All posts tagged: around town

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Adventures at the Mountain

Abenteuer am Berg We love that little mountain nearby where we love to go hiking and try to get the bit of nature that is available around here. Except that, over the last couple of years, “improvements” have been made to our little resort, meaning that roads have been paved, temples and buildings added, and stairs have been built where once there was just a little nature trail. Whether that really is an improvement when nature and wilderness are the things we desire, I leave for you to decide. But at least we still get a little adventure here and there, and lucky for us, not all trails have been turned into stairs and paved roads yet. Wir mögen den kleinen Berg in der Nähe, wo wir gerne wandern gehen und versuchen, das bisschen Natur, das es hier im Umfeld gibt, zu genießen. Allerdings muss ich euch gestehen, dass in den letzten Jahren an “unserem” Berg ein paar “Verbesserungen” vorgenommen worden sind. Im Klartext heißt das: Strassen sind geebnet worden, Tempel und andere Gebäude sind …

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The Kong Fu Restaurant

The Kong Fu Restaurant (aka the Donkey Restaurant among my acquaintances) is a rather special place in town. It’s special because the food is considered good, the environment excellent (if you ignore the noise), and the way you get your tea served is … well … rather special. You see, usually, when you go to a restaurant you’ll have waiters who take care of all your needs. The Kong Fu restaurant isn’t any different in that regard, except that the waiters aren’t simple waiters actually, they are specialists in serving your tea Kong-Fu-style. You’re not quite sure what that’s all about? Well, let me enlighten you. Instead of a simple tea pot, they have a container with a very long hose, and instead of simply pouring your drink they’ll jump and roll and move around you like a real Kong Fu athlete, and all the while your cup is being filled. Maybe one day, once I have downloaded the video from my camera I can show you a little clip of what that looks like. …

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An Airport Tradition

It’s a tradition already. Every year, I take students and friends on a little bike trip to the airport. Of course, I have to explain to them – as none of them has ever traveled by plane – that going to the airport building (otherwise known as terminal) is far from exciting, and that the real adventure waits out there on one of the fields at the end of the runway. Unquestionably, they enjoy the little excursion immensely, and I? I get to have a sunburn (on a not sunny day – or does it look like the sun is out on the pictures?) and a lot of extra exercise. (And I had the benefit of getting my bike cleaned, after it had collected dust for several months over the winter).   Starting out from the school gate. We’ve arrived. First glimpses. Waiting for the planes to come in. And there is one!      

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Driving Me Crazy

One of the reasons for why I’m trying to avoid going into the city is because of the traffic. It simply drives me crazy. While I can definitely tell that there must be some kind of rules to driving (they do have street signs), when you see the way people drive around here, you quickly begin to doubt that those rules have any kind of effect on people. Or, maybe it’s really like what we hear others tell us that you follow the rules when the police is around, but that no one really cares when there’s no one there to monitor it. Who knows. I’ve come up with a solution for the problem that works pretty well for me: stay away from the big traffic areas, and then no one’s going to drive me crazy …

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Christmas … Almost!

To go to the flower market, we set out today. Because, along with me, almost all of my foreign friends had decided that they needed to get new plants for their apartments. (Remember, we just had a big move into the new foreign faculty residence, and most of my friends were among those privileged enough to move into the new building.) So, we organized several vans and off we went … to turn our vans into literal jungles. And to realize that it’s Christmas. Or almost Christmas. Christmas season. For the big mall where we went first to have our lunch gave it away all too clearly. And since the Christmas season is my favorite time of the year, and because nowhere else you can see any signs of Christmas (which is usually generally the case around here), seeing all those fancy Christmas trees hanging from the ceiling and some other actually really pretty decorations was a welcome sight to me, and once again I thought what a happy thing it is that Christmas is …

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Around Town: Saturday Night Life

Our Saturday night life usually looks rather tame. Not so the other day, however. Fast pace and a bit of a thrill was the order of the day when we went go-kart racing. Now, if you’re someone with a driver’s license and a love for speed, you might think this is just real boredom . Not so in China, however – I assure you. Most of our friends don’t have any driver’s license, and if they do, they usually don’t have much experience driving. So, getting on a go-kart course with a bunch of people who don’t know what they’re doing can turn into quite the exciting obstacle event, with the added effect that you’ll never know what your obstacles are going to do next. I for my part was entertained enough just watching the action, especially with my special Canadian (squirrel) friend racing the course like a mad-man, and everyone else just trying to escape him. You see, there’s never any ordinary adventure in China. On that note, happy racing, friends!

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Around Town: A Hot Plate Affair

Moving always means there’s a lot of errands that need to be done. One of my errands lately was to find a place where I could take my hot plate in hopes of repairing it. (A hot plate is the equivalent to a Western stove, except that it only has one plate to cook on). Mine had somehow managed to get a crack all the way through its ceramic surface, and so I was hoping to find a place that would be able to replace the ceramic plate. In search for one of those repair work shops, we searched all throughout the downtown area, and finally came upon this tiny back-alley garage-type work shop, which was so crowded that we didn’t even fit inside with all the other customers. But no suitable replacement could be found in the pile of spare parts, so all our efforts merely ended in me simply giving away the old plate and getting a new one instead.

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First Signs

I found the first signs of fall the other day. When I was riding my bike into town. Of course, the street sweepers were rather busy again, trying to gather all the fallen leaves as soon as they hit the ground. But I, for at least a brief moment in life, was able to uphold the illusion that there is actually something like fall in these parts of the world …

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Around Town: Buying All Natural Peanut Butter

Let me take you into town again today. To the vegetable market. A friend wanted to know that market (which usually is closed whenever I get there), but the one thing you can get there is all-natural peanut butter among a couple of other things. Now, this is not the place to talk about hygiene (as you can tell from the picture), but it’s always a lot of fun to watch them fill up a jar of fresh peanut butter, taken from a huge bowl in which it has been produced. Of course, the peanut butter is so natural that you have to add salt and whatever else you think necessary, in order to make it more delicious. But in my eyes, it naturally is a great treat!

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How Things Change …

Well, you know how dearly I love me that little mountain we get to go to every once in a while. I usually tell you all about it, whenever I’ve had another chance to get away from town. And we like this mountain for specific reasons. For example, the fact that only few people find their way there. Or that you don’t have to pay money to go for a hike. Or that the trails used to be all natural trails – no stairs, no pavements. Used to be … Because now, there are stairs. Now, there are paved walkways. Now there are more and more visitors crowding (and unfortunately littering) the place. And my little heart is broken. Because it looks like soon our mountain, the only place where we could actually find a little nature around town, will be just another tourist spot in China – overrun with people; occupied by sellers who want to make business; and with paved walkways that take away all the fun of hiking up rocky trails. Sometimes I simply …