Thursday, February 26, 2009

Zeke walking again

Here is Zeke, on his way to perfecting walking upright. He has nearly mastered it, as you can see, he can now walk and talk on the phone. He even says "hi."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Visiting Performers at the Temple Fair

Spring Festival at ISB- The Temple Fair

Lion Dance

Jack and Jed at the dragon at their school's Outdoor Learning Environment (i.e. playground). In the summer, it shoots out a cool mist!

Jed and some of his friends.

Jed enjoying candied fruit on a kabob. A traditional Chinese treat.

Every year, ISB puts on a Temple Fair during spring festival. The children do performances. They have treats, crafts, visiting performers and music. It's really great.

Spring Festival

This Is Jed's grade 2 academic Chinese class performing at the ISB Temple Fair at the end of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). Every Chinese class in the elementary school did some sort of performance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snow in Beijing- thanks to the government

Beijing blanketed by snow after China seeds clouds to beat drought

People's Liberation Army soldiers sweep snow in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing

(China Daily/Reuters)

People's Liberation Army soldiers sweep snow in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing

A carpet of snow blanketing the Forbidden City and the ancient halls and courtyards of the Lama Temple has transformed China’s capital into a fairyland. Hundreds have played truant from offices to sneak a peak of the first snowfall of the winter.

But nature has been given a helping hand. The heavy snowfalls over Beijing have principally been induced by meteorological offices to try to mitigate the most severe drought to grip northern China in nearly half a century.

City officials have been blasting chemicals into clouds over northern China to create the first precipitation in more than 100 days. The first flurries fell on the capital on Tuesday. By Tuesday, more than 500 cigarette-sized sticks of silver iodide had been seeded into clouds above Beijing from 28 rocket-launch bases around the city, said the Beijing Weather Modification Command Centre.

But this was still nowhere near enough to alleviate the drought that is threatening wheat harvests in several northern provinces.

Since the Government calculated that the city had gone for more than 100 days without a drop of rain, residents have been complaining to one another about how the snowfalls that were a common occurrence even into the 1980s appeared to have halted, as drought and desertification have marched towards the city from the Gobi desert.

Making the most of the cloud cover and renewed scattered snow, officials decided to “enhance” the fall by artificial seeding again last night. They fired 313 more sticks of silver iodide into the sky. The procedure made the snow a lot heavier, officials said.

Guo Yingchun, a senior engineer with the Hebei provincial meteorological observatory, said: “The snow has brought moisture to the soil and that may end the drought.”

So heavy was the fall that officials closed 12 highways around Beijing yesterday. Residents got up early to sweep the carpet away from their front doors with bamboo brushes. Few are equipped with spades, since snow has become such a rarity in recent years. Road sweepers were drafted in to work overtime, pushing snow into piles against pavements and around trees.

The snowfall did, however, succeed in attracting visitors to the Forbidden City – the former palace of China’s emperors – that sprawls with its legendary 999 rooms across the heart of the capital.

The increasingly rare sight of Beijing’s ancient buildings blanketed in snow and with footsteps muffled always draws residents eager to capture the moment on their cameras. An administrative official at the Forbidden City said: “Tourists will come in any weather, no matter if it snows or rains - people come anyway.”

But many said they were visiting just for the pleasure of seeing the home of the emperors in the snow.

A spokesman for the Badaling section of the Great Wall, about an hour from Beijing, said twice as many tourists as usual had come out to view the snow-covered site. “Even though it wasn't the weekend, about 4,000 tourists still showed up yesterday to watch the snow ... the scene is spectacular,” he said.

A stone lion guards Tiananmen Gate partially covered in snow after a snowfall in Beijing

(Diego Azubel/EPA)

Tiananmen Gate in Beijing - there has been no precipitation in some parts of China for months

A man walks between buildings in a courtyard near the Great Wall of China, north of Beijing

(Greg Baker/AP)

The rare sight of snow in Beijing has thrilled tourists, but not ill-equipped residents

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Everything has a knock-off

Our little grocery store is now selling "Arm and Hatchet" baking soda, made in
China, on their shelves right next to imported Arm and Hammer. The box
of the rip-off version is orange, the slogan is a circle, with a
drawing of an arm holding a hatchet, with the words "The Standard of
Purity"circling the bottom, exactly like the Arm and Hammer emblem.
The price, of course, is much lower than the imported original.

Welcome to China!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zeke walked!

Zeke walked more than a few steps for the first time today. Xing Ayi was VERY excited about it. Just before she left for the day, I videotaped her having him walk to her.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sliding in Harbin

Our Trip To the Harbin Ice Festival

In the Ice Bar

The slides at night

Huck and Jed

Tom, Jack, Jed and Huck when we first arrived at the ice festival

We went to Harbin, in Northern China, to see the ice festival. It was truly amazing to see what they have done with ice and snow. The sculptures and buildings are truly sights to behold but the best part was the fun we all had sliding down the ice slides.

Here is a site where I've posted our photos...