Archive for May, 2010

Riding for Jesus

May 28, 2010

The left pedal fell off my bicycle last night. I mean it really fell off. The axle didn’t snap, the ball bearings weren’t suddenly ejected at right angles to my direction of motion, nor did it suddenly collapse into a deformed and twisted representation of what a pedal should be. I noticed it had suddenly gone all wobbly on me so I stopped to give it a bit of a wiggle and it came off in my hand.

tying the knot

May 27, 2010

I went to a wedding yesterday, by no means my first in China, but maybe the first time where I had some idea about what was going on.  I ‘m not referring to the various ceremonies and rituals specific to the culture and which anyone can look up on wiki or some other website about China, but rather the social aspects and pressures that accompany this kind of event.


May 18, 2010

So I got an invite from via a friend. When I still lived in the US I would exchange books with this guy on a regular basis. I was pretty much travelling every week, often internationally which meant long haul flights. You can only handle so much in-flight entertainment and you can only fly so many times before you hit the mother of all delays, so I would never travel with less than three books, replenishing my supplies at the airport bookshop. Over one month, that’s a lot of books. Although my friend didn’t travel as much, he had a lot of free time and was also an avid reader. We would typically exchange 20 books at a time. Goodreads seemed a perfect opportunity to reflect on what had been read

kick shuttle

May 16, 2010

If you ever visit Beijing as part of a tour group, chances are you will get to visit the big three:  the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.  Once you have those under your belt, there is usually time to pad out your collection with some of the lower tier sites; these include locations such as the Drum Tower, Qianmen (the most impressive gate to a city I have ever seen, and which still amazes me whenever I happen to pass by on the way to the Beijing office) and the Temple of Heaven.



May 13, 2010

“Tis now the witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business, as the day
Would quake to look on.”

Couldn’t have put it better meself.  These days, replace ‘churchyards’ with ‘public houses’ and it still sums up things quite nicely.  Even if you aren’t looking for it, you certainly get to see some weird stuff in the wee hours.


May 9, 2010

There is a part of the game of cricket that many foreigners don’t get, even people from other cricket mad countries. When I lived in America, Indians would try to taunt me about the latest defeat for England, but for me cricket always meant sitting in a deckchair at a village game, slightly disorientated from the alcohol and unable to get out of the chair except by slowly toppling over sideways and collapsing in a heap on the grass. Sometimes something would happen on the field and an uncertain applause would trickle around the edge of the green as the spectators tried to figure out what had transpired.

My House

May 5, 2010

I’m on my sixth crib in China.  The first place I lived in was located on the corner of two of the busiest streets in Beijing and had no curtains, so in summer I would be awake by 4am; if the sun didn’t get me, the roar of the trucks hammering into the city certainly would.  I was shown a quieter place, but a large section of the ceiling had come down – I’m not talking about a little piece of plaster here, I really mean a large chunk of concrete, it was at least a foot long and about 8 inches thick.  Glancing around the place it seemed the previous owners had left in a bit of a hurry; it looked like the place had been hit by a rocket grenade.

Fire burn and cauldron bubble

May 3, 2010

These days I am up before dawn so I can get out on the bike at first light. There are several reasons for this.  For one thing the temperature is beginning to creep up; we generally only get one week of spring in this neck of the woods. Last week I was still wearing thermals and a waterproof.  Today I set off in t-shirt and shorts and the sweat was pouring off almost immediately.

Another problem is the traffic.  Set out any time after 7pm and the roads will be full of cars and buses, and more importantly, the dump trucks will be hurtling along the single lane road around West Lake which forms a significant portion of any ride.  This morning I almost collided with two breeze blocks that had become separated from their owner in the early dawn.