Sunday, August 17, 2008

After Jail

Sorry to cut you guys off there, but I'm back. I'm safe, I'm ok, I just gotta figure out how to get home now.

So I got out of jail, and made my way into the street, destitute, no way home, no language.

Sounds like bad writing to me.

A kindly old woman approached me as I lie crying in the rain on a bench. I'm not sure what she said, but she was very calming and soon was ushering me onto a bus. The bus drove for I don't know how long until we got off at the foot of a large group of dense public apartment buildings. I was ushered up three fights of stairs (wondering what those on the top 30 or 40 floors did) and was soon seated on the floor wrapped in a warm blanket.

I fell asleep at some point and awoke very ill. I was shivering and nauseous. Seems the lack of proper nutrition, stress and lack of sleep had affected me quite negatively. I was fortunate as the woman, Ma Xiuxiu was a great comfort and kept me fed and nursed me constantly. We watched the Olympics, I was able to tell her where I was from by watching the diving and pointing when Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda dove. She soon rushed me an atlas and I was able to show her where I lived.

I've been there ever since. As my strength returns, I go for walks, a little more everyday. She gives me a few yuan everyday to go to the local market to pick up some rice and vegetables. Rhonda will be glad to hear that Xiuxiu has been allowing me very little meat. She pats my belly and laughs when I try to ask. Any extra money she lets me keep, I've been using it to get internet time to contact home. She really has been a wonder to be around, I do hope someday I can repay her for her kindness.

But I should head home, supper will be nearly ready, and Xiuxiu has some sort of suprise for me, she had a red envelope for me before I left, but she wouldn't let me open it until I get back.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ok; Still in Bejing.


After my last post, I headed to the airport, got my money and headed to get a ticket home. As luck would have it, if I stayed the night and left in the morning, I could get my ticket for half price, and accommodations would be a small concern, according to the kind woman at the ticket counter.

I left the airport for the downtown where I was told I would find a hotel with ease. I arrived in the crowded downtown, and soon came along a small stand in an alley. A nice gentleman sold me five DVD's - Charlie Bartlett, Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, Step-Brothers and The Office Season 3 for $5US - A deal to me.. and I had heard about some of these Asian countries selling cheap bootleg movies.

Just as the money was changing hands, a police officer rounded the corner and there I was, in the back of a truck with about 8 street vendors, sans passport or wallet.

I spent the night in a frighteningly sterile cell, isolated from the remainder of the group. I didn't sleep a wink, no clue of the language, no money, passport, phone. They even took my car keys. Just my clothes and belly button lint (I would soon resort to amusing myself playing catch with myself using the latter).

The next morning a soldier came in returned my wallet, phone, keys and passport. The wallet had been conveniently lightened. I still had my ticket, but had already missed my plane by the time I made it to the airport.

Oh my time at the internet cafe is nearly up. I've got to e-mail my parents and wife before time runs out. i'll Talk to you all later.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Back at the Internet Cafe

Ok, so I'm back at the internet cafe that I was at last time. Been very strange, but I had to try and stay in familiar territory.

I called Rhonda just after the last blog, I thought that she might be excited that I was going to go check out the swimming. She asked if I had even thought of getting a round-trip ticket. I hadn't. So about twenty minutes later, once she had reached through the international phone cable and pulled my testicles out my throat, we arranged for her to borrow some cash and Western Union it to me at the airport here. I can get on a plane and get home.

Sorry babe.

I ended up heading to the swimming pavilion not too long later. I would learn at the front door that no event started that day until 2. So I went for a walk around the arena to pass some time and consider my next move. Suddenly I was hit with a very sudden need to find a bathroom. I suppose it's not necessarily wise to drink fountain water in a city whose air is thick enough to pour on pancakes. I ran to a side door of the arena and threw the first door I saw open and ran down a hall. Thankfully, the little man on the door means the same thing in China as in Canada, and I soon found relief.

Emerging from the stall I realized I had entered a changing room and had direct access to the pool deck. Following my keen pool-health knowledge, I removed my shoes and proceeded to check out the pool. Any ex-pool boy is gonna be curious what China built for a pool for the OLYMPICS. Got a good pssic -

I headed back out and sat down on a seat to put my shoes on to leave. I must have leaned back to collect my strength to leave and I just passed out.

The next thing I knew, I was being shaken and a young Chinese man with poor English was above me imploring, "Please Meestar. I will be punished if you are found here. Jail for you. Leave now quickly!" As I ran out of the building I could see a lineup developing at the doors.. it was nearly noon.... I had entered the building at 5 or 6 in the morning.

So I decided to make my way back here and update the world on what's happening. Rhonda will be excited to see my pool photo. Hopefully my next post will be from the airport, waiting for the plane to take me home. I might go check out a store or something on my way to the airport and see what's up. Gonna check my e-mail here too.


Ok so something weird happened yesterday after that last blog. I just kinda snapped. So I cashed in a bunch of my savings, bought a plane ticket to Bejing, and here I am. At the Olympics.

Pretty cool pictures from the opening ceremonies for you here...

I haven't really got anywhere to sleep yet, and I stayed up pretty much all night... and morning is coming soon. I stepped into this internet cafe to get a coffee and collect my thoughts. Here I am in a foreign country where I don't understand the language, and all I have is my cell phone, my wallet, with a work credit card and my debit card in it, and my passport.

Rhonda said her favourite Olympic event to watch was swimming, so I think I might go check that out, once I find somewhere to get some sleep.

I'm so tired and this keyboard is really weird.

I'll talk to you guys soon.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ok a Demand and a solution.... to a couple problems....but I might need help.

Ok folks, I've been busy with life - baby and allsuch. But I've got some complaints and some possible solutions...

Problem 1 - The death of the Sask Blogs Aggregator. This was a great resource and not a week would go by that I wouldn't pop in to see how the province was doing. My favourite thing to do was to visit in the hours following a Rider game and see how people were reacting. Carm and crew at CKRM do a great job reviewing the game, but it's fun to hear it from the people. I offered a possible solution to SaskBoy recently then was broadsided with/by life. So I offer this out there to anyone with the time and enthusiasm to pursue it.

- Start a feedtwister account. Begin plugging in RSS feeds from sites submitted and farmed from the original Saskblogs Aggregator - the Blogroll still works and can be seen on the right side of this blog...use it. Then take the generated code and plug it into free or personal webspace. If I could, I would recommend They also offer fantastic scripts. I think of interest to a page like this would be a message board and a news page, but there are tonnes of scripts and even a small amount of imagination and drive could expand the concept quite a bit... SaskGallery, SaskSMS.. whatever! I'd do it myself, but hey... I blog like once a month.

If I'm lucky.

Problem 2 - No CFL scores in RSS or SMS form. Argh! I've been using my cell-phones SMS ability to a great extent of late. I have it receiving my daily Google Calendar Schedule, Sending me severe weather warnings, a daily forecast and I'm thinking of a few more. One of the ones I'd like it an update at the end of each CFL game on the score of that game.. who won-who lost. The best I can find out there right now includes league news, team and player news, scores and lengthy descriptions. My initial thought is to subscribe to the scores online and in any other way possible, then post them to a blog whose RSS feed one could subscribe to via My Yahoo and use their SMS feature OR start a broadtexter account and let people subscribe to the feed.

Again - time time time.

So until the time someone gets more time than me - help yourself, these ideas are licenced in the public domain.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I'm disappointed, but I can understand. Good rally in the 4th quarter, that kind of umph would have been nice in the three quarters preceding it.

Now to crying babies...