Exploring the World

Site outage

I don’t know if you have noticed but there has been an outage on my web site for the past three days. It is because the hosting provide I use, DreamHost, is having a great problems with one of the filers. And of course that filer is the one, which holds all my web site files.

At the moment it seems that it doesn’t get fixed very soon and things are really badly broken; I have decided to go around this problem by building my web site from the beginning into the new filer. So please be patient, many things will be very broken during the next days as it is also very slow process to transfer any files from the old filer to the new one. One feature, which will take a longer time will be the photo gallery. Blog is now up and running as it was before.

In Moscow

New city for me! This time just for business travel so the days are full of work and there isn’t much sightseeing happening for me this time. Business trips are always like this, you just see airport, hotel and couple of the offices. Then if you are lucky, you will see some local restaurants and if you are not that lucky you will get used to the hotel restaurant in the evening.

Compared to my previous one week in China, this is much different. No nice hotels, no stress-free days and no relaxation. Weather in Moscow is very cold at the moment and you really can feel the cold wind blowing through the city - Siberian wind maybe?

Oh well, you cannot always be in China, can’t you?

Flying back

Time flies and so do I. Or at least try to fly. After successful domestic flights in China, which are supposed to be always delayed and problematic I checked-in for my Finnair flight to Helsinki and that was delayed already 1.5 hours and the plane hasn’t even arrived to Beijing so I would guess more delay is expected. There must be always at least one flight delayed when I am traveling and this time it was three out of the 4 Finnair flights, well, the fourth I will be missing because of my delayed flight back to Finland.

"Sweet bread"

Youtiao cooking

Fangfang cooking youtiao in the soup.

Cantonese food

Cantonese hotpot

Cantonese hotpot and soup being prepared.

So here I am

Indeed, I am once again in China. And again this is rather short visit but it is refreshing to have a holiday and spend it in China. This time I have been able to see two new cities, Beijing and Guangzhou - of course it would take much longer time to actually see and experience them completely but even a short time will give you a nice view for those two cities. So different when you compare them to each other; Beijing is traditional, historical and much more “serious” city compared to Guangzhou or Shanghai. Guangzhou is then following much more the style Shanghai has already shown me, glorious, sparkling city full of lights and action. What is missing is the numerous high-rising buildings across the city, which you come familiar in Shanghai.

When boarding the plane in Beijing, the weather was just like in Finland - windy and cold; a real Autumn weather, beginning of the Winter. Three hours later you walk out of the airport in Guangzhou to the evening weather and experience something warmer than Finnish Summer. In the Southern parts of the China, it is feeling like people are much happier and joyful - the service is given with a wide smile compared to the Beijing. Must be the weather? Service is always very punctual and perfect in China but in the South, it has the additional joy in it. Makes a Finnish person to smile widely too. ;)

It is amazing how you get used to the little things, how you will be remembered when you return to the lobby the next day to have again some tea while you will read the emails. How they remember which kind of tea you liked - maybe it is uncommon for a foreigner to drink traditional Chinese tea or maybe foreigners are still a little bit rare in here. Or then it is my ability to surprise people by being able to say Xiexie (Thank you) - at least I surprised someone at the breakfast who wasn’t expecting that from me. :-)

Fangfang is giving a lecture at her college, she is teaching Mandarin for exchange students. And me. :-) I will take a taxi from the hotel to meet her at the college when her classes are over, it should be in one hour - I am well prepared as I have the address written in Chinese, I shouldn’t find myself in some other city for example.

There is always the same peaceful feeling coming to me when I return to China; when you are in the environment where you are truly a foreigner, where you cannot understand any written text or spoken language. When you can experience everything as new and learn new things all the time.

Happy Birthday

After returning to the hotel in the evening, there was a surprise waiting for us in the hotel room.

Happy BirthdayHappy Birthday

Guangzhou

Yesterday evening we flew from Beijing to Guangzhou. Air China did the job very well and compared to many Western airlines, which are today concentrating to cost-cutting then it is still nice to see flights like they used to be. Airline food is always airline food but I had nothing to complain with the service and food.

When I am traveling then there is usually always something happening but this time there hasn’t been much difficulties - just couple of delays with the flights but nothing major at all. Hotel in Guangzhou missed us for some reason as they were supposed to pick us from the airport but instead they put us into the taxi but then they had everything ready at the hotel and someone waiting for us in the front of the hotel. So no harm done. :-D

Traveling in China is getting easier and easier for me when I learn more about the culture and the interaction with the people. And of course learn new words. It makes a life a bit easier to be able to speak at least something. I have a long way to go still but I have learned some new sentences.

Lowering the flag in Tiananmen Square

Every evening the Chinese flag is lowered at the Tiananmen Square - it is very popular event and if you want to see it closely, you need to be there waiting for it early enough. It gets really crowded really fast. Look how foggy it was.

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