Monday, December 23, 2013

Hainan, the "Other Hawaii"

Just a few weekends ago I was lucky to have a chance to visit China's Hainan, a province and island at the very south of the country. So southern in fact, that you have palm trees. So while Beijing was again shrouded in a cold cloud of pollution, I was walking in dense forests and treading on lovely beaches. 

Because Hainan is located at 18 degrees northern latitude, similar to its cousin in the Pacific Ocean, it is often referred to as "China's Hawaii." I am certainly not the first to discover the place: From what I could tell, it's a popular destination for Chinese tourists wanting to have a real beach vacation. Lots of honeymoon couples also head down here to take wedding pictures. And the island's scenery is often used as a stunning backdrop in movies. 

Let's have a look, shall we?

Reference to a famous movie...

And here's the bridge itself!

More famous movie scenes. 

Notice the sign for "18 degrees" behind the gentleman. (Looks like he might have had eighteen degrees enough of something...)

Well, if in Hawaii, dress like the Hawaiians!

Anna at "Xi Dao," or  "West Island,"  a small piece of land just west of Hainan's capital, Sanya. (The letters in red are a bit hard to read, but they say Xi Dao, not Xodaq.)

Got one bigger than you, Hawaii!

There is something peculiar about this picture. I never really did figure out why everyone was swimming in just the tiny space. It might have had something to do with the waves coming from the speed boats.

The city across the water is Sanya, on the island of Hainan itself. (This picture is taken from West Island, just off Hainan.)

A real summer beach vacation in China!

In het Nederlands: Boeren, burgers, buitenlui, jullie razende reporter heeft moeite tijd te vinden regelmatig een bericht te schrijven! Maar hier zijn wat foto's van een kort werk-gerelateerd bezoek aan China's meest zuidelijke en gezellig tropische provincie Hainan. Waar ik was, vlakbij de stad Sanya, zit je ter hoogte van Vietnam. Het was vijf uur vliegen vanaf het koude Beijing en dan zit je nog steeds in China! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Little Flower Projects in Beijing

Friends, I wrote this blog post in August but forgot to post! Please forgive your faithful reporter!

Does it look like I am catching up from some missed postings over the summer? I don't know what happens, but as soon as I land in a country where I can actually access Blogger without using a VPN to hop-scotch over the Chinese firewall, I immediately forget to get online and post something. we are, in August, and I have yet to report about a trip the boys and I took with another family to the Little Flower Projects' baby care home in the Gahood neighborhood, about 20 minutes away from my house.

I did want to write about it, just because it is such a special project.

It was the end of the school year and we went to deliver some funds Simon's fourth Grade class had decided to donate to this organization. Their choice had been to spend some class funds on something for the class, or to give it to others, and they chose to give it to the orphans at Little Flowers.

So, with warm hearts, some money, and four big packs of diapers (!) we walked towards the baby care home.

The home is not exactly an orphanage, but a temporary home for orphans from orphanages all across China who come to Beijing for specialized medical care.

The boys pose in front of the biggest collection of diapers I've ever seen. This place seems to revolve around diapers, laundry, and cute babies. (I don't have any pictures of any of the kids as that wasn't allowed.) The home was meticulously clean and clearly a well-run place. 

We left Little Flowers without diapers, but with happy thoughts.

In het Nederlands: Voor de zomervakantie (inmiddels dus al weer zo'n vijf maanden geleden) waren de jongens en ik even op bezoek bij een soort weeshuis om namens Simon's klas een donatie te brengen. In het tehuis zijn weeskinderen die naar Beijing komen voor medische behandelingen. Als ze klaar zijn met hun behandeling (althans, het Beijing gedeelte) gaan ze weer terug naar hun "eigen weeshuis" elders in het land, om daar hun behandeling voort te zetten en ook te wachten op adoptie.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

14, 26, 35, 50, 89, 72

14, 26, 35, 50, 72, 89

Odd numbers?


Prime numbers?


Bus lines?


These are the numbers of "my stalls" at the Sanyuanli fruit and vegetable market. The market reopened a couple of months ago and I've since been going regularly to buy fruit and veggies.

There are tons of small shops all along the main market isle and they all have a number so that you can easily remember where to go (if you have a favorite stall.)

Here are the ones I often go to:

26 = Nuts as far as the eye can see. (Not the lady, but the stock.)

35: Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeese (and other goodies)

72: Fish & Friends

89: Yummy veggies (no fruits)

50: Meat

14: Fruit

(hhm, it appears my fruit photos were eaten by my Apple iPhone, hehe)

One happy customer (and friend) on the way out. The guy is helping us bring our veggies outside -- pretty good service, huh!

In het Nederlands: Ik ga regelmatig naar een leuke groente- en fruitmarkt dichtbij mijn Chinese school. Daar koop ik dan wat vis, groenten en fruit. Elk kraampje heeft een eigen nummer zodat je makkelijk je favoriete verkoper of verkoopster terug kan vinden.