Seeing Prague by Ebike


Ebikes are the main mode of transportation in China.  I bought one myself in September of 2012 and it’s the closest thing to a motorcycle that I will ever get.  I’ve seen dogs in baskets, families of three, nuzzling couples and solo riders either whizzing beside me or directly towards me.  Pray for me.  That I don’t die.

Before my recent purchase, ebikes were somewhat of a mystery to me.  In Canada, they are considered greener, but sadly, freakin’ expensive!  A mountain style-bike can start at $800 CDN, spiking upwards to $3,000 CDN for a motor scooter style.  When truly, you can purchase a ‘beater’ car for $1,000.  One that covers your head in inclement weather, plays Whitesnake and takes you places near or far.  Based on those glaring pluses, an ebike loses its appeal.  Global warming?  It sucks to be you.

By |February 26th, 2013 |Categories: Adventure, Prague |25 Comments

Spring Festival Photoessay: Best of the Best

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!  Or in loosely translated terms: Happy New Year!  Traditionally, New Year’s Day  was called Yuan Dan.  Yuan means “the beginning”; Dan means “day”.  I’m fond of another interpretation: the first sunrise.

When the Chinese republic was established in the 1900′s it was renamed “Spring Festival”.  In relation to the Chinese calendar, dates are interconnected to the moods of the moon and the time of the solar year.  Quite often, Chinese New Year is referred to as the “Lunar New Year”.

So many abundant ways to describe it.  If I were to settle on one, mythology fascinates the most [1]:

“An ancient Chinese legend tells of a man-eating predatory beast called Nian, extremely fierce, with a long head and sharp horn. Nian dwelled deep in the sea the whole year long, but on every Chinese New Year eve it would climb onto the shore to devour livestock and harm humans in a near-by village. Therefore, every Chinese New Year’s Eve, all the villagers would take their old and young deep into the mountains to hide from Nian.

One Chinese New Year’s Eve a grey haired man appeared in the village. He asked permission to stay for the night and assured everyone that he would chase away the beast. No one believed him. In addition, the old man steadfastly refused to go to the mountains to hide. Seeing that he could not be persuaded, the villagers departed without him.

When the beast arrived at the village to wreck havoc as usual, it was met with a sudden burst of exploding firecrackers. Startled by the noise, the flashes of light and red banners flying about, it hastily turned and fled!

The following day, as the people returned from the mountains, they found the village intact and safe. The old man had left, but they found the remains of the three precious items he had used to chase the beast Nian away. They all agreed that the old man must be a deity who had come to help free them of the beast.”

By |February 12th, 2013 |Categories: Culture, Wuxi |32 Comments

On Spinsterhood, Wheels and Movies

The 21st century spinster

I love films these days; more than television series. I read a sizzling article about Breaking Bad in a Rolling Stone feature and being a fan of characters who transform, it’s an appealing show to delve into, but the task of actually sitting down to watch it is insurmountable to me — 5 years, 13 episodes a season?!

Are you kidding me? Who has time like that to spare? That’s endless hours wasted, when a film lasts an hour and 58 minutes and you can resume your life.

Speaking of losing time, I recently watched Young Adult. I’m also a fan of raunchy, sassy, female writers, lapsed in the politically correct department, which sums up Diablo Cody well.

She penned the off-center, teen pregnancy comedy Juno (which single-handedly made Jason Bateman cool again). I loved it’s rawness, honesty and quirkiness.

Young Adult stars the impossibly gorgeous Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary, She’s a ghost writer for a series of books aimed at young adults, not of the vampire or werewolf variety, but glittery, prom queens pitted against pasty, socially deficient nerds (anybody remember Sweet Valley High?).

As the movie unravels, it’s revealed that Mavis was popular in high school and coming off a divorce, her habits and life are less than mature. She has a toy dog named Dolce, dresses in Hello Kitty t-shirts, drinks coca-cola as her morning coffee and eats KFC obsessively.

Her only way to communicate with men is to drink copious amounts of alcohol on dates, half-listen to their banter and immediately bed them, without even pausing for a breath.

What’s worse is she finds herself drifting as her current job is about to end, the young adult series is cancelled. Oh, but the stinger? She’s 37. Ouchie.