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

Eric
School: ebrown@isgdh.org

Home: ebrown2324@gmail.com

Jamie

School: jbrown@isgdh.org

Home: jkwbrown@gmail.com

Skype: "ericandjamie"


PICASA PHOTO ALBUM

MESSAGE BOARD


Monday, June 28, 2010

Back Home in the USA

Jamie and I had a very smooth flight back to the United States on June 20. We had left the previous night from Shekou and taken a van to a hotel near the Hong Kong airport. We had a total of 6 bags and 2 backpacks, and the doormen were very helpful at the hotel helping us with all of them. We actually had to switch some of the weight around because we thought the weight of some of the luggage was too heavy.

We woke early the next morning and made our way to the airport for our 9:15 flight. We were surprised that none of the bags were overweight and they did not charge us. Our flight took us 14.5 hours to Detroit where we had a 3 hour layover. We had to go through customs in Detroit where we were almost fined for my fake golf clubs. Luckily, the guy at customs was cool enough. We then had to made the connection to Atlanta arriving at 5:30 pm on June 20. Our families were waiting for us at the airport, and we headed straight back to Jamie's parents house for some dinner and a good night's sleep.

The next 2 days were a blitz as we had to purchase items needed for the summer as well as take care of a ton of paperwork that was necessary for us to complete our work visas for Saudi Arabia. This included a medical exam and a trip to the police station for a background check and letter. The evenings were spent hanging out and trying to relax, although we had some crazy jet lag.

On Wednesday, we headed toward Myrtle Beach. We had to cancel our annual trip to Panama City Beach due to the oil spill conditions; but so far, Myrtle Beach has been great. My parents and family arrived on Saturday, so we have 2 families of 14 people at the beach in 2 condos.

When we return on July 3, we have to finalize some of the visa process paperwork. We'll then head to south Georgia for a while before heading to Tennessee for a couple of weeks and then Georgia for the final 2 weeks. It is expected that we'll leave for Saudi Arabia on August 10.

We have a new cell phone if anyone wants to call and chat while we are in... 404-693-7439.

I'll keep up with the events of our summer on here as we prepare for Saudi.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guest at Shenzhen University

I had contacted some professors at Shenzhen University to see if they could help me locate some high school teachers in Shenzhen who might be willing to participate in my research interviews. One professor invited me to his educational research class at the university to participate in a round table discussion with his first year post-graduate students. They were all mastering in education.

So, on Sunday afternoon June 13, I decided to join his class for the day. I had been to Shenzhen University the previous week to meet with another professor, so I thought I knew my way around. I had told my research assistant/translator that I did not need her to go with me because the students and professor both spoke English (or at least enough to understand me). My assistant nonetheless gave me detailed directions and seemed worried. Little did I know that she would be correct.

I took the 30 minute bus ride and arrived on campus 20 minutes early. I actually walked in to a different gate from when I had gone previously, so I was immediately lost. I asked about 10 different people and they each gave me about 10 different answers as to the location of the teacher college. I fast-walked for 30 minutes before finally finding the correct gate and knowing my bearings.

Let me pause a minute here to discuss the humidity in Shenzhen. When you walk outside, it is as though you as going to drown because you might suck in water. A simple stroll a block away will leave you sweating profusely. Needless to say, when I arrived at the professors room, I was a soaking wet sweaty horrible looking American disaster. I had even gone to the restroom to wash up a little bit, but of course this being China, there were no paper towels.

I eventually caught my breath, joined the class, and had a valuable experience. I'm sure I looked like a complete idiot arriving 20 minutes late and soaking wet, but I believe I did well in leading the discussion on education research. They seemed pleased enough and really wanted to know the differences in the American and Chinese educational systems. I am becoming somewhat of an expert at this.

Decent story that I'll never forget for joining in a Chinese university class and showing up a sweaty mess.

Just thought I'd share.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"The Bubble" Show - City of Dreams - Macau

video

Saturday and Sunday, Jamie and I went to Macau for the last time. For those that have never heard of it (I haven't until I moved over here), Macau is a special administrative zone much like Hong Kong is. It was a Portuguese colony (the first and only European colony in China) for a while and there is still an influence there, although only 1% of the population speak Portuguese. Macau is now a sprawling tourist town known for its casinos. The Venetian, the world's largest hotel, is there, as is the Wynn, Rio, Hard Rock, Lisboa, among others.

Jamie and I headed there Saturday afternoon, checked in to our favorite hotel there, the Hotel Royal, and then went to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. We thought there would be a cafe there, but it is not built yet. We bought some shirts anyway and headed to the Blue Frog, a great bar/restaurant in the Venetia with good food. Our next stop was the newly built City of Dreams. It is a shopping complex, but has a show called The Bubble, a 4D experience (see video above for a scene from it as well as our Picasa Photo Album for more videos). It is a dome similar to a planetarium that shows a 15 minute 4D show. They change the showing every now and then, but this one was about a dragon who goes through several geographical scenes. It was really cool. I'll upload some videos of it so you can check it out.

We checked in for the night, slept in for the morning, and headed out to the old part of the city for one last look at the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral. We tried to go to the dog tracks, but it did not open until 5pm, so we headed back to the hotel so we could check out before heading to the horse tracks. I bet on a couple of races, although they were not racing in Macau that day, only in Malaysia and Hong Kong. I lost both unfortunately. I accept the fact that the horses I bet on were just not as fast as those that won.

We then took the bus down to Coloanne for one last look at one of our favorite villages and the world famous Lord Stowe's Bakery Portuguese Egg Tarts. We bought 3 to eat there and 6 for take away (to go). We walked the village one last time, headed back to the Venetian to eat at Fatburger, then it was time to go.

Macau is a wonderful place for a weekend getaway, and we'll miss going there. They are building new casinos and resorts, so the next time we go to Macau, it will be very different.

We have just 11 days remaining until we head back to the US. There is a ton to do before then: final grades, literacy folders, pass on folders, clean up our classrooms, check out procedures, packing up our apartment, Chinese teachers to interview for my dissertation, and goodbyes to say.

I'll keep you posted on how our last few days in China are, but it is fast approaching and will be gone soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hong Kong - One Last Time

From Hong Kong May 2010


Jamie and I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon in what will be our last time visiting Hong Kong. I have really fallen in love with that city and would move there in a heartbeat. It wasn’t in the cards this time, but perhaps down the road, we’ll find our way back there.

Saturday afternoon we took the ferry across to Central, had lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Tequila, and checked into our hotel, Bishop Lei International Hotel. It is a great place that is half a block from the mid-level escalators in Central with a usually great price for being in the center of the city.

We had wanted to catch the nightly 8:00 pm light show that projects across Victoria Harbor onto the city skyline, so we took the Star Ferry across to Kowloon and checked out the Hong Kong Science Museum. Great museum that we wish we could take our students to, but several of our students have only Chinese visas and can’t enter Hong Kong and re-enter China, so field trips to Hong Kong are sometimes pretty iffy. After the science museum, it was pouring down rain, so we didn’t catch the light show. Instead, we headed toward Lan Kwai Fong, the famous bar street in Hong Kong, and ate at a great place called Bulldogs.

We slept in because our bed was very comfortable, but after lunch at Just Salad (wonderful salad only restaurant) headed out to see an art exhibition called Hope and Glory by Simon Birch. It was a multi-media abstract art exhibition that was really way over our heads. We both agreed that we weren’t artsy or art intelligent enough to understand or appreciate it that much. Nonetheless, it was free and only cost us the metro ride over there. We then headed to the horse tracks where I bet on 2 races and won 1 of them. Sweet! I paid or my lunch with that one. Our next stop was a place I had been wanting to go every since I saw the map of Hong Kong, the cemetery.
I have been amazed by cemeteries ever since a project I had to do in an undergraduate Tennessee history class in college. The Hong Kong Cemetery is right in the middle of the city and sits on the side of a mountain, so the graves are terraced, very old, and has sections for the different religions, mainly Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We found some cool headstones and some that I need to research further to understand their meaning.

We headed on the trolley (still the best way to get around Hong Kong Island), and headed back to Soho and the mid level escalators and found lunch/dinner at Build a Burger (wonderful hamburgers), picked up our stuff at the hotel, bought our ferry tickets, dropped by IFC Mall for some dessert, stopped by Dymocks one last time to purchase more magazines (entirely too expensive), and waved farewell to Hong Kong for what could be the last time on the last ferry back to Shekou for the night.
Be sure to check out a few of our pictures. Some cool ones of Hope and Glory, the cemetery, and just us having a blast in Hong Kong.

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