North Korea

This tag is associated with 3 posts

What we did on the weekend

What we did on the weekend

Because the weekends disappear on us and we forget what we did I am going to track each weekend this year to see what we do with all that time.

Date What we did
September 16 Our  Itinerary for this weekend. I will add to it when we get back

International Club of Dalian is glad to invite you to join us for a trip to one of Dalian’s best getaways destinations – amazing Bingyu Valley! Beautiful scenery, exciting white water rafting, fresh air and interesting people are totally not to be missed. Tour along the river offers similarly stunning views.
Tour schedule: Bingyu Valley 冰峪沟
About 150 miles (240 kilometres) northeast of Dalian is Liaoning Province’s answer to Huangshan. Picturesque Bingyu Valley Scenic Resort Area offers one the same idyllic views, peaceful atmosphere and unblemished nature as it’s sister mountain to the south has on a smaller scale. The area, which covers over 42 miles (110 kilometres) of land, consists of a resort on the shore of the Yinggua River surrounded by the towering peaks of Longhua Mountains. From the valley there are a series of trails that lead up into the mountains. From these trails you have breathtaking views of the valley as well the neighbouring mountains. Alternatively, rather than hike up the mountains, you can tour the valley via a boat.

September 09 We started off with the question of whether we are staying another year – signing another contract. The school wants to begin putting in for a visa for me as I am over 65 and in some provinces that is an issue. We said we would think about it for the next two weeks. Contracts here are not really due until about December and it would be good to have that much time to look at options. The idea of teaching in India or Cambodia or Viet Nam is appealing but the security of not looking for another position, especially when a lot of countries will not take someone over 65 is appealing. We did not come up with any decisions and probably won’t for a while.

On the more definite side we put in for and got a personal leave day for a day and a half before Chinese New Years in February so we could get to Australia. Narda’s son Stu turns 30 and her granddaughter is getting christened that weekend. I will go mid-week to Melbourne to see Sacha. Now the tickets are paid for and one more thing is sorted out in our life. We have our tickets for three weeks in Viet Nam for winter break which we got a couple of weeks ago. And to save money we are just staying in our province for the October break going up to Dandong and some remote places north.

The rest of the weekend I spent at school working on setting up portfolios for the upper school.

September 02 As weekends go we did not do a lot. Another stay around home. On Saturday took the shopping bus into Dalian, bought a month’s supply of foods from Metro, mostly stuff we cannot get out here: tetra pack low-sugar soy milk, butter, cheeses, peanut butter; doing better, bought only about 1200 RMB this time, last month it was almost 3000 ($500USD). Had lunch at Ikea – only place to get a good Western meal. Ikea in Dalian is actually good. I like the veggy wrap and corn soup. Last year we would go to the one in Jersey City, across from Newark Airport but it seems every time we went there it was worse. The fat servers were always grumpy and the food was shocking – so we stopped going there. Took the light rail back to Kaifaqu, stopped at the Western food store (Harbor Deli) and got molasses and more cheese and caught the school’s shopping bus back home.


some sort of protection for whatever is behind the door in this shop in Kaifaqu – we didn’t go in.

Sunday we went over to school; Narda worked some on her After School Activities projects and I wrote a school in India I may be doing some projects with; http://neuage.us/edu/blogs/collaborative-broadcast.html and worked on my school’s Google Sites for my Broadcast Publication’s class, which I can only get using my VPN; bloody China – drives me nuts trying to get stuff done – https://sites.google.com/a/daischina.org/drneuage

In the afternoon we rode bikes, with one of the new teachers, from North Carolina, to our favourite local area to shop and bought vegetables and fruit for the week. And now it is bed time and another week starts in the morning. I finally got my editing suite for 20 computers in my lab, Power Director 10 Ultra, so I am excited about teaching my students that and getting us really going with our school’s television set and hopefully we will be doing a collaborative project with a couple of schools in India.

My son, Sacha, in Melbourne, sent me a  Happy Father day’s email so that was nice as he usually never does – forgets my birthday too.

August 28 It was not really a weekend but school was closed to the perceived threats of Typhoon Bolaven that yesterday looked like it was going to give us a bit of a look-see, but no, it is now headed toward North Korea – Bolaven was a fizzler. We should not call it a weekend because it is Tuesday but it is a day off from work, so what did we do? We looked at the weather report way too much, thought I would have a video to put on youtube, http://www.youtube.com/tneuage to be exact, a story about being 65 and still working that I dream of the New York Times printing, or maybe I would cook some dynamite tofu dishes, or maybe do some work on my rubric for a special project my Broadcast Journalism are doing. But we did little to speak of so I will write about it so when we say what was it we did on our typhoon day we will remember. Well I wrote this – ten minutes of the day. Actually I am writing this while watching Dexter. This is 8:30 PM. The rest of the day? I did make a good vegetable and tofu soup, some peanut butter cookies, worked on standards for one of my courses – I am not really into all this using American type of standards, my students will learn beyond what the standards will say, and to have such planned out nonsense is, well nonsense…  We sat on our third floor balcony for a bit to see if the winds would pick up but they didn’t. We did some Facebooking and I read some educational blogs which is all somewhat frustrating sometimes here because we have to use a VPN to get must sites. Lately we are not even getting Google without a VPN. When we go to Google we get some Chinese site with stupid music and it is impossible to get anything else except Bing.com works. Go figure. This also means I am unable to get gmail without a VPN which is not good because Narda and I share a VPN – meaning only one of us can be on Facebook or Google at a time. And that was our day off – not really sure what we accomplished but we are ready to go to school tomorrow.
August 25 – 26 Ordered tickets for Hanoi they will deliver them Monday – 6800 RMB about $550 each. Narda Google+  with 3-sons; Atlanta, Adelaide, Hanoi – started trip planning for three weeks wandering around in Viet Nam at Christmas, booked a place in South Australia for us all to be together for a few days in February during Chinese New Year break. And we decided to save money during October break and stay local so we will go up to Dandong and northern China by train and just cheap-around for a week.

We did little else – rode bikes to shops for groceries and spent a lazy weekend home for the first time probably this year. Narda painted her shoes; I worked on some web stuff, and wrote to several teachers who were at our school last year about sending short clips for me to put on our in-house tv shoe for my broadcast publication class. I am having my students add a new segment called “where are they now”. Teachers who leave a school after a few years are forgotten for all their work and contributions. Our teachers went to new places: Brazil, Dubai, Istanbul, India and several other countries. I want this to be a real global-collaborative year for our school and build on those who we worked with last school year. Also, we want to think about where we would like to teach next if we can find schools that will hire people past 65. We always seem to be moving (4 weeks in Australia as usual we moved our belongings from one place to another), here we spent the first week back moving apartments, last school year I would spend way too much time planning for the upcoming week lessons. We took a week-end off from school preparation and I am sure we will do fine. It was a great weekend, just like a holiday – a holiday from our life.


Life is good

If you are in the International Airport in Beijing near gate 33 there’s a machine that churns out wifi codes – just put in your passport – five hours worth so I am spending my last three hours in China on line and on Facebook (so banned in China – thank you Astrill VPN for a great year of service). So Narda collects me in about fifteen hours or more in Atlanta then we do our road trip, staying at one-star motels, through the south for ten days – goin’ find the real Amerika’ then to Australia and on and on. This was my 7th flight out of Dalian in my first year here (10 months actually) Four international (Australia x2, Thailand, USA) and three local (Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing) – Next school year we plan to travel more – old age come and get me ’cause I ain’t slowin’ down’. I can only say “Life is good”. And one of my goals for my 65th year is to get to visit North Korea – just up the road 200 miles – like going from New York City to our house in Saratoga Spring New York – just an afternoon drive.

my new iPhone 5

It comes in a nice looking box. iPhone 5. There is even an information guide and all the places in the world to contact Apple. If there was a real iPhone 5 then this would be somewhat of a clone but since there is not it is just the China iPhone 5 idea thingy that looks like an iPhone though the software is a bit lacking. I paid 300 Yuan about $47 USD in the street stall or actually table in downtown Dalian. I saw it later for 288 Yuan but what is a couple of dollars amongst friends? It says 64 GB on the box but I think it is more like 64 mg as it says no more memory after two photos. I took one with the front and one with the back camera – both are crap. Now there does not seem to be enough memory to save a phone number. But not to worry as a phone it rings loudly and the time is right whereas my Google Android phone is tired and needs replacing. It does have TV which is quite fuzzy and foreign, I will try it in Australia in December. I do not think it is getting 3G or 4G or any G though I will wait until I get to school and ask one of the locals what all the Chinese writing is about. There surely is no App Store or iPod as it shows on the box.

To activate my real iPhone I have to wait until we get to Australia for winter break to unlock it as no one can do it here – they say it is too new. But I felt trendy for five minutes and that is the purpose of a clone or, well it is not a clone, I actually have the iPhone 5. Now if I could clone a younger me I could feel trendy for even longer. The iTerrell 5 available in downtown China (the software is not up to snuff; lacking memory, short circuits, aged…).

We had a great day, riding the light rail into Dalian with about ten others from school. We went to a fabrics & textiles market; about six floors of just too much material. It was much more organized than the one we saw at the beginning of October in Hanoi. That one was a bit of a mess though cheaper and actually more interesting. I bought some wool for a suit coat and some tricked-out Asian material for the lining and for the lining of another vest. I am getting into vests as I found one of our locals who works at school has a husband who makes clothing and I can get really trippy looking things made. I bought material in Hanoi a couple of weeks ago and those vests came out good now I am going for more. I may have to wait as not only are a lot of others getting things made but too many children are having Halloween customs made for next week. Narda got a lot of material for winter clothing and she has a new dress or skirt or whatever those things women wear is called from material she got in Hanoi. So between getting some new threads and an iPhone 5 that really does little more than rings loudly which is really all one needs in a phone it was a good day.

As always we were not the only ones headed into town. My problem was I really really needed a loo and it took a long time to get to a WC and as in everywhere in China people push and shove but I am bigger than them and I had to pee and I was a bit aggro so I pushed and used my arms more than I normally would have. What is so kool here is that I can have a go at saying things to people I would never say if I thought they knew English. In the States they would just shoot me – here they don’t have guns. Not even the police, the few that are visible. Then you see the heavily armed police in American cities and you wonder which system is really working. I know the foreign press really make China look bad, maybe it is – after all they block Facebook and Twitter and my 400 videos on Youtube and that is really quite evil but I think I see more happy people here than in the States. Especially young people, there seems to be a lot of mirth and carrying on amongst them. Last weekend we took a day bike trip around our area and found a quiet fishing village. It was quite a contrast to all the construction for the million dollar French style homes going up across the street from us. And as teachers tend to do we noticed a bit of a spelling error – I tell you someone is not going to be getting an A anytime soon. We may have found a place more suitable for us than Campus Village next to the Dalian American International School – why are we living where we work? It may be a bit drafty with the cool air starting to kick in but it looks cheap and we would have a nice sea view – out there in back of us we would be able to see China test its new aircraft carrier to; like prime time journalist. And it is really only a good boat paddle away over to North Korea. I want to go over there and have a bit of a sit-down conversation with them and get some education happening.

And that is it for this week. Nothing more… just odd things like next Monday the electricity will be shut off for all of the Golden Pebble Beach area from eight AM until five PM. It will be interesting for me teaching my computer courses. Luckily it is the day I have my class in publication and we are working on morning announcements, something I started at the beginning of the school year; DAISlive, a video show we do. It is fun and the students love it. I am finding that even my EAL (English as an additional language – formally ESL, English as a second language) students who have English as a second or third language are embracing it. So far it is only played in the school but my idea is to someday have it as a WebTV broadcast. We don’t need electricity for it this Monday, just our video camera and the announcements and some stories and I have a backup battery for my computer so I can edit and have it ready to put live for the school the following
morning. We did not have electricity for a day a couple of weeks ago and my web design class made sketches and storyboards for their web pages. So all in all we don’t really need electricity. This is China, we learn to live with whatever we are presented with. Though now I am a bit annoyed that I cannot get onto Facebook or Twitter or Youtube even with a VPN; what is with that? But it looks as if my wordpress account (neuage.me) works and so does my account at blog.neuage.info and I think wordpress sends an announcement to my twitter and facebook accounts so no one can read it which is the nature of my life. I suppose having five-planets in Leo was too good of a thing; no one notices me.

Last night teachers got together and showed slides of places they have taught or lived the past few years. What an interesting group of people from Borneo to throughout the Middle East, Africa, South America, Europe and Asia teaching in international schools is really the top employment to have and we sort of wish we had started a couple of decades ago but we didn’t and though it is safe, except for the drivers on the road, here we still would like to have taught in some of the places other teachers have. I think any teacher who had taught in the States and had taught in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, or across Africa would never go back to teaching in the States I know we couldn’t or back to teaching in Australia either. We signed up for the teacher’s conference in Bangkok for next March this week – the start of spring break, so once again we will meet international teachers from around the area. Any one who is young (under 60 I think is young) teach in an international school and your life will be changed. We barely watch news from the States anymore – is anything of interest going on there, really?

Narda moved her blog from blog.narda.us as she was unable to update it to http://blog.travelpod.com/members/nbiemond

got to tell ya about this

was me

travel in and out of time

wordpress stats

yesterday perhaps before

Follow I said WHAT????? on WordPress.com

Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: