Thursday, January 18, 2007
88 Suzhou












I won't go into how much I miss the friends I met while I was in China. I hope to see everyone again, one day, somewhere.
Left: Victor. He was my first Chinese friend. Very friendly and quiet. He was my first impression of Chinese and I'm so glad I was lucky enough to meet him.
Right: Amy, Nana, Vivian. Three close girls who I always joked around with. They helped me a lot with my Chinese. We went to Xi'an together and had a blast. Amy made a huge difference as I hung out with her a lot and we talked a lot of shit. Nana was a joker, funny and never a dull moment with her. Vivian is very caring, someone who's real and with a very kind soul.











Left: Jacky. He is very outgoing and talkative. He was a great friend who taught me Chinese culture and politics. We always had a constructive exchange on world issues, cars and what not. I will definitely meet him again because he will be in San Francisco later this year.
Right: Jin Du Kun. He was the guy I hung out with the most....wish he was here in TO. What a guy...













Left (bottom): Song JungAi - Korean girl I met outside my dormitory. A little jumpy at times but a sweet sweet and funny girl. Funny.
Alicia - From Indonesia, she was sometimes hyper but always funny and fun to be with. She'll turn your cloudy day to a sunny day.
Inge - Also from Indonesia, she was the more serious type but always there to enjoy the good times with us.

Right: Miyuki, Me, Sophia.
Miyuki - Always wondering and complaining about her boyfriend. We always make time to bond on life issues and such.
Sophia - Korean housewife/interior decorator. We always meet at Starbucks for coffee and just talk...talk. I would try to teach her English.













Left: Piao Zhi Ying, Li Zheng Tai.
Piao Xiaojie - Basically my little sister. Funny kid and always picking on her boyfriend, Li Zheng Tai. Always funny but poor Li.
Li Zheng Tai - My class rep. He was like the hyper active kid on the block. Love bikes. Drinking. Watched DVDs. We did so much together.

Right: Ralph. German from South Africa. Cool guy. Cool stories. Funny guy. Always wandering around my dormitory for some reason;)

From left to right:
Carlos - From the Philippines. A friend that will be there for you, period.
Sayaka - From Fukuoka, Japan. COoooool person. She helped me pick my girlfriend's present.
Ken - Something against a certain Taiwan president. Funny strange. Always something witty to say.




I may have missed a few so sorry to those I missed.
Everybody I met in China has taught me something about life. These are the life experiences that I wanted to learn but at a cost: I am now departed and I miss them very much. The times we had together were amazing. No words can describe my joy.

However, we will meet again. That is for certain!

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posted by Y> @ 12:41 AM   0 comments
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Pan Gate (盘门景区), Suzhou












One cold January day, some of my classmates and I went over to Pan Gate for some sightseeing. From left to right: Li ZhengTai, Piao ZhiYing, Song Jung Ai...
Great crew.
Pan Gate is an ancient water-land defense system south of the city. The large park offers many gates, Pagodas, waterways, and park land. However, temperatures below zero which hardly occurs in Suzhou put a damper on things.
























We had a crack at the bow and arrow. As a wannabe archer, I did horrible with these shoddy bows--these bows were not meant to defend Suzhou, I'll tell you that!










Group pictures...ho.













You haven't been to China if you didn't take their public buses. These things feel like they'll fall apart anytime, rattling to the next stop. Full manual, the drivers turn off the engine as they approach a red light to save fuel. There are no lights inside the bus and most do not have A/C (we talking about 40C in the summers!) During the day, the bus is packed. Having been delayed due to long distance buses breaking down, I have yet to enjoy a similar scenario with their local buses. However, buses in the large cities are newer with more amenities and as the rest of the country gets wealthier, newer and newer buses will be introduced. Until then, hold on tight!

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posted by Y> @ 8:52 AM   0 comments
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Hangzhou - 杭州










December 30.
Almost done the updates but only five months late...haha.
Ok...short and sweet (because I want to finish this off and I forgot a lot of stuff.)
Hangzhou (杭州). "上有天堂,下有苏杭" --> Above there is heaven, below there are Suzhou and Hangzhou. A beautiful city, personally I think more pretty than Suzhou. Only one hour away from Shanghai, this city is a must visit for those who are in the area. This is one city that I would not mind visiting again.
Above: West Lake (西湖), the main tourist area.










More pictures of West Lake.



















Yeah, as you can see we spent most of our time around West Lake. Such beautiful scenery calls for great companions--Song Ai and Jin Du made the trip all the better. Thank guys...I really miss you guys and the times we were bumming around Suzhou.













The hostel we stayed in was very accommodating and friendly--they let us stay without presenting our travel permits while the our original hostel refused us. In China, you must present your ID and visa to stay at hotels and such--well, I had mine which should be enough but sometimes they don't like bending the rules. Anyhoo, lucky the original place kicked us out because this hostel was so much nicer and it came with a cute kitty cat.













Nice to see some Yunnan trinkets so far East...













The area around Hefang Jie (河坊街.) Lot of stores and food. The food here was quite interesting and good. Oh, Hangzhou is very famous for their food--we did not have stomachs big enough for the variety of foods that this area had to offer.

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posted by Y> @ 11:00 PM   0 comments
MTB race@Suzhou, Qionglong mtn (穹隆山)
December 17. First race in over a year but it really wasn't much of a mountain bike race. It was a 4.5km climb up one of the few "mountains" in Suzhou on paved roads. Boy am I out of shape! I came in 23 out of 30 something which is a total disappointment for me considering I've done much better in the past.
The race was separated between road bike and MTB with a total of about 100 riders. One thing that surprised me was the number of female riders present--I never would have imagined that this kind of sport would be popular among Asian females--rarely do I see Asian females in MTB races back home. The weather couldn't have been more perfect (Suzhou tend to rain a lot in the winter)--clear skies but just a little on the nippy side at -4C.

Although there are a billion bikes in China, the actual biking scene is still fairly young. Road and MTB bikers are rare but the numbers are increasing rapidly. As well, those who are real bikers, are quite hardcore and actually ride their bikes (unlike back home where many purchase fancy bikes for show.) Brand names like Trek, Cervelo, Specialized, and Giant (very popular in China) are quite expensive compared to Canada so this sport will be depressed until the country gets wealthier.

Big thanks goes to my class rep, Li Zheng Tai, who loves bicycles more than I do and who got me into this race. He also convinced the Trek store by Ganjiang lu to lend me a Giant bicycle for the race. Thank you Trek dian! If you ever need bicycle equipment, they have a good selection of Trek stuff. As well, Silverbikes on Shizi jie has a very good selection of many brands of bikes and parts. They are both very helpful and very friendly.

谢谢大家!

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posted by Y> @ 9:45 AM   2 comments
Xian: More of











Unlike many cities who decided to tear down their walls for progress, Xi'an decided to restore their wall to its past glory. The 14km long wall complete with a moat circles around the city. A leisure stroll will take approximately 3 hours to complete or it will take one hour to bike around it (bike rentals are available on the wall.) The view from the wall ain't the best due to the constant construction and the perpetual fog/smog/dust/* in the air.
Top Left: North Gate.
Top Right: Southeast tower.









Left: Train station by the North wall
Right: The foggy wall.












View of Chang'an Lu (长安路) by the South Gate.
Right: A big ass drum at the Drum Tower (鼓楼). Every hour there is a smallish performance on the drums.












Huaqing Hot Springs (华清池). Huaqing has been enjoyed by a large succession of emperors and other important figures. It was made famous when Yang Guifei, one of the four legendary beauties of China and Emperor Xuanzong's concubine, was allowed to bathe here.










Left: Lotus Flower Pool, aka Imperial Nine-dragon Bathing Palace built for Emperor Xuanzong.
Right: For 5mao (7cents), you too can wash your hands or drink from the same water Yang Guifei bathe in.











Left: In 1936, Chiang Kaishek as well, bathe here and in the process set up his headquaters at huaqing against the CCP; however, he was captured in a coup known as the renown Xi'an Incident (Yang xiaojie wasn't overly fond of him.)
Right: The royal (public) bathroom. One of the prettiest washrooms I ever saw, not to mention one of the cleanest in China.












Mt Lishan (骊山). Nothing much of a climb (1-2 hours) and nothing much of a scenery due to the thick blanket of fog/smog; however, since there were nobody, it was a peaceful climb.

Xi'an was a wonderful trip, made better with some good company. Too bad we didn't have time for Huashan (华山). Next time I will organize a Chinese Mountain tour and visit the great Huashan.

Thank you Amy, Vivian and Nana. 多谢.

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posted by Y> @ 9:09 AM   0 comments
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