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They've opened the Colosseum to Spite Me

I’ve been to Rome dozens of times and visited the Colosseum 6 times. Though it’s an amazing structure to behold, I’d always find myself resting my chin on a pillar, looking down and imagining what must have been going through gladiators’ heads as they sat in the underground passageways awaiting certain death.
Which would then lead me to wonder “What do those dank dirty dungeons look like? And why can’t we explore them?”
And know you can. In groups of 25, guided tours enter the bowels of the Colosseum through the “Porta Libitina”, the passageway used to carry dead bodies out of the amphitheatre. You’ll get to see holding areas, cages and platforms used to raised ferocious men and beasts to battle it out daily for the entertainment of 50,000 bloodthirsty spectators.

Included in the tour is access to the also recently opened upper 3rd tier, which gives an unprecedented view of  the entire forum. Check out Tickitaly for pricing and availability.

PS, Good luck purchasing prior to the new year, since everybody and their mothers, plus their mother’s high school friends, plus their high school friends’ secret crushes, plus their secret crushes’ mailman will be wanting to see this.


Kindergarten Sucks

Our school is made up of two divisions – Branch and Kinder. The branch teachers teach at one of the six private branches of BDW. Kinder teachers teach at various kindergartens that BDW have contracts with. For the last 9 months I’ve had bragging rights as the only teacher who hasn’t ever had to teach a kinder class. Who voluntarily wants to try to teach cry-babies anyway?
Well unfortunately, two kinder teachers took a week off and their classes needed covering. My manager called me and asked if I’d cover 2 classes a day for 5 days, and for some unknown reason I said “Yes”. I guess I was just in a particularly good mood that day. The first day was fine, the kids were relatively well behaved, but on the second day, they turned into monsters. Crying all the time, running around, pooing, sneezing, drooling everywhere. It was horrible. I caught myself multiple times thinking “I would rather have my worst branch class than these little turds right now – at least my kids understand when I tell them to sit down and shut up!”
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A Trip to Beijing

My biggest complaint about Changchun is that it’s very industrial and not very “Chinese-y”.
When I was in the planning stages of coming to China, my mind was filled with images of temples, lush gardens and ninjas lurking on rooftops. Much to my chagrin however, I moved to a relatively young city, which could easily be mistaken for a western city, except that you can’t read any signs.
So after 9 months here, I decided it was time to visit the epitome of “Chinese-iness” – the Great Wall.
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Fucking Mondays.

We’ve all had a “Bad Monday”, but I’ve pretty much just trumped all of you. I woke up this morning, looked in the mirror and decided my hair was getting a bit shaggy, so figured it was time to cut it again.
And just like I have for the past 14 years, I cut it myself. Grabbing my scissors and clippers I began something I chose to do because “I was tired of hairdressers always screwing up my hair”. I had just started on one side of my head when I noticed the clippers weren’t working very well, so I went to my kit and took out the oil. I removed the length attachment and applied some oil. Clicking the ON button, they produced a hearty hum, and the phone rang.
It was my branch manager, Jasmine – calling to tell me that my classes tonight would be cancelled because of a harsh paint smell coming up from some construction work on the floor beneath us.
I hung up the phone, thinking “Wow, now I’ve got all day to catch up on some things!”
As my mind began to prioritize a list of things to do with this new free time, I picked up the clippers, turned them on and ran them up the side of my head. Instantly I heard an unfamiliar “cutting” sound and watched a large tuft of hair fall down from behind my ear.
“NO!” I yelped as I looked down and realized I had forgotten to reattach the length module.

My day went from great to shit in less than a second, and I’ve still got to go to our Monday meeting at 2pm. So every single member of staff will get to see my new stupid hairdo.

I can hardly wait…


Foto Friday

[box type="shadow"]In Changchun (and much of China, I’m told), people sit waiting. What they’re waiting for, I have no idea. A popular way of passing the time, Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) is played with gusto. You will see people 2-3 rows deep watching two people play. And the board and pieces are almost always homemade. I will learn how to play before leaving…

- David Cross[/box]


And the Winner is....

Leigh McAdam!

Congratulations Leigh, the winner of my first Vacation Giveaway! You’ve won yourself a 4 Day All-inclusive Getaway for 2 in Mexico!
I’d like to thank everyone that entered, as well as those of you who did such a great job spreading the word!
My trip to Beijing is just two days away, so stay tuned for lots of goodies next week when I return!

Happy Halloween Everyone!


4 Day Mexican Resort Giveaway!

I am pleased/nervous/excited to announce that on October 30, I’ll be giving away a 4 Day All-inclusive Getaway for 2 in Mexico at one of the following destinations – Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cozumel or Riviera Maya.
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It's Dave!

Waaay back in the days of Creed and No Doubt, there were two guys who used to hang out in a magic shop (that one day they’d both work at as well). One was incredible good looking, charming, and suave. The other was Dave. They became fast friends, eventual roommates and cohorts in evening outings that had to be kept secret due to a one of them not being allowed to do anything without his girlfriend. And yes, they even went to see the Wedding Singer and Spice Girls – The Movie. These guys were hardcore.
Then six years ago, one of these friends decided to start adventuring around the world. The friends kept in touch, one of which had to put up with the other constantly nagging him to quit his job and travel as well. But his resolution was strong, and he continued his normal life, pursuing pasttimes including snowboarding, diving and rock climbing. But in the Fall of 2010, he finally cracked. He gave away all of his stuff, packed up his dive gear and flew to China, where the incredibly good looking one was waiting for him at the airport. And now they’re neighbors, working together and sharing a mutual disdain towards the boss’s dog.

I’m happy!
And I’ve made him drink more in the last 12 days than he’s had in the last 12 years, muahahaha..


A Tiny Water Problem

I received a call Wednesday night, telling me that for the next two days, our building wouldn’t have any running water. As this has been known to happen from time to time, it was a pleasant surprise to have been given some actual warning in ADVANCE.
I came up with the fantastic idea of dragging out the never used plastic bathtub from our storage area and filling that up. Then we definitely wouldn’t run out of water!
Fast forward through all of yesterday, and we had no issues with the plumbing. Guess we were in luck. Then just before we went to bed, the water went off. Without being concerned, we went to sleep.
And what a wonderful sleep I had, as a matter of fact – until I was awoken by the sound of loud rain. I drowsily looked out of the window and saw that it had been raining and plunked my head back onto my pillow.
But geez, that rain sounded loud…

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It’s always fun to see different versions or flavors of familiar things while you’re traveling. And sometimes, you think to yourself “I wish we had that at home!” This isn’t one of those times.