Photos and stories about my expat experience in China, currently in Bejing.
See more pictures on:
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Sunday, December 30, 2007


From Manila I took the 'banana boat' as they're called, to Coron. The boat was full of cargo: eggs, vegetables and a live cockerel. It was booked full and took only 24 hours going 7 knots. The beds were like ambulance stretchers but still it wasn't a bad ride.

After arriving in Coron, an Irish guy and I looked for places to get our open water diving certificate, and found one for 200 Euros. We started the day after. Diving here is amazing: there is so much coral and fish, and the water is 28 degrees. Today we had our second dive, and tomorrow we'll go to a shipwreck of a Japanese navy ship that sank after the Americans attacked it back in WWII. It looks like I'm going to spend New Year's eve here in Coron. It is a lovely little village surrounded by tropical islands and mountains, and the pace of life is several million times slower than in Manila.

Our boat, nice and crowded.
The cargo
A home-made tractor or something
Coron, this is the view from my hotel room
The Chinese cemetary in Manila. This place is pretty weird: the tombs here have airco, bathrooms and a kitchen.

Promotional photograph for Mike's Carwash
Some of the guys I've been hanging around with

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

Ik zit nu in Manila. Het is hier heerlijk warm (30 graden) Het verkeer in de stad is chaotisch, en door de luchtvervuiling is de blauwe lucht zelden zichtbaar. De cultuur hier is vol van Spaanse en Amerikaanse invloeden, wat best een absurde indruk geeft. Er zijn bv. op elke hoek van de straat hamburgers te koop, maar alle straatnamen zijn in het Spaans.

Greetings from Manila. It seems that I'm going to have another Christmas with +30 degrees this year. After only 3 days here I am already amazed by the curious blend of culture here: American & Spanish food and architecture (hamburgers and Starbucks everywhere), but the Philippinos add their own local style to everything (see photos)
A Jeepney: a converted old US army Jeep. These monsters have space for 20 people, and function as buses in the city. Drivers add their own mirrors, lights and religious icons as they please.
I climbed an active volcano yesterday...
... Only to find this guy on the top. He is some sort of security guard, but he used his rifle mostly for target practice (...)
Taal Volcano

Friday, December 07, 2007

Chinglish poetry and some more photos

On a bill-board on Gulang Yu island I found some beautiful Chinglish:

"Feel Gulang Yu of the hundred years"

"Keep in mind the old drum wave island have local humanities special features most, is the main beauty spot that the island top and pushes to set up, have ever been ten thousand countries to rent boundary with 13 national consulate locateds. It accumulated to knot the whole buildings with beautiful western.

Keep in mind the old address that the old building is also 19 centuries "the German ecord foreign firm". Still have the foreigner paradise: foreign consulate; international club; western restaurant; the crow slice building; old music building' piano islander text; international building; ocean girl's bathroom; keep in mind the oldly be like; piano island transportation' German foreign firm; overseas Chinese's club building of office waits 15 greatest buildings, the display is several thousand history delicacies in your front.

Each delicacy has to relate for 19 centuries, the foreigner seizes the beautiful drum wave island island to print to record, establishing on the island international rent boundary, 13 consulates and work department bureau bully on our country people long few decades, most after drive islander the people drive out the whole history process of go abroad the door, the fulfils a hundred years mulberry, just having today the beautiful drum wave island.

It can take you to cross a timespace to return to for 19 centuries, letting you grasp and realizing personally, the emotional stirrings that is among them really can let you feel and don't waste a this trip."

They locked this woman up in a bubble and pushed her out into the sea
Me on top of a mountain near SuzhouCool graffiti in Shanghai

Gulang Yu, sub-tropical island near Xiamen, in the South East of China
Typical Chinese tourists; going to the beach fully dressed in suits.
Gulang yu

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Ik ben gister aangekomen in Xiamen, aan de zuidoostkust van China. De trein van Shanghai naar Xiamen duurde 22.5 uur, maar zo erg was het niet, want zo kon ik lekker bijslapen. Onderweg zag ik de eerste 12 uur alleen maar industrie en rook; gigantische fabrieken en overal werd er gebouwd. Daarna kreeg het landschap wat meer kleur, en werd het ook wat warmer.

Ik zit nu op het eiland Gulang Yu; een subtropisch eilandje voor de kust van de stad. Het is hier heerlijk stil na alle gekheid van Shanghai, en er waait een warme wind :) Het is een heel toeristisch eilandje, met veel toeristen van Guangzhou, Hong Kong en Taiwan. Mensen spreken hier gelukkig wat meer Engels dan in de rest van China. Toch is het niet zo'n gekkenhuis als in de meeste andere toeristische plekken; waarschijnlijk omdat er meer individuele toeristen zijn in plaats van toergroepen.

Zo te zien ben ik de enige buitenlander op dit eiland, en dat bevalt me best. Ik heb net m'n lunch op: noodles en loempia's voor een totaal van EUR 0,60 haha.

I arrived in Xiamen yesterday, after a train ride of 22.5 hours. It wasn't too bad though, since I had the chance to catch up on some sleep and read books. For the first 12 hours along the way there was only smog, and huge factories in the distance. I'm glad I don't live there. After a while the air cleared up a bit and I saw bamboo, banana trees and green hills. Rightnow I am staying in Gulang Yu, a little island off the coast of Xiamen, South Eastern China. This island is quite touristy, but not as bad as many touristy places I've been to. Most tourists come from the big cities further South (Guangzhou etc.) This place is like an oasis after all the craziness of Shanghai. It is very quiet here, and classical music is playng from invisible speakers everywhere outside.

Lovely old lady selling 'pickle' (some veggies drenched in vinegar, in Suzhou

More photos will follow: the Internet is being funny here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Terug in China

*** English translation below***

Hallo allemaal, en groeten uit Suzhou.

Ik ga maar gewoon verder waar ik vorig jaar ben opgehouden met de blog. Ik ben nu 10 dagen in China, en het is net of ik nooit weg ben geweest. Dat is niet helemaal waar, want er is al weer zo veel veranderd overal. In de Shanghai skyline telde ik al 6 nieuwe wolkenkrabbers, die er een jaar geleden nog niet waren!
Na een week in Shanghai bij een vriendin gelogeerd te hebben, heb ik de trein naar Suzhou
(1 uur) genomen, en ik was blij weg te zijn uit de grote stad. Het stinkt, is vervuild en is verschrikkelijk druk op straat. Hier in Suzhou is het veel rustiger (relatief gezien, want deze stad heeft nog steeds 5 miljoen inwoners). Het is een hele oude stad +/- 2000 jaar oud, en vrij toeristisch, maar nu is het laagseizoen, dus het valt nog wel mee met de tourbussen vol met Chinezen.

Gister heb ik me ingeschreven op de universiteit van Suzhou, om vanaf eind februari Chinees te gaan studeren, voor 5 maanden. Op de uni zitten wel 400 internationale studenten zeiden ze, en de kampus is gigantisch groot. Ik heb me dus ingeschreven, en kan in februari terugkomen, dus nu heb ik een aantal maanden om rond te reizen. Mijn volgende stop wordt Xiamen, wat verder in het zuiden (1000 km). Ik hoop dat het daar wat warmer is, want hier is het 15 graden ofzo en winderig.

Hier aan de westkust is alles erg modern. In de winkels verkopen ze kaas en rode wijn, en veel mensen volgen hier studies over het Internet. Overal telecom winkels, Internet cafees, banken en reisbureaus. Het is nog steeds moeilijk om mensen te vinden die Engels spreken, en vandaar dat ik maar Chinees moet leren :)


Hi everyone, greetings from the city of Suzhou!

I am just going to continue my blog from last year. I've been in China now for 10 days, and if feels like I've never left. Actually, this is not exaclty true, since so much has changed here since I was last here 1 year ago. In the Shanghai skyline I counted six new sky-scrapers!

After having spent a week with a friend in Shanghai, I took a train to Suzhou, which is only 1 hour away. It felt good to be away from the big city, although Suzhou has a population of 5 million. Shanghai is just too crowded and smelly for me.
This city is quite old (2000 years) and touristy too. However, now is the low season, so it isn't spoilt by Chinese tour groups.

Yesterday I enrolled for a 5 month course of Chinese at Suzhou University. I will start at the end of February. There are 400 international students here, or so they told me. The campus is huge, one would need a whole day to walk from one side to the other. So I registered, and have to return by February which means that I now have some months to travel. my next stop will be Xiamen, some 1,000 kms further South, where it hopefully is a bit warmer. Here it's about 15 degrees and windy :(

This part of China is very modern, and in the shops they sell French wine and even cheese. Still, it is quite a challenge finding anyone who speaks English, and so I guess I am going to have to learn Chinese ;)

Hier wat foto's / Some photos:

Een van de kanalen in de oude stad van Suzhou
One of the canals in Suzhou's old town

Ze noemen Suzhou 'het Venetie van het Oosten'

They call Suzhou 'the Venice of Asia'

Suzhou museum

Lekker rustig op straat, na alle hektiek van Shanghai

A quiet street in the old town; a welcome change after all the craziness of Shanghai

De MagLev trein, vanaf het vliegveld naar downtown Shanghai. Deze zwevende trein versneld tot 415 km/uur!
The MagLev train; this incredible train speeds up to 415 km/hr and rides (flies) between Shanghai's Pudong airport and downtown

Model van Shanghai, een soort Madurodam, zeg maar :)

A model of Shanghai in the Urban Planning museum

Shanghai museum

Shanghai museum

Next post will hopefully be from Xiamen, where it's warm & sunny ;)

Monday, April 02, 2007

I am in Thailand now. Below are some photos of my recent adventures.

Painting in the 'House of Opium' at the Golden Triangle

Young village girl by the river

This is a bridge I crossed with a motorbike in Laos. Pretty scary!

Someone forget something?

This is what happens when little kids steal your camera and go crazy with it.

the Golden Triangle: on the left Burma, on the right Laos and below Thailand.

The Mekong


Golden Buddha statue at the Golden Triangle


Luang Prabang; one of the 30-something wats (temples) there.

France? Germany? .... no Laos.

The Mekong

Monday, March 19, 2007

Assorted photos from Laos

The Arque du Triomphe in Vientiane

Giant golden stupa; the symbol of Laos

Oohh yeah! A real cock fight!

Woman in Savannhaket squeezing the juice out of sugar cane. It is then sold in a plastic bag with ice.

Christian church in Savannhaket

Sunset over Kratie, Cambodia

Tabacco in a local market in Paksong

'Tat Fan' falls, Laos