Blog News

1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.

3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Yangshuo Update

Well, I'm half way through summer school and it's about time for an update. I shan't be doing it again next year because it's too much like hard work. In three weeks I have gone through more than a whole year's worth of regular school material. I am teaching six lessons a day, five days a week and I have absolutely no idea what I will use as lesson material for the next three weeks. And it is costing more to live here than I am earning.
Add that to the constant extremely hot weather (sweat is streaming down my back as I sit here in the Mimosa Cafe typing this) and I'm exhausted most of the time.

Apart from the heat Yangshuo is a nice enough place to spend time. I've settled into a routine of getting up late and having a coffee, walking fifty metres to my classroom, teaching from 9 to 11:30, walking up to the Mimosa for a late breakfast, walking back, taking a nap, walking to the classroom, teaching from 3 to 5:30, spending a couple of hours in my room (until the regularly scheduled six- thirty rainstorm has stopped) and walking up to West Street where I choose a restaurant at random for dinner and then go to the London Tavern to spend far too much time and money on English beer.

I could eat for nothing in the school canteen but a third of the dishes contain mushrooms (which I can't eat), a third contain tofu (which I don't like) and the other third are rice and boiled cabbage. You can see why I'd rather pay for food that I find palatable.

It is a pleasantly untroubled existence. I don't have to think about anything, worry about anything or even do much of anything. Apart from taking three or four showers a day.

I wish I had something interesting to tell you but I don't. Little happens that is of any great interest to me so the chances of it being interesting to anyone reading this block are pretty much nil.

With that in mind I shall now stop bothering you and say goodbye.

There will be another update soon.

Or not.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Fishy Business

They weren't here in Yangshuo last year.
Lot's of things weren't here in Yangshuo last year - notably the rather splendid London Tavern with a dozen or so bottled English beers and draft London Pride (not to mention a killer cottage pie).
One or two things that were here last year - for example one of the DVD shops - aren't here now.
But I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the twenty or so "kissing fish spas" where you can plunge your feet into a fish tank and have the little fishes nibble away at your toes.
As I say they weren't here last year.
Some of them weren't here last week. 
Every time I come up onto West Street there seems to be another one open. And now there are about twenty. Probably more tomorrow.
Sounds damned unhygienic to me. I can't imagine for a second that they change the water between customers.
I am however moved to wonder how many customers they would get if they called them what they are "biting fish spas" rather than "kissing fish spas".
None, I suspect.

Monday, 8 July 2013

meaningless to all but one of you

Walked in.
She looked at me and said.
You work Gansu. Don't like mushrooms. Like beans.

Now that's what I call service.

(And the place next door is either still being refurbished or being refurbished again.)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Gonna be Gone

I will not be able to update my blogs again until mid August (maybe even a little later) as I will be teaching summer school at an organisation that doesn't provide me with a computer.
Not having one of my own means I will be relying on occasional visits to not-very-good internet cafes which generally have no VPNs. No VPNs - no blogger!
When I return to Baiyin I hope to have a whole new heap of funny summer school stories.

Meanwhile, have a good summer wherever and whoever you are and whatever you are doing.