Tomorrow is Moon Festival, closely followed by National Day next week, so I have some time off from school.
I'm catching a train up to Weihai, with plans to also visit Dalian and nearby, as well as celebrate the festivals with chinese friends.

One Night in Beijing

I went out last night to catch up with my cousin Simon, also studying in Beijing. We had dinner at a nice southern Chinese place in Guomao tower, which was also very reasonably priced (maybe £12/$30 total for a 3-person feast). Guomao is the heart of the CBD, and has all the international fashion stores (Gucci, Armani, Aquascutum, Burburry, etc etc). The feast was beef black bean, tempura fish & seafood, roast chicken, variety of green vegetables, combination noodles with pork, not so different from a chinese meal in London or Perth, though a bit less sweet or salty.

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Cory Doctorow at the Beijing Bookworm, Wed Sept 12th.

Still suffering the ear infection, nonetheless I managed to get out of the house, and make it to the Beijing Bookworm in the Sanlitun bar area to see Cory Doctorow. The library/restaurant area was packed for his talk, which was the expected interesting mix of sf, travel stories, and copyright discussion. The highlights were some good questions from the audience, such as "Is _any_ amount of digital right control a good thing?" (paraphrased). Sadly, the venue didn't lend itself to extended informal discussions once the talk ended ..  people just drifted away. Or maybe I was just a bit too out of it to feel social. So, an interesting evening, but an opportunity wasted to meet some like-minded friends in Beijing.


video of the talk (link to a page with the YouTube video .. should I insert it directly?)

Chinese Hospital

It's been a busy week of settling into Beijing.
I've been going to chinese language class for a week now, and enjoying the thrill of hearing words I have just learned appear on afternoon chinese soaps. Riding bicycle to class, I feel like a local.

Caught up with a few friends in Beijing, Andy (from Tentacles), fogod42, and a couple of nice people I met through Bookmooch. (sent off a couple of boxes of books from London, so I can mooch books to Beijing, a nice idea). My bookmooch friends introduced me to the "Beijing Bookworm", a place to find english-language books and friends here.

I've done well for food -- some excellent chinese banquets, bags of frozen baozi and jiaozi that I can heat up, and the big local supermarket has pretty much everything I could want, including: a toaster, decent bread, NZ butter, WA Harvey Fresh orange juice, Australian porridge, good red wine, and more.

The only downside is that the blocked sinuses I got from the flight over, developed into a nasty ear infection. Over-the-counter antibiotics & ear lotion didn't do the job, so I spent all day at the local chinese hospital and ended up with an intravenous antibiotics drip, which seems to be doing the job. Repeat treatments tomorrow and Tuesday, with a checkup. Going to a hospital in any foreign language is a bit scary, and I'm frightened of both needles and hospital superbugs in any case, but the chinese hospital was not too bad. The actual medical staff were as efficient and professional as I could hope. Lots of bureacracy filling in forms and registering, but it was much the same in London.

So, what kind of things do you want to hear from me about China?  Odd things I've seen, cultural differences, cool stuff I've been doing?  Let me know!
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    blah blah
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I'm now in China, settling in and getting over the jetlag.
Thanks to those of you who made it to my leaving drinks on Sunday.

It hardly seems real, but already I've been to my University, bombed the entrance exam, and done my enrollment. I hope to get my chinese language to a decent level (eg. would be good enough to study at University) in the next 6 - 12 months.

My "magic phone" (VOIP SIP phone) just worked like ..err.. magic, when I plugged it in here. So if you are in Perth, email me for a local number you can call me on. We're in the same timezone, too. If you're not in Perth, and can figure out SIP addresses, drop me a note.
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    jetlagged & excited
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China! and Leaving Drinks this Sunday

It's been a busy summer for me, since I got back from world travels, with many visitors and travel around southern England and Wales.

Now, I'm leaving this Monday 27th to go to Beijing for 6 months, to learn chinese.
So let's have a few drinks this Sunday 26th at the Captain Kidd pub in Wapping, London!

I'll be there all afternoon from 3pm and through the evening, and depending who's around we'll organise some dinner.
108 Wapping High Street, London, E1W 2NE  (near Wapping tube, turn left as you come out of the station)

ps. I've also joined facebook, as another way to stay in touch, so please find me there!

New York!

Drove up north from Las Cruces to Taos. It's an interesting place, full of local art, and proud of being green. I saw the "earthships" (environment-friendly houses, dug into the ground, self-sufficient), and listened to K-TAOS 101.9fm radio, which is 100% solar-powered, and community-run.

Next day, I visited the local pueblo, an old (16th century?) collection of adobe buildings, some four stories high. It is probably the oldest pueblo still in current use.

Then drove up to Boulder, Colorado, to visit 

vicarage  . We saw the local cowboy art gallery (and greeting card factory), then drove through the Rocky Mountains for some hiking in snow. Wonderful scenery.

A red-eye flight later, and I'm in New York, sick as a dog (once again -- what is it about USA?). Pancakes at the diner, now for the Guggenheim ...


Back in London next week!   Hope to catch up with those of you there.

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    sick as a dog
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I haven't been near the net to post for a few days, so here's a quick catchup.
I hired a big gas-guzzling american car in California, and have driven across to the american southwest.
On the way:   Yosemite, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Painted Desert & Petrified Forest, Apache Reservation, and Tombstone.

Now staying in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with davidt3001 and anubisgrrl.  We went to El Paso for lunch at the authentically Mexican Carnitas Queretaro. There was mole, green chile and adobado goodness all round.  Afterwards a ride up the cablecar to see the view.  Now, to sample the fine local wines...
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    Nothing but country & western on the radio after my iPod ran out of juice
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After my frenzy of activity (caving, rafting, sledging, etc) in the north island of NZ,
I'm now chilling out on the beach in Rarotonga (Cook Islands), the very ideal of a south pacific tropical island paradise.
There are hundreds of colorfull tropical reef fish just metres from the shore!

The only problem is I've soaked up maybe a little _too_ much sunshine (ouch!).
Only in odd places I didn't cover, such as above my right elbow, between ankle and calves, and a strip across my belly sort of between belly button and ribs.  Oh well, time for some catching up on reading, lying on a beach hammock in the shade.  Be jealous now!  :)

I'm planning to (finally) do a PADI dive course, before I fly to SF on the 28th.

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    Easy Listening
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