“Hey Dan! You’re bald, let’s take a picture of the bald guys.”
The group of retired guys (mostly) that I ride with had their annual party early this winter. Everyone loves to take pictures with the big foreigner, but this rational was irresistible. A request like “Let’s get a picture with the bald guys!” gets an automatic “you bet” from this big foreigner.
Not a bad looking group of guys if you ask me.
Last Saturday there was a biking event. The events here often start at one park, then move to another park for the end.
This one was no different. On the way from the first park to the second though, there was a wreck. Harmony came to the first park with us and went home instead of going to the second park. We stayed with her most of the way back to the house so we were in the back of the pack. Because of this, we didn't see the wreck actually happen. It was one of our good friends that was in the wreck though.
She got all patched up and we borrowed a friend's car to bring her home so she didn't have to ride the 10+ kilometers home with a badly skinned knee and elbow. I'm just thankful that the wreck was with another bike and not with one of the big trucks we often encounter on our rides.
One of our kiddos has the travel bug… all the time. Occasionally, we satisfy it.
We needed a new shelf and IKEA just opened a store in Xi'an. There's an overnight train there and back so the kids and I spent two nights on the train and a day at IKEA. We got the stuff we need plus a few things for two expat families and a Chinese friend. Here are the kiddos on the train.
This was on the way there. They weren't as fresh on the way back.
Last weekend I spent Saturday riding with six Deaf guys to Lanzhou. We rode back to Xining on Sunday. Here are some photos.
A few months ago we met this lady at a biking event. Last weekend was a holiday here so we went with her, her husband, and their son to the zoo.
Snow, rain, and the flu have conspired to keep me mostly off my bike the last two weeks. But before that I had been putting lots of miles on my bike. Some of the last miles before the forced hiatus were with Harmony on the new trail by the river. Here’s a photo that I took from my moving bike on the way home that last trip with Harmony.
I've been biking a lot lately and found that it's a great way to not only get lots of exercise but also meet lots of new people. If you hang out with cyclists for long though, you're going to end up talking gear. So here's my latest material for learning new vocabulary:
Chinese New Year is one of our favorite times of year here. The weather begins to get warmer. Everywhere you go you see red lanterns or Chinese knots hanging up. There are at least occasional fireworks for weeks and at least hourly ones on 'New Year's Eve'. And 11:30pm to 12:30am is a sight to behold. Here are some more photos. Definitely don't miss the video at the end!
“Are you guys ok? Did you feel the earthquake last night?” Our friend and teacher had called to check on us the day after the earthquake last week. Many people in Xining said that they felt it. Whether it’s because we live in a large, substantial building, or because we were extremely tired, I don’t know; but we didn’t feel a thing.
I have this great little app I use called Sleep Cycle. It tracks your sounds throughout the night and attempts to wake you at the ideal point in your sleep cycle. This isn’t nearly as creepy as the app I tried that actually recorded sounds throughout the night (It turns out either Ami or I snore! I blame her. ;). Here’s a graph from the night of the quake.
Look at the time of the earthquake, around 1:13 am. Some jags in the graph, but they fall right in the middle of our longest stretch of sound sleep. It’s no wonder we didn’t wake up.
Last week I wrote about the New Year's Day bike race we went to watch. What I didn't mention was that one of our new friends lost his glove. I had a pair of thinner gloves, like what he lost, and a pair of fat mittens. Because it was dark and cold when we headed home, I planned to wear the mittens. So I loaned him the right glove from my pair so he wouldn't have to ride home with one frozen hand.
Yesterday, we met so he could return the glove. It was hard to track each other down, but I discovered how Deaf people here find each other. It's actually pretty brilliant. None of this “I'm at the northwest corner of 54 West Street and Sea-Lake Street”. Just a simple picture. We sent several pictures back and forth before we found each other, but we did finally track each other down. It must be hard dealing with stupid, hearing foreigners. 🙂