Complicated Footwear

So, what is the deal with high-heeled shoes anyway? Were I a woman, I’d be all like “These are stupid.” Would the world really be at all worse off if there weren’t high heels any more? Would they be that greatly missed? I suppose that if they did fade out of the mainstream usage, there’d be those who like them for nostalgic value, but they really seem kinda useless to me.

And then there’s neckties. What the chunks are those about?

Oh yeah, China.

I suppose I’ve let the site cool down enough after Marq overused it and risked causing a fire. I guess I should relate some tales of my trip to the Other Side Of The World.

I guess I’ll go chronologically. After a whole bunch of planes and the longest travel time I’ve yet experienced, I ended up in Shanghai. Terry and Buffy still had a day of teaching school left, so I got to see all the little kids they teach, which was cool. I found Shanghai to be quite humid and I totally sweat like a person smuggling nuclear cocaine into a police state. The second day there, though, it poured rain. By the end of that the shoes I’d brought were totally ruined and we had to buy me some new footwear. We also bought me some shorts to sleep in, because it had not occurred to me that what I usually sleep in might be a little not-enough for the trip. The footwear we ended up with turned out to be sandals. I generally am not a big sandal wearer, but these ones worked out pretty darn well, especially considering the amount of time we spent in the desert where full socks and shoes would probably have been way too much. Oh, we also bought a bag for me to carry around which was smaller than the big one I planned to use. Not a bad idea either.

Anyway, as I mentioned we went to the desert. The bulk of the trip was spent in the province of Xinjiang, which is the Westernmost part of China. We totally flew to a place called Urumqi and then another flight to Kashgar and that was where we began our travels.

In Kashgar we totally got to see markets and bazaars and the like. People there really want to sell you stuff. I’m a total sucker for salespeople and in most cases would probably be talked into buying stuff or feeling bad, but Terry and Buffy were much better at handling this. Plus, since I didn’t speak the language I was mostly not the target of anyone’s attempts. Also, haggling is a big thing there and I am totally not used to that. As a self-hating and money-hating person, I’m generally okay with paying ridiculously marked-up prices. It’s how I rid myself of all that currency I neither want nor deserve, y’know?

Referring to my notes, I see that on the Thirtieth of June it was that we took a camel tour. That is to say we rode out into the desert on camels. Now we didn’t ride out very far. We pretty much just went out to the first couple dunes and looked out on the rest. And the ride was shorter than advertised as well. But I was okay with it. I’d never ridden a camel before, so that was neat and I’d never seen desert sand dunes in person so that was neat (and ran my hand through the sand, as well). Though as we were out there the wind kicked up and we got lots of sand blowing into our faces. I couldn’t put my teeth together without chewing sand for hours afterwards.

Another cool plus for that part of the trip is that the three of us went on this camel tour with four other travellers all of whom seemed very nice and gave us companions for various other excursions during the remainder of our days in Xinjiang.

The next significant segment of the journey was a ride up into the mountains to see this cool mountain lake (which I’m afraid I don’t remember the name of). Though an hours-long trip through lovely mountains was there to break it up, I was particularly impressed by seeing snow after having been in the desert so soon before. I was able to appear impressive by simply knowing what a yurt was ahead of time. The way to be a successful idiot is to make it appear as though your idiocy is a ploy to cover some hidden intelligence. Though we did not sleep overnight in the yurt, we all had a good nap before we went back to our hotel.

Sometime later we left Kashgar via rail. We rode a train through the desert to Turfan. I think I slept more than usual on the train, because it was supposed to be twenty-some hours but didn’t really feel that long. We’d opted to pay for sleeper rooms so we’d have beds. Terry and Buffy told me of times they’d just got seats and had to sit there for terribly long and crowded rides. Myself only having experienced this way, I can say kinda like train travel.

Turfan is another nice little desert city. One thing I really liked was the big roads that were trellised by these grapevines to allow for shade (there’s a picture on the Wikipedia page even). While in this town we also saw a mosque with the tallest minaret in China, the remains of a fort that was probably pretty impressive back in the day what with being on this plateau thing and some little village I didn’t catch the name of which seems to have less people left than it once did. Also that village had the remains of some Buddhist temples that had been defaced when the town was invaded. Also in Turfan we used an Internet cafe which looked pretty much as one of those would be expected to look, though dim lighting and air conditioning are pretty nice in the desert. The Internet is not easy to use over there, though. Oh and we ate at a place called Best Food Burger which has my favorite name for a fast food place because of the sheer confidence it exudes.

Oh yeah, speaking of food I forgot to mention that we ate a Pakistani place back (I think) in Kashgar. It was really good and I find myself wishing such a place were around here. It’s not like my street here doesn’t have a million restaurants already. For the most part I enjoyed the Chinese food as well. We ate way more than I generally do. I know more than one meal a day is supposed to be healthy, but it takes some time for me to train myself to manage it. But as I said, I liked the food. And I didn’t seem to embarrass myself with the chopsticks either.

Okay where was I? Right, so we left Turfan and took a bus back to Urumqi. On the bus they played some Bollywood movie which didn’t look all that great but I was amused that when the main character went on a revenge driven quest to kill the criminals who, (I think) killed his wife and an elderly man (his father? his fighting master? I don’t know) he wore a leather jacket with the American Flag on it. That flag will become visual slang for “Gonna Kick Some Ass” before we even know what happened.

We were mere moments too late at Urumqi airport and we missed our flight (overzealous but obviously confused cab company owner leading us on a mad chase for one of his cabs didn’t help with that…) and we ended up spending an hour or two trying to get money off of credit cards and ended up spending the night in a hotel before we were finally able to fly back to Shanghai in the morning.

Since I had to leave the day after we got back to Shanghai (and Terry and Buffy move the day following) there isn’t much else to tell. They apparently didn’t quite feel right putting me to work on my vacation (though I’d not have minded) so I spent most of the time that remained simply relaxing. Then I got back onto a plane and eventually made it back here. I think that’s about it.

All in all I think I had a pretty awesome trip. My next travels can not come soon enough. I have a first batch of pictures up on Facebook for those who can see that. When Terry and Buffy have finally got around to making their own albums I’ll make a second with whatever pictures are left over. We certainly have enough of them.

And once again I must give a sincere Thank You to Terry and Buffy for letting me come with them on that trip. Hopefully I wasn’t much trouble to carry around. Thanks guys.


Uh… Let’s see…

I guess that I am happy that I had an extra day off this weekend. Granted I will have an extra day of work this week as well, but I’ll complain about that when the time comes.

In other news, I am fairly certain that I have become a conductor for alien transmissions to be sent to the planet Planet Earth. This explains why I always make noises vocally. This is the only explanation. It is interesting to note that the aliens speak fluent English and generally don’t have anything to say beyond what I was going to say anyway. But it is still an honor to be so vital to human history.

And finally I must begrudge the fact we have so much more snow than we did at this time than last year. As a noted fan of not-snow, I will consider this my official complaint for the time being. The snow does act as a reminder that I need some new shoes, though.

Hassled by the Man!

It has been at least two years since the cops have stopped me for anything and even then it was just for not wearing my helmet while on my skateboard. But tonight, they stopped me when I wasn’t even committing that crime.

Since the guy I usually share a cab with is away for a month, I decided I’d walk down long dark Kearney Lake Road to cut some money off of my cab fare. It was all good (though I must admit I spent a lot of time thinking I really should have brought my board), except at one point I scared some deer. But the fun stuff happened just as soon as I hit civilization. I was heading for the gas station that’s open all night and has a bank machine when I noticed a cop car drive by me and very clearly look at me. I was amused and continued towards the gas station. I could sense the cop car circling around to take another pass by me. It may be worth noting that this is like four a.m. and I’m all sweaty from the walk and wearing black jeans, black shoes, my black trenchcoat and a black t-shirt. Pretty much the only thing not black is the Rebel Alliance insignia on my shirt. I’m awesome.

The cop car pulls into the gas station and in front of me and the officer (a hot lady officer, just for the record) and asks how I’m doing and so, you’re just out wandering, huh? Or something to that affect. I clarified that I had just walked down from Bluewater Road (about an hour walk) from work and the officer was all “okay” and I went in to use the ATM and buy juice and chocolate. When I got out, there were now TWO cop cars. I began to continue my walk, but the first officer now had a notepad and told me they would have to ask some questions. In the second car another officer (complete with stereotyped cop mustache and a partner in the other seat who said nothing and I don’t think was even paying attention) would ask me other questions while the first one was writing stuff down. In the end I gave out my name, age, address, phone number, job and exactly how my walk-so-far-to-save-on-cab-fare plan worked. All in all, it was cool. I walked away with a stupid grin (I’m sure I’m supposed to be indignant or something, but I so wasn’t). Rest assured everyone, when an evil and suspicious-looking man is walking the streets after dark, they are being watched. Even if they’re goody-two-shoes.

Now the best possible outcome I can think of for all this is that some sort of crime happened in the area and tomorrow I will be taken in as a suspect. Or better yet a “Person of Interest”. That would be way better than going to work. But even if that doesn’t happen, at least I had something to write about for a change.

Oh! The best part was when they asked my birth date because it is very close to today, so I totally felt like I was lying even though I wasn’t. Also, how many other people when asked their name by someone who is going to write it down first state then immediately spell their last name I’m all like “Patrick D Ryall R-Y-A-L-L” every time in that situation.

Anyway, that’s it.

Playing Dressup.

In preperation for my father’s wedding this Saturday I’ve got:

  • A haircut.
  • A shave.
  • New dress shoes.
  • A new suit.
  • A new fedora.

I think that’s everything. But I still feel like I’m missing something.

Now, I’m a slovenly man. There’s no denying that, but in a way I do enjoy getting dressed up all fancy now and then. It’s kinda impressive how I can go from looking like a homeless guy to being a halfway decent looking fellow. If only they made fancy looking suits that I could pull on like a t-shirt. And also they had short sleeves. And logos for like cartoon characters and stuff on them. And also I like to wear jeans. And more comfortable shoes, possibly with bright green laces. Also I’d have to do something about shaving and getting haircuts…

But I still partially like getting all dressed up.