Friday, June 30, 2006

Railway to Tibet

This weekend marks the opening of the railroad from Beijing to Tibet. This railway will be the first of its kind, as it will allow people to travel from Eastern China to Western China easily. I don't know about you, but I think I've had a dream about this sort of thing before. Imagine journeying across mainland China old school, by train, and looking out your window to see the Himalayas off in the distance! Wow. Here is a brief description of how the plan was started, and also, how the train can bear the intense altitude changes.

"In 2001, the plan was resurrected. Engineers determined they could build elevated bridges over the most unstable tracts of permafrost. In other places, they could sink pipes with cooling elements into the ground to stabilize track embankments, ensuring they stayed frozen."It's kind of like non-electric refrigeration," said Zhu.The train cars, manufactured by Canada's Bombardier Inc., are fitted with double-paned windows with ultraviolet filters to protect passengers from the sun's glare and have carefully regulated oxygen levels in all classes of travel."

For anyone who prefers to be a few feet off the ground, rather than 30,000 (by plane), like myself, this sounds like a sweet adventure! Anyone with me? For the full story, here is the link:

By the way: Here is Tibet relative to the rest of China

Thursday, June 29, 2006

13 reasons why I'm glad to be back in the United States:

13. Blue sky and fresh air (much of the time)
12. Drinking water from the tap
11. I don't have to fear visiting a squatty
10. Speedo's are not a natural occurance at the swimming pool
9. Sweet Tea & Sportscenter (they kind of go together)
8. Boone trout streams & rivers
7. Riding in a car/taxi does not make you want to be sedated
6. Pringles don't come in seafood flavors
5. Communicating in English comes more naturally to me
4. Democracy
3. Westover Church, and friends and family
2. Dog is never an item on the menu (although it does tastes like beef)
1. World Cup games come on during the day, not while I'm sleeping


It's Thursday afternoon, I think, although my body is telling me it's Friday morning. I just got off my third and last flight from Chicago last night around midnight. It's good to be back in Greensboro, see my parents, and talk to friends for sure. This was my fourth adventure to China, and it sure did not dissapoint. It took a few weeks, as usual, to get reacclimated to Chinese culture.. but by my last couple weeks in Chengdu, every bit of me would not have minded staying the rest of the summer. It was especially hard leaving Wendy Jane. That is her playing with my IPod in the picture. The hat was staged for the picture, but the IPod was all her. I felt honored that she started saying Jiu Jiu by mid-June, which means mother's younger brother in Chinese. That is now one of about 10 words in Wendy's arsenal of vocabulary. Jenny, Alex, and WJ will be traveling back to the States for about 2 months next summer.. so it was refreshing to keep that in the back of my mind as we said good-bye in Shanghai. As I was boarding the plane in Shanghai, the three of them were preparing to go to Uganda for a month, where they will be leading trip for high schools students from China, and America. It's been a dream of theirs for a while to go to Africa.. as it has recently become mine.. so it'll be cool to hear how the trip goes in August. For anyone living within two hours of Greensboro this summer, namely Raleigh, Charlotte, or Boone.. give me a shout, and we can hang out. I start an internship at my Dad's office July 10.. but weekends roadtrips will definitely be in store until Senior year starts back up at App State.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Sunday Morning

It's Sunday morning here in Chengdu, and I'm getting ever some sort of stomach virus that I picked up Friday. It's been a rough couple days, but I slept better last night, and can hopefully do some solid eating today. On a better note, tomorrow marks the birth of my brother Chris - he'll be turning 26. Happy Birthday Chris. The past few weeks here in Chengdu have been good. I think Wendy Jane learns something new everyday. For example, literally overnight she can know identify a clock.. and say "coo coo" if you point at it. WJ is practically a celebrity here in Chengdu, and anytime we're out in public she draws a crowd, and has probably caused a few bike wrecks or two by distracting people. The Chengdu Weekly Internship is going well, although it is much different than I imagined it would be. I'm still writing articles for the paper, however, it is more of a free lance position... as I only went in to the office Tuesday morning this week for the meeting to pick up my assignments and give my ideas. The articles so far have included a restaurant review on Peter's Tex Mex, an NBA Playoffs article (which was mad fun), an article on a rugby league in Chengdu (that I actually played in last week), and a couple more. Friday I interviewed a carpenter here in Chengdu, and will be writing about him for next Sunday's edition. One of these weeks I'd like to be more involved in designing a page for the paper, and doing some editing. Time with Jenny and Alex is great. Jenny mentioned a few weeks ago that this summer is perhaps the longest time we've lived together in eight years. It's cool to see what life is like for them over here, and meet a lot of Chinese friends they have. I'm headed down to Kunming with Jenny in about a week, and will be visiting the one and only A-Roc, as well as Flan-Daddy, Matt Foster, Parke, Whitney, Alinna, and the rest of the App Crew there this summer. I'm stoked about seeing some of the best in China. Also, last week, I got the chance to eat dinner with Ryan Berry, and the Hollendfellows group from App. It was great to be thousands of miles away from App and see people who were RA's with me, and had class with. Again, if you want to wish the bro a happy birthday.. check out , and leave him one.