Chairman Mao on working out

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):

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2015!

Some Christmas-y photos from our final month of 2015 in China.

Chinese Sunday school kids sing at the annual Christmas party/show.

We’ve appropriated traditional Chinese decorations as Christmas tree ornaments.

Mulled wine, 2015.

Every year we put up new door couplets and a new at Christmas/New Year’s, right around the time people start thinking about getting ready for Chinese New Year. It’s actually a little early for this, as these are CNY decorations, but our family basically has a giant long winter holiday season from Advent through Chinese New Year each year.

We played Santa around the neighbourhood this year with over 60 Christmas cookie packages.

In exchange for the cookies, he gave our daughter a live octopus.


The real Chinese nightlife

Nightlife in China, Qingdao-style:
Little groups like this are sprinkled throughout our neighbourhood in the after-dinner hours. I’m sure we weren’t the only one hanging our beer on the wall.

[Photo gallery:] Eating starfish in Qingdao, China

I ask these two Chinese friends, both young, wealthy, educated urban women, if they’ve ever eaten 毛蛋 — literally “hair eggs”, actually fertilized chicken eggs (i.e. a chicken fetuses) that simmer for hours in woks on Qingdao sidewalks:

“Oh, gross! We wouldn’t dare! No way!”

What about starfish (海星)? Do you eat starfish?

“Of course.”

Earlier this week we were running around with some friends from Kunming and stumbled upon a starfish-eating opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Click the first thumbnail to open the viewer. And read the captions; it’s like a little story…

For more Chinese food adventures, see:

[Photo Gallery:] Chinese group tour, Qingzhou, Shandong 山东省 青州

Joined a Chinese group tour with 50 of my coworkers over the Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday weekend — so domestic tourism, China-style. We visited tourist traps in and around Qingzhou 青州 (near Weifang 潍坊) in Shandong Province (山东):

  • Huanghua (“Yellow Flower”) Creek 黄花溪
  • Taihe Buddhist Temple 泰和
  • Yunmen (“Cloud Gate”) Mountain 云门山
  • Ouyuan Street 偶园
  • Qingzhou Museum 青州博物馆

Click a thumbnail below to launch the viewer.

My only non-Chinese coworker (from another branch of the preschool) also came, and her photos are here and here.

Little laowai, big Chinese market — Qingdao, China

Chinese market laowaiOur daughter on one of the bridges crossing Licunji 李村Qingdao’s biggest traditional market.

friendly Chinese marketIt’s a friendly crowd, but not overly so. Foreigners almost never come here, but we draw very little attention.