Interesting data on the views my blog received

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank You and Goodbye

This will be my last posting.

We left Guangzhou for Canada on July 24th. The 5 Rams of Guangzhou must have been crying to see us leave as it rained so hard we stayed on the tarmac for 2 hours in the plane before take off. At Beijing, we had to run to make our connecting flight to Vancouver.

Once in Vancouver, we spent 4 days with Danipoo and her family before finally arriving in Ottawa. As our house is rented until August 1st, we are in limbo in Orleans.

We had a wonderful year, much above our wildest dreams.

What I noticed the most upon my arrival was the empty airport, blue sky, bright sun, greenery, clean air and……so many overweight people. We really have to stop eating so much and walk a lot more.

I would like to thank all my readers for taking their precious time to read my postings. Each posting took well over an hour to complete. This blog has given me a written history of my wonderful year in Asia, something I would not have done without my readers.

Here are some stats from my blog.

147 posts

312 comments

13,000 views (this is a bit skewed as every log on to check for a new posting is considered a viewing).

Once again, thank you all for reading this blog and a special thanks to those that left comments. Huge thanks go to my wife without whom none of this would have been possible.

It’s been a rough year part 3

April

In mid-April I stopped teaching and we enjoyed the visit of Liebling’s sister Dom and her partner Olivier. We did the Pearl River cruise, the Peak in Hong Kong and the Chen Clan Academy all once again. We went to the popular Chinese tourist destination, Yangshuo. A cruise down the river Li, mud bath, bamboo rafting and tour of the layered rice fields in the mountains were part of the trip. We had a great time.

We returned home to Guangzhou for one day and left for Japan. We did not enjoy it so much at the time, but as we look back on it, we are glad we visited this country. One memorable event was attending the Sound of Music in Japanese and the behavior of the patrons and staff. The transportation system (trains, buses, subway) in Osaka and Kyoto are something else.

The River Li cruise

Proof that I am in China.

Layered rice fields in the mountains.

The Chinese are forever taking pictures of themselves because it is necessary as proof to  friends that they actually visited the area. This photo was taken, printed and laminated within 3 minutes. There were 5 more photo ops down the river.

This mud bath was in a cave and made you float like a cork in water. Next to it was a hot springs.

School children at the botanical garden in Japan. Never in my life have I seen such disciplined kids.

All the different school uniforms are a sight to behold in Japan.

A great show. The spectators were something else too. Surprisingly, all the shows were scheduled for 2pm, even during the week.

May

May saw us returning to Thailand for a second time. We met up with Liebling’s youngest sister DaniPou and had a riot. Phuket Fantasy will live on forever. As Liebling was working the first time we went to Thailand, we visited much more this time. A highlight of the trip was an elephant ride through a nature preserve.

After Thailand we were off to Taiwan. By this time we were pretty much tired out of traveling so we only stayed for 5 days, all our other out of China trips being at least 10 days long. Liebling worked while I went sightseeing.

Liebling and Danipoo taking a break at the Jim Thompson house.

Which one of these is not like the others? Which one of these doesn’t belong?

Buddhas, Buddhas and more Buddhas.

A highlight of our trip, riding on elephants. The nature preserve was top notch and the elephants were very well treated. A welcome break from the pitifully depressing zoo’s in Asia.

No trip to Thailand is complete without a stay on the beach. I had the 2 hottest babes in all of Thailand.

Biking in Taiwan on a 12 km bike path. It was a welcome relief from all the museums and temples I visited on previous trips, although I did visit a museum in Taiwan. Bike rental $5 CAD. Taxi to get there and back, $70 CAD. Hours in fresh air, priceless.

June

We stayed home in June hosting  visitors from Canada. Our pregnant daughter and her husband, Liebling’s brother’s family and a colleague of Liebling were all staying with us, at different times. Our blue eyed blonde pregnant daughter was a hit. I think an alien from outer-space could not have caused more of a stir. We had our fill of the Pearl River cruise, Chen Clan Academy and Aquarium super market.

In Hong Kong for the 3rd and final time with Juliane, Ghyslain and baby Tweety. The baby must have thought he was in Thailand as he became a she once everyone was back in Canada.

Our friend Karine trying out the exercise equipment in the courtyard of our apartment building. She bought and shipped back home 3 kgs of tea.

Our 6th and final Pearl River cruise with Pu, Oran and the joker’s family.

July

We had to start facing reality; our adventure was coming to an end. We shopped for things we saw during the year and wanted to take back home. Shipping stuff home was proving to be a daunting task; our landlord was nowhere to be found with our 2 months rent deposit and you cannot move anything out of your apartment without the landlords permission. We managed to eat lots of deep fried shrimp and I had to say good bye to Pizza Hut and KFC, my refuges when China was too much China.

Another outing with Mr. Pu, a Litchi orchard, Liebling’s favourite fruit.

The Nutcracker ballet we took Mr. Pu and his wife to that turned into an acrobat show.

Upon hearing that we had not visited White Clouds Mountain, Mr. Pu arranged an outing there. In the photo is Guangzhou, estimated population of 15 million. Notice how the smog envelopes the city and the blue sky near the mountain.

Packing up the house. Seventeen boxes of stuff that will cost more to ship than it cost to buy.

Our very last supper with Pu. We managed to pay for this one. I will miss him so very much.

We leave for Canada in less than 24 hours. A few more posts and the blog will be left to waste memory on a website for a few years until it is deleted.

It’s been a rough year part 2

January

We started off the year with a New Year’s Eve party at our apartment. All the food was typical western stuff like nachos, deviled eggs, potato salad, cold cuts, bread etc. Something totally new for our Chinese guests. The deviled eggs were a hit. I bought 18 beers and finished the night with 17 beers.

We went to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh city followed by Hanoi. Maybe our next sabbatical will be in Ho Chi Minh city, it was our favourite trip.

Mr Pu took us to the Flower Festival and the Lantern Festival, as well as out for dinner as usual.

Mr. and Mrs. Pu with Santa Claus and our Christmas tree. Not an easy thing to find in stores in China.

My students take me out to a Karaoke club near campus. A ton of fun. The server thought I was crazy for drinking a cold coke when it was 10C outside.

Water puppet show in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. It was spectacular.

One day boat cruise on the Mekong river. Very informative with so much to see. I took 550 photos.

A rice field along the Mekong river.

Relaxing on the deck of our boat in Halong Bay. Breathtaking views.

Halong Bay

Flower Festival in Guangzhou. People buy flowers for good luck and prosperity.

Lantern festival in Guangzhou. The dragon is made of ceramic plates, the trees are made of cloth.

February

We went to visit friends in Calcutta, India. Unfortunately, they had some illness in the family so we were not able to spend a lot of time with them. They sent us on an overnight train to Puri, to see the beach and temples. On our last night, our new Indian friend came to us, passport in hand, asking us to bring him to Canada.

From India, we went to Bangkok, Thailand, for a conference. We saw the Reclining Buddha, Jade Buddha and lots of other Buddhas. Between Indian temples and Thailand Buddhas, we were thoroughly enlightened.

On the beach in Puri, they absolutely wanted my picture.

On the road to Jaganauth Temple.

School bus

At the conference in Bangkok, Thailand. These performers put on a dance for us, a very slow dance.

The longest Reclining Buddha in the world. Gold plated.

A tour of the canals in Bangkok. I would end up fishing all day long off my porch.

March

We stayed home during March, sometimes you have to work, but we still managed to have some fun. One of Liebling’s colleagues visited with her sister. They were hilarious with their fears of traveling. By the end of their 4 weeks in Asia, they were seasoned travelers. We enjoyed many outings in Guangzhou, once again courtesy of our wonderful friend Pu.

Pineapple Festival in Guangzhou. The food was delicious and people watching was great although I think we were the ones being watched. A Mr. Pu outing of course.

Mary and Jo from Canada. When they arrived they had been eating mainly peanut butter sandwiches, they were so afraid of falling ill. When they left, they were eating deep fried shrimp with shell on, most likely cooked in recycled oil. We all had a blast.

Dinner with our friends Lucia, David and the newly baptized Leo. They are now in Vancouver, having immigrated less than 2 weeks ago.

A night at the ballet with Mr. and Mrs. Pu. It was very nice.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our Annus horribilis.

It’s been a tough year part 1

It has been a tough year. Not sure I could do this again.

August 15th – September 1st

We started our year on August 15th, 2011 after many troubles getting a working visa to enter the country. Our first stop was Beijing where we stayed for 2 weeks.

The Forbidden City. It was blazing hot.

No trip to China is complete without a trip to the Great Wall.

September

We arrived in Guangzhou in September and rented an apartment, started work and began a wonderful friendship with Mr. Pu and his wife.

View from the balcony of our apartment on the 24th floor.

A trip to IKEA to outfit the apartment. Most of the stuff is now outfitting the 2nd apartment of Mr. Pu.

The campus in Nanhai where we both taught. A 45 minute shuttle bus ride one way.

Our first of 6 Pearl River cruises. Also the  first of many great outings with Mr. Pu.

My Western Culture oral English class. The girls are in San Fransico, one boy is in Australia and 3 others are in the southern United States. I miss them all.

October

The first week of October was the harvest Festival, 3 days off from work. Mr Pu took us along on a Chinese tour of Chengdu. We flew there and then were on a tour bus for many days. Part of our tour contract was the mandatory visiting of 4 factory outlets. We had to go in the store, listen to their spiel and then spend a half hour in the store. Experiencing how the Chinese do tourism was fascinating.

At a national park in near Chengdu. Beautiful sites like this were all over the place.

The mandatory stop at the Chinese medicine shop where you get a free foot massage while they try to sell their products. I am putting the Chinese equivalent of  Vicks Vaporub on my sore nose and paying the price for not understanding the language. A price I have paid many times over the year.

Back in Guangzhou, we visit the fish aquarium supermarket. One of many visits.

Panda Boy at the Halloween party put on by the English Club at the university. He was told there would be many people in costume. I guess they all dressed as Lucy Liu.

Novemeber

In the middle of November our trip to Thailand was cancelled due to flooding. As we had no time to get visas to go to another country we went to the island of Hainan, in China. The most interesting thing about Hainan was that the second language there was Russian. Lots of Russians, information in Russian and restaurants with menus in Russian. We did our best to make the cancellation of our trip to Thailand a positive experience.

In the coconut milk hot spring bath near Sanya.

Our tourist outfits in the yard of our hotel in Sanya. They have served us well. Should have bought some extra sets.

End of November we are back in Guangzhou. Our friend André from Beijing visits us for a few days to practice his French. He goes to an interview in Hong Kong and gets accepted to immigrate to Québec.

We take Mr. Pu and MeiHao to see Notre Dame de Paris in China, not expecting it to be in English. A great show but the music is better in French. As Mr. Pu never lets us pay for dinner, this is the only way we can show our appreciation. Mr. Pu speaks perfect French, his wife only understands Chinese and the play is in English. Go figure.

December

Early December we miss the 80th birthday of a very important man in both our lives, Leibling’s father, Gerry Poulin. We go to Shanghai and Hangzhou (a popular tourist city) before returning to Guanzhou for Christmas time. Our son Cédric and his girlfriend Sarah visit us for Xmas. We make our first of many trips to Hong Kong.

Our birthday message to Gerry. We also Skyped him at his party and were displayed on the wall of the hall rented for the occasion. Over one hundred friends in Canada at 6pm got to hear and see us speak from Shanghai at 6am. Some of the senior citizens were completely baffled. One asked how come we were on the computer if we were supposed to be in China.

On the Bund in Shanghai. This was the trip we enjoyed the least. I think the hotel without heat played a big part in this.

West Lake in Hangzhou. We got there from Shanghai on the high speed train at 300 km/h most of the way and it felt like we were going 40km/h.

Karate Kid aka Cédric. He is a joker just like his mother. Sarah finds him hilarious.

On an outing with Pu.

Lantau island in Hong Kong

Gerry and Pauline’s adopted Chinese son before it become popular, Baldwin Lee (Hong Kong). He is a very successful businessman that took the time to see and entertain all our visitors. A wonderful man that studied in Canada as a teenager and spent many holidays with the generous Poulin family. He loves them dearly and still sends them Christmas gifts after more than 30 years.

My father hated it when I played more with my sister’s Barbies than she did. Little did he know I have a thing for hot babes in boxes (Hong Kong).

Cédric and Sarah at the top of The Peak (Hong Kong).

Stay tuned for part 2 of our Annus horribilis.

Some photos

In a Litchi orchard near Guangzhou. These little fruits are delicious.

Singing a karaoke song for Liebling at KTV. The Chinese love karaoke. You rent a karaoke room with your friends and spend 3 hours or so singing songs and basically making fools of yourselves. A ton of fun, especially for a fool like me.

Back to the fool theme. We dressed up so that Liebling’s brother’s family could spot us at the train station. The Chinese loved us and we are now part of many of their family photo’s. The brother had no trouble spotting us in the sea of Chinese people.

I think we’re turning Japanese, I think we’re turning Japanese, I really think so.  (Kyoto, Japan)

Found this useful bit of advice on a step going into a shopping centre.

The best and most useful sign ever. I trip at least twice a day in China and I always try to do it carefully.

On the menu of one of our preferred restaurants. As they cook all the meals I haven’t burned my self yet.

Shipping Day

One man working, 3 people watching and 1 taking photos. Just like back home.

Monday was shipping day and what a day it was. A few days earlier we advised the building administration that the elevator would be used for moving the boxes. We were told we could move nothing without our landlord’s permission, we would not even be allowed to remove our suitcases. We called our landlord to discover that his number had been disconnected and no one had any other number. He also had $2,300 CAD of our money as a deposit for the apartment and knew we were moving out around this time.

The street side of our apartment. It was 34C without the humid-ex. This man gladly took the 6 pack of beer I gave away.

Mr. Pu tried in vain to track down the landlord and finally advised us to call the police and file a report. The police would then track down the landlord. Luckily, it did not come to that, the administration finding a number for the mother-in-law after hearing we were on our way down to see them to call in the police.

 

The mover told us the best boxes were made in Canada. This one will probably be reincarnated into a newspaper in Canada. No happy immigration story for him.

 

It is amazing the amount of things you can accumulate over a one year period. Most of the stuff was souvenirs we bought to bring back home. They filled 15 boxes, our clothes filled only 2 boxes. We had already given away 4 boxes of crap like dishes, spare bed linens and other things we bought for the apartment but don’t need back home.

These wooden frogs make a “ribbet” sound like a real frog when the wooden stick is moved across the ridges on their back. Guess who bought them.

This is a ceramic pedestal sink which will be installed in our back garden to wash our vegetables and hands before coming into the house. Guess who bought this. Guess who had to lug it home from the other town by bus, metro and foot,a 2 hour journey.

Our friend Holly spent the day with us in case we needed a translator. Even though she is married and has a 15 yo son, you can make her blush by saying the word “sexy”. She was a great friend for Liebling and we hope to see her again one day, hopefully in Canada.

Holly and Liebling at Belly God for a late lunch after the packing.

The boxes are gone and we find ourselves with 7 days to kill.

The man in black did an excellent job at packing and did 80% of the work, the guy in white came in to help finish with an hour left and took all the credit. Some things never change.

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