Saturday Night Drag Queen Fever

Hong Kong is known for sev­eral things like it’s shop­ping, eat­ing, drink­ing and espe­cially its par­ty­ing. Lan Kwai Fong is prob­a­bly one of the most famous bar streets in the world. How­ever the bars and clubs around Soho and Wyn­d­ham Street are even bet­ter places to hang out. It’s been a long time since I had a big night out, but Sat­ur­day is the best night for it. I ended up bar hop­ping around some of the top clubs includ­ing Kee Club, Dragon Eye and Drop. One of the high­lights of the night was a drag act, which whipped the crowd at Dragon Eye into frenzy. It was a fun night, that ended up in the early hours of the morn­ing. How­ever like every­thing in Hong Kong, it was over the top, totally out­ra­geous and expen­sive, so I wouldn’t want to be doing that every weekend.

Friday Night Royal Wedding Kiss

Fri­day night is always a big night for going out in Hong Kong. My friend Win­nie whom I am stay­ing with tried to drag me out, but I wasn’t going to move. It was the Royal Wed­ding and wanted to have front row seats along with a bil­lion other peo­ple in front of the TV. With the +8 hour time dif­fer­ence to Lon­don I stayed up late to watch it all on Hong Kong’s Pearl TV. Which now broad­casts in high def­i­n­i­tion TV, which makes a big dif­fer­ence to the qual­ity of the image. After­wards they showed a pro­gramme about the last eight royal wed­dings since 1947. Unfor­tu­nately more than half of them have ended in divorce, includ­ing Charles and Diana, Andrew and Fer­gie, Princess Anne and Cap­tain Mark Phillips. The divorce rate is now 50% in the UK, so only time will tell if William and Kate are on the right side of the line. Although they looked like their heads were in the clouds, I think they have their feet on the ground and that why most Eng­lish peo­ple like them. Good luck to them both.

My Bright Orange Beetle

Arrived in Hong Kong and the first thing I noticed at the air­port was these HSBC ads. The head­lines read “Every­day 200,000 peo­ple leave the coun­try­side for the city.” It’s been over fif­teen years since I left Lon­don for Hong Kong, but that was more of a city-to-city move. When I lived in Lon­don I use to drive a bright orange bee­tle like the one in the ad. The only dif­fer­ence was that mine had a full-length sun­roof, which was great in sum­mer. In those days Bee­tle dri­vers use to wave or flash their head­lights at other Bee­tle dri­vers which was a nice touch. So it made you feel like part of a com­mu­nity of in-people. It was a cool car to drive espe­cially dur­ing the rave years of going to clubs and par­ties in Lon­don. How­ever, it wasn’t too com­fort­able to drive over long dis­tances and I wouldn’t want to drive one now. But it made me smile to see it in an ad and it brought back fond mem­o­ries of times past. I guess your first car will always have a spe­cial place in your heart, like your first girl­friend, but that’s another story.

Chinese Lunchbox

I’ve been liv­ing in China over four year now, but my mum still often asks me what I have for lunch. In the UK we have the cul­ture of eat­ing sand­wiches, but this idea is fairly new to China, as most Chi­nese don’t like eat­ing cold food. How­ever Star­bucks and Sub­way sand­wiches are becom­ing more pop­u­lar among young office work­ers. Most peo­ple tend to bring their own food, eat in local restau­rants or order lunch boxes. As there are a lot of cheap places to eat around my school, I tend to eat out or order a lunch box like this one. They nor­mally con­sist of rice with some kind of meat and veg­etable. This one is bar­beque pork, which is one of my favourites. It’s healthy fast food, which they deliver to your office and it only costs about RMB 15 (US$ 2.30 GB£ 1.50p). Its much bet­ter than eat­ing McDon­alds and KFC for lunch.

Tanya’s Latest Photoshoot

Can­thy has taken Tanya to about four or five pho­to­shoots since she was born. She has been pho­tographed for a num­ber of mag­a­zines and adverts, so is get­ting use to all the fuss that goes with it. Hav­ing to change her out­fits sev­eral times and then act infront of the cam­era, while the direc­tor, edi­tor, pho­tog­ra­pher and assis­tants all try and get her to pose for the cam­era. Nor­mally Can­thy is the most vocal as she cheers Tanya on, so I am not sure who enjoys it the most. I tend to sit in the back­ground and watch it all from a dis­tance. As I know what its like to work with ani­mals and chil­dren and the worst are always the children’s par­ents, haha. The only time I get involved is when Tanya starts to get tired then its my job to say “it’s a wrap” and take her home.

Chinese Calligraphy Brushes

I have been study­ing Chi­nese for two months now and mak­ing some good progress in speak­ing, read­ing and writ­ing. Sev­eral of my teach­ers also teach Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy using tra­di­tional ink and Chi­nese brushes. As an cre­ative per­son I am inter­ested in this and have been watch­ing some other stu­dents learn­ing. It is a lot harder than you imag­ine and takes a lot of time to prac­tice, which I haven’t got at the moment. So I think I will stick to just using a pen for now, until I have mas­tered the basic strokes of the char­ac­ters. How­ever, I do like the brushes and stand, so I think I will buy one just for dec­o­ra­tion and to inspire me for later.

Ayi Teaching Tanya For A Walk

The spring­time weather in Bei­jing is really beau­ti­ful so it’s a great time to be out­side. Our Ayi takes Tanya out every­day to get fresh air and meet the other kids. Over the last few weeks she has been teach­ing her to walk which is amaz­ing to watch. As long as you hold her hand, Tanya can tod­dle a few steps then nor­mally loses her bal­ance and falls down. She really gets excited when she is try­ing to walk so I think it wont be long before she cant walk on her own. How­ever Can­thy is a lit­tle ner­vous, as she is wor­ried Tanya will fall over and hurt her­self. Unfor­tu­nately this will hap­pen but I told Can­thy it’s all part of her grow­ing up. And falling down and get­ting up again is just part of life. I’ve for­got­ten how many times I’ve fallen over, but the trick is you always get back up. Like the Chi­nese proverb says “ If you fall down seven times, get up eight”

Modo “Best Value Lunch Deal” In Beijing

At the week­ends we always take Tanya out for lunch, but a famil­iar ques­tion also pops up, “where are we going to eat?” Both Can­thy and I are bored or say­ing and hear­ing it, but there are just too many choices in Bei­jing. Despite this we often end up going to the same old places as they are famil­iar and you know what you get. How­ever to change this rou­tine I looked at Time Out Bei­jing Magazine’s Restau­rant Awards for 2011. Although we had been to many of them there were a few new one we thought wed try. Modo, won the “Best Value Lunch” so we went to San­l­i­tun to check it out. The food was excel­lent, as was the ser­vice and the envi­ron­ment was bright and relaxed. Can­thy got talk­ing to the owner Alex, who it turned out also had a 10-month-old baby girl. After we fin­ished eat­ing his wife, Eva and their daugh­ter turned up for lunch. So the two mums got to swap sto­ries about their daugh­ters, as there is only a week dif­fer­ence between them. It’s easy to see why Modo deservedly won the award, as it really offers a dif­fer­ent and unique eat­ing expe­ri­ence. We will def­i­nitely be back again and maybe try the din­ner menu when I am not dri­ving. As I am sure the food would taste even bet­ter with a glass or two of wine.

125 Year Old Mercedes Car

I had another fly­ing visit to Shang­hai so up again at 5am for the fight. The Shang­hai Motor Show opened this week so I was hop­ing I might get time to visit. Unfor­tu­nately the show was only for media and not open to the pub­lic until next Mon­day. So I didn’t get to see any new cars, but I did see the world’s first car pro­duced by Mer­cedes in from 1886. A work­ing replica was on dis­play out­side the Ritz Carl­ton Hotel in Pudong. With its hard wheels and steer­ing han­dle it looked more like a mor­tised tri­cy­cle. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to look at and I spent ages study­ing the car. It looks noth­ing like my Mer­cedes, which would look like a rocket beside it. But then in another 125 years we could all be fly­ing around in space­ships like in the movie The Fifth Ele­ment, with Bruce Willis. Well, I wont be around but I am sure Mer­cedes will still be inno­vat­ing cars for the future, what­ever they might look like.

Tanya Holds Her Own Bottle

Tanya’s over ten months old and becom­ing more self con­fi­dent and self suf­fi­cient. She can pull her­self up to stand up and even walk if she holds onto things. She also now holds her own milk bot­tle and can feed her­self. Her per­son­al­ity is start­ing to come through as she becomes more inde­pen­dent. She is still drink­ing baby for­mula four times a day but we are also sup­ple­ment­ing her diet with fruit and veg­etable. Although she can feed her­self, if I am home I will still give her the milk. As I want to trea­sure the time to hold her and feed her while she looks into my eyes. It’s an amaz­ing feel­ing, but I can already sense that these times will soon be over, as she grows up and wants to do more things for herself.

Chinese Fire Cupping

I went with Can­thy back to the Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Med­i­cine hos­pi­tal. She was suf­fer­ing with pains in her knees so she wanted the doc­tor to give her fire cup­ping on her joints. It was inter­est­ing to watch the doc­tor work­ing. After half an hour of Chi­nese mas­sag­ing to her body he applied the cups. It was actu­ally quite a sim­ple process to per­form. He first put a lighted flame into the small glass cup, which takes out all the air. This cre­ates a vac­uum once he puts in on her knee and then sucks up the flesh to bring the blood up to her skin. Can­thy told me it’s a pain­less process, but it just feels a bit weird. The doc­tor offered to treat me again, so maybe next time I will give it a try.

Chinese Obama Poster Propaganda

Can­thy took me back to the Shuang Lai Fang Zhuang Chi­nese restau­rant, as she wanted me to try another one of their spe­cial dishes. The last time we sat in a pri­vate room but this time we sat in the main restau­rant. The inte­rior design has a rus­tic feel using lots of wood and stone. This style matches the Shaanxi food they serve, which is quite sim­ple and basic to pre­pare and cook. What I found most inter­est­ing was the “Aoba­Mao” poster on the wall. It was depict­ing Pres­i­dent Obama in a Chair­man Mao pose and wear­ing a tra­di­tional Chi­nese suit from the 50s. Obama is very pop­u­lar in China, espe­cially when he came to visit the main­land last year. At that time posters and t-shirts with his image on were banned from being sold dur­ing his trip. This one seems to have sur­vived but it’s rare to see these now.

Spiderman Window Cleaners

We had the win­dow clean­ers come over to our apart­ment this week. I also noticed a few other build­ings being cleaned like this office tower. It always amazes me how these guys clean the win­dow with a bucket of water and a squeegee, while abseil­ing down on a rope. It doesn’t look too safe but I am sure they get use to it after a while. I read recently that the French climber nick­named Spi­der­man climbed the world’s tallest build­ing in Dubai. Not sure how they clean the win­dows at that build­ing. But at over 800 meters tall, I am sure they don’t have peo­ple dan­gling on the end of a rope.

Stormy Weather Coming

Bei­jing expe­ri­enced it’s first sand storm today. Can­thy and I tried to take Tanya out­side in the morn­ing but decided against it. The winds were so strong that the streets were deserted. How­ever we did make a trip to the super­mar­ket but came home quickly as the skies looked like a real storm was com­ing. Luck­ily it wasn’t so bad but the weather fore­cast is for more storms to come. The sands are blown down from the deserts in North West China, which have been made worse by envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems. In pre­vi­ous years the sand storms turns the sky yel­low and you have to make sure all your win­dows are close. Oth­er­wise the sand gets every­where and blan­kets every­thing with a layer of yel­low dust.

Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Duck?

We take Tanya out every­day to the gar­dens in or apart­ment com­plex at Cen­tral Park. At week­ends it turns into a kinder­garten, as there are so many kids around. It’s becom­ing a real com­mu­nity and a good place for Can­thy and our Ayi to meet other moth­ers and talk about babies and stuff. It was even more excit­ing this morn­ing as one of the Ayi’s brought along a lit­tle duck­ling amd chick­let. All the kids went crazy and wanted to play with it and even Can­thy joined in too. Tanya was to young to hold it and didn’t know quite what to make of them as it’s the first time for her to see these ani­mals. One of the moth­ers made a joke about Peking Duck, but the kids were to young to under­stand that one day they may be eat­ing these lit­tle fluffy creatures.

Brilliant Brasil Food

A new restau­rant opened a few months ago called Casa Brasil. It’s on Guanghua Lu and we drive past it every­day on our way home. On the spur of the moment we decided to stop off and try it out. It was only 6pm but we love hav­ing a “Bei­jing din­ner”. In the west, most peo­ple tend to eat around 8pm or even later.  Where as in Bei­jing peo­ple like to eat around 5pm or 6pm. I am not sure if the food was Brazil­ian but it some of the best food we have had in Bei­jing. The qual­ity of the food, espe­cially the meat was very good. And the food pre­sen­ta­tion was sur­pris­ing and cre­ative with added to the expe­ri­ence. It reminded us like another one of our favourite restau­rants called Salt. Then we met the chef who it turns out use to work at Salt and it all made sense. The chef told us they also do a good set lunch, so I guess we have to try that out next time.

Chinese Lunch and Chinese Talk

Canthy’s office went for a com­pany lunch and her boss invited me to join them. I have had lunch with them before but nor­mally I don’t say much as they don’t speak Eng­lish.  How­ever this time was totally dif­fer­ent as I was able to under­stand most of the con­ver­sa­tion and join in and talk with them. My two months of study­ing Chi­nese is pay­ing off though at times the speed of con­ver­sa­tion was too fast for me to catch. And by the time I wanted to add some­thing the con­ver­sa­tion had moved to another topic. Still it was a good start. The restau­rant called “Shuang Lai Fan Zhuang” is just across the road from my school and is designed with tra­di­tional Chi­nese elem­nets. With lions and lanterns out­side and a roof that looks like it comes from the For­bid­den City. The food was good so I think Can­thy and I will be going back there again and I can prac­tice my Chi­nese at order­ing the food.

Big Eyed Little Girl

Many of our friends say that Tanya looks like me but I still she looks more like Can­thy. Not that I am con­cerned as I would rather she looks like Can­thy as she is after all a girl. How­ever peo­ple also com­ment on how big her eyes are and that she def­i­nitely gets from me. Can­thy also thinks her stub­born char­ac­ter comes from me but I say it comes from Can­thy. I think it’s funny how we seem to blame the faults of our chil­dren on the other par­ent. Whereas we only think our child gets the good things from us. I often find myself prais­ing “my” daugh­ter for doing some­thing really good. And then when she is naughty she turns into “your” daugh­ter and I jok­ingly say it’s Canthy’s fault. I sup­pose we all see the world though our own eyes. But some­times its good to see it from another person’s point of view to under­stand where they are com­ing from. Espe­cially when you look at the world through the eyes of a child.

High Rise Scaffolding Men

There are so many new build­ing go up around Bei­jing you become obliv­i­ous to yet another build­ing site. Walk­ing past this one near my apart­ment I was struck by the size of the steel struc­ture. How­ever what really caught me eye was the two guys (in the mid­dle of the photo) sit­ting on top of the steel gird­ers. They looked like they were chat­ting away like it was just another day at the office. At times like this I wish I had a real cam­era with a zoom lens and not just a point and shoot. As I couldn’t get close enough to pho­to­graph them and get a really clear pic­ture of the two guys. High-rise work is a dan­ger­ous and per­ilous job espe­cially con­sid­er­ing how fast and high things get built in China. But these guys looked like they were hav­ing a nice tea break while wait­ing for the boss to tell them what to do next.

Aftermath Of Fire Cups On Canthy’s Back

Canthy’s been going once a week for treat­ment at the Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Med­i­cine hos­pi­tal. She had a par­tic­u­larly hard ses­sion today of mas­sage and fire cup­ping, which I don’t know if it’s good or bad thing as it looked really painful. The red­ness just high­lights how bad her prob­lem is, so Can­thy said the treat­ment is really help­ing. Despite what it looks like it appears to be work­ing, but it will be many weeks or months before she is fully recov­ered. After see­ing Canthy’s back I told her I will put off going to see the doc­tor for diag­noses. And any­way I don’t think I have any­thing wrong with me. But that’s the key dif­fer­ence with Chi­nese and West­ern med­i­cine. In West­ern med­i­cine we go to see a doc­tor after we are ill. He then gives us drugs to treat the symp­toms and make us get bet­ter. In Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Med­i­cine you go to a doc­tor for pre­ven­tion not cure. So he treats the cause of the ill­ness not the symp­toms. The effect is not always as imme­di­ate as in West­ern med­i­cine but it is sup­pose to be bet­ter for you in the long term.

Mickey Mouse Is Coming To Shanghai

My old friend GG came over to visit this after­noon. I haven’t seen her in almost a year although she only lives 10 min­utes away from my home. She brought Tanya a present of a Mickey Mouse plush toy. Tanya loved it but the toy was even big­ger than she was. A few days ear­lier Dis­ney announced it had bro­ken ground on the new huge theme park it is build­ing in Shang­hai. It wont be open for about five years but I can’t wait to visit it. Tanya will be around five years old and I will be around 50, but I will prob­a­bly enjoy it as much, if not more than her. The Dis­ney brand is very pop­u­lar in China. So the only prob­lem will be the crowds, as I expect it to be just as busy as The Shang­hai Expo was last year.

Beautiful And Tasty Spring Flowers

Can­thy had to work today and with no ayi, I had to look after Tanya on my own. I thought I would find it hard to do, but once you get into her rou­tine it not so bad. The weather in Bei­jing is beau­ti­ful at this time of year as Spring is offi­cially here. I spent most of the after­noon push­ing Tanya around out­side in the park. Show­ing her all the new flow­ers and buds in the trees. At this age she is inter­ested in any­thing new so I gave her these petals to play with. How­ever I turned around for one sec­ond to put my cam­era away and when I looked back she had already eaten half of the flow­ers. I quickly tried to get my fin­gers in her mouth but I was too late. She then gave a lit­tle two teeth grin, as if to say I swal­lowed them so what! Well noth­ing I could do so I decided it was prob­a­bly time to go as Can­thy would be home around six o clock. She had been call­ing me all day to make sure I was OK with Tanya. How­ever I don’t think I will tell her what hap­pened with the flowers.

An Emotional Tomb Sweeping Day

It’s been two years since Can­thy went to visit the tomb of her father. As we didn’t go on Tues­day the offi­cial Qing Ming pub­lic hol­i­day we decided to go today. I have never expe­ri­ence this before so it was the first time for me to visit a Chi­nese ceme­tery. At the entrance to the ceme­tery we bought flow­ers to put on the tomb­stone. Can­thy also bought lots of paper money and other gifts, which you burn as an offer­ing, which is meant to pro­tect her father in the after life. When we got to the tomb Can­thy started to clean it and talk to her father about her life. She said In Chi­nese, that she loved him and missed him and wished he was alive to see how her life had turned out. Now she was hap­pily mar­ried, with a big apart­ment, a car, and most impor­tantly a lit­tle baby girl. She then took out a pic­ture of Tanya and showed it to her father’s image on the tomb­stone. By this time the tears were rolling down her face, with a mix­ture of sad and happy emo­tions. As I stood by her side I made a promise to her father that I would always look after Can­thy and Tanya and he didn’t need to worry as I was here to pro­tect them both. It was an emo­tional expe­ri­ence for us both, which brought home the fact that we are all mor­tal and some day have to face our maker. Despite the sad­ness Can­thy felt a relief and joy in vis­it­ing her father’s grave. In a few months time it will be the fifth year anniver­sary of his death and we will need to come out her again. This time we will bring her mother and Tanya, so I will need to pre­pare myself for another emo­tional day.

The Next Picasso

I came home from school today and realised I am turn­ing into one of “those par­ents” I thought I would never be. The ones that think their child is the smartest, clever­est, beau­ti­ful, most tal­ented, etc, etc etc baby in the world. As I walked into the door our ayi showed me the paint­ings that Tanya did in class. My first words were “wow they are f***ing amaz­ing” and then I went to give Tanya a big hug and kiss. It turned out that Ayi had helped Tanya with the hand-prints but the yel­low abstract paint­ing was all done by Tanya. They could have been early Jack­son Pol­lock abstract paint­ings worth mil­lions, but to me they were price­less, as they were her first ever paint­ings. I put it up on the wall of my study and told Can­thy we have to get it framed. I bet Tanya gets her cre­ative artis­tic skills from her proud father, haha.

Doctor “TLI

TLI, my Chi­nese lan­guage school had a visit today from a very impor­tant per­son. I rec­og­nized his face from one of the posters in the school, as it was Dr Mar­vin Ho, the founder of the TLI school. Appar­ently he often comes to Bei­jing for busi­ness and plea­sure and always drops by to chat with the teach­ers. Haley, the school head intro­duced me to him and I ner­vously tried to talk to him in Chi­nese. Well, I gar­bled all my words, as I intro­duced myself and told him I was pleased to meet him and other pleas­ant stuff. I then asked if I could take a photo with him and gar­bled that too, so Haley helped me out. I think he under­stood most of what I said in Chi­nese. But know­ing I was a begin­ner he then replied in per­fect cul­tured Eng­lish, spar­ing me any more embar­rass­ment. I had the typ­i­cal expe­ri­ence that any­one for­eigner has in learn­ing Chi­nese. I fum­bled all my words, got my gram­mar back to front and gen­er­ally felt stu­pid. How­ever, I reminded myself that this will hap­pen again and again and you just have to work through it. Hope­fully next time he comes to visit I will be more pre­pared and more con­fi­dent, so we can have a two-way con­ver­sa­tion in Chinese.

Smart Car — But Not If You Have A Baby

Today is the Qing Ming Fes­ti­val 清明节  (Qīng­míngjié), and a pub­lic hol­i­day in China. The hol­i­day is also known as Tomb Sweep­ing Day, where peo­ple go to visit the graves of their fam­i­lies and ances­tors. It’s nor­mally a crazy busy day so best to avoid going out if you can. As the ceme­ter­ies are packed and the roads are jammed with traf­fic so we decided not to go out today. Instead we stayed close to home and just walked around our apart­ment. On the way we dropped into the Smart Car show­room to check out the lat­est mod­els. Can­thy had seen the new tele­vi­sion ads fea­tur­ing Kobe Bryant and I wanted to check­out the cars too. You can read more about this on my other blog “Smart’s Small Car Big Idea”. Can­thy has always liked the cars, as they’re cute, easy to drive and easy to park, which is often a prob­lem for women dri­vers. But unfor­tu­nately they cant fit a baby seat so no good for her at the moment.

TCM Fire Cupping

Can­thy has been suf­fer­ing with pains in her joints espe­cially her back, shoul­ders and arms. She told me it was related to her preg­nancy and her cae­sarean oper­a­tion.  After giv­ing birth many Chi­nese women believe in “zuò yè zi”  坐月子. The prac­tice where the mother has to stay at home in bed for a whole month. She can’t do any work, go out or even be allowed to leave the room. She cant eat cold food, take a shower or wash her hair and you cant open the win­dow or use the air con. Can­thy observed all of these, but cheated a lit­tle on one or two of them. Which is how the cold got into her body. Noth­ing seems to help so we went to the Bei­jing Uni­ver­sity Of Chi­nese Med­i­cine. It’s one of the best Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Med­i­cine hos­pi­tals in Bei­jing but noth­ing to look at from the out­side. The doc­tor has been using many dif­fer­ent tech­niques includ­ing fire cup­ping (bá guàn) 拔罐 , which trans­lates into “take cup”. The process involves heat­ing the air within the jar and then plac­ing them on your skin on your bare back. This causes a suc­tion effect draw­ing up the blood in that area. It looks painful but Can­thy said it doesn’t hurt, it just leaves big bright red cir­cles on your skin. Next time the doc­tor said he will diag­nose me and I can try it to it I want.

Tanya Asleep In Car Seat

We take Tanya out every week­end in the car and she has grad­u­ally got use to sit­ting in the baby seat. At first she use to cry all the time, which was hard for Can­thy and our ayi to bare. They both thought it was ok just to hold the baby on your lap, which is what most fam­i­lies in China do. When we were in the UK Can­thy saw it was ille­gal for a baby not to be strapped in a car seat. But China doesn’t yet have this law, so it’s not uncom­mon to see par­ents hold­ing babies in the front seat with­out even wear­ing a safety belt. So despite Tanya’s tears her safety comes even if she cried and didn’t like it at first. Now she is much more com­fort­able and will often fall asleep on the jour­ney. The only prob­lem is she is out­grow­ing this one, so we need to change for a big­ger one in the next few months. Then we might need to go through the whole process of get­ting her use to another new car seat. But hope­fully this time with­out the tears.

Chinese Flashcards

Our ayi has every week­end off so Can­thy and I look after Tanya on our own. As it’s hard to make time to study Chi­nese at home I came up with a great way to multi task and get two things done at once. So now I can look after Tanya and also prac­tice my Chi­nese using flash­cards while teach­ing her Chi­nese and Eng­lish words. It actu­ally works quite well as Tanya gets eas­ily bored so you need to con­stantly stim­u­late her with new things. The only prob­lem is when she gets hold of the cards, which she always tries to tear up or eat. This new sys­tem is help­ing me with my Chi­nese, but I think it might end up con­fus­ing Tanya. As she doesn’t yet know what words are Eng­lish and what are Chi­nese. I think I need to be care­ful oth­er­wise she might grow up speak­ing Ching­lish, haha.

Shanghai’s Skyscrapers

Since becom­ing a full-time stu­dent I haven’t taken a flight in six weeks. This is prob­a­bly the longest time in the last seven years I can remem­ber not hav­ing to fly some­where on busi­ness. How­ever today I had to make a quick trip to Shang­hai, so up at 5am to go to the air­port. It really was a fly­ing visit so no time to do any­thing and spent the day in planes, trains and taxis. The only pho­to­graph I had time to take was out the taxi win­dow of the two tallest build­ings in Shang­hai, the Shang­hai World Finan­cial Cen­ter (492m / 1,614ft) and the Jin Mao Tower (421m / 1,380ft). How­ever, in a few years time these will be dwarfed by the Shang­hai Tower (632m / 2,073 ft) being built nearby. Mak­ing Shang­hai the new the sky­scraper cap­i­tal of the world.