Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I couldn't help myself - just had to take a picture of it. And I heard giggles from behind me when I stopped to take the photo. Three new students were following me along the pathway and thought it odd that I would stop and take such a photo.
"Where are you from?" they asked in good English. I pretended to hop like a kangaroo - and let's face it, it is not easy to do, but they shrieked with laughter and shouted "Australia." We all laughed and went on with our respective journeys.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We would wave a taxi, but it would either not stop, or pick up some locals. Eventually one actually refused a local and chose to take us to our destination. I wonder why he did that? Wait and you will understand.
We gave him the address in Chinese characters, he nodded and set off. Along the route we noticed that he had 40 RMB on the meter. He had either not changed it from the previous passenger or set it because he was going to make some money out of foreigners.
In any case, we pointed it out to him. His English was not good - or it was and he played ignorant - but he refused to change it. Eventually it was clear that he was going to try and make extra money from us. Now my friend knew the cost of a taxi from the city to her place - she'd done it more than once before, so she knew it was far less than 40 RMB.
We argued with him, and let him know that we had recorded his taxi driver number (which we had). Without saying anything he turned the taxi around and took us right back to where he had picked us up. As it turns out, just before he turned into the particular street, he was stopped behind a bus, so we got out quickly. We obviously did not pay him.
We caught another taxi back eventually - after a short wait - and paid the right amount of money.
We thought he was a crazy taxi man. The photo on his ID card did not match the face of the man, so it will be interesting to see what happens when we do report him. At least we know that he tried to take on three ladies in Shanghai and at this point we can claim victory over him.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The railway staff promote products for sale, during the train trip from Shaoxing to Shanghai. As the train rolls on it's 2 - 3 hour journey, the railway staff come through the train offering drinks, noodles, and fruit. Then they do slick presentation promoting a rang of products. One of the products is a torch (no batteries - is powered by hand - almost winding it up, so that it provides the power to turn on the LED light. They torch was great. I bought one.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Some of the workers use bamboo on which they string two bamboo baskets and these are used to carry smaller items (eg. fruit and vegetables), through the traffic.
Other tricycles have larger trays with room to take larger items to their destination.
By mid afternoon work has really slowed down, so it is possible you will see groups of men playing card games to while away the time.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The tricycles are laden high with the spoils of the day's collecting activity. This man was struggling riding his tricycle up a slight incline over one of the bridges in the city. About the middle of the bridge he would have climbed into the saddly for the down hill run on the other side of the bridge.
One thing that we found interesting is the variety of "oranges" seen here in the cart. I'm yet to determine if they are picked early or it is "just" the variety - but their skins are still green with a hint of orange colour.
I have eaten some that would not make the table in Australia because of their lack of orange colour which would indicate ripeness, and they tasted sweet and fresh. I just assume it is a different type of orange.
Within hours a new garden is created, and in a few short weeks the flowers are blooming.
As well, in certain areas blooming annuals are displayed - still in little plastic pots - they are often about to bloom when placed around other features. They are quickly in full bloom making the gardens of China a spectacular feature of the country.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
One day I must try it. Supposed to be very tasty.
Monday, September 8, 2008
The people of China are great bike riders. Bicycles, e-bikes, motor bikes. Wheels of all kins really. One of the challenges of living and working in a city like Shaoxing is dodging the many vehicles. It is often like a giant game of "Dodge'em" played out on the roads.
On mainland China cars are driven on the right hand side of the road. Around here there are usually four lanes - two in one direction and two in the other direction divided by a double yellow line. One gets the impression that cars are not meant to traverse this yellow double line, similar to the double white line we have in Australia. But things are not quite that easy here. Cars (especially taxi's) seem to go in all directions, on whatever side of the road they wish.
Bicycles are much the same. It is rather hair raising.
As well, there are little provision for "parking" - there certainly are car parks, but I think few and far between, so cars do seem to stop in the most unusual places.
Bicycle parking? Anywhere and everywhere. The bikes are parked in front of shopping complexes (rows of them - row upon row upon row) just like here in front of the Trust Mart in Shaoxing.
Late in the afternoon and early evening it is rather chaos as the bike riders set off. It is no wonder I procrastinated about buying one for myself.
Friday, September 5, 2008
But train travel is a little daunting.
There are huge waiting halls, where everyone waits for the train. The halls are full of noise, people, baggage, food, public announcements (in Chinese!). When you buy your ticket, you know the departure time, the gate number, your carriage number and your seat number. Pretty easy to understand on your paper ticket - even if English is your only language. (At least that has been our experience!)
There will be an announcement that your train is boarding. Everyone queues up to go through the gate where your ticket is checked. Then you walk to the platform and line up at the number of your carriage.
When the train pulls in and other passengers have disembarked, you can board and hope to find that your seat is empty waiting for you. Not always so, but the Chinese people will make sure that you have a seat. Not necessarily the one you paid for.
The trains always travel through very interesting scenery - much more relaxing than the traffic on the roadways.
This little cutie probably rested her weary legs from time to time in the pram, and at this point in her travels around a park in Ningbo, was fascinated by the balloon dog. It one "patted" it, it seemed to jump up. She was in awe of it.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I would think if this man parked his three wheeler on a pedestrian crossing in Australia, he'd be told to move on at least by the local constabulary, but here it is not an uncommon sight.
This photo was taken just one street away from main street in Shaoxing, and traffic and pedestrians continued regardless.
As well, the loads that are put on these trucks, bikes, cars, carts are astounding. Workplace health and safety rules? I don't know. Road rules? Confusing.
In any case it makes for an interesting study.
This wheelbarrow appeared near the foreign teachers apartment block. Looks like something that one of the maintenance men was using. I've seen them mix cement in these type of carts. The wheels are bicycle wheels - not matching of course, but all up a very functional piece of equipment.