Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

I’m Moving..

25 January 08

blog addresses, that is.

The new blog URL is http://global-gal.com or http://www.global-gal.com if you’re fond of w’s.

The blog is the same – go have a gander! Switching to my own domain means I no longer need to use TOR to access my blog or update posts. It also means fellow friends in China can access the blog without using proxies.

I will no longer update this site, or the mindsay blog, but I will keep them as they are, at least as long as they remain free blog hosts! (Unless anyone has any issues accessing my new URL – let me know!)

I’m currently in the process of changing image links to reflect my new photo home – SmugMug. You can see all of my photo galleries at http://globalgal.smugmug.com. I’ve noticed that occasionally, there are issues with photos not showing up in my posts.** Usually, this is a temporary matter. As far as I know, SmugMug is not blocked within China, as Flickr photos sometimes are.  (**Update: actually, it’s my fault! I disabled the external link function for that gallery – oops! The SmugMug team is so fantastic, they alerted me to the problem without me even having to ask!)

My new home is powered by the fabulous web host Laughing Squid. Like SmugMug, Laughing Squid is run by real people, not a corporation. Sure, I could have signed up for a zillion GB of web space for $2 on some big web host company, but I prefer to patronize small businesses with heart. Laughing Squid provides excellent technical support and their servers are high quality. And they’re artists!

Come over to the new blog! I am in desperate need of little red dots on the Clustrmap!

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

21 December 07

I’ve just come from a really fun night that almost makes me regret what I am about to announce here.

Dinner with friends is a way of life here in China. You get together with your buddies, (Chinese or foreign or, hopefully, both), and you eat as much as you can, drink as much as you want and laugh and enjoy yourself.

That is what we did tonight. We met up with our good friend PB and a small group of his friends. Caution here, PB speaks a little English, but not a lot, so in the past, our conversations have consisted mainly of “what’s up, man?” and “how are you?” Tonight, PB brought along a friend who speaks very good English, so we could translate with each other. No matter anyway, because over the last year, PB has learned an amazing amount of English and even if we can’t always understand each other, we always have a fun time.

We started out the evening over a never-ending dinner at a Western-style barbecue restaurant. These kinds of places are all the rave in China and are vaguely reminiscent of Fuego de Chao, the Brazilian barbecue restaurant. The Chinese versions offer a buffet of salads and Chinese dishes, while the main entrée is barbecued meat, circulated around the restaurant on long metal skewers. Our little group polished off quite a few pitchers of beer, brewed on-site (dark, light, green and ginger varieties) and countless plates of food. My mother always told me to think of the starving children in China when I wouldn’t eat my brussel sprouts, but now I can confidently say there are NO starving anything in China!! Every table in the place was over flowing with food!

The evening ended at a disco, located, conveniently, next door to the restaurant. Chinese discos are always wacky. This one featured a bouncing dance floor, but I was a little disconcerted to find the floor bounced up and down a good foot or two, making for a very uncomfortable dance.

I realize that this might offend a reader or two, but I beg you to consider the hilarity of the situation. As the number of dancers increased and the beat of the music intensified, I suddenly realized everyone was dancing furiously to a song which basically consisted of one lyric repeated over and over: “Everyone wants the pu**y!!” Loudly. Girls and boys laughing, pumping their fists in the air. No one had a clue what the singer was actually saying. Aww. Gotta love China!!!

Gotta love China. What a complicated country. Which makes me both a little bit sad and a little bit happy to announce that after a great deal of contemplation, the DH and I have decided it is time for us to leave China and move on to a new adventure somewhere else on the globe.

I know it seems sudden, but we have reached the end of our contract and this is something we have been considering for a long time. As some of you know, I am a serial expat. After two and a half years in the Far East, it is time for something new.

It’s been awesome, China, thanks for the memories!!!

At Work Again

22 October 07

How quickly two weeks pass!

I’m back at work today, although my brain is still in Vietnam.

I have another paper due tomorrow, so I won’t be back until all that pesky homework is done.

As for the free wi-fi on vacation, it was indeed great, but I felt more drawn to the beach and the under-palm-tree-lounger than I did to updating the blog!

Never a Dull Moment

7 October 07

Let me catch you up to speed on my life:

There have been no updates lately because I am furiously trying to write two papers for two library school classes. Add to that the fact that I am up to here (insert clever cartoon character here with hand indicating eye-balls) with China, and as is par for the course, we have just been informed we have a 10 day vacation starting NOW. (Why plan ahead? Why inform workers sooner so that they may book exotic holiday in the tropics, find airplane tickets and apply for visas?)

So I may be typing up my papers on the beach, or in the mountains, or on an airplane. Not sure yet. The one thing I am sure of is that I am out of here for two weeks!! Halleluja!

More details to come!

And So The Vacation Must Come To An End

7 May 07

Over 2 weeks without an update…

I’m back in Linyi having passed my ground instructor exams, visited my family, shopped to my heart’s content, endured way too much airline food and too many hours of flight, spent a couple of days in Beijing and recuperated at a mountain lodge outside of Linyi.

I’ll be back shortly!

A Little Break

15 February 07

Tomorrow is day one of our Chinese New Year vacation. We will be spending the 16th, 17th and 18th in Chengdu, in Southwest China. The 17th is Chinese New Year Eve and the 18th is Chinese New Year Day. The evening of the 18th we will board the train for Lhasa and 47 hours later we will arrive in Tibet! We will be in Tibet for a grand total of 5 days. 😦 Then we will fly to Shanghai for a day or two and then, back to Linyi for work on the 27th.

I will be looking for internet connections throughout the trip to keep the  blog updated.

Happy New Year!

Global Gal tentatively steps back onto the web…

30 January 07

Could it be true? Can I actually access the Internet?

**Happy Dancing**

More to come on my lunch break!!

I Have Successfully Tunneled Under the Great Firewall of China

20 November 06

Ha! Take that Great Firewall of China! Thanks to Tor I am blogging all willy-nilly on a blocked blogging platform within China!! (Also thanks the Firefox – the google search bar is the only way I can access google!) I am quite shocked that there is a noticeable difference in the amount of website blockages in just the last three months!

See, after a long journey passing through 7 airports (Aviles, Madrid, Frankfurt, Shanghai Pudong, Shanghai Hongqiao, Qingdao & Linyi) I finally arrived to Linyi only to find wordpress blogs blocked within China. I panicked, until common sense sent me searching for a way around the censorship. I am glad to report where there is a will, there is a way! For those of you in China and in despair, Tor is your new best friend. It is seamless and integrated (and slow!) but you don’t have to go to a pesky proxy website everytime you want to visit a blocked site.
So I’m here, I’m online, and I’m okay! I spent most of the day figuring out how to blog freely, and now I am cold, hungry and ready to go home so I will be updating with news of Linyi and more tomorrow.

Welcome to On the Fringe

12 November 06

Welcome to my new blog, On the Fringe. For those of you coming from the Mindsay blog, you will find that I’ve already transferred all 200 blog posts here. Also, the comments have been turned on here, and you don’t need to register, so comment away if you like!

As I announced on Mindsay, the DH and I are moving back to China. We’ll be leaving on Wednesday. I hope to have access to the internet by the weekend so that I can update at that time.

Have a good week!

Packing is the Pits, Saying Good-Bye is the Worst

6 August 06

Packing is just about the worst thing you can do. You are confronted by the staggering amount of belongings you own, half of which you had forgotten about, pushed to the back of the closet. This is all the more frustrating when you have a 30kg weight limit to deal with.

What am I talking about? What is going on? Why am I packing? Going Native and the DH are on the move again. This time we are saying good-bye to China and hello to something new.

In a few days we will be back in Spain, visiting family and friends that we haven’t seen in 4 years. Then we will make some important decisions about what is next for us. I have a pretty good idea about where we will be going, but I’d like to wait and be sure before I announce it.

I spent my last day in Shijiazhuang yesterday getting a haircut – one of my favorite activities in China. Then I visited the World Trade Plaza lounge and drank espresso while reading the International Herald Tribune. Then I picked up a few last groceries from the store before returning to the airport. On Tuesday evening we will be travelling to Beijing, to spend two nights there before our flight to Spain on Thursday.

Saying good-bye to any place is always a little difficult, but I’ve gotten quite used to it. (Since  I’ve moved so much!) This time, it will be difficult to say good-bye to the great friends we’ve made here. The physicality will not be missed. As for PanAm – the flight school – well, I’ve got some things to say about that later.

The blog has a new look for our transitional time. I will most likely be updating again when we are in Spain on Friday. I still have a lot of reflecting to do on this year in China. Stay tuned, because this is a really exciting time for us! Wanderlust has struck again.

Now back to the suitcases and the piles of STUFF…

update, later in the afternoon ~
The packing is horrible. I wish my mom were here. She knows how to pack I’ve got one suitcase full to 33 kilos and more to go. We have too much stuff. I long for the days when I can finally travel light. The DH keeps insisting everything will fit, that we’ll not have too much luggage, that everything will be fine. I’ve banned him from the room!