I’m on my third Chinese gym in three years. The first one got kicked out by the landlord (and didn’t refund the remainder of our membership fees). The second one operated with no electricity for over a month before the management suddenly locked the doors and disappeared (and didn’t refund the remainder of our membership fees).
But my third and current Chinese gym has Chairman Mao speaking English:
I was sold.
It was also the cheapest by far of my remaining options.
But it turns out this quote from some calligraphy by Chairman Mao in 1952 is famous, and was used in propaganda posters:
fāzhǎn tǐyù yùndòng，zēngqiáng rénmín tǐzhì
Here’s a little collection of posters and images I scrounged from the internets (click one):
Sure, we cry too much about the air pollution. But this one’s darkly humourous, I promise.
I routinely ask the oldest classes, “How’s the weather?” while pointing out the windows. And they automatically take a glance and usually reply, “IT’S SUNNY!!!” (“Sunny” is their favourite. But they can do cloudy, raining, windy, snowing, hot, and cold, too.)
So today I ask them. They glance out the windows. “IT’S…” A couple weak “sunny”s peter out among the 30 students. They can’t tell if it’s sunny or cloudy.
Because even though it’s bright outside, THEY CAN’T SEE THE BLOOMIN’ SKY. There are no clouds, but it’s all grey, and where’s the sun?
Later I check, and every air quality monitoring station in the city is maxed out at 500:
Below 50 is “good”. At 100 we close all our windows and turn on all the DIY home air purifiers. At 300 the preschool cancels all its outdoor activities.
At 500… AIRPOCALYPSE! ;)
From a popular path on Fushan, one of Qingdao’s local mountains.
Half-way up one of the many paths on Qingdao’s Fushan mountain.
We do this hike with our 4-year-old, but it’s tricky in spots. The dirt roads are actually really slippery and steep in places, and that makes it tedious (and a little dangerous) for the little people.
Our friends were recently apartment shopping. All the best deals were near this local mountain. But the husband’s father wouldn’t let them buy near the mountain because it’s covered in graves.
In addition to the thousands of graves sprinkled all over the mountain, the local authorities have created a formal graveyard and erected communal areas for burning paper offerings to the ancestors, rather than have every family burn paper at each grave on the mountain. We pass multiple fire hazard signs every time we hike here. Tomb Sweeping Festival is next weekend.
Similar: A Fushan grave, one week after Tomb-Sweeping Day
From our first local hike of 2016:
On Chinese New Year’s eve, I followed some lion and dragon dance troupes around our area of Bangkok.
I followed this CNY lion dance troupe for a few minutes in central Bangkok.
Glad to see what looks like ear protection.
I will stare you down until you feed me money!
Despite the noise and colour, it’s hard to make waves in the daily din and crush of these Bangkok street markets.
What are we all looking at?
Well, that’s one way to get attention.
Across the street from the lion dance troupe, a dragon gonged into a mall.
I have your business surrounded… Feed me!