Goodbye China

30 08 2013

A little more than three years ago an equally early morning I left Stavanger.

Now again, much earlier than expected, I’m on the road again on the way to Europe, with too many kgs of luggage, more years of age, more doubts and unknowns about my future, some regrets about what I leave here…

Let’s see where this new step will take me…


The last Chinese supper

29 08 2013

Instead of going out to some local restaurant serving yummy street food, I decided for something else:


No kidding!!

I ate a noodle box, normal super cheap student meal, but still so much better than any box you find in Europe.

I treated myself well on the beer side drinking a beer meant for a special occasion (I think I got it ages ago from a Norwegian Aikido friend, Kamilla):


And for fruit I got two that are still difficult to find in Europe. I had pomelo, 柚子 yòuzi (the yellow one on the top side) and mangosteen, 山竹 shānzhú (the two smaller ones at the bottom):


Mini hot pot

29 08 2013

Among the food I will miss thee is the properly done hot pot with nice soup and right sauces, but already a nightmare to order with my lousy Chinese skills..

A good alternative is the mini one, called 麻辣烫, quite typical street food variation, my dinner last night;


…and a couple if Taingtao beers because it was quite spicy!! 😉

Airport mathematics

27 08 2013

My flight from Shanghai Pudong to Shenzhen is scheduled for 23:10.

Once I got at the airport the airline people said that it would be possible to perform the check-in from 22 o’clock.

Given the check-in usually close 40 minutes at least before departure the time seemed extremely tight. Also considering the security check (Pudong is the major airport in Shanghai, even if so late there are not many flights) and the long walk to the gate (it took me 15 minutes and I walk always fast) the opening time for the check-in looked suspicious!

In China as in the rest of the world the boarding starts about 30 minutes before take off, so for a flight at 23:10 it means more or less… now!!

Considering there is no plane outside but the monitor at the gate still shows:


…I wonder how can they manage on-time departure…

But then I notice a detail on the ticket:


Then their math does make more sense suddenly: a check at 22 is not too late with departure around 01:20!!!

I must add that for me it doesn’t matter at all this delay: I’ll sleep at Shenzhen airport again… A delay shorten my bench time waiting the opening of subway at 6 am!

What I really hate though is the complete
Lack of info from the monitors (still on-time departure) and there is no people at the gate so one must trust the ticket boarding time and hope. At the check-in also the operator did not tell me anything about delays. This is Chinese service!! 😦

Farewell from Chinese Aikido

27 08 2013

Intending this time mainland China, after the very nice farewell I got in Hong Kong (even if most probably I will manage 1-2 sessions more!), yesterday night I joined practice at Xijiao Aikido dojo.

A small dojo in the west part of Shanghai with motivated people that I had chance to meet several times in the past years. And fun on and off the mats!!

At Xijiao Aikido club
At Xijiao Aikido club - fun

My last week in Asia

26 08 2013

The time has arrived, almost..

For the past weekend and a few days more now I visited  潘蕾 in Shanghai, but she got a job right now and basically we have little time together.

In this last visit anyway I managed to be scr*wed with my bad bargaining skills when I went to buy a couple of t-shirts for the very last minute presents (and moving back I will not buy presents anymore for the firends in Europe); I managed to experience the n-th example of bad Chinese public services and in this case lazy doctors at a hospital that should be quite famous (not for me, but I went with a friend..); I verified again the extremely high prices in Shanghai for everything, from subway to taxi to food; I managed to meet a couple of friends that I will certainly miss; I had some good local food that I will also certainly miss.. and a few other things..

Tonight one last Aikido session at Xijiao Shanghai dojo and a chance to say bye to a few friends there. After that I can consider complete my visit to Shanghai.

Tuesday late night I’ll have a flight back to Shenzhen resulting in a last night in Shenzhen airport, hoping to find again the same place I used the times before, being actually able to catch a few hours of real sleep (some soft benches close to a mini caffe of course closed in the night).

A couple of days of packing in Longgang and then Friday I’ll go to Hong Kong from where I will leave on Sunday night. I actually look forward to Friday: I got nothing real to miss in Longgang and I am happy I got the chance to have some tiny accomodation in HK. Leave as soon as possible Longgang is actually the high priority aspect!

In HK I’ll got actually more friends than in Longgang and I will certainly manage one more Aikido session and have a good time!

The time in Asia has passed quite fast and my decision to leave has been suffered but I have been realistic. I will write more about this. And I will write more about China for sure. As I am sure I will come back, but no idea as for traveling or for work again.

I have learnt much, but I have failed in the most important part: learning Chinese. Without Chinese here, unless you work as ex-pat for some big international company that send you or support you locally with international salary rates as well it is very tough, unless one speaks the language.

So it is a farewell to China without too big regrets and also not regretting the decision to come here at first.

Now, let’s get ready for Aikido 😉 (and I am happy to go back to Europe for the Aikido part!!)

Proper Aikido farewell

21 08 2013

Subtitle: Strong feeling of belonging to Doyukai Aikido

Last weekend I went to Hong Kong for my last Aikido weekend at Doyukai Aikido dojo, for practice with Nagai sensei and all the nice people I met there and spend a nice time with Peter and Yolanda, new close friends from this Aikido dojo.

To my surprise toward the end of Sunday practice Nagai sensei celebrated my departure as I was part of the dojo, in some common Aikido way: first I threw all fellow Aikidokas twice, against any possible attack (the tiniest child at practice, Japanese boy, first to come, attacked me with tsuki – straight punch!!). Then after this, everyone on the mats threw me once!!

My condition is not top and you can clearly see my skin color on the Sunday picture was definitively more red than Saturday: I was dead tired.. and super happy!!

The serious pictures are here 😉 but we had lots of fun taking these:

Group picture at Doyukai Aikido dojo - funny version

Saturday session

Group photo at Doyukai dojo on Sunday

Sunday session

Since I have never connected, Aikido-wise, with the dojo in Shenzhen, it has been nice to see that my feelings were in a way recirpocated by Nagai sensei and the people in Doyukai: at Aikido level and at personal level as well, I did consider Doyukai my own dojo, even if I managed to practice only some weekends and I started going there only after Endo sensei seminar in Hong Kong last February.

Soon or later I will meet again these kind people, on the mats of some dojos around the globe!!