Tuesday, October 30, 2007

party at my house this friday!


party at my house friday nov 2 8pm.... all are invited please spread the word!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

chengdu

There is a saying in china... Visit in chengdu when you are old because if you visit when you are young you will never leave.

It's kind of looking that way. Today is day 7 and i can't seem to escape. In fact 4 people i have met in various places during this trip are now all planning to extend their trips indefinately and become chengdu residents. not joking.

I really do not understand why this is. the weather is always cloudy and cool. there is really nothing here to make you want to stay but its hard to describe everything is just really easy and comfortable.

also the food is amazing and i have also never seen so many beautiful women in my life. everywhere you go there are dozens and dozens of beautiful women... which all want absolutely nothing to do with me.

people are also throwing employment offers my way. in fact i was offered 500 kuai to teach for 1 day. crazy.

there arelots of crazy chengdu stories to tells some are extremely shady
might have to be written up later or told in person.

i need to coordinate a cohesive escape strategery. maybe thursday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

songpan

songpan
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e 103.59671

Sonpan was beautiful. Hung out at a cool cafe called Emma's ate a chilli beef burrito ( green chillis and beef chinese style inside a calzone like pocket )

Also went to the park call huanglong. or gold dragon. I took a 1.5 hour bus out there to find out it was 200 kuai to get in...200 kuai. that is fucking insane. 200 kuai is the exact cost of 200 LARGE 500ml sized bottles of beer. that is the equivalent to paying $250.00 to go to a park in america... the type of park that doesn't have roller coasters just trees and birds and shit.

Anyways it was 7:30 am when i got off the 6am ( the only ) bus out there. was pissed off but the sign said they had pandas so i went in.

It was over 4km to the top so i hiked up looking for pandas at 7:30 in the freezing cold. It was a pretty place but of course i didn't see any pandas , gnawed at bamboo stalks, or any piles of panda poop anywhere. I had been had.

Anyways a little disgruntled at no pandas i got to the top and there was a little temple and the the 5 colored pools.. which are pools of water and the the stone on the outside was yellow and on the inside was blue. apparently the other 3 colors are on vacation right now but that was okay because it was pretty and because of the time and the 4+km hike i was the only person up there and got to enjoy it all in peace.

about 2 minutes later a bunch of old chinese people got there and started to use the photography skills the japanese taught them. they all wanted to have their picture with me after 30 minutes there were thousands of them... thousands. I could not fathom how they got up there. they must have been all hopped up on jasmine tea and fortune cookies. I politely asked asked what they thought of the hike up there. the one guy laughed he said they didn't they rode a cable car up.

MUTHERFUCKER!

i was all annoyed going back down thru the endless sea of rich old chinese people with the flyest canon and nikon gear anyone has ever seen. I was annoyed because they jacked up the price of entering a park because of the cable car. Then i got back down i went looking for a hot dog on a stick back in the visitor center and then saw the sign for the cable car... extra 80 kuai. all these Chinese people had just paid 280 kuai to go to a park with no pandas and have their photo taken with a smelly white boy. the funny thing is i bet they will frame these photos and hang them up in their mistresses apartment and tell the story for years to come.

anyways i am just bitter.

for 200 kuai not only should you get to see a panda you should be able to sample some panda sashimi and you should be able to wash it down with beer served in a commemorative mug made from the skull of a panda.

tomorrow i go to visit the panda breeding center maybe i will get lucky and play seven minutes in heaven with a panda.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

enlightenment

so there i was in xia he checking out the monestary. I was doing the circuit of prayer wheels with the rest of the pilgrams looking for a little enlightenment. Then i walk past what was apparently a car wash outside the monestaries entrance. I saw a monk clad in his scarlet robes washing a black audi A6 the chinese official car of officials. I thought to myslef those chinese bastards are oppressing the peace loving tibetean people yet again by having the monks wash the cadres cars for them.

Then fuck me in the goat ass, suddenly the monk turns off the hose jumps in and drives away.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

frolic room


I have been gone almost a year but i have not been forgotten by the staff of the frolic room. not sure if thats good or bad.


my buddy tim gave me this report:

you are missed here. the bartender at the frollick asked about you. no kidding. he said, where's your friend? i said, i don't have friends. he said, yeah. the little guy with blond hair. i said, china. he lives in china. newcastle, please. and that was that.

langmusi

langmusi
gps coming!
elevation 3500m

So still on my way south through the mountains on my way to sichuan from gansu. In fact i am in this small tibetean town on the border. There is a river...actually a poop brown stream that divides the town on one side is sichuan the other side is gansu.

It is a cool little place and it snows at night and in the morning everything is covered with snow. Today i hiked up to a monestary and took some pitures. then hiked over to some other tiny tibetean village. overall this is a pretty amazing place.

My bout with river butt has passed. after not eating for a few days i finally scarfed down a yak burger... it was burger-like and unfortunately it lived up to its name. 2 hours later I got that not so fresh feeling and headed for the hotels bathroom. I ended up in your average chinese bathroom... no walls and 3 holes in the floor with 2 of the holes occupado by chinese guys enjoying a poop while reading the newspaper and having a cigarette. they didn't even flinch when i expelled my yak burger and half of my lower intestines. Next place I am going to splurge on a fancier hotel with $3 rooms. maybe even one that has bathrooms with at the very least a door or some sort of dividing mechanism.

maybe the altitude is kicking my butt. i am at around 3500meters according to my gps. not sure what exactly that means. the whole metric system eludes me but i know i am high up because of the clouds out side my room all the yaks chilling out.

I am on a white rice and pijiu only diet until i hit chengdu where i am going to FUCK UP some kentucky fried chicken.

Monday, October 15, 2007

xiahe

xiahe
n 35.19654
e 102.51235

Chilling in xia he a tibetean town thats not on the plateu of tibet. its a mountain region a little east. Overall it looks like tibet and is very simila except geographically it is in a mountain valley surrounded by forests.

it is also the largest monestary out side of tibet and there are about 1000 monks hanging out. mostly in the internet cafes playing 1st person shooter games. not sure how that conforms with the whole non violence thing.

today i have a serious bout of la duzi ( river butt ). and on top of that there is a hail storm outside.

tomorrow i take a bus south through the mountains and more tibetean settlements towards chengdu. Chengdu is the ancestoral home of gung bao ji ding.. or as we call it kung pao chicken.
I cannot wait to sample kung pao chicken in its natural habitat!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

xia he

now in xiahe a tibetean town on the edge of sichuan qinhai and gansu.

very wierd i am typing this from a internet cafe full of monks watching tom and jerry carttons and chatting on QQ ( the chinese MSN ). i wonder if they are trying to meet chicks online?

my holga is gonna get a workout here!

jiayuguan

jiayuguan
39.85415
98.17014

I stopped off at jiayuguan on my way out. this is the end of the great wall. nothing too exciting just rented a bike and rode out there climbed up and chilled out and listened to my ipod. I have now been to the two ends of the great wall where it begins in the ocean and now where it ends in the desert where china met the rest of the world on the silk road..... call it a day. then back on a train to lanzhou.

dunhuang

dunhuang
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e 94.67037

I stopped off in dunhaung which is an ancient city on the silk road into china. It is also one of the most important places in the history of buddhist art. This is where art from rome and india converged on its wayy into china and fused to form the beginnings of chinese buddhist art.

This was an ancient buddhist monastary where erlier in the century all the world plundered china for its ancients scrolls and manuscripts. as detailed in hopkirks book foreign devils on the silk road.

I wanted to see the famouse magao caves and this art. Unforunately it was like $30. A girl i knew in the hostel told me she knew a way to sneek in. So i looked inwards and summonded my inner ninja and follwed her to sneek in. What she neglected to tell me was although it was easy to jump the fence visitors cannot freely roam around and look at the caves. When you pay ur $30 they put wou in a tour group of 10 people. each of the caves is locked with a big metal door and unlocked by the guides for each group.

We jumped the fence and saw a group and decided to follow them into a cave. so there i was in the middle of a chinese tour group of 10.... and i was blonde number 12. not only could i not blend but the tour was in chinese and the only thing i understood was lao hu ( tiger ). Sure enough at the end of her talk a sucurity guard entered the cave and the guide pointed at me. I smile and shrugged the guard just laughed and i bailed out of that cave and didn't look back.

The girl from the hostel suggested we sneak over to the beginning and joing a group from there. The tour guide was way cool and let me get away with my stupid laowai act and i followed along. I then started jumping in with private groups seeing cabes not on the main path.

overall it was one of the most cool cultural things i have seen.

other than that dunhuang was great. the hostel was amazing and an old chinese courtyard out on the edge of the desert sand dunes. it was only 20 yuan a night. the father of the owner was a shufa ( calligraphy master 0 and i got to see him doo his thing every morning. he said he would teach me for free if i stayed. if it wasn't getting so col i would have!

the night market served up deliciuos rou jia mou or "roger moores" as i call them. they are the shredded meat in a bun like a chinese sloppy joe.

I also sampled the local specialty of spicy donkey intestines... which was not a good i dea before my 6 hour train ride.

wulumuqi

So posts are a long time over due.

urumqi (click for map)
n 43.80082
e 87.59531

I ended up in urumqi on my way out of xinjiang province. Nothing to exciting there its a big modern city full of rich chinese people didn't have much in the way of good food or interesting sights. The only thing that happened while there was i met up with a couple guys from france and a guy from new zealand in the hostel. that night france played NZ in the rugby world cup. we found a cool pub in town owned buy a kiwi and it was the only expat bar in all of xinjiang. unfortunately they didn't have the game but the foreigners in town chipped in for a hotel room in a 5 star place with satelite tv to watch the game so i ended in a suite watching rugby at 3am with a bunch of frenchmen and 2 kiwis. thats all i have to say about that.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

relationship advice UNCUT

I have been recieving various complaints regarding the wholesome ontent of my love advice column so i will post some of the articles i sent before my editor "polished" them up. I don't know if they are any better or not. We all know I am the least qualified guy on the planet fro this job anyways.

Dear Ben,
I'm trapped in a complex situation which disturbsme often. Whether I'm bragging or not, I have to admitthat I'm a good-looking girl. I have a normalboyfriend who I feel at home with. There is anotherboy who is one class higher than me. My friends sayhe matches me very well because he's so handsome.Theysay we'll be the most shiny scenery on campus if weare together. Though I know they are just joking,there actually exists a wondrous relationship betweenus which have not told anyone about. Every time weencounter each other on the campus path we always makeeye contact at the same time, then walk away as ifnothing has happened. This makes my heart beat fastand excites me in ways which I can not get from myboyfriend. Gradually I've been addicted to this game,looking forward to seeing him and expecting somethingwill happen. However, I feel guilty when seeing myboyfriend and pours his love all over me. I feelmiserable am I a bad girl?
bad girl

I would have to say your not that much of a bad girl you just seem to want to be a bad girl and on the verge of making some potentially bad choices. There is nothing wrong with admiring another boy because he is handsome. It's O.K. to lookbut don't touch, and you needn't feel miserable for a little harmless flirting. But before you do go any further and potentially wreck your current relationship you should consider that you hardly know this boy and a couple of lingering glances hardly constitutes a wondrous relationship. There is more tolife than being "shiniest scenery on campus". I suggest before you make a big mistake end arelationship with someone who loves you and treats youwell, you might want you make sure that you havesomething in common with Mr. Handsome, other thanbeing really really good looking and the fact that you both seem to like to swim in the shallow end of the pool.

Dear Ben,
I need some advice about a girl i recently met. I havea crush on a foreign exchange student. She is aCanadian and I am worried about all the culturalobstacles I must overcome in order to win her heart.For example I am afraid she might like different foodsfrom me. Would it be possible for you to give me somerecipes so that I could cook dinner for her. Could youalso give me some recipes for romance so i can get thecourage to tell her about how I feel.
dark horse

I think you are in luck because Canadian people loveChinese food. I used to live in Toronto and the onlydifference I could see between the food there and thefood here in China is that there everything is servedwith french fries. The thing you should realize isthat this girl came to study in China because she digsChina and wants to learn about Chinese culture. She ishere to learn, try new foods, and to experience allkinds of new things. This puts you in a really goodspot because if you play your cards right you can bethe guy to show her all these new and exciting things.Take it slow though, she is in a new place and youdon't want to intimidate her. I suggest next time youand some of the other classmates go out together youinvite her along. Start off trying to hang out withher in a group environment to see if you have anychemistry. If you find that there is some magic thenmaybe you can invite her out for dinner and take itfrom there.

Dear Ben,
I recently graduated from university, my girlfriendis still still finishing her studies and for the firsttime we are living far way from each other. Thedistance makes things hard but we call and chaton-lineeveryday.Recently I discovered she has been spending alot of time chatting on-line with two different boys.One of them is her old boy friend from high school,theother is one of her classmates who asked her to be hisgirlfriend last year and was refused by her.Sometimes they send each other messages late at nightafter I have said goodnight to her. We had a big fightabout this and she insists that they are just friendsand I am just being jealous. If they are chatting thismuch I don't think that heir intentions areinnocent.This is beginning to drive me crazy and Idon't know what I should do!jack

This is a tough situation you seem to be in, if youdon't play your cards right you are going to be introuble. I wouldn't worry to much about theex-boyfriend he is harmless, you need to watch out forthis other guy because there is no question in my mindthat he has set his sights on your girlfriend. Theroot of the problem is that you are having trustissues, if you can't trust her than this relationshipisn't going to last. She is probably completelyinnocent thinking this other guy is just being a goodfriend and has no clue to his real intentions. Youneed to keep a cool head and don't make anyaccusations at your girlfriend. If youstart being too jealous and acting like you don'ttrust her you are just going to drive her away fromyou and into the arms of this other guy. You shouldtalk to your girlfriend smooth things over and let herknow that regardless of everything that you are sorryfor being jealous and that you trust her, but also lether know that you feel this other guys intentions areless than honorable and that if they become more thanfriends then that is not okay.Then i suggest you keepan I on what this other guy is doing and watch himlike a hawk!

heading to urumqi

I thik i have accomplished all that I am going to in kuqa. I am now held up in a wang ba reading up on latest brittany news waiting for the overnight bus to urumqi.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Kuqa

Kuqa:
n 41.71095
e 82.97170

So I finally left Kashgar. I took a 10 hour train hard seat. The only real obstacle was getting all of the giant knives I bought on the train. I didn't think it would be a problem but apperently it is. I got busted by the jing cha( cops ) for having 9 crocidile nundee sized knives. The told me i couldn't bring them on the train so i tried to talk my weay out of it then they looked at my passport and started all thesewierd converstaions about knives asking how much i payed saying i got a really good deal they asked my if i went to the knife factory. they liked my mao zedong bag. I think the whole time they wanted me to bribe them. i didn't but i told a few funny stories and tried to teach them how to play spoons. then they let me take the knives on the train.

So I arrived in kuqa around 10:30 pm took a taxi to the cheapest hotel ( $7 too damn expensive ). on the way we drove past more brothels then i have ever seen in my life. There must have been 30 storefronts with pink lights on either side of the street. I tried to do the math kuqa is a tiny place with 60,000 people with easily 50+ brothels multiply that times the numbers of speciale evening ladies subtract that number from number of...I just can't crunch the numbers. I am beginning to think xinjiang is the las vegas of china!

Anyways I I checked in dumped my stuff and went on the search for bbq.. priorites. after that i wandered around the town sqaure and eventually gor dragged into a chinese disco by locals. This place was freaking crazy but nothing to out of the ordinary. lots of shows kareoke room yadyada I had a few drinks their chatted with the locals and crashed at the hotel.

Today the weather sucks so i walked out to the mosque to cloudy for pictures so i am here typingt this blog post.

Did i mention it is ramadan now and during the day all the resturants are closed. it is beginning to get on my nerves.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I am here!

I amde a cool hybrid google map so you can see where I am.

click this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=zh-CN&geocode=&q=39.47213+75.98536&ie=UTF8&ll=40.044438,76.025391&spn=31.628048,38.847656&t=h&z=4&iwloc=addr&om=1

Adventures in Durkadurkistan

Not sure what to report. Life has been pretty mellow.

I am still in kashgar and have been meandering here for about a week. It is a pretty cool place. It is the cross roads of the old silk road. From here you can head on the Karakorum pass straight to Islamabad in Pakistan or over to Kyrgyzstan up to Kazakhstan down into Tibet or back into china.

The city of kashgar is amazing. It is very Islamic and it is very much like durkidurkistan in team america world police. there is definitely some chinese modernization but there is still plenty of charm. It is by far one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. I have mostly just been wandering around taking pictures and at night meeting with other travellers and hitting the night markets eating grilled liver and local breads washing it all down with pomegranate juice and melon slices. life has been simple but good. I have been searching the city for that fucked up bar where han shot gredo ( first ) but it has eluded me thus far.

The bread here is amazing especially after almost a year of rice. The bread comes in two varieties the flat nan pizza crust variety or the sesame seed bagel variety. Unfortunately there isn't mozzarella or cream cheese within a 2000km from here.

The "great" sunday market was good but not all too different from the large flea markets in georgia. This is going to sound very american but whenever i read about massive markets and beautiful lakes I leave unimpressed. they pale in comparison to things i have seen in america. I am beginning to realize how much cool shit we have in north america that the rest of the world doesn't have. As far as natural wonder you really can't beat alaska or loon mountain in new hampshire. These things always seems to impress english people though, i have never been to london but i guess if you lived in a world of grey wet rainy weather just about anything is impressive.

I also want to rant about travellers. these guys are soo kooky they sell insurance all year then they grow a ponytail buy a big floppy funny hat come to china and get all hard core. They always direct the conversations to how much they hate cities and how real things are in the country. It is always the same. I met one guy and when i told him how I am now living in beijing he then tells me "I spent 2 days in beijing I don't like it its a city and cities they are all the same". fuck that! all cities are not the same and where does this person live.... london??? no that one doesn't count at all!!!! I have to disagree cities are not all the same and I tend to experience more in the cities then I ever have sleeping in a yurt and shitting in a field. I am also getting annoyed by the travellers i meet who bash america while drinking a coke, wearing an NBA shirt, and a $100 pair of nikes. WTF!

as for me the plan is "evolving" I had originally planned to go into kygezstan or Kazakhstan but the more i hear from travellers the more i think i will focus my energy on gansu province in china. The stan's seem to be largely open and full of natural wonder... ie very boring. I have been chatting a lot in chinese I am feeling confident and I now want to spend more time in china and see if i can improve my han yu!

My current plan is to follow the silk road over to xining then head south through the tibetean villages towards sichuan province and chengdu and from there ride the yangste river to shanghai. hopefully along the way I can get into some adventures and if I am lucky eat some endangered species.