I know there’s a few of you that just logged on to the Internet to discover if it is possible for a Canadian male (approx. 27 years of age) to get from Dalian to Shenyang and back in a day… and let me tell you: it is indeed my friends, it is indeed.
I caught the 7 a.m. train from Jinzhou to Dalian this morning to then catch (and retrace my steps on) the 8 a.m. Dalian train to Shenyang. For any that don’t know, Shenyang is the capital of Liaoning province and a five hour train ride from Dalian. I visited the city in the dead of winter and did all the touristy stuff, but this time around I was all business.
After shoving as much McDonalds into my mouth as I could stand (it’s amazing what urgency and hungry will do to your ethics), I hopped in a cab and found the Global Doctor heath unit where I had to go to get my x-ray, which would then be forwarded to the nearest Australian overseas office and complete my obligations for the visa application.
Thankfully the staff at the Global Doctor office all spoke English. The whole deal ended up costing me a bit more than I expected. I had planned that it would be 340 RMB (about $50 CND) but they tacked on an extra 160 RMB for express delivery of the plates to the Australian embassy ($23 CND seems a little high… but what could I say). There was then another 60 RMB added on to the bill for what I can only assume was the fact that I needed two x-rays taken. Apparently their machine isn’t built for my MASSIVE girth. The girl showed me what the cute little Chinese girl that went before me’s x-ray looked like… and then showed me mine while exclaiming my lungs are huge. Lotta hot air apparently.
I’m sure I was the talk of their office today as I can’t imagine it’s too often that giant Canadians come in covered in hair & tattoos and need a bit of privacy to remove their nipple piercing when it’s explained they can’t have any metal on.
Tacking on the two train rides and taxis… that put the day’s total at 735 RMB (about $110 CND)… add in the $170 I had to pay for the visa application and you’re pushing near $300 for the damn thing. Do you know what I could buy in China for that money…
Met a new “I wanna practice my English” friend on the train. She seems cool, but if this keeps being a regular thing, I’m just going to transfer some of my adult classes onto the rails.
Speaking of such types of friends, I just realized I’m a little bit behind in social updates. Went to Dalian and met with Karen and her friend Mandy on Thursday. We trekked down to her school and went to a local KTV where we greeted Karen’s boyfriend, Sky, and some other friends. After protesting that my throat hurt far too much to sing, I did my best to squawk out some of the English songs they had on tap. Sky, Karen, Mandy and I then hit a restaurant for a quick bite to eat. After dinner Sky skipped out feeling a little ill in the stomach (apparently it hits Chinese people too!). Wandering a bit deciding what to do, Karen jumped on to the idea of taking the train back to Jinzhou, going to HOT and then crashing at my place. Not having much will to disagree, Mandy and I went along with it.
Both Mandy and I were poor sports at the bar, as she doesn’t know how to dance and I was too busy hacking up a lung and losing my voice. The night was fun regardless, but I did feel a little bad watching Karen dancing with herself on the floor. I told her she should have just paired up with the middle-aged business man who had removed his shirt and was cutting some serious tile… but she just wasn’t game. Her loss, I’m certain.
Oh, and some flics of the week:
XXX: State of the Nation – What a craptastic film, meaning it was crap, but fantastic. It really lacked pretty much all the suave of the first film, but it was fun to watch Ice Cube blow things up – which he did often.
Kingdom of Heaven – For anyone that missed Gladiator’s battle scenes, or just feels like they could use a second helping, this movie’s for you. Scott’s got a knack for taking an exciting bit of history, creating a pretty uneventful story out of it and getting some good acting to fill it out. Nothing overly interesting about the film, but it was entertaining and worth the $1 I paid for it.
House of D – Not bad for what is essentially an indie film by David “Mulder” Duchovny. Robin Williams is alright as the somewhat typical specially different (or whatever the new term is) person. The kid’s good in it too, but not half as good as Patrick Fugit in Almost Famous.
Meet the Fockers – Why is it that the more aged celebrities you put in a sequel, the worse it gets? I really liked the first one, Meet the Parents, but I’m beginning to suspect it’s just because I like Ben Stiller in movies with Owen Wilson. This movie was total crap – skip it if you’re able to.
The rest of my TV time has been spent watching the first seasons of Deadwood and Carnivale… with both of them nearing finish… what the hell am I going to watch next? I guess I’ve still got Season 5 of the Sorpranos… and perhaps I can find a good copy of Six Feet Under…