Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So Many Things...

...So Little Time

It all started with a personal email stating that I, Celine, was invited to the French Residence in honor of the Mr Kouchner’s visit (he’s French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, better known elsewhere for being the founder of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins sans Frontiere and Doctors of the World/Médecins du Monde). Since the email was only addressed to me (i.e. not an undisclosed mailing list) and after some inquiring with my friends if they had received such email I worried that it might have been an email with an hoax/virus. As I was about to delete it the girls from the board of Pekin Accueil said that they were invited too.

THE invitation!

All this stress for a 10-minute speech… his previous meeting with Chinese officials lasted longer and the following one had been rescheduled for earlier. Well at least I know I still can fit in my ‘business' suit!!

Back to being a mom when I got back home since it’s Halloween tonight. Not really a Chinese celebration but since our building has a lot of foreign families, the kids can hop from one pre-signed apartment to another pre-signed apartment for their trick or treating.

On a side note: I found out (just in case I wasn’t 110% sure) that Chloe will talk to anybody and tell her story. A really nice man show up at our door with his son and after doing the usual trick or treating, proceeded to ask me if I was Chloe’s mom. Not only I’m usually being defined as Jeff’s wife but I’m now defined as my kids’ mom… I’m not sure if I will ever be just ME again! Anyhow after asking him how he knew Chloe, he said that they met at the playground because she was taking care of his son (that’s the mom part in her) and told him all about her background (born in Argentina, mom French, dad American, brother born in Scotland, etc, etc….). As I said before we wouldn’t be able to hide anything or from anybody even if we tried to.

Hand-carved by Chloe & Jeremy

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pea Pie

I loooove Mc Donald Pie, but I’d got a little taken back by the color of this one. This one is definitely NOT the kind I like…

It looks like a pie...

but it doesn't taste like a pie

Thursday, October 25, 2007

U.N. Day

...or Meet My Neighbor!

Today it’s UN day…. Well I know you probably didn’t know and I would be in your shoes if it wasn’t for Chloe and Jeremy’s school big celebration today.

Everyone was supposed to dress in their national costumes… so what do you do when you have a French mother, American father, was born either in Argentina (for C.) or Scotland (for J.) and live in yet another country? I’ll tell you it’s a headache….Chloe wanted to even choose another country, Australia to dress up like her friends as Surf chick (her words, not mine). Why did I decide to tell you all this; well because as I was taking my kids to the bus stop all dressed up (Jeremy as a French Soccer player and Chloe as a French girl, i.e with a beret!! - This year they’ll be French we’ll see next year!) I was introduced to my neighbor who had moved a few weeks ago in our building. (top floor, the really big apartment, the duplex… am I jealous? Are you kidding?)

So let me give you a little background about my new friend. Yolande, originally from Cameroon, grew up in Paris and London and spoke French and English with her parents, and for some obscure reason she mentioned she also spoke German at home…. Already I’m impressed. But the story doesn’t end here; from our conversation I learned that she also learned Portuguese and after meeting her husband decided that she’d better learn Spanish (her husband is Spanish!). I know all this from just making conversation and one of the top thing you usually ask when you live in the Expat’ community is where the people have lived before. So when she said they moved to Beijing from Tokyo, I casually asked her if she spoke Japanese as well and she said that since they lived there for 5 years she had to learn it even though she's not fluent, she can manage. Well after our conversation I’m sure her "not fluent" in Japanese means darn good in my book…. I forgot to mentioned that she worked as a translator (at the UN I think) so her Japanese might not be good enough for the UN but it was good enough to travel within Japan without a guide and mingle with real Japanese families.

And now I’m going back to my Chinese lessons because I need to keep up with the Yolande’s of the world!!!! Zai Jian…

Monday, October 22, 2007

Great Wall Of...

...China, France, Well At Least "La Riviere"

We decided to have the ultimate souvenir from China… our own Great Wall:

It doesn't look much...But those boulders are massive

No more sharing with 1.3 billions Chinese and countless oversea visitors and it’s not with 450+ inhabitants in our village that this wall will ever get crowded…. But if you are ever near La Rivière don’t hesitate to come over and have a drink overlooking the Great Wall of ……!!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where Is Waldo...

...Where Does He Live And/Or Work?

While I was riding my bike around the neighborhood I realized that the Red House (the actual name of a bar near our apartment complex) was getting more pink, which made me think that I don’t even know where the President of China (or I should say People’s Republic of China since when I typed “President of China”, 陳水扁 Chen Shui-bian “president” of Taiwan came up) lives and/or works.

Well any way where is the White House, Elysée or Casa Rosada of China? (see my thread of thought – far stretch I know but I come up with subject the way I can!)

Pretty in Pink

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You've Been Punked...

...I Mean Banned

YouTube and now my sister blog too....
What am I going to do? It seems that since yesterday YouTube is blocked from China and I haven’t found a proxy yet to get around the problem.
Attempting to access the site give you a “connection reset” error, which has become the SOP for blocked sites in China. A few days ago all inquiries for Yahoo! and Google seemed to be redirect to some Chinese web site as well.

And as I was talking with one of my student (my source of knowledge from the young?!!) he informed me that skyrock blogs were also blocked in China (Skyrock is a radio station in France and has outreach to blogging)….so I also need to use a proxy to view the pretty innocent photos of my nephews’ life in I-can-believe-you-live-there Saint Barth!!

As soon as the government decide to block my favorite gossip Blog (name withdraw in case it gives them the idea of actually blocking it!!) I will have to ask for a transfer from our company!!!

BTW I still cannot access this blog without a Proxy....

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm Getting Confused...

...Which One Is The Legitimate One?

Neither actually

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Do You Want To Dance...

...JingJing or ChaCha?

Look what I found on one of the web page I visited…. Pretty innocent website since it’s from the place I went to a month ago!

Little explanation:
and ChaCha (a pun on the Chinese word for police – Jing3 Cha2 警察) are the cartoon mascots of the Internet Surveillance Division of the Public Security Bureau in Shenzhen, China. Debuting in January 2006, they are used to, amongst other things, inform Chinese Internet users what is and is not legal to consult or write on the Chinese Internet.
Clicking on the images will take a user to either of the characters' own personal webspace, where Chinese Internet users can learn about the laws and regulations related to Internet, keep up-to-date on the newest Internet policies, and submit questions to Jingjing and Chacha live through the instant messaging service Tencent QQ or through their blogs.

In August 2007, Beijing police announced a similar campaign using animated officers. The Beijing version of the characters will appear every half hour on 13 of China's top web portals and display messages about Internet laws and conduct. The cyber cartoon couple serves as a pointer of kinda a "red line on line," added Chen, saying, "The Internet has been always monitored by police, the significance of "Jingjing" and "Chacha" is to remind the online population to be conscious of safe and healthy use of the Internet, self-regulate their online behavior, and maintain harmonious Internet order together."

ChaCha and JingJing

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Great Outdoor

Let’s finish this set of posts on our trip to the south of China with a bit of public community service: If you are an outdoor English teacher… I know where you can find a job!!!

Meaning probably “Native English Teacher”

We also know of a good hairdresser that welcomes their foreign friends and will cut your hair on the spot (better go in summer time) for only 10 RMB (= 1€ or $1.5) which is probably twice the rate of the locals'

They love “Outdoor” things here

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Guilin, Longshen, Yanshuo...

Article and Pictures to come!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Book and The Chair

Before I share some pictures of our latest trip I would like to share with you those photos:

The Book:
As we were settling in our hotel room in Yangshuo, we came upon this gem: the hotel’s directory book….It was a keepsake but we were too afraid we were going to be charged for it and since the price was not listed (the only one!) we didn’t want to tempt faith.

You MUST click on the picture to appreciate

Is it worth taking the....?

You've been warned

You wonder what kind of bad experience this hotel had had in the past or if people actually mistakenly took the hotel for a local Ikea!!!
What’s funny it’s that there were surveillance cameras in every hallways… so you wonder how someone could actually take the fridge?

The Chair:
And the last picture was taken at the airport in Guilin:

Do I have to be old and weak and sick and disable and pregnant to sit here?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Noodle or Rice?

We are back from our trip in the south of China, Guanxi province to be more precise we visited: Guilin, Longsheng, Yangshuo… but before sharing our experiences I wanted to talk a little bit more about: “we don’t see thing the same way them and us…”

One thing that always amazes me when I take a plane in China (besides arriving alive?!) is that the flight attendants have a different way of presenting the food here. “Noodle or Rice” is usually the question…. but what I want to know is what kind of “meat” is with the rice or noodle. Wouldn’t you find it odd if you were asked if you wanted vegetable or pasta and the stewardess didn’t mentioned that one came with beef and the other with chicken?. What’s really important here is if you either feel like eating rice or noodle and the main dish is really secondary!