A morning spent picking chestnuts, figs and persimmon...and a meal with restaurant lady.

Last week when I was coming home, I bought a couple of bottles of drink and sat down to chat with an old security guard.  Whilst chatting I met a new friend, Susan.  Susan is a teacher in Jiangkou and her husband is a Police Doctor.  She offered to teach me Chinese if I taught her English.  We have had one online chat whilst she was wearing her face mask.  Most Chinese women wear these before going to bed.  Or at least that's what I am led to believe!
Anyhow, she promised to take me for a drive, and we went on one this morning.  Not just Around Jiangkou, but around  'greater Jiangkou'.  Up into the hills and to a friend's farm.  It was quite remote, and she had to ask the way once or twice . Journey video. We drove through some spectacular countryside, sorry no photos, and eventually, we got to this little farm.  We got out and went on foot down a small road between buildings with brightly painted walls.  We stopped to take a few photos with some locals, and then went…

Strange palce for a photoshoot. (short post)

Well normally, I just walk to school nothing special, but the last few days it has been different.  Just on the corner near my school is a fairly busy road.  Just recently the bushes have lovely pink flowers on them.  So, out come the ladies in traditional dress and parasol and photograph each other!  Pretty weird because it's alongside a main road but apart from that it's still pretty weird!  Of course if a foreigner passes, it's all giggles and include him!  Photos below. Form two different days! Day 1 photos

Day 2 Photos 

Strange Chinese Characters

United KingdomThe good old Union Jack.  Who would ever thought it could be seen in quite a different light!
 It's nickname in China is 'The rice symbol flag" which in Chinese chracters is米字旗 which in pinyin (without the appropriate accents) is written as Miziqi.  Why 'rice symbol flag'?  Because the |Chinese symbol for rice is 米.  Speaks for itself really!
This time it is not about the flag, but a stereotype.  The word for tipsy in Chinese is 醉醺醺, which in pinyin (without the appropriate accents) is written as zuixunxun.  Strangely it also seems to mean Scottish!  No idea where that comes from!

  The Chinese character for Austria is 奥, which in pinyin (without the appropriate accents) is written as Ao.   It also means difficult to understand and is also an abbreviation for the Olympics. Australia
Where we be if we weren't slagging of Australia!  The slang name for Australia in Chinese is 土澳, which in pinyin (without the appropriate accents) is …

Yoga by the river, goose for dinner and Sherikas birthday.

I reckoned it was about time I did something in return for the kindness that parklady has shown me, so this morning I texted her and asked if she had had breakfast.  I got a photo back, and a message "No need" she said, "I'm by the river doing yoga...Would you like to learn it?".
Of course!  So off I popped, and sure enough there she was doing yoga. She smiled and continued.

However, the woman in the river nearby (in the background of the photo above), washing her chilli's, not a euphemism, didn't look so comfortable with my presence as she had tied her skirt up and was sitting on a plastic bag on a rock in the river, knickers on full display.  For your information Chinese knickers are, so I am told, usually, 'shorts style' knickers, as in the picture, so it wasn't too embarrassing for her!
Anyway I watched for a while, the yoga, not the woman in her knickers, and eventually the yoga ended.  She called her friend over.  Her friend then dem…

A trip to see Angela at the university and a chance to see some fresher military training

Today I got a call from Angela.  Did I fancy a trip to Tongren.  Of course!  I could do with a change of scenery!  So I got changed and as ready in twenty minutes.  She had ordered a taxi for me and it was waiting outside.  I jumped in and I was off to Tongren!
It was a standard taxi and as usual, it was full!  This time there were two biggish guys in the back and me!  Shoulder overlapping shoulder and thigh to thigh and this driver was in a hurry! Not too bad though.
We eventually got to Tongren and met Angela.  She took the school canteen and I had lunch.  We chatted for a good whole.and caught up in what had been happening to each of us, a good gossip,  and then I accompanied her to a hair wash!   After the wash and blow dry, we took a taxi back to her place because Angela had misplaced her glasses.  We eventually found them under the baby blanket!
Then it was a trip to the military training.  For your information, military training is not quite what it seems.  It is not tru…

Mutton powder, singsong in my flat, and a surprise picnic in the park

I had a bad night last night.  I won't say any more, so I slept late.....until 8.30! It was then I got a text from Sherrie asking be if I had had breakfast.  Nope, hadn't even washed and shaved!  Meet me in the park at 9.15.  we will go and eat mutton powder.  I was intrigued.  What was mutton powder?  I asked for 9.45 and we agreed to meet.  It was mid autumn festival so mist people were off work.  We met in the park and went to the mutton powder shop. It was a new shop.  It sold noodles and lamb.  Powder turned out to be a mistranslation.  Fen is flour, it translates literally as powder, so mi (rice) and fen (flour) is mifen which is rice flour.  It is shortened to just 'fen', so yangrou (lamb/mutton) and fen, is yangroufen which translates literally is lamb/mutton powder!  Mystery solved.  Try reading it again if you are stillpuzzled. We each had a bowl.  Sorry no pictures.  We ate and drank , then finished.  After a short discussion, we went to a bank.  Sherrie had…

A day out to Tongren with Parklady and friend, and a meeting with an angel....part 2

So far I was a little bemused about what had happened.  Things were about to get a little more strange.  First there was the show, ,and secondly there was the meeting with the angel.
The Show.
The stage had been built, the speakers tested: VERY loud.  The lion was ready, the 'celebrity' table was packed with 'celebrities' and the show began.  The lion pranced around and was given red envelopes.  (Red envelopes usually contain money.)  It then jumped off the stage and climbed a pole and took some gifts.

There were various singers and dancers, not of who I gather were well known figures locally.

Then camethe weird part.  A Chinese guy of about my age, clothes from his twenties and hair braided like a Jamaican.  First came the rubber glove.  He stretched it over his head, but it broke.  He had a spare.  Over his head, blew it up with his nose til it popped.  People cheered lime they had never seen it before. It was a kind of standard party trick when I was young except we…