A Travellerspoint blog

Motor Vehicle Accident

rain 21 °C

Well yes it could only happen to me! First I was hit by a motor cycle and now I have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Tai'an. Not surprising given the amount of people who live in this small town.

I was on my way home from the gym. It was raining so I caught a taxi. The taxi turned the corner and so did a bike. The taxi driver yelled at the rider and kept going. I guess the rider was upright so he was OK.

There was a fair dint in the side of the taxi.

Just a small bingle!

Posted by Bettinamc 02:15 Archived in China Tagged transportation Comments (0)

Extreme Weather

sunny 10 °C

Tai'an has an amazing temperature scale.

In the last week of September the temperature was in the 30's and it was blistering. We were walking around with fans. Three days later when it hits October the temperature drops to 10 degrees. What ever happened to Autumn.?!

I swear I have never experienced weather quite as cold as this. I still can not believe that at 8 am it can be 1 degrees. It blows my mind.

I am led to believe that the temperature ranges for the next 3 months are:
November Maximum 4 degrees to minimum -2
December Maximum -2 degrees to minimum -8
January Maximum -4 degrees to minimum -10

I will get off the plane in January and start stripping of clothes going from -10 degrees to 30 degrees. I still say I would rather be hot! I hope we have a long hot Queensland summer. Maybe my property at Maroochy will be empty and I can become a beach bum for the Queensland summer!

Posted by Bettinamc 02:04 Archived in China Comments (0)

Sunrise Climb

sunny 18 °C

One of the things on Barbara's to do list before she left Tai'an was to do a Sunrise climb of Mt Tai. Based on the weather reports we decided to climb the Mountain on Tuesday 30 September. We chose this day because we believed that it would be less crowded then the 01 October as this is a national holiday. Also the weather report indicated that it would be clear.

We left the apartments at 11 pm. We had intended going up the central route but the taxi driver couldn't understand us and took us to where the buses leave from. So we went through a park and walked up the bus road. It was so quiet as there were no other people on this route except for the bus loads that kept passing.

Anyway there were 2 guys on bikes that came down the road. One of them turned around and came back. This put the wind up me a little bit. But when I thought about it the Chinese would not hurt a foreigner. I think he may have been asking us if we wanted a lift on his bike. When he realised we couldn't understand him he left straight away. It wouldn't have even been a 1 minute scenario.

Barbara got sick about half way up. She was nauseous and dizzy. We had to stop a couple of times. Probably for at least 30 minutes on each occasion. At one time she was lying down. I had visions that we were going to stay at this point for the night. We couldn't have walked down in the dark especially if she was feeling dizzy. And I couldn't leave her there and go up by myself. That would have been totally selfish.

Anyway she pulled through but it was a slow climb. I saw these Chinese men with like two pieces of bamboo and a chair in the middle. They were carrying people up for a fee. I pointed them out to Barbara hoping she might hitch a ride. Anyway she asked them and paid Y200 $33 for a lift. This was a god send. Otherwise we might have still been climbing.

These little Chinese men are so strong. At some stages they were running up the stairs. Of course I had to run to keep up. I was making light of it though, saying, "Look out, Empress Barbara is coming through." Barbara enjoyed it. I was just trying to keep her spirits up as I thought she might be a little upset that she couldn't make it.

I had gone a head and waited for Barbara and the Chinese men. The next thing I see Barbara walking up. They had dropped her off.

I would walk ahead and then wait at a platform for Barbara to turn up. When we could see the last dreaded steps, Barbara said, "Off you go, I'll meet you up the top." In normal circumstances I would have stayed with her but this time was different - there was a sunrise to be seen.

Off I went and when I reached the top I sent her a text message to tell her I was at the top and to meet me at the rock. I was climbing down the rock when I saw Barbara and yelled out to her. She made it to the top but didn't see the sunrise. That's OK making it to the top is an achievement in itself.

I had a professional photo take of me at the rock with the sunset behind me. The photo is great except when you look closely you can tell that I haven't sleep in 24 hours. The bags under my eyes look like I have had a big night!
Normally in photos I look like my sister Wendy, however, in this photo I look like my Mother. Any chance one day I can have a photo taken and look like me!

On the return trip we caught the Cable car down and then the bus as Barbara was still not feeling very well. I couldn't believe on the bus ride that the bus driver was going through the mountain bends whilst talking on the mobile phone. I swear if I survive until January 09 it will be a miracle!

We arrived back at the apartment at 9.30 am. I stayed up until 11.30 am and then went to bed. I woke up at 4pm and tried to stay awake until 8.30 pm to get a normal nights sleep.

Posted by Bettinamc 01:51 Archived in China Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Oh what a day

sunny 16 °C

Today is Friday. Friday is a hectic day for me. I have 6 classes. This is the most classes you can have in any given day. Add to that the travelling time and you have a total of 8hr and 40 minutes. A big ask for a person who has become accustomed to not working more than 4 hours per day!

I'm up at 6.30 after a cold night. I do my morning chores and I am on the bus. I go to my first and second class. All is good except I forgot my water bottle. I go to my third and fourth class. All is good. I get on the school bus to come back to my apartment and this is when things turn bad.

The school bus breaks down. I have two options either catch a bus or a taxi back to my apartment. I decided whichever one comes first I will catch. The No 4 bus comes. I catch the bus to the train station. The No 2 bus is at the train station I catch that to my apartment. No time to make lunch so I buy a Chinese Hamburger. I have 30 minutes to eat my lunch and get back on the school bus for periods 5 & 6. I make the bus but forget my water bottle again.

Class 5 & 6 are all good. I get back on the school bus and get back to my apartment. I get ready to go to the gym. I get to the gym safely. I do 50 minutes on the treadmill. Then I go to the supermarket.

In China you are not allowed to take bags into shops with you. I put my gym bag in the lockers provided. I do my groceries I go to get my bag and the locker won't open. I tap a Chinese lady, who appears to work there, on the back and do my best Marcel Marceau impersonation. She goes and gets someone who speaks a little bit of Chinglish. I explain to him the situation. He gets another Chinese lady who speaks even more Chinglish. They need proof that the bag is mine.

I normally put my gym membership card in my gym bag. For some strange reason I didn't. This turned out to be my saving grace. I showed the Chinese man my gym card, my drivers license and a school business card. I tried to ring two of the leaders of the school to explain my situation. No one answered the phone. I asked them to look after my groceries and that I would be back.

I went up to the gym and told Sarah (Chinese lady who works at the gym) my situation. Sarah came down to the supermarket with me. On the way back down to the supermarket I ran into three of my students. I asked them if they could also come with me to help.

I had four people in tow who could verify my story in Chinese. Eventually they opened the locker and I got my bag out.

Well they say things happen in 3. What else could go wrong.

I get back to the school campus and there appears to be about 15 students huddled outside the school gate and some angry security guards. I recognize these students as some of my students from last semester. They call out, "Bettina" others call out "Teacher" which is what you are commonly called in Chinese classrooms. I speak with them and they tell me that they do not have their Student ID cards the security guards will not let them in. I tell them that I will try and talk with the security guards given neither of us can understand the other.

I attempt to explain to the security guards that they are my students from the other campus. He gets angry at me and starts throwing his arms about. I ring a leader and explain the situation. I tell her that these are good students and I would let them in. In the meantime one of the students is also ringing his Chinese teacher who lives on this campus.

My leader speaks to the guards and tells the guard to let them in as my guests. The guard is not happy with me but the students get in.

Lets just hope that my judgment is correct.

I need a drink. But don't have anything. Maybe I should just go to bed now!

Posted by Bettinamc 05:04 Archived in China Comments (0)

Barbara's Farewell

overcast 6 °C

Barbara's contracted ended on the 26/09/08. She has been here 12 months!

Andrew had been trying to get Barbara to commit to date so he could organize a farewell for her. Barbara set the date as her last day of her contract and gave Andrew a list of people to invite. She invited some teachers from the school and some other foreigners who she has met during her 12 months in Tai'an. Of the 8 invited 6 attended.

We enjoyed dinner at the Potato Restaurant - that's English for 'dong bei fan dian'. We ordered 5 dishes; fried potatoes, onions and peanuts (Specialty of the house), mutton, green beans and the BBQ duck. The food as per normal was sensational. The company provided an enjoyable dinner.

At 8.45pm I went to pay the bill as Andrew was keen for the second phase - bowling. Unfortunately Laura could not join us as she had lesson plans to prepare for her weekend classes.

We left the restaurant and jumped into 2 taxis. Neither taxi driver knew where the hotel was. Barbara was able to direct the taxi driver as she had been there on 2 other occasions. Andrew and Blair's taxi was lost. They contacted Barbara on her mobile and we had the bell boy from the hotel speak to the taxi driver for directions.

Whilst waiting for the second taxi to arrive a young Chinese lady (Maggie) approached me to ask if she could help. I explained to her what was happening. I discovered through our conversation that she was an English teacher in Qingdao and was in Tai'an for an English competition. She has invited me to come to Qingdao. That could be a problem. I won't want to leave Qingdao. Anyway we exchanged contact details and if I have some time I will take her up on it. Although this next week will be my last week of holidays before I come home.

The second taxi had arrived so we went to the third level of the hotel to the bowling alley. We had heaps of fun and heaps of laughs. Polly tells us she has never bowled before. Well she did good. She got a strike and a spare. Not bad for a first timer. On the first game up until the seventh bowl she was coming second. I pulled out my best with a strike and went on to win the first round. Pure fluke!

Polly didn't play the second round. I became the 'ten pin bowling queen'. I have never been any good at ten pin bowling but I pulled out 3 strikes in my second game of which 2 were consecutive. I went on to win the second game as well. This must go down in history because I don't think it will ever be repeated!

So after dinner and our 2 games of bowls we jumped into taxis and made our way home. It was a good night with lots of laughter.

Thanks Andrew for arranging Barbara's farewell.

For me, this is the first of many farewells for Barbara this week. She is here until the 05 October when she will leave to go to Beijing to catch up with her sister and brother in law and do a 2 week tour of China.

Posted by Bettinamc 02:24 Archived in China Comments (0)

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