Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home from Kunming

The trip to Kunming was a success, will write about it tomorrow; right now I want to go to sleep. Just got home after adventures in traveling - canceled flight today was a bit tricky, and I had some trouble getting a cab home, but finally made it.

Got an email today saying that I will be teaching promos the next two evenings, no rest for the weary. Don't know yet how the kitten is doing or whether it has been placed in a home (that is probably too much to hope for). Will find out tomorrow morning.


UPDATE: After writing the above, I went into the kitchen only to discover that I had left the fridge unplugged when I heated water the morning I left. Spent an hour cleaning out the smelly hairy melted stuff in the fridge and taking it all to the garbage. Woohoo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Well, those of you who know me, know it was bound to happen sooner or later. Last night I found a tiny orphaned kiitten and couldn't make myself leave it alone and crying. It's very young, and I'm trying to work with one of my Chinese co-workers to get it to a veterinarian today.

Since I'm leaving for Kunming for 5 days tomorrow, I'm feeling a bit anxious to get this taken care of as soon as possible, but since I'm dependent on Chinese speakers to get anything done I must wait patiently for my phone to ring with a solution.

It was very dehydrated and starving, I managed to get it to take quite a bit of cow's milk last night, which probably saved it from the dehydration as it later peed an astonishing amount on my bed. It then vomited up most of the milk solids, but apparently a small amount was digested because it did also poop - thank god I had put it on a towel. I have never had a kitten of any age that just peed or pooped where it was and lay in it and cried, I don't know if this is because it is too young for the mom to have potty trained it, or if something is wrong with it.

Hopefully will get it to a vet very soon, as since the vomiting it no longer wants to drink milk and is probably getting dehydrated again.


Update: I got an eye dropper and managed to get the kitten to take a little more milk, gave it less and it kept it down. It seemed to feel a bit better today; the eye mucus didn't come back, the kitten was washing itself, and even played a little with a string while in my lap.

This evening I dropped the kitten off with a co-worker, and I have just confirmed that the kitten is now at the verterinary hospital to be boarded until I return, so it's currently out of my hands, at least until I get back from traveling.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Qingdao street market

Just one block down from the hostel I was pleased to stumble across a market street that would easily have been overlooked. At the mouth of the street were fruit and vegetable vendors, but it quickly became more interesting.
Cooked eggs, zhongzi and other foods I don't recognize.
In the bowls are a huge variety of pickled vegetables. At the front are nuts and salted duck eggs. I tried the duck eggs once and found them to be sulfuric and inedible, I'm not sure how they are actually meant to be eaten.
Red bags containing various spices such as dried peppers.
Animal parts, lots of animal parts.
More animal parts. I see feet and noses...
Chicken feet! They are apparently a special delicacy here and can be found even in individually shrink-wrapped packages in convenience stores.
Qingdao is right on the sea. This must have been the morning's catch. Even standing right over the fish, there was no smell at all - the freshest of the fresh.
Shellfish, so fresh that these bivalves were still moving.
These little guys were squirting water out! I tried and tried, but couldn't get a shot of one in action. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to use the video option.
Again, missed an action shot - the vendor was handling these crabs when I walked up. The crabs have beautiful colors on them, indigo and purple on their legs.
I bought two moon cakes in the market to take home with me, one filled with bean paste and one with taro paste. Moon cakes are a traditional sweet and I think are associated with a festival, but seem to be available all year round.


I'm back from a quick trip to Qingdao with the other foreign teachers at my school. Here are some pics, will go through and caption them properly in the next day or two.

The Qingdao train station upon arrival. The train on the right is a high speed train on which I traveled, the train on the left is a regular train. The trip took about two and a half hours.
The front of the youth hostel.
Inside the lounge of the youth hostel, which functioned as bar, cafe, lounge, billiard hall, restaurant...
The unlovely view from the window of our dorm room. Even in Qingdao there are the ever-present construction cranes; it seems it's impossible to escape them.
I walked down to the ocean when it got cool enough; it was still hot, but the breeze was nice. I was surprised how affected I was by the tangy smell of the ocean when I approached. Here is a photo of the harbor at dusk with the moon in the sky. Lousy picture, but you get the general idea.
The following day (Sunday), it was hot and I was feeling tired, so I just hung around the hostel talking with new friends. I planned to go out in the early evening when the weather cooled off; however, when it did, it did so in a huge downpour! So much water came down that people entering looked as though they had fallen in a swimming pool, and the ceilings leaked in some rooms.

So the lot of us ended up having a quiet evening in, eating and chatting. The lunch and dinner menu at the hostel was quite good; I got a pasta alla carbonara that had more butter and cream than I've had in months and was to die for.

On Tuesday morning, I headed out with a new German friend to explore the city. We found "Beer Street", which is the street on which the original 1903 Tsingtao brewery and museum is located.
There are a lot of beer-themed decorations on the street: benches shaped like beer bottles, trash cans shaped like wooden casks...
Weird artwork shaped like melting beer bottles?
The street was lined with restaurants with outdoor seating, and I wished we had waited until early afternoon as it would have been a great place to have lunch. The area was mostly empty at the time we were there.

Another piece of cool "sidewalk art" like I've seen in so many places here.
The front of the old brewery. The sign on the left promises that "Tsingtao beer can give you passion and happiness."
Scratch-n-sniff beer instructions?
This was just a wall between two buildings, but I was taken by the architectural detail.
I peeked inside the keyhole-shaped door like Alice, but didn't see any magic; only some pipes and a fellow talking on a cell phone.
The photo doesn't really do this fountain justice; the water is pouring out of the top of the beer bottle and each cup.
Chinese horsie!!!!!!!!

The mansion of the former German governor. Qingdao was at one time under the governance of Germany, and the then-governor used an unbelievable amount of money to build this incredibly opulent European style mansion with all imported furnishings and decor... and then the home country found out what he had done and sacked him. Embezzlement rule number one: don't get caught!
Apparently the servants were pretty short... this was the tallest door, there were even shorter doors off to either side.
The central hall of the mansion.
The chandelier in the ballroom.
The hanging lamps in every room were different, as were the European-style fireplaces.
The house had a lovely conservatory at the back, it was very bright and would have been lovely in the wintertime when light is low.
From upstairs, there were stunning views of the city and harbor. As usual, my photos don't do it justice.
A lovely little fountain in the courtyard with water lilies.

Walking back toward the hostel from the mansion, we found a Buddhist temple and just wandered in for free. Turned out to be really interesting. The first thing you see is a giant jade cabbage, with money carved around the base. I guess cabbages are lucky.
And then a spectacular piece of artwork made from the roots of a tree, with the stump carved into the body of a peacock.
Off to one side was this large bronze bell. A little disappointing that such a beautiful bell should be displayed on an ugly metal stand like that. The bell made a great sound.
The feet of my friend inside the bell!
In the central courtyard was a big cauldron and a statue of a dragon. To the right was a woman selling some tokens. People would buy the tokens and try to throw them from behind the dragon, into the opening and hit a small bell hanging in the middle of the cauldron. This fellow did not hit the bell.
Sitting on the dragon with a German friend I met at the hostel. His red hair got a lot of attention and everyone wanted photos with him!
Another section of the temple had a room with these figures in it. A sign outside the room had pictures of all the figures and three years under each one, so my guess is that they are saints associated with certain birth years. The paper-covered boxes are probably to put money into for good luck.
Here you see a prayer tree, with red prayer tablets all over it, and the incense burning station, behind which is the main part of the temple. The blue sign must say the name of the temple, but there was nothing in English at this place at all.
The main part housed this androgynous figure.
This attractive fellow is the Dragon King. His shrine was to the right of the main one.
To the left of the main shrine was this one for the Gods of Wealth.
This statue of Confucius was it a little triangle at the junction of some streets not too far from the hostel.
The town's famous Catholic church. This is as close as I got to it, because at this point it was time to go back to the hostel, grab my bag and head for the train station.
Ugh. Slabs of fish drying RIGHT ON THE SIDEWALK. The same sidewalk that I see people spitting on and letting their kids and dogs pee on. No dried fish for me, thanks.
Random German building in the downtown area, what fantastic architecture!
Time to go home. The train station's waiting room was rather grand looking with gold chandeliers and a vaulted ceiling.