So no shit there I was, racing a bus on a wobbly bike and wondering how I was still alive.

Er, let me back up a bit.  One of my wife’s colleagues needed a native English speaker to record some stuff and I was on the short list.  She said the best way to get there was by bike, since it wasn’t quite far enough to warrant a bus ride, but was a bit too far to walk.  We don’t have a bike so I borrowed Sebastian’s.  He hadn’t used it in a while, so the tires were flat.  I took care of that though.

I met Xiaoyan outside the School of Foreign Languages and we set off.  Her bike had an electric motor.  My bike had a large, poorly attached basket on the front that wobbled violently every time I moved the handlebars.  She was speeding past accelerating buses through spaces not much wider than her bike.  I was screaming inwardly and wondering whether the traffic or their exhaust would kill me first.

On the plus side, I got an easy 400 kuai and now primary schoolchildren in Guangzhou will be taking final exams to the sound of my voice, so I suppose it was worth it after all.

Oh, yeah, when you’re pedaling hard, you don’t realize how much your body is heating up, and then you get home and stop moving so fast, and you can pretty much swim the rest of the way in the river of sweat that suddenly appears.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Rigel’s angry that we put him on a leash earlier, and he’s biting Rachelle.  On the face.

My wife, who is a writer who sometimes writes about China, said she wanted to write about our adventure yesterday.  And she did!  So here it is.

It was the day before Dragon Boat Festival and all through the largely populated town, not a person was stirring, except for the woman carrying a huge load of styrofoam.

Who needs gravity?

Who needs gravity?


So Rachelle and I had settled into our hotel room in Wuhan, tried to do some sightseeing before the conference began, were thwarted and frustrated and had the expected marital spat, and had returned home for a good night’s sleep on the hard hotel beds.  Pro Tip: Since Wuhan is at the center of China and most long-distance transportation passes right through it, it has been called, “The Chicago of China.”  This is a crap moniker, as a few moments trying to deal with traffic will reveal that it is, in fact, Pittsburgh, but with fewer bridges.  But I digress.

Rachelle was off to rub shoulders with her fellow academics, so I had the day to explore.  I took the Nexus, with some of the surrounding area pre-loaded on Google Maps, and a note from one of Rachelle’s students to assist me (best part ever: “P.S. If you think a Wuhanese is shouting at you, he is most likely not, because Wuhan dialect sounds short-tempered”), and took it upon myself to head, in an indirect manner, to 户部巷(Hu4 Bu4 Xiang4), a slightly touristy area full of food vendors, to explore some local cuisine, and maybe find some interesting sights along the way.


As I mentioned before, Rachelle had a conference in Wuhan, and I was coming with her because I’m better than she is at exploring the Great Chinese Unknown. To get there, we decided to take the high-speed rail line, since it provided a nice balance between cost and time. In fact, it was the fastest (planes go faster, but are almost always delayed, not to mention the check-in and security procedures), and while more expensive than the slower trains, it would get us where we were going in about a third of the time.


To Wuhan!

7 Jun

It’s just after 5 AM and Rachelle and I are getting ready to catch an early train to Wuhan for a poetry conference she’s attending.

I’m not bringing the laptop, but I have a sick little notebook and a camera, and I’ll tell you all about it when we get back after Sunday night.


5 Jun

So, last Saurday there was a “Zumba party” at the Pilates studio.  Basically this was a social/promotional event and there was food, drinks, and Zumba, as well as a demonstration of Pilates and Thai yoga.  And of course, the zumba lady conscripted me to join for a few songs.  Did I mention I’m really bad at those kinds of things?  I can’t copy people’s movement on the fly, and I’m still pretty uncoordinated.  I did eventually get the hang of it in the practice sessions, before people started showing up.  If living in China is like an RPG (and despite what that link says, I think it’s also like a CRPG), then I just did the dancing minigame.

Even if Rigel hadn’t eaten our last good USB cord, there will be neither pictures nor video of this event.