Communism - It's what fun is!

Quite fun, but I would not want to repeat this exact experience.

It involved 2 weather extremes. I'll just take you through our day.
First we rode the bus for an hour inland through the country side and canyons. Then they dropped us off here:
The water wasn't deep, but mucky.

The mountains were really amazing. So green. It was beautiful.

Then we suited up.

 For paint ball.

Let me paint the scene for you. It was 95-ish degrees, really hot because a typhoon was pushing the hot air inland. The humidity was probably in the 70% region. And we put medium weight camouflage on that had to be zipped up to our necks and sleeves down to our wrists. Then we had to walk up to the paintball "arena" and stand in the sun for 20 minutes while things were explained to us in Chinese. Pretty much, don't shoot too close.

This was our field of battle.

 And then we had to put helmets on. Needless to say, we were pretty miserable. Dripping sweat. Garments soaked, streams of sweat down our backs and chests and ....other places. I have a new respect for our soldiers. I am a whimp. I have no idea how our armed service men spend time in the  130 degree heat in the middle east. They truly are heroes.
 We were told to pull mean faces.

Our team got the green helmets and thus had an advantage - and won.
This is Yimi. 

Then it was time for lunch.  It consisted of the usual Chinese food - oily vegetables, rice, and meat like product that came from animals. When I say meat-like it means you are lucky to find meat on a piece. they cut up the whole animal - bones, skin, fat, everything and cook it. It's pretty gross speaking as an American. I have a hard time with it. Most everything tastes the same because it is soaked and cooked and served with so much oil.
Selena was there to tell us what everything was.  She's so cute - she loves to wear this pink hat.

Then we had time to play. They tried to teach us a Chinese card game that they called poker. It's no more poker than Phase 10 is. It's more like hearts. My brain wasn't working so I didn't really get it.
(Daniel's shirt is wet with sweat. Yes sweat. It was that hot.)

Then we got to cool off and swim before rafting.
These girls cover themselves from head to foot to avoid getting sun - they want to remain fair skinned. This is Selena and Sammy.

 That white thing is a row of styrofoam barrels strung together. They challenged people to cross it. Some of the girls were in the process of crossing when Brian and Mike rocked them off. Fully clothed. They ended up floating around trying to learn to swim. Then we hopped in the rafts. They were two seaters. Sometimes we faced each other but when we went down the chutes we had to both face forward.

Then we all headed towards the dam.

 Then we headed won this chute one raft at a time. As they let the water out of the dam the level of the river rises and makes it pretty fun.

This is the part where I wish I had some pictures. It was a semi-deep canyon with just the road. They were building a new canyon overpass road that we were under for a good portion of the ride. As we started it began to drizzle. This lasted for about 15 minutes or so. Then nothing for a few minutes. Then black clouds, bright lighting (while we are floating down the river mind,) and thunder then a typhoon down poor. It was like a shower. For those of us who had been swimming it was fine. And Daniel and I were in swimming suits, so we were fine. I was glad they gave us the silly hats to wear because it kept the rain out of my face.

Molly and Yimi sporting the hats. This was from climbing the next day, but they were the same hats.

It was amazing to raft in a down poor. It was pretty to see the waterfalls start, the water poring off the road. The rest of the day was fairly mild too. It took the heat off. Then we had more free time (where I took a sort of nap on the bench on my back - did you know that learning to sleep on your back could really benefit you some day?) Then we had a barbeque.

Now when I say barbeque, I mean Chinese barbeque. The first problem is that the Chinese eat some weird foods, like squid on a stick. The second problem is the many of them don't have the patience to let the coals get to the even simmer level and spread them out for even cooking. It was frustrating Daniel. I didn't cook or eat much.  This is what I did. hehe. I love Daniel's Iphone4.

Daniel cooked quite a bit and cooked for me. I liked the bread with oil and garlic powder. As Daniel said, leave it to the Chinese to fry something on the grill.

 Those things that look like pork chunks or beef chunks are - just not the part of the animal that I like to eat, you know, the meaty part. The chicken wings were good when seasoned right and once Daniel figured out to best cook them. He wrapped them in foil with a little oil and seasoning then when they were cooked unwrapped them and crisped the skin on the flame.
 Yes that is a fish that you see towards the bottom.

Then the sun set.

I didn't have my nice camera, so it's not the best picture, but it was beautiful.

Then we left. We were pretty beat and Brian had a business lunch the next day. And we wanted to go to church. Daniel and I both took 3 hour naps on Sunday afternoon. We were dead tired. After we left they did a bonfire and Paul did this:
It's wire that was wrapped in some flammable material. I'm sure it was cool to see.

So there you go. Team camping in Anxi Zhimin China. I'm not over eager to repeat the experience, which is too bad because we are going rafting again on Saturday July 9. I will say that the rafting was the best part, even if it was raining like mad. We are going with Brent, Steve and Joyce from Clearfield. It will be fun!


Yes, I tried it. Here is the play by play of our Japanese dinner with the President of Lifetime China. It was at a tepanyaki place that cooks at your table.

 This is fried cod with a mango sauce. Excellent.
 This is Sashimi. I did not eat the ones with the yellow stuff.  The salmon and cod were okay. They tasted fine and the texture wasn't weird. I thought I'd eat it again -  until 1 am when I changed my mind.
 This may have also been the culprit of the 1 am mind change. It was steamed egg. They cut the top off the egg, place some pieces of cooked meat in it, then cover it with a bowl (upside-down) and cook it until... this point. It was like eggy, creamy custard. I couldn't do it. Gag (still gagging!)
Daniel handled his okay though. We won't be eating this again.

Then we began the three course lobster section of the meal. Lobsters on the grill to die.

Then lobster dismembered part 1. Our chef was very talented with a knife and fork. 

Then the lobster cooks some more. Then dismemberment part 2.

So you noticed the front half of the lobster was placed on a plate. That comes back later. We got two different types of lobster soup.

So then the lobster continues to cook and you end up with this on your plate.
End result: I don't like lobster. I love crab. Don't really need to ever eat lobster again. (side note: did you know that the lobster is closely related to the cockroach? Yup. the cockroach of the sea.)

These are lamb chops. Yum. 

Then we had some delicious meat that every other one of my dinner compatriots decided to have overcooked. I ate it at a nice medium rare and loved it! Then we had the previously referred to lobster soup and some fried rice. The fried rice was AMAZING!

 Those are veggie being tossed around.

It was a fun dinner, but like I said, 5 hours later I changed my mind. (Now I have pepto - Thank you in-laws and Charlene. No more black tar pills for me, thank you very much.)

Want to make things more fun? I had to get up at 7 the next morning to attend "Relationship training" camp. AWESOME!



So many of you had a cow over the posting thing.

First of all, what I meant by "come on over" was directed at those who have an RSS feed. It had NOTHING to do with actually coming to China, although visitors are welcome.

I have installed a new tracker, which I hope will do what I am looking for. So you all get what you wanted, full posts back in reader. (A problem that I have with that is that you are all less likely to comment than if you were to actually visit the blog.)

Please comment, it's how I know people are actually reading what I write.

Now I have had a VERY long day that included adventures I did not expect to have so I am going to bed. Good night. More information will be available at a later point in time.



In an effort to track who is actually reading my blog, you will only get partial posts in the site feeds and have to come on over here to see the rest.

My own little questions..

about what we are doing here in China.

We know that the Lord has a plan for us and that he is in control. We are commanded to "trust in the Lord ...and lean not unto our own understanding." (Pro. 3:5)

How do we know the difference between our own understanding and the Lord's? Are those thoughts that we have from our own desires or are they placed in our minds as guidance from the Lord?
When we made the difficult decision to come to China we were pretty much trusting that that was 100% from the Lord. These kinds of things don't develop over the course of 2 weeks for no reason. Thus, we decided to come. The circumstances couldn't have been better. We don't have children. We put the dogs with my sister-in-law, we rented the house, packed up our goods, and boarded a plane. (It was actually MUCH more complicated than that. I just realized we don't have pictures of the whole process. Oh well.)

Knowing that we were supposed to come is one thing. Knowing what we are supposed to learn and gain from this experience is another.

I was recently talking to my grandmother (well, both actually, since I talk to both of them fairly regularly) and I have a cousin who is struggling with what to do with the course of their life. (I actually have many cousins, some struggling more than others in this way.) (Dear cousins - if you think it's you - it's probably not.)

It made me sad to hear that this cousin still seems to be fighting things. The scripture that came to mind was Acts 9:5 "And he said, Who are thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

I had a very good seminary teacher, well, many of them, and one of them described that the "pricks" are cattle prods essentially. It was a sharp object at their heels that would force the oxen to move their feet forward. If the oxen kicked back it caused more pain and problems.

Well, we know that we don't persecute the Church (I am assuming my normal audience here). So what are the pricks that we are kicking against? The continued desire to go with our plan instead of the Lord's plan? To think that our ways are His ways? What are they in your life? Maybe you think you are pursuing the best path, and it may be a good path, just not the one the Lord has laid out. The best way for me to trust in the Lord is to look back and see that when I have trusted him, he has not led me astray. When I have trusted myself, it's been more painful. To sum it up: He's never messed up.

So we aren't kicking against the pricks by moving to China, but am I kicking while I'm here? Maybe I said I'd go but now all I want to do is hole up in the apartment and watch American TV and pretend I'm not here. On the days I've done that I feel like I've wasted time and it makes me tired and grumpy.

I'm doing better. I am learning Chinese. I am also working on some family history research using the internet. I am playing the piano some. I am also working on a cross-stitch for when I am watching movies for TV during the day and with Daniel. I'm trying to make my time here pleasant. So I am hoping to feel that little prick that says "go this way and you'll make progress."

Which direction leads to progress for you?

Just some thoughts. What are yours?


I was going to call this a tasty tidbit..

But as you can see, "tasty," is not the word.

Here is a random post about something in China. The rest of the world has toilets that are different from our standard. These are what we affectionately refer to as the "Chinese Squat-Pots." Not my favorite. One more of the "10,000 inconveniences," as my father-in-law calls them, that we are dealing with here in China. Sorry if I offended anyone or if you are squeamish.


The turtle

It's wuguei (oogway) in Chinese. We named him Harold. And he's very scared of people. But mostly me. He scurries away pretty fiercely when he sees me in the room. He also likes hot dogs. Chinese hotdogs to be precise. And yes, they are a little different.

Saturday and Sunday we are going to a company retreat a.k.a. "Communist boot camp" or "Relationship Camp" if you choose. Whatever it's called, I will be sleeping in a tent and without an air conditioner. Expect some really fun updates next week. Yay. Until then, send me your questions.

ashleyallen15 (at) gmail (dot) com.


Photo experiments

Right before we moved here I took some of the money from selling my car and got a Nikon D5000 DSLR camera. I took a photography class in high school and enjoyed it. I've thought since about playing with photography again, so, when we decided to move to China, I thought this would be a good opportunity. Daniel has also wanted a nice DSLR camera since we got married. There is so much to see in China and we wanted a high quality camera to capture it all.

While we've been out and about seeing things, I've also been looking for interesting pictures to take. Here are some of my experiments that I have messed with a little. I didn't use any professional editing software or anything, just tweaked them in Picasa. What software would you all suggest I use?

Let me know what you think.

I'm kind of partial to them.


Our day off Part 2

After the Mango Ice, we headed to the fortress, something we haven't done before. 

Up the stairs to the fort.
The grounds within the walls were pretty.
One of the canon.

Twice a day there is a demonstration on canons. These guys do a little dance in the courtyard then march up the path to where the canon is.

Their uniforms were really interesting but the poor guys seemed to be dying of heat - it was 94 degrees with 80% humidity.

Here is the demonstration - forgive the shaking at the end.

Then we saw the "4D" history of the fort. In Chinese. Daniel and I just enjoyed the cold air that was repeatedly blasted at us. Oh, and the British Navy who had Texas accents. Who knew?

Licy rocking the 3D glasses. 

Isn't Daniel just gorgeous? He was such a gentleman on Monday. The girls told him to carry my purse for me and he did. And looked silly, but helped me a ton. He's good to me.

Our posse of Chinese girls, Selena, Molly and Licy. They are so fun.

Then we headed over the BIG cannon. It's a 280mm caliber that can file 6 miles. These are the shells it fires.
I thought this was a cool tunnel.

Here she is. 
Huge. There were some amazing views from that part of the fort as well. I'll post those later.
Then we exited via the beach right next to the fortress.

Once you exited you couldn't get back in the fort. Daniel's so cute.
It was pleasant, except for the heat. Then we went to a noodle parlor for dinner. 

 This was the wall behind which they cooked the food and it was passed out through the little trap doors to the left of the door. It was good. The only problem was that they only served tea. Nothing cold, no water, nothing. It was rough.

Then we went and saw Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D.

I really liked it. I loved the adoption message it contained. I don't love 3D though. I don't think I will see a 3D movie again, it gives me headaches. But I loved Kung Fu Panda 2.

It was a pleasant day.