Chinese attractions and Re-entry 23 December 2014

On 15th December we departed mainland China for Hong Kong. In Hong Kong we found blue skies, warmth, normal toilets and QUEUING. I hadn’t expected mainland China to feel different, but it does. A) It is definitely more expensive than the mainland B) People queue. There is no pushing or shoving especially on the metro system. C) The toilet cubicles have western toilets and in Disneyland HK there was one squat toilet – for which there was a queue. D) There is no spitting. Above the bins in the metro stations there are signs “No Spitting. Spitting Spreads Germs. E) … Continue reading Chinese attractions and Re-entry 23 December 2014

The Slow Boat to China has Docked!!! 8th December 2014

I imagine the boat docked quite a while ago, but then there was a palaver over customs and the fact that we should have gone through the red channel at Pudong airport. Upon arrival, we apparently should have declared the belongings we did not have. But no one had shared that information with us. So after we made a trip to Pudong airport to fill in a customs form, our shipping arrived on 3rd December!!!!!! Great relief all round frankly. There is only so many times I can be asked “has your shipping arrived?” But it now feels like we are … Continue reading The Slow Boat to China has Docked!!! 8th December 2014

A road trip on an e-bike 11th November 2014

Thursday 6th November was about exploring. The College had a professional development day so Eleanor and I got on our e-bike and met with Adrian and his son MJ. Bikes fully charged we left the confines of SIP. Our trip took us over a flyover which had a dedicated bike lane with its twisty incline and decline on either side, there would have been great views had it not been overcast. Was it overcast for the sake of being overcast or was it pollution? One can never quite tell. Our adventure was to go to another lake, Yangcheng Hu, see … Continue reading A road trip on an e-bike 11th November 2014

A proper Tai Tai? 5th November 2014

Tai Tai and laopo are the words for wife in Chinese. Wo shi jiating zhufu is “I am a housewife”. But everyone refers to expat wives that don’t work as taitais, pronouned as tietie. I don’t particularly like it – if I have to have any title I am a “trailing spouse” without any identity myself. I am identified with Martin. Even now at school I have to be careful not to introduce myself as Martin’s wife – I am at the school in my own right. It is like when Eleanor was born and suddenly the midwife would say how is … Continue reading A proper Tai Tai? 5th November 2014

Food Glorious Food 29th October 2014

When I now go to the market I try to buy something new. And I try not to poison Martin and Eleanor with it but from looking at the fruit or vegetable, sometimes not knowing how to open it or cook with it is a battle. This week I bought a pomelo (a citrus fruit like a big grapefruit) and a kind of pear thing, that I haven’t eaten yet. Last week’s food was like a courgette with knobbly skin, but sadly it ruined the dish I had cooked and tasted nothing like a courgette. After a consultation with friends … Continue reading Food Glorious Food 29th October 2014

My own set of wheels and Game, Set and Match 16th October 2014

Some leaves are turning a golden red colour, some of them are falling and are being swept up by workers using witch like brooms and people are wearing coats, trousers and long sleeved tops. Until Tuesday I was still wearing shorts and t-shirts and attracting even more attention that what I usually attract. I had a man come up to me gesticulating at my bare arms and legs. I smiled and walked on. We have had the Mid-Autumn Festival here, then Golden week in October marked the bus prices dropping (the buses are cheaper on October/November and April/May as the … Continue reading My own set of wheels and Game, Set and Match 16th October 2014

Shanghaied -part 2 – 5th October 2014

According to  “To shanghai someone is to kidnap or trick them into working for you. The traditional way to shanghai someone is to drug him and put him on a ship. When the person wakes up, he better get to work. … The shanghaied person would wake up and find himself at sea, often on a long trip like to Shanghai, China” After the birthday party we got the bullet train to Shanghai. Suzhou has three main stations, with two of them serving Shanghai (Suzhou SIP station -suzhou yuanqu and Suzhou main station) and Suzhou North which you go … Continue reading Shanghaied -part 2 – 5th October 2014

An introduction to haggling – Part 1 – 5th October 2014

I type these past blogs changing my grammar/spelling but apologies for anything that I haven’t changed! I have also embellished a little. But this blog I have renamed and divided into two.  We (should read just me, it would take another year for Martin) have come a little bit nearer becoming an e-bike owner. I went with a friend (Adrian – the husband of Eleanor’s teacher), to buy an e-bike helmet. Originally it was for me, but I also got one for Eleanor. I have always known I have a small head as my horse riding helmet was VAT free because it … Continue reading An introduction to haggling – Part 1 – 5th October 2014

A week of firsts 20th September 2014

I went to a recital featuring Alexander Suleiman, Dr Bin Huang and Dr Angela Cholakyan. Suleiman was the only musician of the 3 that I had heard of, but Bin Huang shared 1st prize at the age of 14 with Maxim Vengerov at the international violin competition in Lublin, Poland. Dr Cholakyan accompanied both musicians in their varied repertoire, but also played a number of Bach’s solo preludes. Suleiman showed that he is not only an accomplished cellist, but can sing whilst playing too. That was definitely the surprise of the night. What the concert highlighted for me is that … Continue reading A week of firsts 20th September 2014

Can I have a pet? 15th September 2014

WARNING DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EATING/DON’T LIKE PET SHOPS As we walked past a pet shop yesterday (Sunday), the above words were uttered from Eleanor. What she had seen were two, albeit, lovely looking puppies. Thankfully she didn’t see beyond the cute puppies. I did, and I had seen more of that in the Flower and Pet Street in Suzhou (Pishi Jie) during Friday’s walking trip in downtown. The street is tucked away off the main walking/shopping street by the metro station, Lindun Lu. I had expected an onslaught of smells but at 9.45am as I walked through, … Continue reading Can I have a pet? 15th September 2014