One of our Chinese intern teacher is also a calligraphy master...

after class one day he taught us how to write a few caracters!

Well... it's much harder than it seems!
He said that when we wrote our lines were too straight.
Calligraphy is not like writting, it's an art.
The end of the lines have to be slightly thicker and rounded. And each caracter has to be well balanced and in harmony with the others...

I did my best... and it looked pretty good to me...
but when the other intern teacher saw my first caracter she cracked up laughing and said
"Oooh you caracter seem too happy! So cute"

Hmm I'm guessing it wasn't meant as a compliment, but I could live with it!

Terracotta Warriors

Check out the details on this statue !
Each statue is unique !

It's quite amazing to think that 2200 years ago, hundreds and hundreds of people worked for over 36 years carving these soldiers to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin.

Today about 1000 warriors have been uncovered while many more still remain burried underground... but as they are made of terracotta, concerns about their "survival" arise as exposure to air will most likely turn them into dust in the years to come...

I don't know if this was a real archeology site or a set up scene for tourist... the women kept sweeping the wood board, over and over...

Hao jiu bujian !

"Long time no see! "

Last week-end there was no internet connexion available here in Suzhou... apparently due to the effect of the solar eclipse... hm weird! lol
And then, well, miraculously we had a few days of "sunshine"so I was busy going out and about, enjoying the days! I found beautiful places around where I live :)
I'll post pictures as soon as I'll be able to upload them...

Anyway I just got back from Xi'an (famous for it's Terra Cotta Army)!!! The Shaanxi area is also known for its food! :) Unfortunately I don't know the name of the best thing I tasted... I'll post a picture later, maybe one of you knows :)

I love going places and realizing I can have "conversations" with people! I have a crazy taxi story to tell you about but that will be for another day! I actually argued in Chinese with a Chinese person.. and got what I wanted! Loved it!

I've been in China more than 50 days already and I can't believe how fast it's gone by!
All is going well!

Lantern Festival & Delicious Food !

Thursday night was the Lantern Festival, two weeks after the Chinese New Year...

After school we went downtown to see what is was all about.

Lanterns, food, fireworks, food, people, food, lanterns, food, people, people, people, food...

There were old people, babies, teenagers, kids, couples, families...all kinds of people, everywhere! There was a lot of pushing, bumping, squeezing by, trying not to get lost...

It was fun! Good thing I'm tall though...

And the food.... was delicious !
Now that I'm not afraid of tasting weird looking things.. it's kinda fun :)

These are steamed buns, or Baozi.. the hard part is ordering vegetarian ones!

Fried rice cakes..

Yummy something... The man said it was fish but it sure didn't taste like fish!

Unidentified shapes of something else..

There were brochettes all over!

Oh! This is the "stinky fruit".. It smells awful! I've been smelling it since I got to China without knowing what it was... well I found out the other night!
It actually tastes good though!

Caramelized fruit...

Roasting chestnuts...

And so much moooore :)

Guangxi's Natural Beauty

I want to go back to Yangshuo !

It was so peaceful...

and beautiful!

This is the view that is on the 20rmb bill !


Another day in Suzhou SIP

Local shops are finally opening up again! After being here a month and feeling like Suzhou SIP was a gost town, I actually saw people on the streets today ! All kinds of small places to eat are now available :) I can't wait to try them all!
This first place I went to today made some kind of rice sandwich. It looked like a big sushi without the seaweed rape or a burrito without the tortilla nor the beans...

Sticky rice filled with dried tofu, some kind of vegetable and spices...

On my way home after school I stopped to grab a few things to snack on:
- kiwi milk (quite good actually)
- hard crunchy twists of something I can't describe! I can't even say if it was sweat or salty.. I think it was both!
- dried fruit (looked like pineapple but tasted like something else!)

I'm starting to really like all these different chinese foods and flavors. Once you get over the unfamiliar packaging and unusual tastes, there are many good things available! :)

No, this is not some kind of accident... The delivery guy just stopped his car in the middle of the intersection, emptied out all the packages from the back seats onto the street, answered a phone call and carried on as if this werethe most normal thing to do...

Sense of Time

If I could have anything, I would ask for time! I always wish there were more hours in a day!
I'm a night owl which is why I'm still up although it's 2am here and I have class tomorrow...

But anyway, loading pictures takes too long but I thought I'd give you an update on things here in Suzhou !

* It's still freezing in case you were wondering... but now I have UGGs (I'm assuming they're fake since I only paid 20$ but they keep me warm so that's all I care!) I've never liked UGGs, I swore I would never by a pair... but I'm in China and I was getting fed up of having frozen toes everyday so that changes everything!! :)

* Thursday China will be celebrating "Lantern Festival" !
I received this email from one of our Chinese teacher:

"In China,Lantern Festival is an very important occasion for families to get together and for everyone--young, old, rich and poor to have fun.It takes place at the end of the Chinese New Year Celebration,on the fifteenth day of the first moon.Lanterns have been part of Chinese life for centuries,so it's not surprising to see a festival of lanterns.
Now I'd like to share with you about some useful information on coming Lantern Festival this Thursday."

Sounds like fun!

* I've been trying all kinds of new food and I like it all! I wasn't expecting it to be so rich though.. everything is deep-fryied, grilled, fryed or stir-fryed...

Hidden behind the McDonalds building I found a local market with all kinds of fresh food :) I never knew there were so many fruits and vegetables I didn't know about! And even the familiar ones like eggplant or cucumbers look different! But they taste really good!
Oh and somehow it's strawberry season here! And they're sooooo delicious although they don't look ripe at all!

* I can order in Chinese! The other day the waiter even told me "hen hao, hen hao" which means "very good"! YAY that made my day!

* "time is endless". Sense of time is another cultural difference... In the Chinese culture it is said that there's always more time. That's actually because they have a circular perception of time, which means everything comes and goes... nothing is forever, it all just keeps turning and as long as everything is balanced it can't go wrong... I like that!

Now.. good night!