Jade costume and funny signs

On Saturday I went into Guangzhou to have a walk around in two famous parks; Yuexiu Park and Liuhua Park. Both were beautiful and I'm glad whenever I discover a place I want to take Rebecka when she comes over for Christmas.

Do you love your homeland? Then recycle! I wonder if this encouragement would cause some controversy back in Sweden?

The entrance of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. The burial site was discovered in 1983 when excavating for yet another shopping plaza.

This is the jade suit that the Nanyue King was buried in, it is made of thousands of small jade tiles sewn together.  This was a custom for the Han dynasty as jade was thought to preserve the body and make the wearer immortal.

Do you know what this is? Pillows! Yes, that's right, porcelain and ceramic pillows that were used some 1000 years ago. Thank god for soft pillows!

The museum also housed an antiquity shop, this Buddha statue was slightly larger than the size of my hand, do you want it in your living room? Well, then you have to pay up 70 000 CNY (81 000 kr)!

Yuexiu Park is probably the most famous park in Guangzhou and a lot of people are strolling around within its 93 hectar.

Within Yuexiu Park there are lots of tiny waterfalls and shaded wood paths.

As well as signs with interesting takes on the English language.

Walking out of the park I found a florist and I wished I could've bought a rose and sent it home to Rebecka.

I finished my day of walking in Guangzhou with a visit to the computer market where I bought some headphones and another laptop cooler.

A boat cruise

On Friday evening, Anne, a German teacher who is going back to Germany had arranged a boat cruise on Guangzhou river. The cruise lasted for about two hours and included some fantastic food made by the school chef Matt. It was a perfect evening for it, to stand on the deck enjoying the many neon lit buildings close to the river in a slight breeze and about 24 degrees is definitely one of the best experiences I've had in Guangzhou so far. Here are some photos of the evening.

Our boat, although I didn't see the bank office onboard..

It was incredibly difficult to get good-non-blurry pictures on a moving boat, but I tried.

As we all know psychology teachers are a bit messed up, but that science teachers are even more so was a surprise! Thank you Brianna for that lovely expression!

There is no shortage of neon-lit buildings in Guangzhou. Although I heard that many of them are not lit due to repairs in preparation for the coming Asian Games.

It was a romantic setting to silently glide down the Guangzhou river which Brianna and Zack certainly seemed to enjoy. I really wanted to hug my own fantastic girlfriend and missed Rebecka enormously. Looking forward to go on a boat cruise with her when she comes over.

All good things must come to an end. We moved on to a bar by the river and many interesting topics were discussed as everyone seemed to be in a debating mood.


Quite close to where I live there is a barbeque place which is something special, a favourite amongst teachers who have been living here for a couple of years. Yesterday, it was time for some barbequeing!

There's no menu so the choose-and-point method is widely used.

Here our lambsticks are being grilled, they are really good!

Part of the gang.

Ridicolous amount of grilled stuff and beer only costs 40 CNY (45 kr) so it's easy to have one or two beers too many, especially since it's Thursday!

Phone number

I'm sorry that I haven't given you my Chinese mobile phone number, I just took for granted that you would e-mail me if you wanted to get a hold of me. My number is: 008615220007730 and I might as well give you the school's number as well: +86 (20) 8720 2019 or you can look here. And as a bonus I give you a photo of my dinner:

Yes, I know, I should've been a chef..

Dressed for success

Hi all!

As I missed posting a photo of how I abide by the school dress code in this post, I'll do that now with a ( slightly blurry) photo taken this morning.

As a contrast I post a photo of me in a tad more informal clothing, being ready for exploration of Guangzhou:

I'll try to avoid turning this into a fashion blog, but it's hard to avoid with my extremely extensive wardrobe and extravagant taste in clothes..

PS. Yes, I'm being ironic. ;)

Another day of exploration

Ok, yesterday (Saturday) I went into Guangzhou western city centre and I brought my camera with me so here is another batch of pictures.

First stop was The Temple of the six Banyan Tress, it was nice but I wasn't overly impressed by it. It was a like a not so beautiful garden in the city with a heavy scent of incense hanging over it. I've come to realise that Guangzhou is not a great place for tourists since there are not a lot of tourist spots around. It's also a bit hard to get your head around the layout since there's no proper city centre. The city is simply too big, there's a centre in the eastern part, one "centre" in the western part and one south. Which is a bit unusual for me, being used to the standard central square or railway station to be the starting point of most exploration trips. Something that Guangzhou is great for though is shopping! More on that later.

I think this dragon/sea monster is some kind of instrument, noticing the hammers in the lower left corner my guess it's a gong to call the monks in for dinner? or playtime?

We walked by an "official ivory trader", where they sold amazing ivory carvings such as this one. If you would to buy one you wouldn't be allowed to take it outside China however.

In Guangzhou, and probably in China as a whole, the layout of shops are different to the one in Europe. Sure, there are massive malls where you can buy clothes and shoes here as well but for other kind of wares you would have to look elsewhere. Here almost every street specializes in some type of product(s). Walking down a street and you will suddenly find that the last 8 stores you walked by are selling baby clothes, and so are the rest of the 28 stores further down the street. You continue for a couple of blocks and find yourself on a street where all the stores are selling rubber bands (below), another street sells trophies, a third neon signs, etc etc. Very interesting trading structure.

One of the many stores selling rubber bands and plastic bags.

Hmm, maybe I should bring home a few trophies in various sports to put on my shelves? Well, probably feels better if one earns them..

A back alley with playing kids.

A lot of products are transported this way, on bicycle wagons in surprising high speeds.

On most street corners and below the many trees lining the streets one finds groups of men standing around. Most often they are watching a game of Xiangqi, Chinese chess, but there are also numerous card games that are played. The Chinese love to gamble!

View of the Zhujiang river.

This is the "famous" shopping street, Beijing Lu, here one can find any type of clothes and it's really crowded during the weekends but that part of the fun.

This beautiful building houses the Foreign Affairs Office just outside Renmin park.

Documenting a Thursday

Rebecka asked me to document my surroundings an ordinary week day with the camera she so generously have lent me. So I did and the result can be viewed below. I apologize in advance for the large amount of photos and slow browsing speed.

I was a bit stressed this morning so I had no time to document my morning but if you picture a bowl of porridge and a well dressed man in black trousers and a shirt you get the picture.

The path outside my apartment building which I walk down at 7:07 to catch the bus to school.

Taking a short cut to the bus stop.

Pick up place for the teachers' bus, a.k.a "the bus stop"

In the bus which takes 15 minutes to reach the school.

Driving out from Rythmico, the apartment area where I live.

Arriving at our school.

A surprisingly empty staff room, is there a meeting I didn't know about?

The Mac lab, where I teach the "Design Technology" course.

Basketball court where the students hang out during the recess and lunch time.

Looks like a bit of rain is coming, better get my umbrella since I'm on yard duty.

And there's the rain! It really pours down for about half an hour then suddenly stops.

Time for some lunch at 13:20, I'm starving! Forgot to mention the price for lunch in yesterday's post. Cost for a large meal is 25 kr, which is what I always get.

Slightly blurry picture of one of my psychology students posing. Some students prefer to buy a slice of pizza or a baguette instead of a meal, which they do in this part of the cantine.

The beautiful library.

One of my psychology classrooms.

Finally after a busy day we head for the buses at 16:50.

I ignore the short cut and walk through a bit more beautiful path to my apartment building.

Finally at home, this is the entrance to my apartment building. I live on the top 7th floor.

When I come home I clean the floors, which is important if you don't want all kinds of bugs invading. So far so good, no cockroaches in my apartment. I cook some dinner since I'm starving again.

After the sauna which the kitchen becomes when cooking I go down to the pool where I find a cryptic message regarding the inside pool, so I head for the pool outside.

No, it's not my pink slippers. I promise. Seriously. They aren't!

After a 20 minutes swim I head up to my clean apartment, have a shower and post things for you to enjoy!


I just got back from the local supermarket and thought I would write short post about the costs of various things here in Guangzhou. When it comes to groceries I have two choices, alternative one is to walk 10 minutes to a local supermarket where I can get basic groceries but I can't buy things like pasta or lintels. Alternative two is to take a 10 minutes bus ride to a larger mall and supermarket named "Jusco" where I can find (almost) anything I would be able to get in a supermarket in Sweden or Britain, even ecological fiber enriched spaghetti! Jusco is a bit more expensive but it's well worth those few extra kronor for the variety of goods.


I will write the different amounts in Swedish Kronor since the majority of my readers are Swedes. Here's a list:
5 tomatoes = 5 kr
2 chili fruits = 1 kr
1 cucumber = 4 kr
0,5 kg apples = 7 kr
Bottle of 0,6 L beer = 6 kr (And it tastes good!!)
1 pint in a bar = 20-30 kr
1kg Packet of Oatmeal = 20 kr
3 peppers = 5 kr
Grapes = 5 kr
1 DVD movie from a "DVD lady" = 11 kr
1 pair of chinos = 64 kr
1 shirt = 60 kr
Bus or metro ride = 2.5 kr
Restaurant visit = 35 - 140 kr

As you can see the cost of living here is very low, which I truly enjoy! However, you could of course get everything at much higher prices, comparable to those in Sweden or Britain but then you would have to shop at the most expensive supermarkets who specialises in importing "western" groceries.


Just read this article which relates a bit to my post on the growing number of cars in China:

The duality of China

Yesterday (Saturday) I went into the city centre to walk around and get a feel of the city, the layout and just get my bearings a bit. First thing I realised is that this city is huge. What looked like a quite short walk on the large map I had took me about 45 minutes! I got lost a couple of times but that's really the best way of getting to know a city according to me. I saw some interesting things while walking around and primarily something I would call the duality of China. What strikes you first in this city is the amount of impressive buildings. Many of them are new and more are in the finishing stages, a lot of money is being put into the infrastructure and impressive buildings because of the Asian games in November.

So, skyscrapers - check! But wandering around the large roads won't give you a view of how most people really live in the back alleys.

What's happening now though is that a lot of these packed and dirty Chinese communities are being demolished.

And transformed from the buildings on the right into the buildings on the left:

This is also affecting the way shopping is done in the packed communities in the back alleys:

The Chinese version of Clas Ohlson.

More and more of these small shops are closing and moving into the large shopping malls á la "western" style. Primarily it's clothing and jewellery stores but it does affect how people shop and I think that soon everything will be in shopping malls.

This will be the third H&M store in the city.

This is nothing new of course, we have seen the same thing back home, that more and more shopping malls are being built at the expense of stores which are not located on the main shopping street. Reading this text I realised that it might seem as if I think it's a bad thing that new and tall apartment buildings are replacing the old and dirty houses and that I think it's a shame that the small back alleys are disappearing. However, I actually think it's a good thing in most aspects. Personally I would rather live in an apartment high rise than in these back alleys, and I prefer shopping at a shopping mall than in some small and "dodgy" store. It just seems to me that most large cities will be quite alike in the future.

Traffic behaviour

School has started for real and even though our timetables are still a bit dodgy we are getting by, I find the IB psychology rewarding to teach so far although it does entail a large amount of work. Posts might not be as frequent as I would've wished by I'll try to post something every now and again.

Something I was surprised about upon coming here is the Chinese behaviour in traffic, they're flat out nuts! Do you know how the Italians drive? Yeah, the Chinese are about four times worse. They drive fast and brake intensively if s another car cuts into their lane, which happens all the time. Sometimes I wonder if they have disabled their indicators or the purpose of having them doesn't occur to the Chinese. Here, they simply carry out constant chicken races, everybody thrusts their car into that 20 cm gap between the two cars in the other lane, simply expecting them to notice and back down. Some cars drive with about a 30 cm distance to other cars on their left and right. It's therefore strange to me that sever traffic accidents are rare. However, scraping of paint occurs all the more frequent!

In my folly I thought that people would cycle, as the all do in the many photos (see below) taken in China. None of that here though, people take buses, metro or go in cars. Scary to think what will happen to the planet when all the Chinese families wish to get a car, or like they do in the U.S, one car for every family member!

It has begun!

Today it was introduction for new students! Almost all teachers are home room teachers (klassföreståndare/mentor) and I will be sharing that responsibility with a German teacher named Stefanie. We are responsible for a year 8 class and had 4 new students to introduce to the school. It was a fairly short introduction since I'm new here as well!

We have a lot of Korean students at our school and therefore been given an article about how the Korean educational system works. Korea has a very well educated population, however, everything in Korean education is based upon memorizing, which might be a good thing in a moderate amount but not in all subjects all of the time! It will certainly be a bit different teaching here.

I have taken a few photos of the exterior of our school, Utahloy International School (UIS), which you might see below. I will take a few photos of my classrooms and post them in time. You might also find some photos of the school here.

The logo of the school

The entrance

Admin staff building

There seems to have been some difficulty with the timetable/schedule during these days since we just got it today and were told that there are going to be some changes. Understandably, a lot of teachers are stressed. I don't know why every school I know have difficulty with their timetables, I suppose it's just a very tricky thing to make so that everyone will be satisfied. My timetable doesn't look at all like I expected it to, I've got Psychology for year 11, Design Technology for year 8 and then a couple of English classes as well! I won't have time to explore China I'll be super-busy preparing for all three subjects!

Other than that I'm getting settled in nicely now, I've used the washing machine, I've also gotten almost all the little things I need for everyday life, like a 10 meter long internet cable. I've got fairly slow internet so I won't be hooking up the wireless since that would slow it down even more.

That's all for today, time for me to hit the books!

Overnight stay at the boarding school

Yesterday morning the whole staff at Guangzhou Utahloy International School went to our sister school, Zeng Cheng for workshops and to get to know each other. We were picked up at 8 am Friday and the bus ride took about 1 hour. It started off with a few seminars and meetings but it was all done with an easy going approach. Later on it was time to chill out in the olympic size pool they've got at the boarding school but the pool was almost warmer than the air!

After that it was dinner by the pool and then the party got started! With free beer and massiv amounts of wine & beer it didn't take long before people started dancing, jumping into the pool and and catching frisbees, needless to say, everyone was in a great mood. =)

During Sunday there were some games planned, such as races, volleyball and water polo.

All in all, a great kick off to the new semester (SWE: termin)!

It was a beautiful campus but fairly secluded so I'm happy I live much closer to the city.

A gorgeous bridge, seen from the restaurant.

The view from the bridge, it was really bright if you are wondering why I have a strange look on my face.

Part of the campus.

There's still some building going on before the students return next week, I found this self-made ladder interesting. The Chinese quite often follow the rule: "What you don't have - make."

Tonight there's a group going out tonight for all-you-can-eat-and-drink Teppanyaki, better clear my schedule for tomorrow!


A few days later


Now I've gotten a bit more settled in and even been to Guangzhou Ikea! See the photos further down. It was great to get all the small things one needs to set up a home, things like towels, dishbrush, clothes changer and a basic chair named Rickard! It's been a few busy days with meetings, medical check (which I survived!) and shopping tours. Yesterday evening was the first 2-3 hours I had to myself, I spent most of them talking to Rebecka using Skype but also had a walk around the area in which I'm living. It's quiet and more like a park than a busy city. I live outside the city centre but I actually prefer it here since it's closer to school, the teachers' bus takes us directly to school in 15 minutes while it the other teachers' bus from the centre takes 35 minutes. In preperation for the asian games there's a metro buing built quite close to this area so using that it will only take my 15 min to the city centre in comparison to 40 minutes on the bus now (20 in a taxi which costs 35 kr).

Speaking about Ikea, it was fun to notice that Chinese people come to Ikea to rest in the sofas and sleep in the beds, I've also heard that Chinese people often go on a date on a sofa in Ikea! See photo below:

This is the chair Rickard:

Looks like this: http://www.ikea.com/cn/en/catalog/products/10159363

As I'm getting settled in I starting to realise that I really like China so far, people here are not as I expected them to be. As I thought everyone would be a slave to the "communistic" goverment and western ways would be shunned, but it's not at all like that. People really like to enjoy themselves here, there's dancing on every square, the laugh a lot and have a lot of western values and goods. i have found stores of H&M, Jack & Jones, Selected, Apple, etc etc so my stereotypical image of the suppressed people of China didn't survive very long.

So far, the weather has been really good, sunny (and hot!) and bordering on 40 degrees, as I thought it would be rainy and a lot of tropical storms this time of year I'm surprised.

I'm trying to get to know my do's and don'ts in China and some of the things I've learnt is that one should not put your chopsticks in to your rice so that the stand like a pole since that means death, I've also learnt that the number 4 is avoided at all times since the chinese symbol for 4 is similar to death. Another thing I've learnt is that in China you don't tip, not even taxi driver as they will chase you down the corner for one CNY/RMB! I quite like that!

That's all for today, I will try to blog tomorrow as well.

Take care and 注意安全!


Hi everyone!

I'm finally here! First up, this will be a fairly short post as the time here is 1:30 am (GMT +7). So, I arrived yesterday evening after a 25 hour flight, and with only about 2 hours of sleep during the flights I finally arrived in Guangzhou, China! I was picked up by Hugo, the music teacher for secondary).

I was driven to my apartment which is lovely, I have posted a few photos to give you an idea, they're fairly dark but it's a really light apartment. A four room apartment with a kitchen and a balcony! For me living here alone, it's huge! It's at the top floor (7th) with similar tall buildings nearby and they form a gated community. I have free access to the pool, basketball court and tennis courts! It's really like living at a 5 star hotel. Did I mention that the school pays for it all?  I was lucky and managed to get internet access on my first day here as well, which was really a relief being able to talk to my darling Rebecka at home using Skype.

So during the day the group of new teachers have been opening up bank accounts and we were given a tour through the school and then went for a dinner, the staff is really friendly and welcoming and we're a group of about 17 new teachers this year so it's nice to have some that are as much of a newbie as myself. Tomorrow I will be going to the medical check (of which I have heard some stories involving poking) and police registration. Will try to post tomorrow evening as well. Even though everything here is overwhelming and really beyond all of my expectations I still think about all of you and miss you already! Hugs from China!

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