Don’t Bother Me – I’m Sleeping
  8. Terry’s finished

Spread Those Legs and Not in My Seat You Don’t

I was recently reading one of my favourite intellectual journals (ie. FaceBook) and read that men in public places, particularly subways and buses tend to spread their legs to maximise their size and acquire more self space. I am now particularly careful not to do this unless I am one of an “all men” row on the Shanghai metro. Clearly these guys don’t read FaceBook.

World wide proof.

World wide proof – and the guy right across from me was doing his part as well. The ladies look all comfy, don’t you think?

Now, just after I took the photo above we stopped and an elderly lady got on through the door on the right as you look at the photo. Not one of the younger people moved – so I, an elderly foreigner gave up his seat.

Look at the ages of the people still sitting - and remember the ages of the people in the photo above. Who says the Chinese respect the elderly in China?

Look at the ages of the people still sitting – and remember the ages of the people in the photo above. Who says the Chinese respect the elderly in China? I think the young girl is feeling somewhat abashed.

The big laugh is when she got off, the young guy standing on the right took my seat!

Who Makes These?

Saw this on a guy when I got off the train in Jiaxing one day.

I don't really believe this requires any comment whatsoever - although I guess that in itself is a comment.

I don’t really believe this requires any comment whatsoever – although I guess that in itself is a comment.

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Drycleaner

Ok, so I was going to tell you how I lost my VIP card ( a prepaid card that they then deduct from when you get something done) and how the nice dry-cleaning lady knew my name – Geoffu, went to her handwritten book of who had bought them, found me, made up a new one for me with the balance showing and then slipped it into a book so I couldn’t lose it again, but I’m not. Instead, I will tell you that as she is making up my card she tells me I (Geoffu) live in Chun Xiao Yuan and in building 1 and she lives in building 3 and I say I live in apartment 906 and she says she lives in 806 and then about 5 o’clock there is a knock at the door and Terry opens it and there is the drycleaner with a friend and she indicates that she wants to show the friend the quality of Terry’s slacks that I picked up that day(ed note–really, Geoff?  How did you know that?) – a simple ruse to get into our apartment – so that she can run into each room and check it out, after, of course taking off her shoes and putting on our obligatory slippers while her friend looks on somewhere between disgust and disbelief and meanwhile Terry has no idea what is going on since she doesn’t know about my earlier chat with the drycleaner. TIC

If I collect your dry cleaning, I have the right to visit you.

If I collect your dry cleaning, I have the right to visit you. BTW dry cleaners here only collect your stuff and send it off to some giant cleaning plant somewhere. It has always come back – but always takes 5 days.

Call The Cops

I was coming back from the office the other day and came across this major motor vehicle accident. It had clearly occurred many minutes before because the parties involved were all out of the cars with doors left open, standing around, on their cell phones and waiting for the police to come. There were three cars lined up waiting to get passed these two.

Some serious damage done here

Some serious damage done here – Just look at the car’s bumper if you don’t believe me.

The Education Fair Comes to Town

I will try and shorten this for you so follow along closely. In the first couple of years that the BC program was been in existence the Chinese administration has gone out to the middle schools to try and recruit students. Last year Terry put some pressure on them to let her come so that she could sell the program, but that did not occur. This year she was determined to go and to take kids to help sell it. They must have known. All of sudden there would be no going out to the schools, rather, all schools who were trying to recruit would attend a one day Education Fair (Ed. note: Held in the lobby of the Jiaxing Daily newspaper building – who knows why – neutral ground?[ed note: hardly neutral, it’s in a government enclave]) where they could talk to all the interested parties (Ed. note: And, coincidentally, collect 10000 rm. per table – $2000 or $40 000 for the 20 tables there). The school could, if they wanted, hold an additional one the following week for those parents who wanted to attend on a Saturday which they did. Terry asked if they were required to attend and was told, not the Education Fair, only the following week’s “Open House”. Great. We planned a weekend in Shanghai. The morning before, Terry was told that she and Becky would have to attend and give a half hour presentation. I had to go because we would then go from there to the train station. Oh Joy. When we arrive, Terry is informed that our presentation would be given first – right after lunch! After some gentle persuasion – mostly by Becky, the incumbent VP and soon to be P- they agreed that Terry and Becky could do theirs at 11:20. It was excellent, but it did cut into my drinking time at The Bell Bar later in the afternoon.

Top: Terry, Shawn and Anna smile for the camera Bottom:Emily and Katherine do a sales job on a prospective parent, Daisy watches, Becky displays her displeasure by marking and George overlooks it all

Top: Terry, Shawn and Anna smile for the camera
Bottom:Emily and Katherine do a sales job on a prospective parent, Daisy watches, Becky displays her displeasure by marking and George overlooks it all

You’re Going Out In THAT? Really?

I am surmising that although this young man had an adoring girlfriend, he still lives at home since only a mother would have let him go out in public dress like this. His t-shirt was also a black and white pattern. (Terry: C’mon, he’s hip!)

The only consistency is the black and white - ignore the teal blue on the shoes.

The only consistency is the black and white – ignore the teal blue on the shoes.

Don’t Wake Me, I’m Sleeping

Went to my favourite stall the market to get vegetables and was looking all around for the vendor. The woman at the next stall came over and pointed at the bundle. I called and caLLED and CALLED before I woke the poor woman up out of a dead sleep.

"Just 5 more minutes"

“Just 5 more minutes” That is is a black or dark brown blanket at the top – not her head.

Terry’s Finished

Of all the puzzles we did this winter, this was the one which gave Terry the most satisfaction, frustration and anger. (Ed. note: I know the parallel structure is incorrect. Sue me.) With the exception of one piece, she did it entirely on her own. The body was not really difficult, but it was challenging. The black background, however, was another story. Any changes in colour were very minor and difficult to see in the evening light. Well done, though Beautiful! (Ed. note:  Love those old masters! How old am I, anyway? Jigsaw puzzles, gee wilikers.)

"And now I get to take it all apart!"

“And now I get to take it all apart!”

The Shoe Blog

These are actually kind of a good idea. Now, given the predominance of stilettos in Shanghai, I don’t know if they will be a big seller, but on the other hand, once those heels get to work maybe they need a rest.

From fold up slippers to fold up shoes. Coming soon: Fold up boots?

From fold up slippers to fold up shoes. Coming soon: Fold up boots?