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Foggy weather

Haven’t done a smog post for a while. With the Olympics 59 days away (!) I can report we’re having a smashing blue-sky day today, and this will be giving great encouragement to BOCOG.

However, lets hope they didn’t look outside the previous week.

Olympic prep

Preparations for the Olympics are obviously well in hand, now that the official Chinese Olympic Cheer has been announced by the Beijing Games organising committee.

It’s a fairly complex cheer, involving not only yelling but also actions, so officials have hired 30 cheering squads to show the punters how it’s done at the stadia. There will also be training sessions at schools.

The news reports a committee official saying the ‘simple’ chants and gestures are designed to help spectators cheer for their favourite athletes in a smooth, civilised manner.

For you folks at home, here’s a primer:

The Olympic Cheer

You will have also heard in the news that the Rules for Visiting Spectators have been laid out on the the Olympics website, warning that entry will be denied to anyone intent on “subversion”, those with mental illnesses and sexually transmitted diseases, and people who wish to engage in prostitution – but you may not have realised that these Rules are only written in Chinese. So, I’m expecting a lot more hits on this website for people anxious to know how to behave.

Finally, and on a completely unrelated note, I had my first ever Karaoke Experience on Friday night, and can say if you’re going to participate in such awfulness, my recommendation is to drink heavily first. With any luck, you’ll remember nothing.

Shocking

Just quickly…. we’ve been having a few problems with our dishwasher (it was making dishes dirty, rather than clean) and so a couple of weeks ago some nice men came and removed it for a week, taking it back to the factory to be fixed.

It’s been back maybe two weeks… but since then we’ve been getting electric shocks from the surrounding appliances (including the fabled and much revered coffee machine). I’ll be sitting in the study working away, while from the kitchen I’ll hear occasional shrieks from Yu Mei and the cleaners as the come in contact with things they’d rather avoid. On Sunday the dishwasher zapped Reid and she fair jumped across the room. Today the Rocket got me while I was cleaning it. Soon after, a sparky arrived to look at it.

He discovered that when the dishwasher is running, he can make a little bulb light up by touching the front of it.

Bu hao.

Of course, the sparky won’t touch the thing, and has now disappeared. We’ll need to get a different set of people up to fix it, and they’ll probably remove it again for another week. But at least the cleaners will go back into the kitchen now.

Screws tighten #3

In an ongoing series…

The owner of the scooter impounded by the cops (as told in a previous post) told me on Friday that he’s got about 10 friends in the same predicament. Most of them have given up on getting their scooters back, as getting the required license is a convoluted, torturous process that can take months (or you pay someone to do it for you).

An Australian returning to China after a short holiday at home discovered that someone actually does read the arrival cards you fill out before you land – she had a visit from two cops the next morning, reminding her to go register at the cop shop within the prescribed 24 hours.

You can no longer get a visitor’s visa to China without supplying your corresponding booking at a hotel.

Zara turns two: family update

(Those not interested in baby news, look away now).

Haven’t done a family post for a while now, and as the Small Child chalked up her second anniversary today, this seems like a good opportunity.

Just after we got back from New Zealand, Nikki’s friend Si’alei finished up her stay here and headed back to New Zealand – so Zara lost two of her playfriends who lived in this tower (she still mournfully chants their names sometimes when she’s getting into the lift). On the positive side, a new Australian family have moved in one floor down, with a sweet girl about the same age – they’ve spent lots of time playing outside, along with her other German/French friend from the third floor.

Central Park have finished up renovating the grounds, and they’ve done a great job – we’ve now got ponds and lots of trees leading up to the hill, which is surrounded by a cafe, some shops, a juice bar and a deli. An ‘Organic’ supermarket has opened up, and a smoothy shop. Spring has sprung, and I think we’re into proper summer now, the days are getting very hot – Zara comes inside all pink after clambering around on the hill, chasing dogs and other kids.

After a couple of false starts, Zara is back to kindergarten (we took a few weeks off thanks to the virus that’s been flying about – the doctors here seem to think it’s all a bit over-hyped), and we’re considering upping her visits to three times a week. We’ve had a look at the two local montessori schools, and they look great – but they are also very very expensive, so we may wait a little longer before signing her up (until the Government comes to the party when she turns 3 or, if we’re feeling flush, a little sooner).

In the past few weeks we’ve had family expeditions to Beihai Park and some shopping malls, and last weekend Reid and I rediscovered the Stoneboat Cafe, a bar that hosts live music in a very quaint traditional Chinese cottage, pond-side, in the middle of (our local) 400 year old park.

And onto the birthday…. the Small Child was completely spoilt with presents first thing, and the day sort of meandered along until fairly quickly 3 o’clock arrived and three other families equipped with small children arrived to consume salmon and cakes (not together) and champagne from all parts of the globe except France. As I write, 9pm, Zara is still happily climbing around her new toys and an amazing piano keyboard Yu Mei gave her, having refused bed twice already. The parents have collapsed.

Update: added a few more pictures as the unwrapping continued – more presents from Grandma and Grandma Marion arrived on Monday. See the gallery by clicking on the picture…

Zara's Second


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