Friday, May 11, 2012


One of our neighbors brought us some more fish today! So Brandon and I, now experienced fish gutters got to work. This family ran into some misfortune shortly after we arrived in Yunnan, and part of their house burned down while no one was home. The community and our NGO have done all we can to help out and get them assistance. The fish are one way the can thank the community for their help.
Freshly caught fish.

Freshly gutted fish.

Brandon enjoying gutting fish a bit too much..

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going to the Farmers Market

Going to the farmers market is the best way to view the local culture and customs anywhere in the world. Each Thursday Brandon and myself go to our local market to buy our fruit, veggies and what ever else we might need, and we get a good look at the local Naxi ethnic minority. You can pretty much get what ever you might need while living on a farm. Tools to pesticides, meats to treats, shoes to hats. And something that Brandon and I noticed this morning at the market is that after three months the locals are starting to recognize us! Not that they didn't recognize us after our very first visit, we quite obviously stand out from everyone else, But people are saying hello to us and being friendly. Some of these folks are the ones whose fields we were working in planting corn a few weeks back.


Meat Market.
Doesn't that pig head look yummy?

Heres where ye buy yer brooms and baskets.
Cookies and sweet breads.

...Not to mention random horns from assorted animals.
Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Those are herbs and roots and fungi...

Tools of all sorts. Household needs.
Water jugs, hooks and hangers....

Ducks, chickens, pigs.
Traditional Naxi clothing. Aprons, shawls,
the while thing in the center is a sort
of cape most women wear.



Blue aprons, blue hats and blue anything is the signature style for the Naxi people. I fit right in with my blue sweatshirt.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beijing Trip In Pictures

My bicycle taken apart and ready to make the trip to Beijing with me. I have been to BJ before and know that it is very easy to get around if you have your own transportation, plus I knew I would be playing some bike polo with the Beijing team so I had to bring it along. It is easy to get around as the city is just a huge grid The only draw back would be the extremely poor air quality. According to the Air Quality Index healthy air is in the 0-50 range. The first few days I was in Beijing we had a few 350 days. After a day of biking in those condition your throat is sore and your head aches.
Mission #1 of going to Beijing was to apply for a Russian Visa at the embassy. Here is the receipt for my visa. In the center is my name written in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, АЛЛЄН БРЄНДАН ДЖОН (Allen Brendan John) Then I purchased my train ticket for the Trans-Siberian Railroad. In June I will embark on a 7-day journey from Beijing to Moscow. I anticipate discovering a new side of myself, one in which you can only discover after having sat a train non-stop for 7 days. This is the first step of this summers adventure in Europe. I will spend a few days in Moscow before going to a friends wedding in Bologna Italy, then I will bike where-ever through Europe killing time until the 4th World Bike Polo Championships in Geneva.

This is my third trip to Beijing. But each time I somehow missed out on going to the Great Wall of China. So on wednesday, when everyone I knew had to go back to work after the May 1st holiday I decided I would bike there and back. Luckily it was a gorgeous day with very little pollution and clear skies. I got some direction from a friend to a section of the wall with much less tourists, I think I was there with only 15 other people. It took 4 1/2 hours to bike about 75km through the mountains to get there. There is the wall snaking up the mountain behind me.
With the help of some other travelers I was able to hoist my bike atop the Great Wall of China to take this picture. You are not allowed to climb along this section of the wall, but I did not bike 4 1/2 hours Not to walk on the wall, so take that Chinese Govt.

Folks say you can see the Great Wall of China from the moon. WRONG! The equivalent would be like trying to see a single hair from two miles away. Even the first Chinese in space Yang Liwei said it was a big ole lie. Look at the wall, its the same color as the rocks it sits upon. How could you see that from space?!?!? So... if you or someone you know is helping to spread that lie, please do your part to set the facts straight. No matter how amazing a feat building the Great Wall is, it's still not that amazing.

Probably one of reasons you can't walk on the wall is that it is falling apart like in this photo. 

At one end the wall breaks to go over this reservoir.

This was one of my first views of the wall, probably still 45 minutes or so away from the wall. Test your eyes, the wall is stretching from one side of this photo to the other, can ye see it??? 
Flying to and from Beijing we stopped over in Wanzhou to re-fuel, and sitting next to the tarmac were these two awesome Chinese Yun-5 biplanes. It hard to see, but the markings on the side indicate it was part of the Chongqing Three Gorges Aviation Company, 重庆三峡通航。

When I got back to Lashihai and the Green Education Center I found out that we got some new additions to our family. These are some of the fifteen new chicks we got for our coup. Also the Swallows that live in the rafters above our walkway hatched to eggs as well. So I left three chickens and two swallows, and came back to eighteen chickens and four swallows. Our piggies had also grow quite large in just under two weeks.