Well, my whole entire BBS got wiped out. Time to start posting everything all over again...
I needed to clean it up anyway, but I didn't expect it to be that extensive. I don't plan to restore from backup. We'll just go forward from this fresh start.
Aye carumba! No! Do not do this! If the director of China's economy is reading this, please, PLEASE do not revalue the yuan significantly until after my trip in November is concluded. On Dec. 1, fire away. Until then, please keep the yuan right where it is.
Thank you in advance.
... and thank goodness I have kids in my classes who speak Mandarin. It's lots easier to learn to speak a language than it is to read one, and that's the route I'm taking with Chinese. I'm going to have to practice a little every day so I can learn enough Chinese to avoid getting into a massive diplomatic incident. I seem to speak Chinese with a slight French accent. This could work in my favor if I find any pro-Canadian or pro-French Chinese along the way. Or if I find any anti-US Chinese citizens...
Just for the record, though, I had nothing to do with the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade back in the 1990's. That was Clinton's fault, all the way.
Why Shijiazhuang, nearly unpronounceable to Western lips?
This trip to China is for the Academic Decathlon kiddos out there, and there are several pages devoted to weather data collection in Shijiazhuang in our Super Quiz packet this year. It was built up heavily in the 1950s and is south of Beijing, sorta between Beijing and Nanjing on an indirect route. Doesn't look like much of a place, but I'm not the kind of traveler who has to go to places that are much of places. Its mere mention in an AcDec packet is grounds enough for me to consider it as a destination in China as a spot as-yet unspoiled by tourists.
Of course, that could also mean they may not know what to do with tourists, but I feel lucky. Why I feel lucky may have more to do with my ignorance of travel inside China than any particular sign from the Heavens of my auspicious fortune.
Permissions are fixed again. I'll celebrate by ordering a Mandarin phrasebook and Lonely Planet guides to Beijing and Shanghai.
Well, I needed those anyway. But now it's a celebration.
This is for my students... due to circumstances beyond my control, my BBS is down until my host is able to restore write permissions on the database for it. We both blame a Windows service pack upgrade which broke IUSR security. If you don't know what that means, don't worry. It's not his fault or my fault. That's right. Blame Microsoft.
Everyone desperately scrambling to finish projects in my class, just keep desperately scrambling, but I will have some HAPPY NEWS for you on Monday. No, not a reprieve. But I will change some things with the assignments to account for the fact I couldn't help you all over the weekend as I planned to do. Keep learning, but do not worry. I will be flexible.
One story I enjoy telling is how I was once kidnapped by a Venezuelan soccer team. It really did happen, back in 1993. Just the other day, I met a guy who was on that team, but who didn't go to Dallas that year for the Dallas Cup. I was telling the story and he asked me to describe the coach and the uniforms... dead certain match.
I flipped to meet someone with a link to that story. That was just too cool.
If you don't know the story, I'll tell you later.
I'll keep getting ready for China later.
I know I don't play on the University of Texas at Austin football team right now. I know I never played for UT's sports teams, any of them.
But I am a fan of their football team. I went to UT as a kid and I hope my daughter Raina gets to go there next year. They're playing against Ohio State right now, so I think I'll watch that game for now and hit Lonely Planet's website for China travel tips during the commercials.
Win or lose, I'll see if UT is in good enough form to destroy OU and Texas Agricultural and Mechanical later on this year.
The eyes of Texas are upon me, so I gotta get back to the big game.
Turned in my passport paperwork today. Total cost: $112, including photos and other fees. I'll get it in 4-6 weeks and then I have to get my visa from the Chinese consulate. It should all be taken care of by November 16, easily.
I may be doing a lot of walking in China. This is a concern for me. This means a lot of leg cramps for me and muscle spasms. Will it be worth it? Only if I go to the right places. I'll be in Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai. I definitely plan to take in the Great Wall and Sun Yat Sen's tomb in Nanjing... where else should I go, though? I do plan to shop in Shanghai, at the end of my trip, and buy a suitcase for the stuff I bring back! But... where else? I plan to look at tour guides and take suggestions from my students on what to do... more later.
Tomorrow, I get to submit my passport request. Yay.
China will not be a painless trip... according to the CDC, I should get about 7 different vaccinations and some anti-malarial drugs. One of the vaccinations, for typhoid, I have to get from the county health department. Great. Scheduling is going to be tricky in the preparation phase.
Meanwhile, I would LOVE it if a BBC film crew could go along with me. I'm entertaining, I have a carayzee outlook on life, and I guarantee I'll make for some jawsome teevee. It won't have to be a BBC crew, really. ANYONE who wants to roll film on me in China, feel free to step forward. It'll be gold, I tell ya. Gold.
Remind me to rewrite "Back in the USSR" to "Back in the PRC" before I head out on November 16...
That's right, all you folks out there in the blog-o-sphere. CHINA. As in the big nation just north of Vietnam. Step one: I have to get a passport. To do that, I have to get a birth certificate. To do that, I have to apply at the County Office of Vital Records and show them my driver's license and assert that I am, indeed, who I say I am, and pay $23 per certificate. 10-15 days later, they give me the hook-up. After that, it's another $112 and a trip to the Post Office to get the rest of the thing taken care of.
All this makes me yearn for the day we can just move wherever we want to go. Ancient Man could just wander all over the place: WHY CAN'T WE???
Oh well, I'll just expense this all and have my boss, Dan, pay for it all. That'll at least take the monetary edge off the process.
No Words portraits and romantic illustrations.
What's there to say?
I got words and pictures.
I got a message board.
Like I said, what's there to say?