From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






Skype: "ericandjamie"



Thursday, April 30, 2009

Scuba Diving in Bali

From Tirta Gangga Water Palace and Gua Lawah Bat Cave Temple

Today Jamie and I set out for my first scuba diving adventure. Our guide told us about a great diving spot on the eastern side of Bali of an old US ship, the USS Liberty. We didn't get to take pictures because we don't have an underwater camera and didn't rent one. Nonetheless, you can check out the information as well as a few pictures HERE.

Jamie had been trying to get me to go scuba diving for some time now. I was hesitant because I just didn't feel right about it. I decided to go nonetheless because we'll be going to the Philippines this summer as well as Australia eventually so I thought I would give it a shot.

Our first dive was to the ship from off the coast. It went well and I thought I did OK. Since I am not certified, I had a guide literally holding my hand for most of the way. He worked my regulator and guided me around. It is peaceful and great when you are not thinking that you could die from lack of oxygen. The fish were gorgeous and the ship was cool and full of coral. We saw all sorts of Nemo's, Dori's, but no Ariels unfortunately. One shark, but he apparently didn't want to eat us.

We ate a quick lunch and then headed back out for our second dive from the coast. I was feeling pretty good about this one, but became tired for some reason half way through. There was an old plane wreckage (which I think they planted) which was pretty cool as well as some very colorful eels and a huge blue starfish. Toward the end, I started to get sick and by the time I hit the shore, I was really sick. It took me the next few hours to begin to feel better. The VERY windy roads leading home didn't help my upset stomach, but I began feeling better after stopping at the Tirta Gangga.

Tirta Gangga means "Holy Water of the Ganges." This site is a Water Palace built by the former King Raja of Karangasem in 1948. The grounds are gorgeous and the Hindu locals come there the take a dip in the pools. The Ganges River in India is a sacred river for Hindus and millions cleanse themselves in its waters for spiritual cleansing. The grounds of Tirta Gangga are for the Balinese people to do such spiritual cleansing. Be sure to check out the pictures of Tirta Gangga in the Tirta Gangga and Bat Cave Temple Photo Album.

Afterwards, we proceeded down to Gua Lawah to see the Pura Gua Lawah or Bat Cave Temple. We really didn't know what to expect, but it literally was simliar to all of the other temples we had visited except for the large cave entrance (which actually isn't a large cave, but looks like an entrance) and the 1000s of bats the were clinging to the walls. Pretty amazing actually, somewhat icky, but very interesting. Check out the bats in the same photo album.

Jamie and I decided to hang out in the room tonight instead of going out. We've hit the island pretty hard the last few days. Tomorrow, we'll sleep late and then head to the famous Kuta Beach. Jamie wants a T-Shirt from Hard Rock and I want to watch the surfers on the beach. Our time in Bali is coming to an end, but it has been quite memorable.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day Trip in Bali 2

Jamie and I set out again with our guide Wayan to see some more of the countryside of Bali. Before I begin, let me remind you to click the links of to see a brief picture of what I'm talking about, but then be sure to check out the full album here, Bali 2009 Day Trip 2. Wayan took us first to the Bali Botanical Gardens in Bedugul. We especially liked the fern collection as well as the cactus collection. The Botanical Gardens overlook Lake Bratan which also has the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (The Floating Temple) which is dedicated the the goddess of the lake.

After a quick lunch, we drove up to see the Twin Lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan. It was a bit cloudy, but still some good pictures overall.

We then tried some Durian fruit in a local fruit stand. Durian fruit is said to "smell like hell, but taste like heaven." It does have a funny odor and even hotels and resorts won't let tourist bring it back to the rooms with them. We have something similar if not the same in China, but Jamie and I had never tried it. We bought some from a local vendor and tasted it. I'll post some video later to show you our taste test. It wasn't pleasant. Let's just say the old saying shouldn't say anything about heaven.

Our next stop was our favorite with was the Betu Bolong Temple which is a pretty amazing temple on top of the rocks in Tanah Lot. Next to it lies Tanah Lot Temple, which supposedly has a water source which is freshwater despite it being on the shore. We were blessed by the priests there, but think that the water was just pumped in. Nice to tell tourist though.

Our last stop for the day was the world famous seafood on the beach at sunset on Jimbaran Beach. We ordered the red snapper and they grilled it perfectly. Great views, some live music and Balinese dancing.

Overall, it was a great day with some beautiful scenery of the Bali countryside, none of which I took a picture of but will not forget.

Tomorrow, we are going to be picked up at 7:00 am and taken to a couple of pretty cools temples before going scuba diving. I have never dove before, but this seems to be the place to do it and we get to dive near sunken American WWII battleship. We have 2 dives scheduled. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day Trip in Bali

Today, Jamie and I had one of those days we will never forget. I actually woke up and worked out again this morning running a couple of miles and working out; and then after breakfast, we met our guide (Wayan) and driver at the front our our resort for a full day touring Bali. I have decided to do this blog post a little different due to the nature of our day. Simply, if I was to tell you everything, I would write a small book. I'll summarize as best I can, but I encourage you to view the pictures I have linked as well as the album entitle Bali 2009 Day Trip 1 for a TON of pictures. I will list the village we visited followed by a brief description of what we saw there. You can see the links for you to click for the pictures.

Nusa Dua - I don't think we were out of the city yet before seeing the Barong Dance. The story comes from the Hindu text Mahabharata and I'll let you look up the story if you wish. We videoed quite a bit of it and I'll post some of those later. We videoed quite a bit throughout the day and it'll take a while to sort through all of it. The Barong Dance was very unusual, but overall was a great performance and very native.

Batubulan - we stopped here first and watch the local villagers make Stone Carvings. Pretty amazing and all done by hand. Three types of stone, some imported and some local. Most tourist do not buy any stone for obvious traveling and shipping reasons. A quick note, there are dozens of these types of stores for all of these products I'll mention. They are all basically the same.

Celuk - This village is famous for its Silver Products. Not too many pictures here, but the silver was amazing. We weren't in the market for any silver, so we just stopped to see the locals make it and then slid out.

Mas - Here, the locals make Wood Carvings. Jamie and I purchased a neat little wooden wind chimes here. We didn't take pictures inside the store, but the details were amazing. Some of the wood carvings were huge life size komodo dragons, Jesus, masks, and you name it, they carved it. Again, check out the pictures.

Kintamani - Here, we stopped for lunch to view Mt. Batur Volcano and Lake Batur. As you can see from the pictures, it is pretty amazing. The volcano has erupted 3 times and the latest was in 1962. You can see where the lava flowed down and missed some small hills and where vegetation is just now starting to grow again. On a side note. There is a village on the other side of Lake Batur (I can't remember the name), but it is famous for its dead bodies. The villagers do not bury or cremate their dead right away, but lay them out on the ground for several days. The most interesting thing about it is that the dead bodies won't smell. No one knows why. Apparently, CNN and some of other major networks have come to the village for reporting. I'll check into it or you can and let me know.

Kayuambau - This was probably our favorite place. Jamie and I were hesitant about going, but we'd never been to a coffee field before, so we were game. Wayan led us through a small section with various types of crops grown in this region that included some pretty wild fruits and other crops. See their Passion Fruit for example. By far and away, however, we tried some of the WORLD FAMOUS KOPI LUWAK COFFEE. If you do not know what kopi luwak coffee is, let wikipedia quickly explain it for you:

"Kopi Luwak (pronounced [ˈkopi ˈluwak]) or Civet coffee is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). The civets eat the berries, but the beans inside pass through their system undigested. This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, in the Philippines (where the product is called Motit Coffee in the Cordillera, or Kape Alamid in Tagalog areas) and in East Timor (locally called kafé-laku). Vietnam has a similar type of coffee, called weasel coffee, which is made from coffee berries which have been regurgitated by local weasels. In actuality the "weasel" is just the local version of the Asian Palm Civet."

"Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee, and luwak is a local name of the Asian Palm Civet. The raw, red coffee berries are part of its normal diet, along with insects, small mammals, small reptiles, eggs and nestlings of birds, and other fruit. The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but it has been proposed that enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee's flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated, still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Some sources claim that the beans may be regurgitated instead of defecated"

"Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $100 and $600 USD per pound, and is sold mainly in Japan and the United States. It is increasingly becoming available elsewhere, though supplies are limited; only 1,000 pounds (450 kg) at most make it into the world market each year.[1] One small cafe, the Heritage Tea Rooms, in the hills outside Townsville in Queensland, Australia, has Kopi Luwak coffee on the menu at A$50.00 (=US$33.00) per cup, selling approximately four cups a week, which has gained nationwide Australian press.[2] In April 2008, the brasserie of Peter Jones department store in London's Sloane Square started selling a blend of Kopi Luwak peanut and Blue Mountain called Caffe Raro for £50 (=US$99.00) a cup.[3] It has also recently become available at Selfridges, London, as part of their "Edible" range of exotic foods. It is also available in Toronto, Canada, at Coffeeholic: Handdrip Roastery in the upper Forest Hill village on Eglinton Avenue West."

Now, we didn't pay that much for a cup just so you know we are not that crazy. We did try their cocoa as well as ginger tea, ginseng coffee, as well as Bali coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Tampak Siring - We visited Pura Tirta Empul (Temple of the Holy Water). This Hindu temple was built in the 10th century. As you can see from the pictures, Hindus come to pray and bath in the water as well as make offerings. The underground springs are inside the temple. There is a little information on the web concerning it. Our guide was very favorable to this temple, so we went. The worst part was walking back out for 5 minutes through a winding maze of stalls of the locals selling souvenirs ("only $1 mister").

Tegallalang - We visited the Rice Terraces here. It was a quick stop, but these are truly amazing. We'll see some other rice terraces in China this summer as well as the very famous ones in the Philippines this summer as well. These were truly amazing though.

Ubud - Ubud is an interesting town in the middle of Bali. A German in 1921 came to this village and began painting and teaching the locals how to paint. Another European came in the 1930s doing the same with other arts and crafts. Ubud has other historical significance, but the tourist can't miss the huge market where all sorts of items are sold. We only stayed in central Ubud for a few minutes before heading to our next stop down the road...

Ubud - Kecak and Fire Dance. Amazing! I had been hearing about the Kecak Dance for a while and really wanted to see it. Please read up on it and check out our numerous pictures. We also videoed quite a bit of it. As for the Fire Dance - WOW! The guy actually danced, sat, held, and ate burning coconut husks. Again, check out pictures and wait for the video.

That's all folks! We went back to Nusa Dua and ate a great meal at a local place and then headed back where I went straight to work typing up all of this for you and posterity. Great day! We have another day planned with Wayan tomorrow and I can't wait to see what is next!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bathroom Stall in Shenzhen


I don't know why, but I thought this was funny. It is a picture of a bathroom stall in the Shenzhen Airport. It is a new terminal and they still have all Asian toilets. Don't ask me why. This stall, however, had a western toilet, but as you can see, it is only for the weak.

I have uploaded all of our Bali pictures onto one album BALI ALBUMand will continue to add to it throughout the week. I'll add some captions later on this evening for everything. Some have a story, some don't.

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State Song

The video above was taken on Jamie's digital camera, but turned out pretty well. Jamie and I went to a German restaurant here on Nusa Dua Beach in Bali for dinner last night. There was a Balinese man playing all sorts of American songs on the guitar at the front of the restaurant. He sounded great.

He then played 2 songs that made me feel right at home. The first was the "The Green Green Grass of Home," which is an old family favorite song particularly for my mother. I was simply floored that he knew the song and was playing it. I doubt anyone else in the restaurant had heard it before.

The next song he played was "The Tennessee Waltz." Again, I was shocked and excited. My mother and I danced to this song at mine and Jamie's wedding, so it is special for me as it is to all Tennesseans. I went up there to video him and he asked if I knew how to play the guitar. I said that I didn't but asked him if that was the Tennessee Waltz. He said of course and I told him I was from Tennessee. He said "AH" and understood.

Great stuff. The Tennessee Waltz in a German restaurant in Bali. Very cool.

Crazy Fruit

The photos above are of some interesting fruit that was given to us by our guide, Wayan, upon arriving to Bali.

The first fruit is what westerners call Snakeskin fruit, and you can see why. It is very different and has an apple type texture to it. You peel the snake skin away and it divides into half or thirds with a pit in the middle about the size of a buckeye.

The second fruit is what they call Hairy fruit, again appropriately named. It has a sweeter taste to it and is similar in texture to a large thick grape. It also has a large pit inside.

Both are not amazing, but certainly worth writing home about.

We're Millionaires!

Well, kinda.

The exchange rate here in Bali is 10,850 or so to 1 US dollar. When we exchanged our $500 US, we received back 5,325,000 rupiah. Its a bit strange, but we thought it was interesting. You get used to it. We are calculating 100,000 to be about $9. That helps us figure out how much things cost.

We Made it to Bali

Just now getting our western adapter so we can start blogging about our trip to Bali. We headed out of Shekou on Friday night and caught a plane at 11:30 pm to Bangkok landing at 1:30 am. We slept on some benches at the airport for a few hours then caught a 6:15 am flight to Denpesar, Bali, Indonesia. Jamie and I actually caught a break on these 2 flights as we had an extra seat on the first one and 2 extra seats each on the second one so we could actually lie down.

Our guide and driver picked us up at the airport and drove us to get some money exchanged. We had brought some US dollars. The exchange rate here is about 10,800 to $1, so you carry some pretty large bills around. It is odd at first, but you get used to it. The restaurant menus are pretty smart because they just print the first 2 numbers of the price (ex. 59) then say at the bottom that it is all in thousands of rupiah.

We are staying a great place in Nusa Dua Beach. We aren't on the beach directly, but it is only a 10 minute walk or a 2 minute shuttle ride away. It was an exchange from our time share in Orlando, so we are staying the whole week for practically nothing. We have an apartment style accommodation, so we went down the street and bought some groceries for breakfast and lunch. Nice place and the pool area is tropical with tons of beach chairs that have shade and pads on them.

We haven't done much but just hang around the beach and pool the first couple of days. We are waiting for Tuesday and Wednesday for our guide to come back and take us around the island all day. We'll then have a ton of pictures to show of all the various places on the island. We might do some scuba diving on Wednesday or Thursday which will be my first try. I'm a bit apprehensive about scuba diving. I have always told Jamie that I like to breath real "air," and she assures me that the air in the tank is "real." I'm skeptical about that.

I'm going to post separately some cool things that have happened to us while we've been here. One involves fruit, another currency, and finally a state song.

Bali is beautiful and the people are amazingly friendly. We'll keep you posted of our travels.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Heading to Bali

We are about to leave the apartment to catch the but to the airport. It's a red-eye so the flight actually leaves here at 11:30 pm, arrives in Bangkok at 1:30 am and onto Bali by 6:15 am on Saturday morning.

We're staying at Nusa Dua beach with at a resort (Novatel Nusa Dua Beach Apartments) from our timeshare trade. Check back for more updates and pictures!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Email Post

I'm not sure why I would ever do this, but blogspot now has a way to upload posts from your email.  I'm just trying it out.  You can also upload from your mobile phone, but Jamie and I rarely even use our phone.  We use it more as an alarm clock than anything.  I guess this is neat if I get emails and don't want to open up a bunch of windows to get to blogspot.

"Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage."  - Joseph Addison

Twin Day


A few weeks ago, I blogged about Spirit Week. Thursday of that week was Twin Day, so Jamie and I decided to do dress up all corny like for it. I think we looked pretty good. Amazingly, not too many people noticed. I just now got the picture, so I thought I'd post.

Today, Jamie and I went to Hong Kong for the last time this year. Unfortunately, it rained the whole day, which ruined my plans of hiking and going to the cemetary. Also, we missed good seats for a couple of movies, so we didn't get to see one of those either. We did have some great Mexican food at our favorite Mexican place in Hong Kong. We ended up coming back early because of the weather.

Oh well, I'll have to wait until next Fall to do so, but it'll be OK.

I'll be working all day tomorrow to finish my Chapter 2 and Jamie has decided to work on hers also. Wish us luck!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

End of Book Week

This past week was Book Week at school. You may be asking yourself a couple of questions at this point. What is book week? and Do you have a week for everything at QSI? The answer to the second question is YES. We have weeks for everything under the sun, including a Sun Week, Moon Week, Stars Week, and Milky Way Week. Pluto Week was dropped a couple of years ago because it was demoted as a planet. That was a bad day for those Pluto fans out there. I digress a little bit, but we do have several themed weeks toward the end of the year. Earth Week is next week, but it is so for many of you out there. More on that later...

Book Week was successful. We had our pictures taken with our favorite book. I really didn't have my favorite book with me, so I just posed with my Kindle along with the book cover of a book I was reading on the Kindle. We placed these pictures on our door along with a statement about our favorite books and where we buy English books in China. Just about every teacher did this. Jamie never got around too it because she was out of town and didn't prepare for it.

I took my kids along with some other students to the elementary school on Monday to read poems to some of the younger students over there. It was good and our kids got community service hours for it. At QSI, each student must do so much community service each year. No one really knows what happens to the student if they do not do this, and I'm not sure if it goes on their record or not. It is a good way to get kids involved in the community or school functions. I think my 12 year olds have to do 25 hours. Since they are 12 and half brain dead, most do not have more than 3 hours at this point. They'll be picking up trash in Shekou at the end of the year I guess if they don't get it finished.

All week for 30 minutes of one period of the day was D.E.A.R or Drop Everything And Read. I enjoyed this because I didn't have to plan for that time and was able to read. The had taken all of these pictures of teachers with books and posted them in the media center computers as screen savers for Book Week as well as made all sorts of banners, posters, and displays on each floor representing all sorts of various books.

The highlight of the week was a children's author David Greenberg's guest appearance and presentation. I had never heard of him, but he has written books entitled Slugs, Bugs, Snakes, Crocs, and other animal related books and poems. His most recent novel, however, called The Tugging Strings, concerns growing up in the Civil Rights Movement. Interestingly, his dad is Jack Greenberg who was one of the only white attorneys who worked for the NAACP and actually worked on the Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954. He later went on to be an attorney for Martin Luther King, Jr. Pretty amazing actually. His presentation was amazing and he is very talented with children and his writing. The kids loved it.

So that was Book Week or all that I can remember right now. Next week is Earth Week and there is 3 times as much going on. We do actually teach somewhere in the midst of all of this, I promise.

Griffey had his 2nd guest barking appearance today with a 10 year old class. They were watching the movie Shiloh and begged their teacher to let him come and watch it with them. He had a blast and they did too. He's the best dog in the world!

All for now. Jamie and I are going to Hong Kong tomorrow since it will be our last time for the year. We have to turn in our passports to renew our visas for the year when we return from Bali. Supposed to take a month to do this, so when we get them back, we'll just about be headed home.

I am hoping to finish Chapter 2 of my dissertation by Sunday with the exception of some additional Chinese research. I am excited about this and it is amazing what I have accomplished. I'm proud and can only hope that it is any good. We'll see soon enough. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter from China

From Easter 2009

Strange Easter Sunday, but I awoke on Easter morning and ran for 16 minutes, then went back to bed for a couple of hours. Jamie was flying at the time and scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong at 7:05. This would give her over an hour and a half until the last ferry of the evening left for Shekou. Unfortunately, Jamie ended up not being able to take the ferry because her plane landed late, so she had to take the land route by cab, which is more expensive and more of a pain.

Prior to going to work, I walked around SeaWorld and enjoyed the people celebrating several different things. For some, it was a celebration of Easter Sunday and family time. You can see the egg decorating in the pictures in the EASTER 2009 Photo Album HERE.

There were also people there celebrating Thailand's New Year Songkran: The Water Splashing Festival. The following excerpt from Thailand Songkran Festival 2009 introduces us to the festival:

Held annually on 13-15th April, Songkran Festival is undoubtedly the most festive and celebrated event of the year in Thailand. Songkran marks the Thai New Year (Thai Lunar Calendar year) and is the biggest and most fun-filled time of the year.

Songkran (Song Kran) is an important holiday for Thai people, the large majority of whom are practicing Buddhists. It is a time to reunite with their families, make merits in temples, visit and show their respect to older folks and perhaps above all, it is a time to get soaked up and cooled down in the Songkran ‘Water Fight’ that takes place on just about every street in this country during this hottest month of the year.

While I didn't see any water splashing, there was an large white elephant set up at SeaWorld for the occasion. Maybe there will be people down there today splashing water. Pretty cool! More information on Songkran at the Wikipedia article HERE.

There are a couple of pictures in there of a little baby with the famous Chinese split pants. We are getting used to seeing this, but it is still funny and a bit odd every time we see it. The last few pictures are of Griffey at school chilling in a borrowed bean bag. He's the best dog in the world as voted on by everyone who took the survey.

I went to work about noon and stayed until 9:00 when I went to meet Jamie at the ferry. I figured she had missed the ferry, but Griffey and I went anyway just in case. By the time I walked back the apartment, she was there waiting for me. I didn't get too much work accomplished because the Internet was down for most of the day.

All for now. 2 more weeks until we are off for Bali. I'm getting excited about it as we haven't had a trip in a while.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Griffey's 1st Day of School

Friday morning, a co-worker wanted to "borrow" Griffey to take him to her 10 year old class. They had been reading the book Shiloh, so she wanted to wrap up the novel by bringing him in. I dropped him off in the morning by her classroom. I was a bit worried about how he'd deal with all of those kids, but apparently he was a HUGE hit! She said the kids didn't even want to go to recess outside but instead wanted to play with him. I saw him afterward and he seemed very happy. Above is a picture of him with the kids and I've added an album of him with the students in our Photo Gallery.

Jamie comes home tomorrow from visiting her grandfather in Georgia. She is flying out of Atlanta on Saturday at 11:15 and arriving in Hong Kong on Sunday at 7:05. She'll take the last ferry from Hong Kong airport, and arrive in Shekou sometime around 9:00 pm on Sunday evening.

I worked another 10 hours today on my dissertation and changed the outline of Chapter 2 again for what seems like the 4th time. I think I like it now though and I hope to put in another long day tomorrow and perhaps be close to finishing. All I will need to do is add the Chinese research a little at a time.

Huge Thanks

To our friends Tom and Eileen who have provided me with dinner the last 3 nights since Jamie has been away. They had their AYI prepare some extra food for me. It has been delicious Chinese food. Somewhat sappy, but this is the longest Jamie and I have been without seeing one another since we've been married. Some friends are also taking me to a new Cheers restaurant/bar tomorrow evening. Yes, there is a Cheer's bar in China. Complete with the sign and darts. I'll try and get some pictures.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Photo Album

I have finally posted the Shekou March 2009 Photo Album. Not much in there, but there are some pictures of Jamie's trip to the Shenzhen Museum a couple of weeks ago, St. Patrick's Day, and Griffey.

As a reminder, you can always view all of our pictures in our Google Photo Album. I make all of our albums public so you can see everything.


This link is always at the top of the page just under our email addresses too.

Shenzhen Museum Field Trip

Today, we took our students on a field trip to the Shenzhen Museum. Check out their site HERE - Shenzhen Museum. I can honestly say it is one of the nicest museums I have ever been to. Jamie and another co-worker had gone a couple of Saturdays ago to visit the museum and make some questions for the students to answer. Jamie typed them up, I edited and printed them off and made copies for each student. There were about 50 questions for the students to answer in 3 exhibition halls.

The halls were Ancient Shenzhen, which included artifacts from several thousand years ago, Shenzhen Folk Lore, which included some amazing lifelike exhibits of folk life in Shenzhen from various time periods, and Modern History Shenzhen, which included Shenzhen's attempted occupation and occupation by various groups such as the British and Japanese.

The most impressive of the exhibition halls was the one entitled Shenzhen Opening Up, which included Shenzhen's incredibly vast growth since the early 1970's. The hall wound you through the years as you saw Shenzhen grow from a small little agriculture and fishing village to an industrial and economic megacity of 15 million people. Multimedia presentations, fantastic scale models of the city, and numerous artifacts of modern day were on display with very detailed placards.

Some students enjoyed the museum, but I think most were just glad to be out of school. I'm trying to think if I would have liked it when I was their age. I think the museum itself is very impressive; and while we were there for several hours, several more could be spent reading everything in there.

Jamie took some pictures and I know several students took some. I'll try and get those posted soon. Jamie has her camera in the U.S. right now and I'll get it and copy her pictures on here when she returns.

Shenzhen is not the cultural mecca of China, but this museum sure does make it appear as though they are. Best of all, this museum was free for everyone.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Qingming Festival

On April 4, the Chinese celebrated the Qingming Festival. Some of the schools around here are out and I think that some stores will be closed today and in observance of it. You can read about it HERE - Qingming Festival.

Seems pretty interesting and one in which I want to know more about. I'll ask the girl who is helping me my translations for my dissertation about it and see what she says and get back to you. I'll just add to this post. The wikipedia site has some helpful information.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spirit Week

I'm not really sure why, but this week has been Spirit Week at school. Among my followers, you haven't made a mistake, we had another Spirit Week. Our Student Council was charged with getting some ideas for dress up days together and came up with something similar to last time:

Monday - Crazy Hair/Hat Day
Tuesday - Tacky Day
Wednesday - Teacher-Student Mix Up Day
Thursday - Twin Day
Friday - Spirit Day

Jamie and I have dressed up for all days. Crazy hair day was fun for me because my hair is probably the longest it has been since I was 12. Tacky day was fun because I didn't have to worry about what I wore. Dress like a student day was the most fun because I was able to wear basketball shorts and my old school 3/4 length Braves t-shirt and a "hoodie." Jamie and I both wore a light blue button up shirt, black belt, black shoes, and light khakis for Twin Day.

Sizes in China are a bit odd here. We went by this week to purchase some polo shirts from the school to show our Spirit. Jamie had to get a medium when she is really a small. Earlier in the year, she was appalled she had to buy a large dress. I tried on a xxL but it didn't fit, and remember I've lost about 15 pounds. Jamie got her shirt, but unless I wanted to look like a little boy who'd outgrown his clothes, I decided to pass. Cool lookin polos though.

We only took pictures of Twin Day. I'll get it up soon and post it back on this post.

Hotels Combined Plug

It is amazing the emails you receive when you have a blog. I receive some from companies wanting to advertise and some random people who have searched for something about Cambodia or something. It is really interesting, and I've enjoyed hearing from all types of people. I received this email from someone from Hotels Combined. I figure I'd give it a shot, and maybe it'll make a difference. I checked out their site, and it seems legit and actually pretty well organized and layed out. Check it out at...

Hotels Combined

Here is the excerpt they sent me. I thought I'd just use it verbatim:

"Hotels Combined is a leading price comparison system used by over 25 million people every year. We aggregate and compare accommodation prices from all major sources such as,, and many more. We are a free research tool helping users find the best priced accommodation option. If required, the reservation is made directly on the compared websites (,, Priceline etc..)

I'm posting because of the promotion they offered for this "Spread the Word for Charity"...

"Every time a new blogger mentions us we donate $20 to one of the selected charities (WWF, World Vision or Make-A-Wish Foundation)"

Check it out if you want. They seem to have some good stuff. I've used them for searching and it seems to have a pretty comprehensive offering of hotels internationally and in the States.

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