On January 14th 2010, I commenced my trip back to Australia. The temperature at that time was varying between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees. It was for this Aussie, despite living in China for 7 years, truly cold. I flew from Baotou in Inner Mongolia to Beijing and stayed one night in the Beijing Aulympic Airportel. The Hotel is located very close to the airport. The fees were very very very low and that suited me fine. I did not expect however, that the hotel would be as nice as it was. Next day I flew to Hong Kong where I connected with a Qantas flight travelling to Brisbane Australia.
This article was originally published as four separate articles in 2010 in my column at Magic City Morning Star News. The first part of this article was originally published on Feb 1, 2010.
Hot Air from Brisbane: Snow and Ice in Baotou By R.P. BenDedek
I write this whilst sitting in the heat of Queensland's Perfect weather; hence the 'hot air' title, but the story is actually about the snow and ice in Baotou in Inner Mongolia. From the time I first arrived in Baotou (June 26th) until I finished work there on January 10th, I had not had much opportunity to do any sightseeing, and so therefore, have not had much to offer readers in the way of photographs of the area. The city itself does not really have much to offer, other than a number of parks and gardens; the most interesting of which in my opinion is the Grasslands Park.
I have on many occasions visited or seen a variety of parks, but usually not with my camera in hand, and I don't own one of those mobile phones with the ability to take photographs. Those types of mobile phones are far too complicated for this feeble mind to work out. I'm still coming to terms with using mobile phones, and in an up coming story you will come to understand just how difficult modern technology is for me.
Anyway, getting back to the point at hand; just before I left Henry's Private English School in Baotou on January 10th, the city received a few hours snow to add to the ice that was left over from the one day of snow we had had about 6 weeks earlier. With 4 days free between ending my employment at Henry's school, and my flight back to Australia, I took the opportunity to take my camera out to a rather deserted looking park alongside of which is some type of water storage facility.
I had visited the park twice before, once in Summer and again a few weeks ago to see if the water was frozen. On neither occasion were there people to be found there, so I am guessing that it is not a popular place. Once we got the fresh snow I went up there again with trusty camera to capture these shots. On the map, the area looks like a river, but it can only be a dry river bed that feeds into the Yellow River.
I have been told that it takes an hour to drive out to the Yellow river. This tributary is just 'up the road' so to speak, on the edge of town. It is hard to describe. One half of this river bed has been filled in, and the rest of it has been turned into a series of water catchments. Each segment is quite long and each has at one end, water that is just an inch deep. At the other end of each segment it is probably several meters deep. Who knows? But there is a barrier of sorts between each segment, on the other side of which is a 3-5 meter drop, at which point there begins a new catchment area.
Each segment has a concrete 'bottom / base/ floor,' so that the water doesn't seep down into the water table. It appears to be a place where flash floods are trapped, perhaps to avoid letting water run out into the desert to evaporate. These two photos (above) are of workmen who were digging a trench beside what can only be described as a 'dam' which separates the various segments. It wasn't until I went on a few more meters that I realised why they were digging the trench. Apparently, underneath the surface there is some kind of 'heater' to melt the ice, which then flows down into the next segment. It was quite interesting to watch the steamy water running through the ice. The park constructed alongside the water catchment is also quite interesting, with a number of sulptures or themed features. It's worst feature was that it has no WC's (Washrooms). Yes that was me furtively lurking about under the bridge - won't tell you what I was doing!
This circular segment you see above is like a 'Dam Wall' and although it doesn't look it, there is perhaps a 4 meter drop on the left. You can see a person at the far end. This was a workman. In the next frame below, you can see several more at work, chipping off the ice. This 'tube like' thing is more than a 'wall' because it is made of inflatable material which can be 'dropped' to allow water to flow into the lower sections. I saw this done during the following summer.
The park itself has many 'features' and play areas. In the photograph immediately above, you are looking at a 'pier' of sorts for those times when there is so much water that it overflows the catchment area. (I saw that on one occasion as well.)
At the time I took these photos, the water was frozen, and tracks across it were visible. What was interesting was the depth of snow on the surface. It seemed to be far more than we had a few blocks away in the Kunqu District CBD. Now I have included here a photograph of two penguins, but those are just for show. Like those who take photos of them, they are just dummies. The Ice sculpture behind them is created by a series of pipes through which hot water is pumped. I told you it was cold in Baotou. We even have penguins roaming the streets.
Anyone for snooker? Too cold? Come on it's only 20 degrees below. The pool tables out in the snowy park are not however for show! They are real! For some reason however, (perhaps -20 degree temperatures?) they were covered and no one was using them. (That was not a redundant statement!) The tables are located in the same park (Ba Yi Park) as the penguins, which is to say, at the end of the block on which I lived (Linyin Road), at the intersection with Gangtie Dajie.
The photo of the people walking on the ice was taken at a pond in Lao Dong Park on Tuanjie Dajie, within walking distance of where I was living. I traveled past it every day on the bus and was determined to go there and get some photographs. Of course if you come from a place where it snows, these photos mean absolutely nothing, but for those of us from places with decent climates, they are interesting.
So there you have it. Just a few photographs I took before heading back to Sunny Queensland Australia, where everything is beautiful one day and perfect the next! (It says so in the State Advertising Campaign!)
I hope you enjoyed this little snippet from my life. Within days I will publish a few more articles of what has transpired since these photographs were taken.
If you would like to see some more photographs of Baotou, go to the links contained at the bottom of the article entitled: Sitting Pretty in Baotou Inner Mongolia. (That article was specifically written because I knew that my first employers in Baotou were disreputable.)
There will be more articles outlining my trip to Australia.
The Pier as previously shown but from a different perspective
This is an amphitheater and undoubtedly there are times when performances are held.
This photograph was taken at the same place as shown in the very first picture in this article
This photo was taken by that bridge shown at the head of this article. The boy is on a metal chair that is pushed around by his friends.
Below is the same view but different perspective plus a photograph taken from my room
I am writing this little story whilst sitting in the Summer heat in Brisbane Australia, but the story itself takes place in the Winter Cold of China. On January 14th 2010, I commenced my trip back to Australia. The temperature at that time was varying between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees. It was for this Aussie, despite living in China for 7 years, truly cold.
Although in Baotou, the buildings come equipped with central heating - a simply marvelous invention - once you hit the cold outside air your system goes into shock. Everyday when I went to work, the first thing that happened was that my eyes would run rivers of tears. Half the time I couldn't even feel them. The other thing that happens is that your nose begins to run. But not to worry, in 2 minutes flat the snot freezes up and you are OK until you enter warmer air. But this story is not about nose snot!
Having air traveled between Baotou and Shanghai on occasions, I pretty much knew that it would be fruitless to buy a ticket direct from Baotou to Brisbane. This because the planes in Baotou are always many hours late, and of course, they did not disappoint me on January 14th. My 11.45 am flight left at 1pm.
Knowing that this would happen, I had bought my international ticket from Beijing, and chanced travelling to Beijing the day before. That also meant that I would need accommodation on the 14th. After checking the Internet, I came across the Beijing Aulympic - Olympic - Hotel, located very close to the airport. The fees were very very very low and that suited me fine. I did not expect however, that the hotel would be as nice as it was.
The bedroom portion was probably smaller than the bathroom (which was really big), but the room had two good sized beds, hanging space for clothes, the computer desk etc. It was clean, presentable and pleasant.
When I booked the room I asked for a driver to meet me at the airport, and he did. That sounds simple but it really wasn't. Firstly, I had no idea where to find the bus, and despite the fact that someone at the hotel could speak English, it was still difficult to get directions with regard to the meeting the bus. I ended up doing that in Chinese.
After a few phone calls, I found myself waiting on the 4th level of the airport in a pick up area (not that sort of pick up), and finally my phone rang and as I tried to answer it, the driver introduced himself. The phone call was from him just to make sure I was the right foreigner. The drive to the hotel was short, but noting how we got there reminded me of a guest comment on the hotel website warning that taxi drivers can't find the place. No wonder! The name of the hotel on the brochure is 'Beijing Aulympic Airportel,' but in every other place it was just Beijing Olympic Hotel.
Except for the Chinese breakfast which I still won't eat, every other facility and amenity that you could wish for was available. The room was spacious, airy, clean and above all, warm. In fact, just as I do in Baotou, I slept with the window open to cool the room down. Central heating delivers just one temperature in all rooms, and I prefer a cooler sleep, even in winter.
The first thing I did upon entering the room was hit the Internet and post articles for Magic City Morning Star News. After that I checked emails. Later in the evening, having read that google had removed their censoring of politically incorrect content in China, I decided to try it out. Yep! I typed in Tiananmen square massacre photos and had everything I could wish to read, available at the click of a button. (Next morning I couldn't access the Internet at all! mmmm?)
I prefer local food to hotel food, and so for both dinner and breakfast I went out into the streets and found a local dive. For dinner, I ordered Qingjiao Rousi, and ended up with a different dish. Eh! you get that. None of us spoke proper Mandarin (they came from Sichuan) and I knew that they had difficulty understanding my pronunciation. No worries! It was a great dish. I even had a floor show. The Twenty year old boy who served me ended up in a fight with the drunk cook, and I thought for awhile that it was going to be a full on punch up.
Everyone was embarrassed to have allowed the foreigner see the event - but hey! - I have seen worse in China. Fist fights usually occur between members of the 'Gentle' sex. This was the 2nd time in 7 years I have seen males fighting. I have lost track of the number of 'fairer sex' fights. Gotta watch those Chinese women!
On the 15th, I took the bus back to the airport and boarded a flight to Hong Kong. The journey took about three and a half hours, and by the time I arrived, I was just about broiled. I proceeded to the Washroom where I stripped off my long underwear, a T-shirt, 2 pairs of thermal underwear tops, and a sweater, and swapped my boots for regular shoes.
Just as well I had taken an extra empty carry bag to stuff my underwear into. I couldn't have sat on the next plane wearing all that clothing for the next 9 hours.
Well that is all I want to write at the moment. I hope that you have enjoyed this snippet from my life, and hope those of you having a stopover in Beijing now have some information at your fingertips in regard to where to stay.
The Beijing Aulympic Airportel room cost me just 199 rmb for the evening. This is the link to their English version website (still current in 2017)
On January 14th I flew from Baotou in Inner Mongolia to Beijing. That night I stayed in the Beijing Aulympic Airportel and next day flew to Hong Kong where I connected with a Qantas flight travelling to Brisbane Australia. The three and a half hour flight from Beijing was quite pleasant, and I spent a reasonable amount of time talking with 'Vaibhav' an Indian who was returning home to India after a month of working in Beijing.
In Hong Kong I transferred to Qantas Flight 98, which left Hong Kong at 22.45 local time on it's 8.5 hour trip to Brisbane. I have traveled Qantas countless times, but never have I witnessed the 'extra security precautions' that were taken in Hong Kong. We were all made to line up single file and be 'inspected.' We had to produce our passports to the first inspector, and then 'some people' (not specifically mentioning ethnic persons of the Muslim persuasion) were quizzed by a second officer.
Once we had our boarding passes checked, we headed down the ramp to board the plane. Then we discovered that we were to undergo individual hand luggage inspection. Having security officers looking through your unmentionables is bad enough without having everyone else having a gander as well.
Additional Shots from Baotou - just to interrupt your reading.
I realise that security is necessary, and that perhaps the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation had received a 'tip off' about some specific matter, but I gotta tell you folks, all that 'strange' security was a little unnerving. With that out of the way however, we passengers settled down for our flight. Now as I have said, I have traveled Qantas many times, and I always enjoy talking to the staff. I am one of those passengers who simply cannot sleep on a plane, not even in the fancy type of business class section (you know - the one almost like 1st class).
Additionally my legs cramp and swell, and so I am constantly walking up and down the aisles to keep the blood circulating. I therefore always appreciate the friendliness of Qantas staff. It can't be easy for them having to get from the galley past those queuing for the washrooms and those of us blocking the aisles.
I can honestly say that I have N-E-V-E-R encountered a surly, impolite or obnoxious Qantas staff member and simply don't understand why it is that from time to time, Qantas staff get a bad rep in the press. They are always very friendly, and except for this specific trip, have always been female. I was to discover on this trip however, that most of the attendants were male. There was John, Craig, Terrance Chin, Lucas, and there was also a Brendan, but I can't read my notes so I can't remember if that Brendan was the pilot Capt. Heslin, or another person. There were two female crew as well, but I only got one name, that of Gabrielle.
You might well ask if I usually go around taking down the names of the crew. Well actually I don't, but the flight started with such a laugh, and the crew were such characters that I did in fact write down their names. So how did the flight start with a laugh? Well - it was like this.
Additional Shots from Baotou - just to interrupt your reading again.
As we were taxiing out to the tarmac for take off, an announcement was made, and it went like this:
'Ladies and Gentlemen, we are just going to dim the lights a little to enhance the appearance of the Cabin Crew.'
Everyone on the plane burst out laughing at the announcement and so I figure that it was just the right thing to say after scaring us all out of our wits with the extra precautionary security checks. I might also add that dimming the lights didn't enhance the cabin crew's appearances.
Throughout the flight I made frequent trips to the galley area, and at various times talked with different staff members. They all appeared to get on very well together. During one brief discussion with an attendant, the subject of Google's troubles with the Chinese government was raised. I mentioned the troubles I had had with my own website, and that led to mentioning that I am a contributing columnist for a 'newspaper.'
As a joke, that attendant told another that I was a journalist with 'The Australian' newspaper, and that I was doing a story on Qantas Flight Attendants. I joined in by saying that within a few days my article and comments on the staff would be posted and everyone would know what the standard of service was like. The joke was kept up for the rest of the trip. I never did work out if anyone bought that story, but in the final analysis, although not published in 'The Australian,' this is that article.
Congratulations to Qantas for a job well done.
We arrived at Brisbane Airport 10 minutes early and as a result had to sit and wait to disembark - and that is when I finally fell asleep. Go Figure!
This next section contains some photographs from Australia.
(Photographs provided are not related to this story!)
Tangalooma Resort Moreton Island - just off Brisbane, Queensland
I have written over the last few days of the progress of my relocation from Baotou in Inner Mongolia to Brisbane Australia, and in one of those articles, I mentioned that mobile phones are too technologically challenging for me. Today I just want to share with you some of the 'Murphy's Law' type of frustration I have suffered in relation to mobile phones.
I bought my first mobile phone in 2002 and only did so because I had planned a long road trip up the east coast of Queensland, and figured that it would be a prudent thing to ensure that I could contact 'emergency services' should the need arise. I had a great trip and the phone came in very handy, although my kids complained that I didn't answer any of their text messages. It could text message? Go Figure!
In 2003 I moved to China, and the first thing I did of course was buy a 'SIM' card for my mobile; and the phone rejected that move outright. Back in OZ on holidays I went to the dealer who told me to call the service department where, having failed to unlock my phone using the appropriate command codes, sent me to someone who would physically unlock it so that I could use it in China. No Luck! I gave the mobile to my sister-in-law.
In 2008 whilst living in Yancheng, I finally purchased a mobile phone. I bought it while on a trip to Suzhou, and it cost only 400 rmb. It was a nifty little thing and I loved it dearly. Unfortunately in May 2009 it fell out of my pocket during a rickshaw ride and I didn't discover that fact for 24 hours. So once again - no mobile phone. At that point in time I was being conned into going up to Inner Mongolia to work for a private school in Baotou. The boss told me not to replace my lost mobile phone for she would surely buy me a new phone. You know what they say: If it sounds too good to be true - then it probably is! The phone she gave me was a piece of cheap junk that had no English in it and was only useful for making local calls. (In retrospect I can understand the reasoning behind providing a phone that would cut me off from the outside world.) When they found that I couldn't work the phone, they bought another with some English in it, but when I quit that school in Baotou by simply walking out of the office and moving out of my apartment during the middle of my shift, I made sure to leave that phone behind. Then I purchased another phone and it has been bearable to use. Bearable simply means 'I can use it!' which is a Chinglish expression meaning I don't want or don't like something, but will put up with it!
I brought the phone with me to Australia, and as soon as I checked into my hotel (Chermside Motor Inn 644 Gympie Road Chermside), I set off for the nearest newsagency to buy an Australian SIM card. And that's when I fell foul of Murphy's Law and my own stupidity. The shopkeeper ask: 'Which type of card would you like? The Telstra this or the other name that or the other cheap crap or......."
I said: 'Look, I don't care. I just arrived in the country and I need a SIM card so that I can use my phone and contact my family.' With that he sold me a Telstra Start up pack for $30 which gave me $30 worth of calls. I removed my Chinese SIM card, inserted the TELSTRA card - and nothing happened.
'Give it a minute mate!' said the Shopkeeper. 'It has to register on the network yet! You will receive a message shortly! Maybe you'd like to read the instruction manual while you wait?'
"No thanks!" I snorted: "She'll be right mate!"
A little while later I received messages asking me to 'save this' and 'save that' into my phone, and with that done, I tried to call family. Nope! It wouldn't let me. I went back to the hotel and tried again. Again nothing! Tried again but by this time I'm beginning to wonder if 'Your phone is not registered,' meant more that 'give us some time mate!' So I did what any Aussie male would do in a situation where nothing works - I read the instruction manual. Well it turns out that whereas in China you just buy a card, stick it in your phone, and 'Bob's your uncle!,' in Australia you have to provide all sorts of personal information before you can get a telephone number. (and China is not a 'free' country?)
According to the instruction manual, I could telephone TELSTRA or I could go to their Website and do what needed to be done. Unfortunately, the motel didn't provide landline connection to the internet, and as my computer is so old, it would not cooperate with whatever system it was that they had working in the motel for 'wireless' connection. Too exhausted from all my travelling and the frustration, I decided to get a fresh start the following day (Sunday). I also decided to go see Avatar at the Mall. That was no easy task. I couldn't find the ticket office. I even asked the guy who collects tickets as you enter the cinema. 'Down at the service desk!' he told me. I couldn't find it! So I went back to the Motel and collapsed.
Australia in the distance - looking from Moreton Island
The next day - Sunday, I paid my $30 deposit to the Motel Manager to have the landline phone connected to my room and then made a call to Telstra. Naturally the service was automated and I sat and listened to all the choices that the 'voice' gave me. By the time it had finished, I couldn't remember which button was the appropriate one, and had to wait while the confused machine recited the instructions again. I settled on 'Press One,' and waited. Then it gave me more choices, and I made the appropriate choice. Then it told me that my call might be monitored for instructional purposes and that I should tell the operator if I didn't want the call monitored. Then it told me to listen to all the advertising that would play while waiting to be connected, and even reminded me that I could do this registering on the internet. Eventually I heard the ringing tone again, and waited to speak to a real live person. Instead I got: 'We are currently undergoing maintenance on this service. Please call back in 24 hours.'
OK! What to do? The answer seemed plain. Forget about registering the phone until the next day, and just go to the movies. (I had discovered by then that the tickets are sold at the snack bar). I had seen that Avatar was on at the cinema in the local mall, so off I went. As I entered the mall I saw a Telstra shop. What luck! So I went in to see if they could help me, but was reminded yet again, that nothing is simple in my life. I went to the service desk and stood beside another fellow who was waiting there. After about 5 minutes I asked him if the place had any service staff. He assured me that eventually someone would come and speak to me and then I would have to wait for the first available person to talk to. And that is just what happened. I waited and waited and waited. I had my name taken down and the nature of the problem, and then waited and waited some more.
Glasshouse Mountains in Background - taken from Redcliffe Marina
Finally a lady comes to talk to me and after a brief discussion, we head off to their 'customer use' computers. This lady was really helpful navigating the system. Finally she says: 'OK! Now we just need your address. Where do you live?'
'In Inner Mongolia China' I informed her.
'Oh! That won't do! Can you give me an Australian address?' she asked. So I gave her my sister's address. 'OK! Now what is her telephone number?'
'I don't know!' I reply. 'The number is in my computer!'
'Is there anyone else whose number you know?'
'I know my brother's number, but I don't know his address!'
The lady smiled one of those 'oh isn't it fun to be dealing with old people' smiles. Then she asked me where I was staying. So I told her. She asks if I know the address and telephone number. I assured her that I did. She types in the address and then I opened my mobile phone to show her the hotel telephone number. The computer then informed us that they didn't match. Oh Crap! At that point I gave up and left to go to the movies. Much later I discovered that I had provided the telephone number for the Olympic Hotel in Beijing. That was a rather silly thing to do, but not as silly as both of us having failed to look up the Chermside Motor Inn telephone number in the phone book.
This is not what you think
This is not a shark but a dolphin surfing the waves. This was taken at Point Danger over the border in New South Wales. The wave it is surfing is the very last one before hitting the beach. We watched this dolphin for a long time and shortly after it disappeared we saw a surfer go into a sudden panic. Then the dophin surfaced beside him. I'm sure he needed to wash is shorts.
Next day, when Telstra services had been restored to normal, I phoned the company, went through all the automated service, and finally got connected to a wonderful chap - in the Philippines! Well, at least he got me connected! Problems solved. Or so I thought! Not long after finishing my call to the Philippines, I discovered two things. The first was that I could now make calls, and the second was that my phone battery was critical. OK then! Before I start calling people, I will charge up the phone. Right? Wrong! I'm using a Chinese phone in Australia, which means that the charger plug won't go into the power outlet. So it was off to buy an adapter. I went back to the shopping center, bought an adapter and put my phone on to charge. At the mall I used the "public use" computers to send everyone an email listing my new telephone number.
Some hours later I discover that I had missed two telephone calls. I called the first number, and got one daughter's answering machine. I then called the next number, and got a lady's voice on the phone. Thinking it was my daughter, I put on a fake Indian voice and started to talk - AND SHE CUT ME OFF! I then texted a message which said: 'Don't you recognise your father's voice? Maybe I should have spoken in Chinese.'
Over the next 3 days, everyone I contacted insisted that they had never received such a call nor any such text message. Then I got an email from my brother asking why had I sent his Wife a message about not recognising her father's voice. Did I not know that her father had died the year before. Well at least the explanation gave everyone a good laugh. So there I was in Brisbane for 48 hours with no way to contact anyone. Well actually that isn't quite true, for I had paid for the landline to my motel room to be connected, but no one answered their phones. At least that was understandable.
My sister had an operation the day before I arrived and my eldest daughter had had a 'C section' the day previous to that. Everyone was out visiting everyone else in the various hospitals and of course telephones must be switched off in the hospitals.
Between Murphy's Law, dreaded technology, and Telstra, I spent the first 2 days in Brisbane, incommunicado and judging by some of the emails I get from Magic City Readers, that is just the way they like me!
Sandcastles at dawn at Byron Bay New South Wales
I hope you have enjoyed these stories and these pictures.
The exact distance from the heart of Brisbane to Lake Baroon is unknown to me, but I can estimate that it is around 90 kilometers. It's a small manmade lake which in parts is at least 34 meters deep. This I know for a fact, because my brother, the penultimate sportsman who never likes to leave anything to chance, has a sonar device installed in the Kayak (our mode of transport for the occasion) that lets him know not just the depth of the water, but where the fish are, and whether or not it is worth the effort to circle the area in an effort to catch something.
The 'elites' of the south can keep their big metropolitan lifestyles. The people from my part of Australia love the peace and serenity to which we have grown accustomed. And if the heart of Brisbane does not offer enough to see within walking, biking or river ferry distance, we only have to jump in the car and drive for an hour in any direction, to visit some of the best scenery in the world, in Queensland, The Sunshine State.
A Male Steward came off the plane and walked over to me and said: "It's alright! We aren't going to leave without you! Calm down! Catch your breath!" The 'So and So' was right. It was still another 30 minutes before we took off! I on the other hand was watching the driver through his rear view mirror. He seemed to be blinking an awful lot and his driving was a little erratic. Not that that is unusual in China, but when you are on the highway and you have 3 or 4 lanes to choose from and very little traffic, you would think that you could drive in at least one or two of those lanes for more than 500 meters at a time.
By the time I got home and did the packing for the trip, the morning had long gone and it was around 2 pm when I head off to Wivenhoe dam with my camping and fishing gear, for some solitary piscatorial adventures. I arrived at Wivenhoe and began preparing my tent, air mattress, cooking gear etc etc, before heading off to a 'special' spot for some surface action. This area, for the first time in years, has trees semi-submerged by the recently rising water levels. The sun is already low in the sky as I get close, but before I get there, I notice the swallows circling and diving just above the water, near the bank. This is a sign that they are chasing insects. I also notice fish breaking the surface as they too attempt to catch whatever insects land on the surface. I turned off the sounder and moved silently to within casting distance and began flicking surface lures, but to no avail.
When we arrived, we noted that this place really was a resort centre. It had wave pools and other interesting things for people to enjoy, and even accommodated school tour groups with dormitory style accomodation. Opposite the breakfast room was a swimming complex, in the front of which was a very interesting sign. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my .38 Smith and Wesson. When we went in for breakfast, we saw that the next room was set up for a wedding, and discovered that it was 'our' wedding reception. Taking a 'sticky beak,' I noted that there were no knives on any of the tables. 'Ahah! Thank God I brought that solid clear plastic knife with me!.'. The whole time before and after the actual church service, the local beggars were inside the church hitting everyone for money. Oh the guilt of refusing a pittance for the poor in the house of God, but I was advised to give no one anything, for that would be more effective than the 'last trump' for the dead. All the beggars would arrive. Not that this mattered at all. Who was carrying money?
(Originally a 4 part article) On January 14th 2010, I commenced my trip back to Australia. The temperature at that time was varying between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees. It was for this Aussie, despite living in China for 7 years, truly cold. I flew from Baotou in Inner Mongolia to Beijing and stayed one night in the Beijing Aulympic Airportel. The Hotel is located very close to the airport. The fees were very very very low and that suited me fine. I did not expect however, that the hotel would be as nice as it was. Next day I flew to Hong Kong where I connected with a Qantas flight travelling to Brisbane Australia.
Today, I am using a recent letter from Jerry, to tell a story – a sad story. It is a story rooted in Ancient and Modern Chinese Culture. It is a story of an impossible love. It is a story I have heard so many times before, of families who refuse to allow their children to love whom they will. It is a story about how in the 21st century, Chinese children must still obey their parents and marry the one of whom the parents approve.
The day I was due to Leave, Zhan Yan turned up at my house saying that his summer camp had been cancelled and none of his family were in town. So guess who came with me? There is no commentary apart from the fact that it costs 50 RMB for the entrance ticket
(Note: Chiara Braccagni's articles are in both English and Italian)
Una ridente domenica mattina di fine marzo, un'allegra comitiva di 4 giapponesi e due italiane si č inerpicata su un minibus alla volta di un villaggio a una novantina di chilometri dal centro di Pechino, Cuandixia. Cuandixia č situato nel fondo di una vallata abitato da uno sparuto numero di famiglie (circa una settantina) che hanno deciso di aprire le loro case ai turisti. I punti di ristoro sono le loro cucine; il museo delle tradizioni popolari, il soggiorno di casa.
In this file I merely present photographs accompanied by a sign at Du Fu Thatched Cottage park, and a sample of Du Fu's poems. I hope you enjoy this presentation. At the end are some links to other articles and photographic files at Magic City and KingsCalendar. The Relic Exhibition Hall is the most important Part of Du Fu Thatched Cottage. It is located on the site of Du Fu's former Residence. In the late winter of 759, Du Fu went to Chengdu to avoid the disasters caused by An Lushan Shi Rebellion. In the next year, he built a thatched cottage on the bank of the beautiful Huanhua Brook, where he lived for four years and wrote more than 240 poems.
Marxists believe that the existing society must be destroyed in order to successfully establish the new order. They believe that society, like the Phoenix must die so that out of the ashes can rise the new Phoenix. I don't think that they realise that it is the same bird that rises, not one with a new design. Cultural Marxists pay no attention to the lessons of history, and it is we who will suffer because of it. We must begin to question what we have been taught. We must begin to see where our societies are headed. And most importantly, we must stop being bystanders who believe that there is nothing that they can do. (History, accelerated by science, is compressing itself, and our misfortunes, into ever tighter spirals. Can we cope? We can if we recognize the fact that man's astonishing technological progress presents just as many dangers to society as opportunities; and if we remember that utopia, or the Kingdom of Heaven, or whatever you choose to call such a state of grace, is not something that we confer on our society with science or social institutions, but forge within our souls by an act of devotion to some thing or principle greater than ourselves: Wm. B. Fankboner
The Ancient Roman and Greek Empires are now but ruins. The British Empire which began to bud with Elizabeth I Rex and came into full bloom in the reign of Queen Victoria, is now reduced to just a 'Commonwealth of Nations.' And the Empire of the United States of America? The U.S. is only 400 years old (depending on how you define 'U.S.') whilst England is 1000 years old. Americans would hardly define themselves (at least as far as world politics goes) as an 'Imperial State' or an empire, but if one did, then surely that too would be very young, perhaps no more than 100 years.
Could the land not just be given to the Arabs 'with the trees intact'? No! Ownership of 'legally' vacant land (not identified by ownership) is based on who actually 'works' the land. Remove the 'Jewish' trees and the Arabs can claim the land for themselves. Something they have already been doing with the assistance of Anti-Israel Foreign Activists who pretend that they are not Anti-Semites.
Yesterday, Wednesday November 14th, 2012 at about 11am Beijing Time or about dawn in Israel, I published an article at Kingscalendar asking why Israel does not fight back. This morning (7 am Beijing Time) I read that Israel had commenced operations against Gaza. Tonight (6.15pm Beijing Time) as I sit in China reading world news I am disgusted by what I see.
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]