At long last the final details of my return trip are almost all finalized. On Sunday August 21, I will leave the Jinan Airport at 7:50am on a plane (MU5193) to the Beijing Airport. I will arrive in Beijing at 8:50am. After this we have what I think is a long wait for the next flight. The long flight on Air China (CA991) will leave for Vancouver at 3pm. We are scheduled to arrive in Vancouver at 11:00am or so. From here we have to go through customs and the like. The next and final flight (AC8282) will leave Vancouver at 2pm and arrive in Regina at 5pm. . I should mention that all times are local. This is going to be the longest single day of my life. Since I will be waking up probably around 6am on August 21 and arriving at home at 5pm the same day in the afternoon. The strangest thing will be leaving Beijing at 3pm and arriving at home at 5pm. . It should be an interesting and long day..
On Wednesday August 3rd, somebody from Intel will be visiting the company. He is going to get the tour around. That means I will be going to Taishan and Confuscious hometown. I have already been to Taishan but going again will still be a lot of fun. This time though, we won’t have enough time to walk to the top so we will just take the cable car. That sounds pretty lame to me, I think getting that exercise would have been good. Also on the touring, we will visit Confuscious hometown. I have never gone here before so it should be interesting. I’ll have to make sure to take my camera and take a lot of pictures. I think this is going to be a really long day but it should be worth it.
I recently changed the color of the top image. The newer darker color is reflecting the sun setting on my time in China, and so begins my countdown until I return.
It looks as though the return flight will leave Beijing on Sunday August 21, at 3pm. I will then arrive in Vancouver at 11am the same day. That flight has already been purchased. The next flight that I have to get is the flight from Vancouver to Regina. I think the flight leaving at 2pm and arriving in Regina around 5pm should work out well. So. . from the time I leave Beijing to the time I get home I won’t have missed any time. It sure sounds exciting. I don’t think I will have to worry about much, I am allowed to bring 32kg per checked luggage. My only concern will be with Canada Customs. I expect with my Camera, Cellphone and whatever else I play to buy, I might be close to the duty free, tax free limit. I hope that I will get by without much worries.
Time sure seems to be flying. I am guessing that I have less than 1 month left before I come home. It hardly feels like I have been here for so long already. I think once I get back some things are going to be strange to me. I have started a list in my head of things I’m going to do/eat. Some of these things include get a slurpee, watch a movie with loud surround sound, drive a vehicle, and maybe eat some Dairy Queen ice cream cake. I’m sure there are more things but those are the few that I came up with in the 30 seconds I thought about it. It is also going to be nice having fast internet again. Then after the initial shock of getting back I’ll be returning to the rountine of school and work. That brings up another interesting subject. . work. I think I might return to Zellers once I get back, but then Arthur mentioned that I could get a job at Mark’s Work Warehouse. Maybe I’ll get two jobs. I could do both since I seem to have a lot of time. I’ll think about it and when I get back I can make up my mind.
The Chinese government said Thursday it will scrap its currency’s fixed exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and let the yuan float in a tight range against a group of curriences.
It feels strange that in the 20 minutes it took from the time of the news article to the time I post I have made over $75 Canadian. It feels strange to be making money by doing nothing other than look at the value of a currency.
Today at work I didn’t have much work to do so I thought I would post something. Nothing really interesting has happened recently. The weather over here continues to be hot. . I’d have to say it averages +35 during the days and +25 at night. It might seem hot to everybody, but I have pretty much gotten use to it. The only time it feels really hot is when it gets over +40. I still don’t know the exact date I will be returning although I am thinking probably around August 20th. That means only 1 more month left in China before my return. I’m sure I will miss this place.
In the news, I am very excited to hear about the NHL agreeing on a possible contract. I think hockey in the fall once I get back would be great and I am looking forward to it. Even though I’m sure all the players are going to get jumbled up and the appearance of all the teams will change, I am still going to spend a lot of time watching hockey.
SinoCES 2005 is taking place from July 1 – 4 in Qingdao, Shandong, China. There will be a large number of exhibiters showcasing their products for the future.
I am recommending that everyone in the area should check it out. I went and I saw a large number of really great looking screens. Some of them are in resolutions I’ve never heard of. Such as 1200P. . it looked amazing. Of course there are a number of Chinese formats I doubt I will ever see come across the Pacific; such as EVD. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I had the chance to go.
This week seems to have been a busy week. Nathan has gone to Beijing to some Electronics Convention to introduce CVIC digital products to foreign guests. That left me to go touring with the Saskatchewan Minister of Education and Information Technology, Andrew Thomson. So for Monday and Tuesday I was busy going from place to place, seeing the sights of Jinan and attending meetings. I thought it was a lot of fun. Also, the food during his visits was really really good. The food all tasted good and there was so much of it. I felt very full. On Tuesday evening, my boss Emma, planned a party with Chinese guests from Canada who want to return to China to do business. It was interesting to meet a bunch of people. The party was at KTV (karaoke). I am not a fan of singing so I didn’t sing. It was a lot of fun and I had a good time.
In other news, last saturday, I bought myself a new cellphone. I wasn’t really liking the phone that we got from the company since it lacked features and was really tacky, in my opinion. The new phone I bought is the Motorola E398. I think the phone looks really good and it works well. I think I will enjoy it a lot in the future. I am pretty sure it will work once I return to Canada, probably through Rogers. Buying the phone was interesing. When we first got their the people selling the phones kept saying really high prices for the phone, I think something like 2300RMB. I thought a better idea would be to get Vidar (the person who was taking us shopping), to go look at the phones himself and finalize a sale then I would just come in and pay. So that is what we did and I am thankful for his help, only had to pay 1580RMB.
While working and after work I always like to listen to some good music. Right now, my favorite cd has got to be System of a Down’s new cd, Mesmerize. I must have listened to it 15 times so far. My only complaint about the cd is that it is a little short (only 36 minutes). Once I get back to Canada I’m going to have to make sure I buy the cd to add to my collection. Another cd that I have downloaded and listened to recently is the new Audioslave album, Out of Exile. Although I don’t like it as much as Mesmerize I still think it is a really good cd. Other cd’s that I’ve downloaded to add variety are Gorillaz – Demon Days, Coldplay – X and Y. The problem with being in China is that I have a hard time knowing what good cd’s are being released these days. So if anyone knows anything really good that I seem to be missing just let me know, alright?
The English translation of the InforReport program has been completed. This project seemed to take up a lot of time. I am sure glad that it is done and now we can finally send it to Canada so they can test to see if there will be a market for the product. The product itself is a Reporting program. You create reports using a layout similar to excel. The reports are basically a gathering of information from a database presented neatly to be viewed by others. When I first started using the program I thought it was complicated and I didn’t see the purpose in such a product. After using it for a bit I thought it was actually really easy and I could see a market for the product. People that use databases and need to display that information into viewable reports for other would all enjoy the ease of use and powerfulness that the product brings. I just hope that the translation is accurate and that it can be sellable in North America.
For this project I was in charge of verifing the translation and making sure the English grammar was accurate enough for the program. This task was actually more challenging than it seems to be. Since I have never used report making software before I didn’t know any of the terminology that was involved. I tried to learn from reading a bit about other programs like Crystal Reports but that didn’t teach me a whole lot. I think the final product should be good enough for now, since the evaluaters would be able to understand what the functions do and how to use them no problem. And if they can’t understand then they will tell us and the translation can be fixed.
Last weekend was a really good time. Nathan and I went with Bill, Nancy and Jarry. Bill is Jarry’s friend. Jarry and Nancy both work on our floor. We left for Taishan on the 2:30 train. The train ride was really interesting. A little girl who was 6 years old came up to us and started asking all sorts of questions in English. I thought it was funny and it made for an enjoyable train ride. After we got to Taian we went from the train station to an Ancient house/garden/palace/temple. We walked around there for an hour and a half taking a look at all the interesting trees and buildings. After we walked to the base of the mountain and we ate supper. After the supper we started our ascent.
We started off at around 9. It seemed like we only climbed for 45 minutes and it began to rain. We took cover from the storm in a shop on the mountain. The owner was happy to let us stay inside while the storm blew over. So after about an hour and a half of waiting we again started the climb. I thought the climb was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the physical challenge that it brought on. I think we got to the top in about 4 hours of climbing but it took us more time due to all of the breaks that we seemed to be taking. The breaks weren’t about us being tired, they were to help better time we reached the top. The top of the mountain was colder but not that cold. The coldness came from the strong gusty wind. We made sure to bring our jackets along so we didn’t need to rent any jackets.
The weather for the sunrise couldn’t have been any better. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky which made for a really good view of the sunrise. So at 4:52 in the morning we got to see the sun peak over the horizon. I made sure to take a lot of pictures. After the sunrise we had accomplished our goal. . to climb to the top and see the sunrise. The next step was the walk back down. Coming down was a lot easier. . I was going down really fast. . I was going at a half run pace skipping along 2 steps at a time. The way down also involved less breaks so I thought it was a lot faster paced. After 3 or so hours we finally made our way back to the entrance. Then from here we got onto the bus and returned to the train station. Then we got our tickets back to Jinan. It was a two hour wait so we just sat in the waiting room. Then was the hour long train ride. Back in Jinan we were all fealing the effects of fatigue. As soon as we got home at 4:30 we all went to sleep. We had all been up for 32 hours or so. The next day my muscles felt felt alright. I thought it was going to be worse but I think the stretching I did helped out. Looking back at the climb I think it wasn’t that hard and I’m sure I could do it again no problem. I think it makes for good exercise.
I have a gallery with all my pictures!
It seems strange to be celebrating the Labour Day holiday for the first week of May but I’m not complaining. So from May 1 to May 7, I will be sitting around playing games and watching tv. I haven’t really planned out much that I could do for this holiday so I don’t imagine much will happen. I think for one day we are going to be going to see something with a couple people from the office, but the location and details seems to be changing all the time. At one time it was a Safari zoo type place where we would sit in the vehicle and it would drive around and we could see the animals out of the windows (Jurrassic Park anyone?) . Then the last thing it got changed to was a place where there was some bungie jumping and some other strange stuff. I know I would never go bungie jumping. I don’t think it is very safe or fun in Canada, and so I really doubt I would do anything like that in China! I’m sure whatever happens it will be a lot of fun. Now, all I have to do is find enough stuff to kill the time for a whole week!! I just love holidays .
The start of my weekend started exactly as planned. On Saturday morning I got up bright and early and went off to the Cultural market. This market is by Hero mountain. We were accompanied by Cynthia and Reed. There were a lot of people at this place when we got there. The people were selling all sorts of stuff. There was a huge rock market. They sold all types of rocks (polished, unpolished, interesting, dull), and even some pretend jade stuff as well. After the rock market we went down the one street. On either side of the street were book stores. There were a lot of people in between the building selling stuff in the middle. They sold all sorts of cultural items, and goods. There were people selling watches from famous brands (although they weren’t), people selling plants, some selling pictures and books, and other selling what Nathan was interested in buying. . Nathan bought a tea pot and some cups. The teapot took a while to pick out since there were so many different pots to choose from. He ended up taking a dark colored pot and the same colors cups. After the cultural market we walked down a little bit and got to the bird market. There were all types of birds here. Some of the birds seemed familiar to me, such as the cockatiel and the small green birds. Some other birds were as familiar, these would be the black birds and some other types. The best talking birds were the black birds. They looked almost like the birds from The Birds. Some of them were able to say hello, and ni hao (hello in Mandarin). That was the end of our trip at the cultural market. After this we headed on over to the bus.
Our adventure was only half over at this point. We took the bus till the end of the line and got off at Carefore. This is a famous French supermarket. Here is the place I bought a controller to play games on the PC. I bought a controller that very closely resembles a playstation dual shock controller. I probably paid more than if I would have gone to the electronics market but I am satisfied with only have to pay basically $11 Canadian. So far it has been working really good. After Carefore we rode on the bus all the way home.
We didn’t go computer shopping like we though we might. Instead we went with Jerry to the IT market. Here, Nathan wanted to buy a 256mb usb flash stick. The stick itself is grey in color and made of metal. It weighs slightly more than most but it feels so much more stronger. After Nathan picked out the flash stick he wanted to buy a network cable tester. This device tests to make sure that all the cable in a Cat5 cable are good. A simple device that doesn’t really cost a lot. The only thing I was kind of interested in was if anyone would have Gameboy Advance flash carts. Too bad nobody did, and if they did they didn’t tell me. It doesn’t seem that video games on the tv or portable are popular over here. Most people seem to stick to the online pc games such as Counter-Strike.
After the IT market we got on the bus and went west across town to the Electronics market. This market sells all sorts of interesting pieces that seem really cool. They have switches, fuses, solder, soldering irons, cable, wires, mcu, cpus, circuit boards, different procesors, lcds, and other things that people could use for their electronics goods. The place was really big with a lot of people selling their stuff. Thats one of the big differences that I notice. In Canada at shops there will only be one person and they seem to carry a lot of everything. At these places there are a lot of people and each person seems to carry a lot of one type of good. Another thing that I haven’ done (since I didn’t buy anything) is bargain the people down to get the best price. That was the end of our day with Jerry, and the end of our weekend! It was a good time, and hopefully it is a preview to what out 7 day holiday will be like coming up on May 1 – May 7.
It looks like the weekend could be interesting this week. On Saturday a couple people from work will be taking us to a Cultural Market, or something like that. This market is located at the foot of Hero mountain. Only a short distance from where we are. There will be all sorts of people selling fake porcelain goods. I think it should be interesting. I’m not really in the market for these goods so I am just going to be going along for the ride.
Then on Sunday, we might be going with a couple different people from the office. One of them, Nancy, wants to buy a computer for at home. Again, I’m not in the market for a new computer so I’ll just be tagging along enjoying the scenery. This time though, we will go to the technology market. I don’t know which location they are reffering to though. I’m sure I will see once we get there. If I had to guess though, I think it would be the same place we have gone to 3 other times before. It is a really big electronics market with 6 floors. There are all sorts of merchants selling their products here. There is so much stock and the selection is huge. The only thing I might be interested in would be a controller for my computer so I can play SNES and NES games easier without a keyboard.
So no matter what happens, this weekend is looking busy. I still don’t have any ideas what I’m going to do for the Labour Day holiday in May. I am going to be off work from May 1 to May 7. That will be a long time without working. This could result in a boring or interesting week, it all depends on what goes on I guess.
Well I don’t need to remind anyone as everyone knows that my birthday has just occurred. On April 9th, I turned 20. To celebrate my birthday a bunch of people from work went out for supper together on April 8th. We were planning on eating pizza. So we first went to Pizza Hut but it turned out that the lineup was at least 20 minutes. So we walked down the street till we got to Pizza 39. Its a buffet style restaurant. It costs 39 yuan per person (works out to like $6 Canadian). They had a lot of different types of food. I ended up eating a lot of food. The pizza was pizza but the topping seemed a little.. strange. I had a couple slices of pizza with peas, onions, peppers, and green beans for the topping. I also had a couple pieces of what I thought might be pepperoni. I also had a whole bunch of french fries, chicken wings, and barbeque. I also had some ice cream and some fruit. All the food was really good for how much we paid. Also, what might be a shocker to most people, the beer was also included in the price of the buffet. So it was all you could eat and drink. I didn’t drink much since I ate so much food. I was really really full. I wouldn’t mind returning again.
On April 9th, my birthday, I basically just sat around all day and played super nintendo on my laptop. It was a very relaxed day with not a lot to do. This basically carried over for the whole weekend. It was a very calm birthday. On monday I brought my birthday cake to the office and shared with all the people in my division. The cake tasted really good although it was nothing compared to Dairy Queen ice cream cake. I’ll have to make sure I celebrate my birthday again when I get back and make sure to get some DQ ice cream cake!