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Posts Tagged ‘experience’

It was time for a truly authentic bamboo raft experience on the Yulong River, which is a tributary of the Li River in  Yangshuo. These rafts are smaller and only take two people plus a helmsman who guides  you down the river using a long bamboo pole. It was sold as a romantic tour with no engines or big ferry boats to disturb you but in China the biggest challenge is simply the number of people so it’s rare to ever have something all to yourself. That having being said it was beautiful and there was some excitement as you go over these 3-4 foot weirs on rafts that certainly haven’t been designed with that in mind. Our guide actually fell off the raft twice going over said weirs. The first time I felt sorry for him but after the second time I concluded that he just wasn’t very good.

all the rafts at the Chaoyang Dock starting point

beautiful calm water and scenery HDR

approaching the first weir

getting closer

going over the weir

and splash! (this was the point I realised having my camera out wasn't such a good idea)

one of the many floating restaurants you pass

some of the other boats having water fights with lots of screaming

looking back at other rafts going over a weir

The money shot - we are oblivious, our guide in the water & the people behind in shock

our guide fell off on this one too

bamboo forests on a narrower section of the river

getting a little crowded

Despite the crowds, restaurants and souvenir photo stations after every weir (which actually got a priceless shot of our guide falling off) it was a nice way to spend 2 hours with some more beautiful views of the Karst peaks beside the river and a little excitement going over the weirs.

We had actually hired mountain bikes to get to the Chaoyang Dock and they arrange for your bikes to be driven to the end of the cruise. They weren’t the most comfortable though, or perhaps I hadn’t been on a bike for a long time, so after riding back into town for lunch we decided to chill out that afternoon and enjoyed some Scrabble games on the deck at the hostel while sipping on some delicious honey-banana milkshakes.

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The time has come, the day has arrived, I’ve taught my last class and now it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve finished my second teaching contract here in China and I thought it would be nice to look back over the last 9 months and my experience teaching in a primary school. You may have seen some of my exploits in these previous posts classroom antics, bittersweet ride to workstaff tour to see the flowers and the day we got beer at lunch. Today however I’ve gathered some never before seen photos like this one.

Student Feedback - don't take it personally

I also took some pictures of the school grounds to give you a better idea of where all this took place and put them together in a video slideshow. Even better, I’ve used the song that gets played everyday at the end of school over a loud-speaker system in every room so you can have the full experience.

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Leopards, jaguars, white lions, hyenas, jackals, wild dogs, caracals, Serval cats, a honey badger and a reptile enclosure. All this can be found at Jukani Wildlife Predator Park according to their pamphlet that was lying around in the cottage.

Jukani founder Jurg Olsen with one of the lions

With a photo like that on the cover of the leaflet and a map on the back detailing that it was just off the main N2 highway, a mere 20 minute drive from where we were staying how could we not go? A quick phone call established they were open and 16:00 was the feeding tour. (more…)

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In the distance you could hear a low rumble. We sat outside on the verandah at Ilala Lodge as we ate our include breakfast buffet of fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereals as well as an a la carte menu looking across to the mist rising up from the Falls less than a kilometre away.

Welcome to the Victoria Falls, "The smoke that thunders"

According to the Victoria Falls guide, “They are not the widest waterfall or the highest waterfall but with all dimensions taken into account, including almost the largest flow rate, they are considered to be the biggest curtain of falling water in the world,”  and we were just about to see them but first (more…)

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I last wrote from the departure lounge in Shanghai and what a journey it has been since then hence the lack of posts but rest assured I’ll give you all the details in the next few posts.  Below is the interior of Terminal 2 at Shanghai PuDong airport which looks fairly grand but the shops and eateries leave a lot to be desired.  

Departure lounge at Shanghai PuDong Airport – Terminal 2

After a minor boarding gate change and last-minute de-icing of the wings we were onboard. Push-back was on time at 00:30am followed by a fairly lengthy taxi to runway 35L turning left hand out with a great view of  (more…)

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The karaoke was a great success, with everyone singing at least one song, including Jess from America who wowed everyone with a great rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” little did we all know she had a superb voice and was just very shy. The local staff dominated evening perhaps because the computer selector was all in chinese. We soon got the hang of it though and after sufficient alcohol with my dutch courage peaking I did what i thought was a good rendition of “I’m a believer.” Next myself and Chris did a duet of Ricky Martin’s “livin la vida loca” taking turns to sing lines of the chorus. I think i.ve figured out the trick with karaoke which is to pick popular songs that aren’t too intricate and just have fun with it. So for my last song i did “Witchdoctor” which i had last heard at my sister’s lip sync party for her 12th birthday. It was a hit and had everyone singing along by the second chorus.

We’d finished the beers, eaten all the snacks including duck tongue (another first) which is more bone than tongue and decided to move the party elsewhere. Taxi’s were hailed and “ba ba joba” which translated is 88 Bar, a popular chain in China. We were greeted by a hostess, ushered through a metal detector and into the club. They were blasting some good disco/dance music and it had a great party atmosphere. Our hostess escorted us to our table in the middle of the club. Felt like a Vip but this is standard practice here. And you can’t order from the bar, you have a waiter assigned to you and a tab that is kept on your table. First things first was a round of Long Island Ice Tea cocktails @ 35 yuan each but hey we were celebrating. Then it was straight up onto the stage in front of the Dj box and we started laying down the moves. It wasn’t long before everyone knew we were there and people were staring but it was all friendly and just about dancing. Next thing i knew I had a girl dancing with me and her male friend giving me the thumbs up. I don’t speak chinese, she didn’t speak english but it didn’t matter it was all about the dancing, even on top of the speaker at one stage with whistles from the rest of my group. Then she dragged me off stage and i started getting a little nervous as to what she expected next, only to be taken to her table and given a beer to cheers with. Then more dancing. She then had to go and said goodbye.

I needed a break from the dancing and headed off to the bathroom. As i was standing at the urinal the keeper sticks his hand round shouting something in chinese. A little taken back at this invasion of my privacy I look down to see him offering me a piece of Wrigleys chewing gum. I accepted thinking it only polite and then the next thing i know he’s massaging my shoulders and back. A little freaked out I try think of my options but it seemed fairly innocent and actually felt pretty good so i went with it. Eager to establish what the deal is I headed back to the group and apparently that’s what they do. You can tip them but its by no means compulsory. Still a little strange to have a man massage you at the urinal which is why i didn’t go back, once was enough i thought.

Another thing was a guy wandering around with warm refresher towels for you to wipe the sweat off your face, this I could get used to in a club. All in all a very enjoyable evening and will definitely be going back there in the year to come. The music was good with a mixture of local and english dance tracks, beautiful women and just a good stress relief to let your hair down.

It started to empty out later on and we all left at around 3 am, a good innings. As we were in the taxi on the way home I realised that at midnight it was my 1 month anniversary of landing in China, a fitting way to mark the occasion.

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