Sunday, June 13, 2004

Hey Sportsfans!

Here I sit in the local Cantonese restaurant that I've affectionately dubbed, "The Housefly Restaurant." The flies in this place are truly unbelievable and I'd swear they hire staff exclusively to swat flies.

I've finally accepted a job in Thailand. Craig Hanks of Stairway English in Hatyai, Thailand called me this afternoon and offered me the teaching position. I had four job offers on the table, three from southern Thailand and one on Cebu island in the Philippines. But, I readily accepted Craig's offer, given the working conditions, the support and the beautiful area that I'll be teaching in.

Things here in China are better after an extended meeting with the infamous Ms. Fang. Some heated deliberations, baring of teeth, raised voices and finally smiles, an agreement and a handshake. I think both of us were sick and tired of fighting. She knows and I know that I'm working illegally here because of this school's lies and deceptions. Although I don't really detect any sign of remorse, Ms. Fang seemed to at least appreciate the law and the position that the school's higher-ups have placed both of us in.

I've got fourteen days remaining here. I'll be flying out on the 26th of June. I'm not going to miss Guangzhou, or China for that matter, but I will miss these wonderful students and some of the friends I've acquired here.

Stay tuned for my new posts as I enter another teaching year in the, "Land of Smiles."


Tuesday, June 08, 2004



Better known as Kuala Lumpur City Center. It's a city within a city. The highlight of KLCC are the Petronas Towers, a landmark of Kuala Lumpur and at 452 meters tall (one thousand four hundred eighty three feet), until this year, the tallest buildings in the world.

Now, the newly built Taipei 101, a rather ugly building boasting a daunting 508 meters (one thousand six hundred and sixty six feet), has captured the title.

Maybe they've lost the title of the tallest buildings in the world, but I assure you, the beauty of these 88 story buildings, even at night, cannot be surpassed by the Taipei 101 (sounds like a language course).

These majestic buildings are surrounded by Suria KLCC mall, a six-level, crescent-shaped shopping mall that boasts one million square feet (93,000 square meters) of which over 80 percent is actively leased. 'Suria' means sunshine in Bahasa Malaysia language. This awesome place is filled to the brim with specialty shops, clothing shops, food courts, cafés, landscaped walkways, skylights, 864 seat concert hall and ample parking. I damn near got lost in the place, looking for Annie's workplace: The California Pizza Kitchen, where I ordered a delicious Cheese steak pizza.

Here's a good shot of the sky bridge. This awesome structure hangs a daunting 170 meters (558 feet) above ground and I was lucky enough to secure a free ticket for a tour of the bridge, which offers some great views of the KLCC 50 acre park and surrounding city suburbs. This structure, which connects the two towers, was built in South Korea. It is 58.4 meters in length (192 feet) and weighs 750 tonnes (826 short tons).

This is a good view from the sky bridge, of the fifty acre park surrounding Suria KLCC and the Petronas Towers. Actually, I saw very little of the fifty-acre park, mainly because I chose to stay inside the wonderfully climate-controlled Suria KLCC mall, as it was damn hot and humid in Malaysia that particular Thursday when I visited Annie at her workplace. I did follow her suggestion and walk out to the small bridge in the park to get a good picture of the towers.

I shopped around for awhile, ate at a couple little food stands and then nestled myself into a comfortable corner at Chili's, ate some tortilla chips and salsa and bought a Kuala Lumpur Chili's polo shirt. I wasn't there an hour when the sky literally opened up and the torrential downpours famous in Southeast Asia, took over. Later that evening, Annie and I went out to eat at the Hard Rock Café in Kuala Lumpur, where you can't get real bacon on your hamburger. Actually, in KL, you're hard pressed to find pork anywhere.

Those pesky Muslims?

All-in-all, I loved my experience in Kuala Lumpur and my trip to Malacca. I can't wait to return! Stay tuned for my next posting, which shall reveal the truth about the mysterious Straits of Malacca's mud-sucking, human-eating shorelines. (I know you're grinning Annie!)


(Sorry 'bout posting this a fortnight late, y'all, I was in Poland raising hell. Leastways, that's *my* excuse...Chris.)

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Hello everyone!

I'm back in Hong Kong for (hopefully) my last visa run. I've got less than one month at the godforsaken Phoenix City Bilingual School and they are really raking me through the coals as far as my contract is concerned. Suffice it to say that I am beginning to believe that they are in some sort of contest to see how badly they can breach my contract.

Anyway, I'm at least trying to enjoy my time here in Hong Kong and just got back from eating at my favorite restaurant on Causeway Bay, the Yin Chang Vietnamese restaurant. The food there is truly delicious!

So, in the a.m. I'll grab some breakfast and then I'll be off to Wan Chai for yet another visa run. I was smart this time and purchased my return ticket ahead of time so I can be guaranteed that I will be in Guangzhou at a decent hour tomorrow night so I can catch the bus back home instead of having to spend $100.00 Yuan on a taxi ride.

I've got a new job prospect in the wings, possibly at a school in Beijing, but not totally sure yet. I'd much rather travel to Thailand, but beggars can't be choosers at this point.

More later...

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