Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blogspot is getting harder and harder to get hold of here but I shall do my best.

The last few days have been hectic though enjoyable and still the balance of life is shifting before reaching an equilibrium.

Sunday was another lazy day after a late night on Saturday at a friend's watching some surprising movies. Surprising for different reasons. The first film was the Piano Teacher (La Pianiste - translation lost somewhere in transit) which was surprising as it genuinely shocked me. I'm reasonably well known for being scared by the tamest of scary movies but this is more a matter of not liking sudden jumps. This film was shocking in its subject matter and frankness and though I think it's well worth watching, it's not to be taken lightly. The other film was Lord of War which surprised me as it was substantially better than I was expecting. Nicholas Cage had his two expressions stretched to their limit but I was pretty impressed.

So, Sunday a few of us went to an area a taxi ride from here which has something in the region of 50 small bookshops crammed into a couple of large buildings. There are a large number of physics texts, mostly ripped off but it's an interesting warren of stores, including a place to buy cheap Western literature. I got these photos, the first just before going in with some great reflections of the modern buildings and the second because I was interested that abacuses use is still widespread.

Sunday afternoon brought up a bit of a conundrum for me. In order to counter the vast amount of food I'm currently consuming as well as to give me some respite from mental exercise, I've joined a gym. It's a superb place with more modern equipment that I've ever seen in a gym in the UK. On induction, you get prodded, poked, measured and weighed in more ways than I thought possible before they give you a training schedule. The conundrum was the fact that it appears that my gym wants me to eat more fat while at the same time telling me that my blood pressure is that of an overweight man on the verge of a heart-attack. I'm going to concentrate on the latter for now and am making a concerted effort to stay off the salt, sugar and fat which is in so much of the food here.

This should be relatively easy now and is related to my second quandary of the week. I'm trying to justify this one to myself because I'm working silly hours in the office and don't have time to do it myself, it's cheap, it provides employment and because many other people do it. I still find it strange however that the postdoc who lives next door and I have just hired a chef and cleaner who will cook for us and clean the flats every evening. The height of luxury perhaps but it still feels a bit odd. Today we go with this bubbly butter ball of a woman to the supermarket to buy cooking equipment.

Finally for now, I've had my first Chinese lesson here which seemed to go OK. The intonations are still mighty tough and I can't see that changing any time soon. I can say a word 50 times and my teacher will correct me each time. I will then say the word in what I think is precisely the same way and she beams, satisfied that it was infinitely better than the other poor attempts. Trial and error I guess. She does however want me to start learning the characters, so, as far as I'm concerned, I have 15 random combinations of dashes and lines to memorize by this time next week.


Anonymous said...

A chef and a cleaner? You flash git.

And as for the high blood pressure, that's probably due more to your long working hours and general stress levels than to your choice of food. So work less and have some massages.

Michelle said...

If you're having trouble with blogspot (as I did in China), you can set up your account so that you can email your blog entries instead of entering them in on a webpage. That should work regardless of the speed/availability of blogger/blogspot.

Unknown said...

ST, you're almost certainly correct. Hopefully being able to unwind in the gym at the end of the day will help but I'm also convinced that the quantity of salt in the food can't help things much. Massages I shall keep an eye out for.

Michelle, I'm now getting all comments e-mailed to me directly but there are workarounds for viewing the site. Many thanks for the hint.