Photos from China (so far…)

The view from one of our 2 balconies. They’re both tiny, but still. 
Another view of the street outside our building.

The washing machine. Out on one balcony. We hang our laundry to dry: it’s so hot here it takes NO time.



The kitchen. No oven, but the burners are gas, which I love. 
My room.

  
The living room. 

The view out into the courtyard. 

The bathroom without a bath – shower only.

The emergency phone in the elevator.

Quick & dirty pre-mixed tea my predecessor left in the kitchen, bless him.

This is in the Hong Kong airport – a peanut and barley pillow I had while waiting for the ferry.

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LAST photos from China.

Here are the last of the photos from my 18-month-stint in Zhongshan, Guangdong, China. NEXT: Chile!

Photos from #France ; #Paris

“I’m in Paris. I’m in Paris.” I had to keep saying that to myself. I arrived in Gare de Lyon, the main train station, which is already beautiful, and walked out into the chaos of a Paris taxi rank surrounded by 19th century buildings, trying not to cry. My taxi ride was a very similar experience to when I first walked on the Embankment in London…all of the places I’ve been hearing about my whole life actually exist and are right in front of me. When I first saw the Seine, I shrieked. I saw Notre Dame and felt my mouth fall open.  My taxi driver pointed out Place la Concorde, and the Musee D’Orsay. I saw something pointing out above us, from behind another museum, and it took me moment to realise it was the Eiffel Tower. When we drove past the base, I choked a bit.

Because my residency in Vallauris only ended on 19 August, and I must be back in China for 1 September, I had to get home right away. I spent one night and morning in Paris before getting on a plane for Canada. I’m already thinking about when I can go back.

 

“Someone’s going to blow that place up soon.”

Said to me, in 2004, by a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. It was a few days before I flew to London, England, United Kingdom.  I answered him, “That’s why I have to go see it now.”  I got to see Big Ben, and Southbank, and the Inns of Chancery.  The next year, London was bombed.

As I write this, I am in Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey.  Forty-five people were killed here two weeks ago, by terrorists who apparently believed the same things as those who attacked New York City, London, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Baghdad, THREE cities in Saudi Arabia, and as of TODAY, Nice, in the south of France.

I am in Istanbul waiting to catch a plane.  To Nice.

I have been teaching English for the last ten months in Southern China. Almost without exception, all of my students are from very wealthy families (and, obviously, because I’m teaching them, they’re learning a foreign language). Yet almost NONE of them has ever been outside of China, for a vacation, or to hear English. For Chinese citizens, visiting other countries is extremely difficult. My students are in awe when I’ve told them I have visited NINE places: Canada, the United States, England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Iceland, and China.

I’m not going to see Istanbul beyond the airport today, but I WILL. And I am scheduled to be in France for a month. I’m not changing that.

I speak English and Spanish. I’m learning Mandarin. One of my favourite books growing up, Mischief in Fez, was about Morocco. I adapted it into a play because I wanted kids to know more about Islam, because I think Islam, and Muslim people, and the places where they live, are cool.

And YOU will not change that. You don’t get to tell ME or ANYONE else what they are allowed to be.

Photos from China: Macau Redux – the Fortresses

Macau was, until 1999, a colony of Portugal. Macau is in — more or less — 2 parts: the Peninsula, which contain the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Historic Centre of Macau, and then there are the islands, which contain, Taipai, Cologne and Cotai.

The Portuguese built TWO major military fortresses while occupying Macau — the Fortaleza do Monte, and the Guia Fortress.