Backpackin’ Time!

January 26, 2011 3 comments

And we’re off!

We just left mainland China and are now in crazy Hong Kong.
I know that I’m way behind on the blogging from China, but I will try and catch up with it all in the next few days while I’m in HK. The fact that there are no internet censorship here makes it all 10x easier and faster- so make sure to check the blog every day.

See ya!

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Categories: Kyrill News!

Pandas! Yeah Baby!

January 26, 2011 2 comments

Sichuan, the province we live in, is famous for 2 things; the über-spicy food, and pandas! China in general is famous for pandas, but Sichuan is especially famous within China itself, because the natural habitat of the pandas is in the Sichuanese mountains. Naturally, everyone is really proud of the Pandas here and you see toys, drawings and logos containing pandas everywhere in Chengdu. Just outside the city is China’s largest Panda research center – to which we of course went to some weeks ago. I believe Silje has done a lot of research, so if you are interested to know more about the Panda center you can read all about it on her blog.

I myself just want to quickly announce that Pandas are pretty much the cutest thing in the world and then just let the photos speak for themselves. I’ve commented on each photo for more info about the stuff you see. Enjoy!

Categories: Sightseeing

Christmas in China

January 17, 2011 3 comments

My first Christmas away from my family… 😦
On top of that I’m also in China where they totally don’t get Christmas at all. They just don’t understand what it is. They’ve heard of it. They know white people celebrate it. They know that there is a green triangular tree involved somehow, and they’ve seen a big fat man with a long beard and red clothes running around, but they still don’t get it. They of course try hard to act as if they are in on the fun, wearing Santa hats, decorating random trees with Christmas decorations, and playing Christmas songs in all the shopping malls – all sung by Korean boybands in really bad English. They even trying to create their own Santa; a panda dressed in Santa Claus clothes. As for Christmas trees, they seem to think that a huge Christmas tree made out of thousands of 7-up bottles is the way to go – As you may have guessed; I’m not getting the Christmas spirit here…

But all is not lost. With a constant stream of parcels from Norway throughout December containing Christmas presents from our friends and family, we got a bit of the Christmas feeling we’ve been missing. Wanting to somehow repay everyone we set out to find some Christmas cards we could send home, but this part of Chine being the panda capital of the world made it impossible to find any postcards that doesn’t have a panda on. The solution was to put some fake Santa hats on the pandas. Some of you may already have a Christmas card from us, but knowing how slow china post can be I wouldn’t be surprised if you get it closer to Easter.

Since most of the foreigners in Chengdu that we hang out are from either UK or USA, we knew we would celebrate Christmas their way – meaning that the main celebration would be on the 25th of December , and not on the 24th as we are used to in Norway. However, it doesn’t mean that the 24th went by unnoticed. In contrast to cities like Beijing and Shanghai, foreigners in Chengdu is a rare breed. Usually this means that we are quite the exotic attraction wherever we go, and whenever we visit an establishment of any kind (restaurant, bar, nightclub, etc) we often get the VIP treatment. Free entrance, skipping the queue, free drinks, etc – but nothing could prepare me for what happened on the 24th.
My good friend Tony’s girlfriend, Jody, is a Chengdu local and she is usually in charge of coordinating various events around town since she has a huge network of people. Just so happened to be, in Leshan, a small city about an hour outside Chengdu, a new club was opening. To attract a big crowd of costumers they asked Jody to find a foreign DJ for the night and some foreigners to just hang around in the club for the night. Sounds weird, I know, but having foreigners in you club apparently gives you cred. She asked us if we wanted to do the “gig”, and when we found out that it included us getting free drinks all night and on top of that GETTING PAID 500 yuan each, we were quick to say yes. 500 yuan as about a weeks worth of wages in China and is equal to around 2000NOK /200GBP – if not more. There was a short moment where I felt like I was somewhat whoring out, but that feeling quickly disappeared when I got the money 😀
The night itself was pretty fun. We were picked up in a car and driven back in a nice car. The club itself was like any other typical Chinese club- nothing to write home about, but we still made it fun for ourselves – and the free drinks did help on the moral, off course.

Needless to say, the next morning wasn’t one of those where you jump out of bed at 7am to go for run. On top of that we got some visitors from mine and Karina’s school really early, wishing us a merry Christmas and giving us tons of presents and snacks. This would have been fine if they just dropped by to say hi, but they stayed for about 3 hours before leaving.

Later that day it was time to have the Christmas dinner. A big group of us(teachers) booked a table at a really nice restaurant, which was providing a Christmas buffet that day, and boy that money was well spent! That night I put on about 3kg consisting of beef, Turkey, sushi, and a cheese plate sent from heaven. We stayed on at the restaurant for several hours before moving on, playing various drinking games and just chatting away. Later that night it was off to various clubs, continuing the festivities until about 6am, resulting in another “tough” morning the day after. But, in the end, we had loads of fun, and it was totally worth it.

As for the New Years Eve the following weekend it was once again an excuse to go out with our friends, but since the Chinese don’t celebrate this either; it was just like any other night out and not much to write about. But we did have an awesome pre-drinks party with an overly complicated quiz and some dancing.

Check out the Photos HERE

BONUS Christmas present just for you HERE
(PS: It’s a video)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Categories: In China..., Kyrill News!

Halloween in China

January 9, 2011 Leave a comment

This post is way overdue, but I thought I should just squeeze it in before my big Christmas post. Halloween in China isn’t very well known, and the only one celebrating it are the foreigners or Chinese people with a big interest in western culture. Naturally, all the clubs and bars know that all the foreigners are dressing up and going out that night, so they all have a Halloween themed night. But apart from that it is pretty much just like any other night out, except everyone is wearing costumes.

Speaking of costumes. My whole life I’ve been the “last-minute guy” – and this years Halloween costume is no exception. Only hours before going out I finally got off my butt and started thinking about my costume. Stumbling over a pharmacy just outside our apartment I decided to go for a mummy costume and bought all the rolls of bandages they had. I’ll never forget the surprised look of the pharmacist when I bought 52 rolls of that stuff. Putting on the bandages wasn’t easy, and took me well over an hour with some help from my housemates. Considering it was the end of October and I was only wearing my boxers under all the bandages, it wouldn’t be the warmest of nights. My strategy was to have enough drinks before I we go out so that I wouldn’t feel the cold. It helped, but throughout the night the bandages started falling off and very little was left to the imagination as I was dancing in the club almost only in my boxers. All in all, a good night 😀

Check out the photos here

Categories: In China..., Kyrill News!

Shanghai Pt. 4 – The Expo

December 14, 2010 3 comments

***Sorry for the long wait***

As some of you may know, Shanghai has been hosting the World Expo this year. Just as with the Olympics in Beijing 2008, you know the chinese are going all out on these things – and yes, they did it again! apparently the Expo has cost a lot more that then Olympics, which was a fair amount to begin with, but this time they are really showing off muscles. The whole Expo area is twice the size of Monaco and is pretty much in town centre. How they managed to use up so much space so central on this is beyond my reasoning, but I guess it must have been somewhat similar to what they did during the Olympics; just moving whole neighborhoods without asking the people living there. All hail whats left of the communistic reign! 😛

While still back i Chengdu, Silje and me got a couple of Expo tickets from a teacher in Silje’s school who didn’t have the opportunity to go to Shanghai. What we didn’t notice, is that on the tickets, written in a very small text, it said that these tickets weren’t valid during the National holiday week. We only found this out when we already arrived in Shanghai. We also found out that all the tickets for that week were sold out. Bummer… But then, with the help of our good friend Josh, we found out that there was still evening tickets being sold at the door every day. These were less popular since it would give you less time to see everything and visit the pavilions, and were mostly for people who wanted to walk around the park. For us it was better than nothing, and so we went over there.

First of all: The park is amazing. It is also, as I mentioned before, enormous! we covered barely 20% of it, and a lot of it we just ran through. However, once we got in into the park, we got’ a really nice surprise. Not expecting initially to be able to visit ay pavilions, we quickly found out that you can get into your own country’s pavilion without queuing. Since we were a group of many nationalities we began a quest of trying to get into as many pavilions as possible. Of course, this meant a bit of lying and acting, but in the end we managed to get into 5 pavilions(!). Usually you would need 2 full days to be able to do that, since you could very well end up queuing for up to 5-6 hours at the most popular pavilions, but we were super lucky and managed to talk our way into all of them without any queuing. The first one was the German pavilion. Usually you need to have your passport when you want to go through the VIP entrance, but if the people at the door here that you are obviously form that their country, they will let you in. 3 of us were already germans, so they did they talking, while the rest of us had to act german. Easy peasy. Same strategy worked for when we went to Swedish pavilion. Next up after that was the Norwegian pavilion. Again, we were 3 people who spoke norwegian, and thus managed to talk all the others in as well – However, the Norwegian pavilion was a huge disappointment. With so much money you would think that Norway would be able to do something more interesting. Instead, it was just a tiny wooden building with some norwegian drinking water, pictures from Norway, and TV’s showing norwegian nature. *Yaaawn*

Next up was the Russian pavilion. This would prove to be quite the challenge. Not only was I the only person speaking Russian, trying to bring in 10 other people with me, but there was no russians working at the pavilion who could at least verify that I speak fluent russian. Instead, there was a grumpy old chinese man who only yelled “Passport!, Passport!” every time I tried to talk to him. we almost gave up when I suddenly stumbled upon a russian speaking chinese guy patrolling the grounds. He quikckly heard that I was russian, and eager to show off his authority to the grumpy old man, promised to let me in. While he was talking to the grumpy old man I mentioned that I have 10 friends I would like to bring with me. The man didn’t expect this at all, and I suspect that he would never let everyone in if he knew how many we were right from the start, but since he was already in the middle of yelling at the grumpy old man for not letting me in, he couldn’t just back down and refuse us entrance. And so, we all got it 😀
The Russian pavilion itself was weird as hell, and reminded of Charlie and the chocolate factory with oversized mushrooms and flowers. The guys who designed the place myst have been on some serious acid.

Moving on, we tried to access the UK pavillion, but our only Englishman Josh, was unable to talk us all in to the pavilion. In his defense though, the UK pavilion was one of the most popular one’s and they almost didn’t let him in by himself. The Spanish pavilion was also a close call, where our spanish bull, aka Inaky used every trick up his sleeve to get us in, before finally confessing in front of the spanish bouncer, who then felt pity for Inaky and let us all in. The spanish pavilion was by far the most exiting one. We were first served with some awesome video installations showing the spanish culture and a live dancing senorita, before entering a room with A GIANT LIFELIKE BABY ROBOT. yes, you read correctly. The thing was so lifelike it was almost creepy. It was moving around and expressing emotions I have never seen on a robot before (not that I have seen that many robots…). I didn’t quite get the deal with the giant baby, but it was still the coolest thing I saw that night.

After visiting all the pavilions possible through our “VIP-strategy” we decided to split up and go see different parts of the park. A few of us went to see the Chinese pavilion, even though we knew that it was pretty much off-limits for everyone without a special invite during the National holiday. Since it is by far the most popular pavilion, they had limit the flow of people during that week, and thus you could only get in if you had a special invite from somewhere. Still, just seeing the exterior of the pavilion was worth the trip across the park. The thing is huuuge and will surely go down in history as an iconic pavilion with the likes of the Eiffel Tower, etc.
Even though we were unable to get into the pavilion itself, there were still a bunch of “mini-pavilions” around, each representing a province in China. These were really cool and almost felt like a crash-tour through all the different parts of China.

All in all, it was an awesome day and I feel quite lucky to have been a part of this Expo, and to have been able to get into so many pavilions without queuing up for days. Enough reading – go check out the photos!!

***Because of the ultraslow internet connection here in China + the fact that we can only access our blogs through a so-called VPN, and thus cutting down the speed even more, the gallery this time will be an eternal link***

ENJOY THE PHOTOS

Categories: Kyrill News!, Sightseeing

EngRish #7

December 13, 2010 1 comment

Priceless…


Categories: Engrish

Back from the dead!

November 25, 2010 6 comments

Hola Amigos!

Sorry for the lack of updates the last 3 weeks, but China has a way of restricting access to various sites now and then. One of them being mine & Silje’s blogs. Pretty much anything that can be used to spread your thoughts to a large group of people – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc – is usually forbidden here. That’s what you get for living in a communistic country.
Fortunately, we found a way to put a big crack in the Great (fire)Wall of China – (hehe) – and we’re back.
At least for now until they shut us down again. Fight the power!

Behold! The Great Firewall of China!

Anyway, stay tuned and you will be blessed with posts about:

– The last chapter of our Shanghai odyssey
– Halloween in China
– More awesome EngRish
– More delicious music for my fans
– And last but not least; Pandas!

Peace!

Categories: Kyrill News!