Everything listed under: China

  • Us Japanese, we think in decades

    I'm watching a movie called "The Bank" and one of the topics they talked about was peoples perspective of time.

    Generally speaking more people think about the impact they will have on time as being a little short of their whole life. So if they think there life is 75 odd years, they will think the impact of their lives will be made over 60 odd years. This takes into account the time they took to grow up and get up to speed, then the last few years are sort of written off to old age.

    Some cultures are better at thinking long term than others. I saw that first-hand when I was in China. The Chinese Emperors were obsessed with living forever and they started, continued, and built like they would live forever. They had an insight into the importance of planning a long way in advance to ensure their Dynasties would last for many generations. In the movie I'm watching there was a line "You English always think about each year, us Japanese, we think in decades" and I dear say the Chinese think in centuries. That might be unfair on the Japanese as I've never been in a position to really asses how they think about time. I'm just going with the line from the movie.

    I've been doing some reading recently about leadership and casting vision. I'm not very good at it but I'm starting to learn about it. One of the things this leadership books talks about is succession planning. Setting up something to last for a long time and making sure the foundation it's been set upon can take the weight and stay solid for a long time.

    I wonder what the Disciples thought about when they first started out with the Church? Did they think about the structure or it? did they already know it? did they have strategic planning session where they contemplated the roles needed and how the church would look in years to come? I have no idea...

    Beside the pondering about whether the Disciples had thought about the long term succession of the Church - I'm fairly sure a bunch of fishermen and builders etc had no skills in this area. I've been thinking about how most leaders and managers seem to run their businesses. They appear to lead them based on the vision of what they can achieve in their life time. I think this is small minded.

    When leaders are thinking about the Big Picture, why is it so often what they can achieve in the next 10 or 20 years? why is it what they will be able to see in their life time? I guess I'm surprised by them.

    Maybe I'm strange but I think about what my business will look like in 150 years time. What will it look like when three generations will have run and lead this company? Obviously its impossible to know what that will look like and it's actually rather silly to think about but I think it's important to consider them, in 150 years time, when making my decisions today. If I set up bad practices or a poor philosophy, it will carry on for many years and decades to come. How rude of me would that be.

    It's the same with church and ministry. I think of all organisations that cover the earth, it's the Church that will stand strong, and has, over the centuries. Leaders, across the board, should be considering what they need to do now AND what the impact will be of what they do now on their successors in years to come.

    I know that I think about things years in advance. The idea of being on one part a long chain in a ministry or organisations history isn't anything I find hard to grasp and comprehend.

    I wonder if that is a strange ability or not? I bet it hinders me thinking about the here and now, or maybe it adds value to it. Who knows. It's just a thought right now anyway.
  • Reflections on China - part 3 - thing's I'm looking forward to in NZ

    After talking about the things I will and won't miss about China, it comes to the things I'm looking forward to when I get home.

    Strange as this will sound to those who know, I really want a hash-brown. Funny because I don't like Potato but still. I had a craving once before for Potato when I had been hunting for four days and hadn't eaten a lot. All I wanted was a big plate of mashed Potato. It didn't take me long to remember I didn't like it but again I still wanted it. I wonder why I crave the very food I don't like? hmmm maybe I'll ponder this more. I'm off topic though.

    Coffee, oh sweet sweet coffee! I haven't had a good espresso coffee in over three weeks. New Zealand really is the land of good coffee. I've heard people say that before but now I realise just what I've been missing. I paid $50 RMB ($15 NZD) for black coffee from one of those push button machines you have in the staff room or at the petrol station - it was black because my acting skills let me down and they didn't understand I wanted a white coffee hahaha)

    My own bed! although I still won't get to sleep in it for a week as I'm away again as soon as I'm home. I leave on another flight three hours after I land back in NZ. The beds in China are as hard as rock. I like a good firm bed but not a wooden plank like many of the hotel beds seem to be.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Katherine. It's rather tough trying to keep in touch when the internet is so flakey over here. The time difference doesn't make it super easy either. I've had no end of trouble trying to keep in touch with my beautiful girl and I'll finally get to see her again after about 6 weeks I think?

  • Reflections on China - part 2 - things I wont miss

    Spitting - Ahhh yes that sound that both Chinese Men and Women make when they have something stuck in their throat, the hock it up with a roar, then spit it out anywhere they want - the street, the lino, a tissue, the air sick bag, or even their hand if they have to. The Chinese spit a lot - inside and out, in quiet places and loudly at 3am. It's flat out gross and makes we want to throw up every time.

    Being stared at - This is possibly more a fatigue thing. For the first couple of weeks it was funny being starred at and followed around. When buying stuff people would crowd around to see what sort of thing the white man was buying. They would blatantly come and stand in the circle of us four to listen to us speak English. Now I'm just sick of standing out. I can't wait to melt back into the crowd where no one cares I'm there. Strange thing to say but you really have to go through it before you understand I think. I don't think I could ever be a celebrity. Being followed everyday would drive me up the wall.

    Sea food as snacks on the plane - Yes on many Chinese flights they gave out dried seafood as in-flight snacks. The plane instantly smelt like a fish tank. Add that to a little turbulence and it's a bad combination I'm sure. Thank fully we didn't have this, well not turbulence like we get in NZ anyway.

    Pushing - This is something that annoys me in NZ as well. I hate people that won't wait their turn. On the planes and any lines in China, people will blatantly push you out the way just to get one place closer. John tells me its the culture because if you are late in China, there are just so many people that there is nothing that can be done. So the Chinese are always wanting to make sure they are as close to the front as possible. Getting off planes seems to be the worst. When the plane 'comes to a complete stop' there are people that get up and RUN down the isle to get out first. They don't need to get out first, they just want to. They will actively push you shamelessly out of the way. I don't tend to let it happen.

    Hawkers - tourists get this in every country I know, even in NZ. I will still be happy to get away from it. I'm sick of being asked if I want a watch or DVD. I'm tired of people looking at me and thinking they can pull a fast one and rip me off. and I'm sick of being ripped off.

    The language barrier - This is my fault and I know it. I went to a country and couldn't speak the language. I knew it before I went so I'm not complaining in anyway. But I am looking forward to ordering a coffee with milk and actually getting that first time around. You may not realise just how much of an effort it is to order a white coffee when you can't speak the language. How the heck do you demonstrate what a coffee is? then how do you demonstrate what milk is, and that you want it in your coffee? The language barrier is great fun and makes for many adventures but is the most stressful and tiring thing about overseas travel. I'm looking forward to communicating with words once again.

  • The noisy let down of the american accent

    I thought I was looking forward to being around English speakers again but I'm not so sure now that I've made it to Hong Kong and into an English speaking hotel.

    After three weeks of being one of only three other english speakers I guess I've become so used to being the only ones that speak English. It's so strange to see and hear other Westerners, I'm not sure I like it. I actually want to go back into the middle of China where I can't hear of see them. I don't know why.

    We arrived in Hong Kong and the taxi dropped us off at the Novotel. As I walked up the stairs to the reception, I could hear the sound of American accents and I understood what they were saying. Odd because I haven't understood another persons conversation in about 3 weeks. The American accents weren't the problem, it was that I understood them, that was the strange part.

    It's a bit of a let down; More than I thought it would be. Actually I didn't think I would be disappointed about hearing English again. In fact I wrote a blog about how much I'm looking forward to hearing English again but now that I'm hearing it, I'm not so sure.

  • Reflections on China - part 1 - things I'll miss

    Three weeks in China was about the right length of time I think. It's been long enough that I've seen a heap. It's also been long enough that I'm ready to come home and get back into it all. Generally I don't like long trips away and this is on the longer end of how long I like to be away. Anyway on with the things I'll miss.

    Gracious drivers - The Chinese almost never get road rage. They are so calm on the roads which is crazy because they have some really shocking drivers. People will do U-Turns in the middle of motorways. They just slow down and stop a whole lane of people while they turn around hahaha. While a heap of people might beep their horns, they never yell or hit the steering wheel etc. They never complain about drivers or point out the crazy idiots. They just let people get on with their driving and are very accommodating and gracious. I guess you have to be.

    The fabulous faces - Chinese faces are fantastic, especially the old weathered ones. They have such interesting beautiful faces. The young faces that spread light and hope around. They look at you like the world isn't the way it looks. They look at you like they see a different world, one that has hope and a future even if they aren't sure how to grab it yet. And the old faces that have seen life in all its colour. The ones that have known some serious hard times, and probably a few great times as well. These faces have grasped the idea that in the end it all goes back in the box and you should enjoy as much of it as possible. They are the ones carrying the children and visiting places they have been a thousand times just to show the younger ones and share their knowledge.

    The food - as much as I miss my NZ style food, the Chinese cooking is very unique. They eat veggies all day round (you would be proud of them Penny SJ). I'm not sure I really buy into eating green beens for breakfast. The bakery food over here is the best though. They do make fantastic bread in China.

    School kids looking and laughing at the white guys - while I'm sick of adults starring at me, little school kids are different - I don't know why. They are just so innocent and stare at me like I'm the strangest and coolest thing they've ever seen -  maybe I am! The giggle and follow along behind talking to themselves. It's cute and funny.

    How cheap things can be - there are knock-offs of everything and that makes for some good cheap buying. I did love that. Who knows how long it will all last but it was great fun getting a deal all the same. Jeans for $20 NZD, work shirts for $7 NZD, dress pants for $17 NZD - can't complain at that huh?

  • Power lines and luke warm chicken for dinner

    Zhengzhou is the last major city I'm visiting on this trip. It's a large industrial city of about 6 million people. It the least touristy of all the places and as a result people are even more intrigued by the white guys in the city.

    We were standing outside our hotel on Wednesday and three 8 year olds came past. They were chatting away to each other and took a double take at the three white guys standing in their neighborhood. John tells us that they were arguing about who was going to say hello to us. In the end they didn't. Many school aged kids can speak English well.

    One of the things I've noticed about this city in particular is how little effort goes into making it look pretty. I guess the lack of tourists means they don't care about it looking right as much. The powerlines outside our hotel at the most interesting. Check these out





    Last night we went out for dinner at a famous noodle house. As with many places, there are plates of food that you order to go with your base meal. Looking in the cabinet we saw a plate of chicken that looked aright. Thinking they would bring a plate of piping hot chicken to us, we order it. The lady reached into the cabinet and pulled the plate of room temperature chicken and gave it to us. I have no idea how long it was sitting there but it was very very room temperature. Not a hint of heat coming from it. I mentally freaked out and thought 'there is no way I'm eating that if its not piping hot'. Sinclair wasn't excited either but we had bought it now so it was to late. John didn't understand what out issue was. He told us it had been served like this for over 300 years, and I get he's right but that still doesn't make it safe to eat.

    Sinclair felt bad about ordering it and asked if it could be heated up. I think they zapped it in the microwave for 30 secs and gave it back. I was laughing and freaking at the same time. I still wouldn't eat it and I don't think John really understood. I can't blame him though because he's always eaten it like this and never had a problem. I guess my NZ background makes me super sensitive or something. I'm glad I didn't eat it. Even if it is some amazing local food, I think it should still be clean and safe. Luke warm chicken doesn't seem like a good idea in any country let alone in China.

  • Doing the washing, buying underwear, and playing charades with the Chinese

    I've discovered that doing your washing is either really hard or expensive. China doesn't have Laundromats like they do in many western countries. The type where you take everything down and sit there with a magazine while it washes and dries everything for you. They do have lots of dry cleaners but they are just as expensive as New Zealand. So it's not really an option to use a laundromat. The other option is to use the hotel laundry service. This is slow and expensive. It can take between 12 and 48 hours to get your clothes back but they will be super clean and ironed.

    John tired to help us out when we got to his city and he arranged for us to do washing at his friends place. It was great but then we have to dry it all. and the problem here is that nothing dries very fast.

    I didn't go any washing in anticipation of free cleaning in John's home city of Zhengzhou. I used up a lot of clothes holding out on doing my washing. Now I've done my washing but I can't get it dry so I'm running around in a cold city in shorts and a singlet hahaha. The Chinese thought we were interesting in the first place but now they just think I'm crazy! here is this strange white human in shorts and singlet?!!? I'm a little mad that I can't get my washing done but what can ya do?

    Obviously I have had to do washing in the nearly three weeks I've been here. I must have spent over $100 NZD getting my washing done. Each piece of clothing costs to get it washed. The lads are figuring it's cheaper to buy new socks and undies than to wash them. They are nearly right. To wash a pair of socks is $10 RMB ($3 NZD) and to buy them is two for $12 RMB ($3.20 NZD). Undies to wash are $15 RMB ($5 NZD) and cost about $20 RMB ($6.5 NZD) to buy. Pants and shirts are a different story and better to get washed but not by much.

    So the we have been buying lots of socks and undies. However, we have found that Chinese clothing sizes are not the same as NZ - obvious in hindsight. I bought some size L boxers. When I put them on the leg hole got stuck going around my calf, my thigh was nearly impossible, and I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

    The next time I bought XL boxers and they fit a little better. I'm thinking that I'll have to try some XXL or even XXXL to get the same as a NZ Large hahaha.

    Buying shoes is a similar problem. Everyone wants to sell us shoes. I've been tempted with a few and asked to try them on. When I tell them that I wear size 10 they laugh and shake their heads as they often don't have shoes that large. Most places will stock up to size 8.

    For a few days we all split up and went to different cities. Sam went back to Beijing, John went to Zhengzhou, Sinclair and I went to Guilin. I hadn't really appreciated how hard it would be to communicate without John. I knew it wouldn't be easy and I got John to write down the names of all key things like hotels and flight details etc in Chinese and English. When it actually came time to communicate it all got very hard. Trying to pay bond, trying to check out, trying to get an old blind taxi driver to read a laptop screen to find a hotel, trying to communicate McDonalds to people etc. It suddenly gets very interesting. We danced, mimed, drawn pictures, pointed, gestured all to try and communicate our needs. It was slightly embarrassing at first because they all stare at us anyway let alone when you are dancing in the middle of an airport trying to ask where the bathroom is - makes for some very funny times.

    On checking out of the hotel in Guilin, we need to catch a taxi to the airport. I couldn't figure out how to communicate it so we drew the below picture. It worked a treat. Drawing pictures and acting out seems to do OK. Yay for the basic rules of communication.



  • Rice, tofu, and the local buses

    On the 29th of March we spent the day up at the Rice Terraces. What a beautiful place. It's about 2 hours out of Guilin (The sister city of Haistings, NZ). We took a tourist bus at 8:30am out of town and headed on our way. We had a guide who was meant to speak English so us whities could understand. Unfortunately the guide didn't really enjoy speaking in English. He would talk about 15 mins in Chinese while every laughed and he pointed to stuff along the way, then would give us about six English sentences on the same topic. A bit frustrating when he was sold as an English speaking guide. Ahh well I am in China after all and it's only fair I guess.

    The place where we visited has only recently been exposed to the outside world in many ways. The first road built into that part of the world was built in 2002 so it's very new. The average local income per person is $350 RMB =  $90 NZD per year (or was until the tourists started to arrive). That's not a lot of cash and they do everything themselves as a result. They build their own homes, cultivate and grow their own food etc. It's beautiful and rugged place. Tourism has done a lot for the place but also changed it a lot as well.

    One specific group of people we visited never cut their hair. They believe hair is the source of life and so the woman never cut their hair. On average the hair is between 1.5-1.8 meters long. they also never wash it so it stinks hahaha.


    Since tourists have stared to visit the area, the younger girls have seen that many rich people don't have long hair and have decided to break with tradition and cut their hair because they no longer believe it holds the power of life. I'm not sure what I think about it all. On one hand it's good that they are getting exposure to the world and seeing new ideas and considering them. On the other hand they are bleeding their culture right out in one generation. There will be no long haired woman for the world to see in 20 years time.

    The area has a road but it's like a nature reserve or something so we have to get off our bus and board shuttle busses. Our guide warned us about the road saying it's skinny and sometimes people scream while traveling on it. I was keen and a little worried at the same time. Having seen how people drive around China I can be sure they scream for a good reason. The average driving in China would make any NZer scared, so if this road is making the locals scared, them I'm worried hahaha. I was a little let down that only one girl screamed on the way up, and a couple put on their belts (which the Chinese never do). I was hoping for a little more excitement but never mind.

    The village below the terraces was great. They have a speciality food which is cooked in bamboo. You can get bamboo rice, bamboo chicken, or bamboo mouse. The later was interesting. We saw a few of the nice cook and for sale on the way to a restaurant on the walk up and they are large mice. I'd say they were more like decent sided rats and that was after they were cooked. I suspect they are very large haha. I wasn't brave enough to eat the bamboo mouse so I just had bamboo rice. It was stunning. I'm totally going to try and cook this when I get home. They just use green bamboo and cook it in an open fire.






    After lunch we headed up the to the terraces. Here are a few pics in order of how I took them. Check out my flickr for all the photos.






    On a smaller note, I still don't like Tofu. I'm growing to like herbal tea but not Tofu. I thought I might but nah the stuff still stinks and tastes more bland than Potato (which is saying a lot from me because I don't like Potato at all!). Sinclair doesn't like Tofu either but he keeps buying it by mistake haha. There a lots of packaged foods that look a lot like meat. It's hard to tell them apart when buying them. More often than not Sinclair ends up buying Tofu hahaha. It drives him nuts and makes me laugh.

    The Chinese love a certain type of Tofu which is actually known as 'Stinky Tofu' and man it stinks. It smells like a really dirty toilet. I hate the smell but the Chinese love it so you can smell it on every street corner. It makes everywhere smell like a public loo. I won't miss that when I'm home.

    One of the ways to get around on the cheap in China is the local bus system. It's not a bad system I suspect as there are buses everywhere but it's a little hard to navigate when you don't speak the language. Still Sinclair and I have managed to do it a couple of times. Finding the bus station is hard as they aren't anything like in NZ with a big depot. Often they are a huge parking lot hidden down a side street and down an ally. How the buses get down there I don't know. They have criers everywhere yelling out the destination of the bus though so you just need to listen out for that. The only problem from then on is figuring out if you are on an express bus or one that stops all the way (can be a huge difference in the time it takes to get anywhere), then figuring out how much to pay for a ticket, then figuring out where you want to get off as they don't have street names, bus stops, or speak any English. If you can manage all that, it's good fun and not to hard. Sinclair and I suck at it but haven't had any major issues so far.

  • Panda base in Chengdu

    The Panda base was ok - not stunning but good. There wasn't a huge number of Pandas to see - prob about 20 and it took us two hours to find them all. We had a laugh trying to get home from the Panda Base as we had left out room key with Chinese address with another friend. So we had no way of communicating where the hotel was or anything. In the end I went to the tour guides at the Panda Base and got them to help us out. I ended up getting us a jolly good deal and got a private car for cheaper than a Taxi would have cost! wohoo. I'm not to bad at this battering thing.



    This is the thinking panda pose


    This dozing lad is risking a rude awakening I think


    Can someone tell me what the Pandas below are up to? I can't translate the text ;-)


  • Heaps of new photos on Flickr - Check them out

    All the photos you need to see are being uploaded to Flickr. I've just added a heap. Check it out at

  • Watching chick flicks in China

    This will probably be one of the most damaging posts so far this trip as I'm about to confess to watching chick flicks.

    It's the end of the second day in Guilin, which is the sister city of Haistings, NZ. We've had a busy couple of days and thought it was time to just chill in the hotel for a night and maybe watch a DVD. So that's exactly what we did.

    Tonight we got home from a day of tripping around, grabbed some beers, some dodgy food from a stall on the side of the road, and sat down to watch "P.S I love you". Sinclair and I sat there on our hotel beds in the middle of China, drinking a $1 NZD 630 ml beer (which is actually really good), watching a chick flick. An interesting way to spend the night I guess.

    And the thing is - I like the movie. This won't be news to some as you will already know what my favorite movie is, but I think this one could give my favorite movie a run for it's money.

    Bit of a different evening for us but good all the same.

  • Chengdu was an interesting place

    I've left Chengdu now so I should be ok to post this. Please be considerate if you comment on this or other posts. Everything is monitored in China.

    So we were meant to come from Xi'an and stay in Chengdu over night then head up to a place called 'the valley of nine'. It's meant to be a beautiful national park. Everything we've read raves about it. It was going to be a highlight of the trip for me but it didn't work out.

    Something interesting happened politically in and near China. Evidentially the govt got a little upset and banned all tourists of a certain ethnic group from visiting the valley so three of us couldn't go up there. So we were left in Chengdu for four days.

    Evidently Chengdu is near a certain border and group of people which might have caused a bit of a stir around the time of the Olympics. The hotel we were staying at was in a key part of the city which might have had a lot of underground activity so we moved. It's an interesting place at the moment.

    In China there are 24hour McDonalds all over the place. They are always open (hence the 24hour part) so when the 24hour McD's is closing each night at 10pm you have to wonder. It's an interesting place at the moment.

    There was a HUGE presence of official support people in the city.

    Apart from the interesting time we had, Chengdu is a beautiful and friendly city. I would love to visit here again when its not so interesting. Cheap everything here. Bartering is harder here than any other city though.

  • Kiwi men jump up the charts in China

    A colleague of mine flicked this through to me wondering how the four young Kiwi blokes are getting on hahaha. Not proposals yet but now that we know we are desirable, we might walk a little different.

    Poststed from the NZ Hearld

    Kiwi men jump up the charts in China

    4:00AM Friday Mar 27, 2009
    By Lincoln Tan

    New Zealand men have become the third most sought-after foreign husbands by Chinese women, a survey found.

    A nationwide survey by the Chinese matchmaking agency shows that Chinese women considering foreign husbands now prefer men in countries which are not the wealthiest, but are less likely to be hit by the financial crisis.

    The free-spending culture in rich societies like the United States is a cause for concern in these troubled times, and the respondents said they found New Zealand men to be less extravagant.

    But the overall perception that foreign husbands are irresponsible in money management has also made them less attractive to women looking for security and stability.

    Of the 4377 Chinese women polled between December and last month, only 16.8 per cent said "yes" to the idea of marrying a foreigner - a big fall from the 42.5 per cent of 6594 willing to marry foreign men in a similar survey done last September.

    New Zealand, which didn't make the top eight last year, came third - behind Canada and top-of-the-chart Australia.

    The United States fell from second before the crisis to fifth, and Japan, which was once fifth, fell off the list altogether.

    A total of 68 per cent of the respondents indicated a preference for a local Chinese husband compared with 58 per cent in the previous survey.

    The English-language China Daily said the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers last September was the cause for this change of heart.

    "This shows that with the impact of the financial crisis, women are more prudent in choosing a foreign partner, and the spending culture in Western countries worries them," said Fang Fang, a Hongniang agency spokesman.

    "To a Chinese woman, a solid bank account promises real security, not an array of credit cards and easy loans - a belief shared too by most Chinese men," Ms Fang said in a CN Radio interview.

    She said Chinese women also felt foreign husbands lacked family attachment, which they believed to be one of the main reasons for marriages failing.

    Most popular foreign husbands among Chinese women:

    1 Australia
    2 Canada
    3 New Zealand
    4 Singapore
    5 United States
    6 South Korea
    7 France
    8 Netherlands

  • Eating with chop sticks, herbal tea, and paying for dirty toilets

    I'm getting good at eating with chop sticks. I made a decision before I came that I would like to try and do things the way that the locals do it. So I haven't used a knife or fork for about 14 days - heck I've been here two weeks!

    I'm pleased to say I'm not doing to badly. I can't eat as fast as the locals but I can pick up anything and manipulate food as much as I need. I also haven't spilt food on myself either which is impressive because I do that all the time with a knife and fork hahaha.

    The other thing that I'm sure a few will be shocked at is that I'm starting to like herbal tea like green, rice, and jasmine tea. The Chinese have herbal tea all the time. There is always a never ending supply of it. They don't have water at the dinner table so much. They do have herbal tea so I'm been drinking that a lot and getting used to it. In fact I even hunted out some green tea yesterday. I was shocked once I realised I had done it hahaha. I guess the extreme cost of coffee (a cheap cup is $30 RMB which is $10 NZD) and the easy access to herbal tea means I'm drinking it a lot.

    Finding toilets isn't always easy when you are out and about. I'm discovering an alarming fact that the more touristy the place, the more I have to pay to use the toilet and they are shockingly dirty hahaha. So far we've used the bathroom and paid for it at the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army, and in a couple of markets. You have to pay about $1 RMB (30c NZD) and the bathrooms are a serious OSH hazard hahaha. I won't go into any more details.

    I'm also learning that China is a cleaver place. They sell you water then make you pay to get rid of it. They are making money at both ends of the deal! annoying but a good deal for them I guess. Yay for people who take advantage of an opportunity.
  • An observation of Mao, a revolutionary leader

    I'm here in China at the moment and I've been thinking a lot about leadership and what it takes to be a revolutionary leader. Chairman Mao may not be a very like man in most parts of the world, including China but her certainly had a way with people and achieved an amazing thing in unifying China.

    I've been thinking about what it takes to unify 30 million people. It's obviously not something you can do by yourself. From the outset Mao had a big vision and dream - to see the imperialist-capatlist powers and system over-throughen. While the People's Revolution may have started with only a small number of people, they didn't intend to stay that way.

    Right from the word go Mao and his cohorts must have been thinking about structure and process. What would be required if they were to work with 30 million people? who would they need and how would they train them? where would they get the resources and how would they deploy them? where would the first frontline be and where would the safe place for new trainees be?

    This wasn't one man thinking he could do everything.

    I find that, as a generalisation, often in Church life, leaders try and do everything themselves. They behave like they are the only ones who can do the job. Or maybe it's that they are to scared to give the job away? They are reluctant to give the job to someone else and really REALLY let them run with it.

    I know this isn't an easy issue to tackle and I'm not actually trying to answer it or offer any wise insight. It's just something I'm noticing in leadership.

    It seems to me that revolutionary leaders have a very clear idea of who the enemy is and they are passionate about destroying that enemy. They seem happy to give people training and support and freedom to be revolutionary however they want as long as they are attacking the same enemy.

    Giant statue of Chairman Mao at the Beijing Military museum


  • The Great Wall, Forbidden City, and photos with the big guy in the panda hat

    The Great Wall of China was...well...great! actually is was jolly fantastic. We had a mission trying to get out to the bus to even get out there. The hawkers and hustlers did a brilliant number on us. When we were walking over towards the bus stop, someone in a vaguely official looking uniform asked if we were going to the Great Wall, we said yes, he told us the bus leaves from here and they are just waiting on a few more people and then the bus will roll up and get us. The truth was that the bus didn't come past that way and they just wanted us to wait and wait until we were so feed up of waiting for the bus we would use their personal cars at really high rates. We figured out the plan sooner than they liked and we left. They followed us and started really hassling John. We got out our cameras and they all fled really fast. Evidently these ones don't like having their picture taken hahaha.

    So an hour bus trip and we arrived at the Great Wall. It's not as big as I imagined it to be but then it's still HUGE. It's as tall as I expected but not as wide. Here are a few shots






    Lots more photos from the whole day and all other days on my flickr - check it out

    The Forbidden City is where the Emperors of China lived from about 1400 - 1911. It's a beautiful place full of strict tradition and myths. It's a wonderful testimony to history and culture. The things that happened in this place were so well tuned and planned it amazed me. I could never be an ancient Emperor because everything was so well controlled and ordered. I would just go crazy.

    While waiting outside to buy tickets, you get a lot of locals asking if you need a guide. The city is massive and takes about 2 full days to look through everything thing. We didn't have that much time so figured it might be good to get a little more insight. It wasn't a bad deal $100 RMB ($30 NZD) for 1.5hour tour guide. He was ok, but just ok. Not stunning and not horrible either. I appreciated his effort but don't think I'd do that again. The city is well sign posted in English and has good data on it. You can't always rely on the tourist attractions having any english at them and that can make the venture very frustrating when you don't understand. The Great Wall for example didn't have a single sign or piece of history for you to read. It was just a giant walk and nothing else. That did frustrated me because I love to learn about these places and how they came to be.





    Lots more photos from the whole day and all other days on my flickr - check it out

    Being a big white guy is turning out to be rather funny. Often I'll be walking by and someone will do a double take at me. they look and then realise I'm a big white guy and they stare hahaha. Often they will wait till I'm passed and then talk to their friend about it. I suspect saying something like "Did you see that guy?" I've whipped around quick a few times and smiled at them. They get a shock because they are still staring, then they laugh as well. I walked past a big tour group at the Great Wall and the whole group of about 40+ all stared until I was past then they talked. I whipped around and smiled at them and they all bust into laughter. I do think it's rather funny. Check out this pic of four people just staring at me. The pic doesn't do it justice as they have softened their stares to vague glazes once I lifted the camera but still it's funny.


    Chinese tourists who haven't seen a real white person before keep wanting to have photos with me hahaha. They will come up and hold out the camera, I'll go to grab it and take a photo for them but then I realise they want ME in the picture. Then one of them will stand next to me and the other will take the picture. It's very funny. The ones I like the most of the people who are to scared to ask so they just kind of sneak in close to me and pretend that I just happen to be in the back ground. I've caught a few people doing this and I have just turned around and had a photo with them like they would actually have like to ask for. All in all it's rather funny and keeps me entertained.

    This is one girl I busted trying to sneak a picture with me, so I had a proper one with her and her Dad. Check out the vid

  • Business meetings in dark alleyways and in two languages aint easy

    Last night was the second business meeting I'm here for. When I say meeting I mean dinner. We went to a fantastic vegetarian restaurant which was right down the back of some alleyway. We meet one of the men from the company on the street and were lead down a side ally which was dark and a little foreboding to start with. Spread out all the way down this ally were staff/waiters/assistants/something who welcomed us and guided us to the restaurant. It was a good idea because it was a long way down  the back and round a few corners.

    The restaurant was fantastic. It looked like a giant circus tent when we first saw it. There was material hanging over the front of the building. One of the staff/waiters/assistants/something people pulled back the curtain and let us in. Inside was a spectacular arrangement of private booths and dining tables. Some large for 50+ people, others small for a romantic dinner. We had a room around the corner and down the bend and up the little ramp.

    I was introduced to two other men from the same company. John worked as the translator all night and pasted as much as he could back and forth between Sinclair and I to the three Chinese men. I would tell you there names but I can't pronounce them let alone spell them. They were all great and interesting people to meet.


    Much of the conversation during dinner was about the food and if the Kiwis could handle the spice and variety presented. Everything was vegetarian but had names like Peking Duck because it tasted just like it.

    When it came time to talk business it got interesting because I'm very used to reading body language. Who knows if I'm any good at that but I do all the same. Having to get an interpreter is hard because I don't know how people are reacting to the way I phrase things and I don't know how it's being phrased to them. There were several times when John would say "I don't think I'm saying this right". that is a freaky thought when trying to build business relationships because I want to know that ideas have been communicated correctly. It's hard to know if I'm understanding their ideas and if they are understanding mine.

    The meeting went very well and I believe we have a strong relationship to work with from here. Time will tell but we have started in the right direction.


  • Joyland and the incredible let down

    The crappy theme park We decided on the last morning we were in Shanghai we would go visit a Disneyland rip off theme park. It seemed like a good idea at the time but the park was rather lame and I got very sick on one specific ride. Check out these links in order to see what happened.



    Blue man also appeared inside the theme park. Kind of strange that he's here but oh well. Check him out 


  • Buying food for beggars

    I had a hustler hit me up in the street in Shanghai today. He was a young guy, about 15 he said and I tend to believe him. Pimply and tall, dressed in clean clothes, he didn't look like he lived on the streets. I was standing on the side walk watching one of our group move around when this young guy introduced himself. He spoke in good strong English, not perfect like he had lived in an English speaking country, but good enough that he clearly spoke it often. He spoke about how much he liked people with white skin - odd but whatever floats your boat I guess. He asked where I was from and he knew a bit about Australia - the same place as NZ to him. After a while he told me he had run away from home and was living on the street, he hadn't eaten in a long time and was sooooo hungry. His lines sounded very prepared and practiced. In the end our party moved off and I left him without buying him any food.

    I got thinking about the experience later that night. At the time I had just passed him off as another hustler trying to get something from me and I believe he was just hustling me. But it was the fact that he asked for food that got to me. Why would a hustler ask for food? Maybe this is what he did and each person he would ask for something different. Food from this person, shoes from that one, a sweatshirt from another. I started to wonder about how Jesus and the disciples handled these situations. Here are a couple of references I read over.

    "Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." - Acts 3:6

    "But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. 25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God" - Luke 5:22-25

    I don't want to play into the hands of hustlers like a fool, and I don't want to perpetuate a cycle of being a professional beggar. I do want to meet the needs or people. I may not have a lot of money but certainly more than these people. But what is it that they really need? It seems to me that Jesus and the disciples knew these same professional beggars needed something more than just money. They knew these people needed healing both spiritually and physically. Many people in the world will be able to meet the money and clothing need for people but they can't meet the needs that only Jesus can. I take that same Jesus with me everywhere I go. So many next time I come acorss a hustler I should follow the lead and give them the very thing that is unique which I can offer. healing through Jesus.

    It appears to me that no one else ever offers that. Well they don't seem to anyway. Good people give money and it's helpful. I want to be the sort of person that offers real answers that make a difference. I know Jesus made a difference in me, so I'm going to try and be brave enough and have faith that I can pass that on.

  • Adventures getting to Beijing

    Last night we had a flight booked from Shanghai to Beijing. All the details for our trip a written down in Chinese and we have our flight numbers all sorted. We thought we were rather well prepared for Europeans in China but we didn't count on the taxi drivers.

    It comes time to leave for the airport. We need to be there an hour before and it's going to take about an hour to get there. Our flight is 8:50 so we pick up our bags and leave town. Jumping in a taxi we show the driver where we need to head on our little chart, he nods like he understands and we are on our way. Getting to the airport is smooth and we have heaps of time. I check in first and fumble my way through explaining where I need to go. The lovely checkin lady looks at her screen, smiles, hands back my passport and says "wrong airport - next please" and then follows a very difficult conversation trying to figure out why this isn't the right airport and what the heck we are meant to do about it.

    We figure out that we have been taken to the wrong airport by the taxi driver and we need to be 40km across town at the other airport. What follows is a fantastic and crazy taxi ride at full speed across town to get to the other airport. The taxi driver actually jumped out at one stage and changed number plates, I assume so he wouldn't get speeding tickets. There was some serious ducking and weaving happening on that taxi ride but alas we didn't make it in time. So now our flight has left, we have no where to stay, and we are stuck in Beijing.

    Oh the joys of traveling in a country that you can't speak the language.

    None of us can really afford to buy new tickets but what other choice do we have? Sam and I have stayed in Shanghai the night and will catch a plane to Beijing at lunchtime. John and Sinclair will catch a 9 hour train. I would have liked to catch the train but I'm tired and frustrated and just want to sleep so I'll catch the train another day when I'm more prepared.

    Sam and I made it to the right airport and after a few confusing moments trying to figure out if Air China is the same as China Air we made it through security and onto the plane. The Air China ticket people told us China Air was a different company. Actually they are the same company and we booked in with them. Never mind. Language is a fun barrier at times.

    So all is well really; just a fun little hick-up along the way. I'll post some photos and video of the night soon.

  • Coffee

    Let it be known that I love coffee. In fact I love fluid. If I could drink all the nutrients I needed to survive, I would. I haven't had a coffee in five days - on no actually I lie. I had a coffee when we went looking at the huge phone market. San needed to use the bathroom and didn't want to use a squat toilet so we had to find a western cafe and buy something. I had a rather good, strong, and bitter coffee but that's the only one I've had.

    I'm sitting in one of the airports in Shanghai and would love a coffee right now. I found somewhere to buy coffee but the price is 40 RMB which is about $11 NZD. I know airport food is expensive all over the world and usually not that good but far out that is expensive coffee. I think I'll pass this time.

    They have Starbucks over here but I haven't tried it. Might give that a go when I get to Beijing. I haven't had breakfast yet and coffee would be just the treat I require.

  • Pearl of Shanghai, hustlers in the malls, and trying to find a bar

    The Pearl of Shanghai is an amazing tall tower similar to the Sky tower in Auckland, NZ. It is meant to symbolize everything great and wonderful about China.


    It's a cool tower to look at but not amazing to visit. The view was awesome. The queue lines were huge for this place. They really really are long. Longer than any other I've seen at places like airports, Disneyland, Customs or anything. The lines go all the way round the base of this tower. The video might give you a idea of how big it was. Luckily we didn't go during peak time so we went straight up.

    The view from the top was very cool. This video doesn't really do much justice but here it is all the same. For as far as you can see in any direction there are lights. Every horizon is sparkling and it goes a long way beyond what I can see.

    We have visited a few large malls and markets now and in every place there are always hawkers and hustlers. The sort of people that are selling fake watches or trying to make a commission from the brining you to a certain store to buy. This gets old really fast. The best way to avoid them is not to make eye contact but it's not all that easy. In one mall we have 7 hustlers following and talking to us the whole time. It gets a little overwhelming at times. I can't just walk and look without one of them yelling at my to go inside and try something. They follow us from store to store. We have discovered a few innovative ways of getting rid of them but I won't share those here haha.

    We have been keen to check out the night life while over here but it's really hard to find a bar we can successfully bar a drink from. The language barrier is hard enough at the best of times, let alone when you are yelling across a noisy bar.

    We spent four hours looking for a bar. We tried three but they didn't work out for a few reasons. the fist bar was a super bar. The sort of place that can have 10,000 people in it. I've never seen one so big. Multiple floors and international DJ's they fly in every night of the week. The door charge was 100 RMB ($30 NZD) which was a bit much for me so we didn't go in. The second bar was an underground place. Very interesting. It was the only place in China I have seen graffiti. It was very dark and not really a friendly sort of place so we left. The third place was not what we thought. It looked like a nice clean bar but as soon as we got near the door we realised it was more of a gentlemen's club which also wasn't what we wanted. So after a long time driving around the city and with no luck we went home four hours later. I'd like to say it was fun all the same, but this time it wasn't.

    China is fantastic. Shanghai is expensive but very interesting. There is a heap to do. We could have filled two weeks in this city but it's time to move on. Beijing is next and our next business meeting.

    152 021 82032 - Sam's cell phone

    124 6650 5925

  • Videos of China trip on Youtube

    In case you would like to follow some of the antics from my trip to China

  • Eating dog, see though toilet doors, five floors of computers, and six floors of cell phones

    Leftfield had it's first business meeting last night over dinner. We were taken to a beautiful restraunt where you picked the plates of food you want and they cook up that right amount for the number of people you have. One of the dishes ordered was dog. Now please note that this is China and this is what they eat in their culture. So there was dog on the table and I figured that I may never get a chance to try it again. Dog doesn't taste all that bad. In fact it's rather nice. It's hard to say what it tastes like. I thought it tasted like meat hahaha discriptive I know. It was cooked in a stew and was very tender. Maybe even too tender. So now I've tried dog, I have cat, rat, and horse to go. Sorry if eating those things really offends you.

    Our hotel room in Shanghai is a lot bigger than in Hong Kong - I'm a very happy lad about that. The toilet and shower are made from opaque glass that you can mostly see through. Luckily the toilt and shower are seperated from the bedroom by another opaque frosted glass wall and a curtain. It's a nice room to stay in though and we have free internet. We started out in room 8333 and while checking out the room we found the cups hadn't been cleaned for a long time as there was half a mug of very old coffee with mold growing on top, so they moved us to room 8332 which was nice but the internet kept stopping working. Not usually a problem acept I have to work and need the internet to do so. They have moved us back to 8333. Yay for playing ping pong with our rooms. They are very kind about it all.

    Sam and I have had a good time trying to be independant of John. We are trying our best to buy things and get around without needing John to interperat for us.

    We checked out a couple of cool places today. A huge computer shopping market; this was five floors high and packed full of hundereds of small shops selling anything you can think of. This was totally focused on computers. It wasn't a general electronics market. The second market was a cell phone market that was six floors high. Now this place was awesome. Every phone and every state of legit and illigit products. Some were the real deal and cost a lot, others were second hand, some where stolen, and then there were the copies in all their different forms - high and low quality. I nearly bought an iPhone but couldn't get the guy to come down enough. Still they are cheaper than normal but I wanted one for about $400 NZD and couldn't seem to get them below $900 NZD. I had a great time bartering with everyone. I had some great deals going but didn't buy any in the end. I might do later on. It's only the start of our trip so I'm not in any rush.

  • Taxis, trains, planes, and KFC in huge domestic airports

    [Edit - 18/03/09]

    I’ve just slept for 12 hours straight. We got in to Hong Kong at about 6:30pm local time, made it to our hotel at 7:30pm. I lay down for a quick kip while John sorted his cell phone and I woke up the next day at 8pm. I was more tired than I thought. The last week before I left was a little exhausting.

    This is the first full day of our trip. We headed out for breakfast and John found some local place which was full of people so we thought that was a safe bet. This place cracked me up. You don’t get a table to yourself in this place. There are large round tables that seat about eight people and you are directed to just sit down at anyone with the strangers already there. Everyone was Chinese, which is to be expected, and they all took a good look at the hulking great white guy with blonde hair who squeezed into their morning world.

    The food was great. I’m keen on trying as much new and different stuff as I can; however, I figured that playing it safe for my first meal might be a good idea. John ordered some local cuisine that I would probably have tried in NZ at some stage. Things like meatballs, shrimp dumplings, chicken and rice soup. It was very nice and I managed to eat everything with chopsticks – I was stoked. I really don’t want to be a tourist if I can help it. I want to experience China the local way as much as possible. I hate the idea of going to a foreign country and making them bend to my western European way e.g. asking for a knife and fork because I can’t use chopsticks.  John is great. I’m very blessed to be travelling with a Chinese national.

    Oh I haven’t said already that I have no idea what the deal is with tipping people over here. The porter took our bags to our room last night and then hung around in the room for a moment and slowly headed towards the door. Neither John nor I had any idea if we should tip him or how much. We still aren’t sure.

    After the mornings adventures we headed over to meet up with Sam, one of the other three guys I’m travelling with. There will be Sam, Sinclair, John, and I on this trip for most of the time. Sam and Sinclair each arrive separately and leave separately. We meet up with Sinclair in Shanghai on 17 March.

    Sam’s hotel is tiny. I thought ours was bad but Sam’s was amazing. Trying to find the door to his hotel was hard enough. I’m not sure this picture will give you a great idea but it’s just a small door in the side of what looks like a closed shop. I was expecting a lobby with a porter etc but not this place


    The great thing about Sam’s hotel was free wireless Internet.  I gave Mum and Dad a call from Skype. Mum wanted to know if I was safe – how cute of her. I wonder what she was going to do if I wasn’t? Maybe she will comment if you reads this.

    The plan for today is to travel to the border of Hong Kong province and cross over into main land China. We essentially travelled from one end of the line to the other but couldn’t go on one train all the way; so we would travel six stops, get off, hope on the next train on the other side of the platform which was heading the same direction as the train we were on, and then travel another six stops and do it all again. The train ride was easy and uneventful. The only things I’ve round about China and now the train system is it has been designed for small people with small bags. My large suitcase doesn’t fit through the turnstiles where you swipe to get into the train stations. If you’ve been to London or on a subway you will know what I’m talking about.

    At the end of the train ride we end up at customs. John has to go through a seperate area for Chinese nationals who are just visiting China and this leaves Sam and I to get through by ourselves. Not an issue really apart from the fact that we can’t read or speak Chinese and that makes it a little hard trying to figure out which one of the 70 aisles we should line up at. They are all colour coded so we just picked a colour and followed that all the way though. It was a good plan and worked well.

    Once we got through customs and found John we were out into the big wide world of main land China. Immediately some guy comes up and starts talking to John and showing him a card, which I think, was a taxi drivers license. John obviously was not impressed as he flagged the guy away. The guy didn’t leave and started to walk next to john and tapping him on the shoulder. I could tell John wasn’t impressed and wasn’t going to shake the guy very well. These guys are very pushy. I’ve encountered it before in Africa. They mean well and just don’t leave you alone. I thought this was a good opportunity to use the skills God blessed me with – a loud voice and a direct spirit. So in a loud clear Hayden type voice I said ‘go away’ several people around us looked over and the guy hassling john looked a little shocked. He left very quickly hahahaha. John appreciated the help.

    The next part isn’t nearly as exciting. At this point we are in a border city called Shen Zhen. We jump into the airport bus, drive 45mins to the airport, get out and check into our flight for Shanghai.

    We had a little time to kill before we had to board and we were all hungry. KFC was the closest place that looked safe. The funniest part was not being able to figure out how to order what we wanted. Obviously all the menus are in Chinese so I have no idea what I’m trying to order. I can’t even tell the burgers from the drinks. Nothing is called the same over here. I did find this menu but I’ll be dammed if I know what to say to order something from it hahaha. They don’t look like what we have at home so I don’t even know what I’m getting. It was a fun little adventure.


    I’m sitting on the plane to Shanghai writing this post. We have just been served our airline food. Check this out; it’s just not as good as First Class food from Qantas


    They really know how to package food. I couldn’t get my jelly open. When I finally did, or when John got it open for me – thanks John, I couldn’t get my fork into it hahaha. The jelly was so tough I couldn’t cut it. John though it was rather funny so took this pic.


  • First impressions of Hong Kong

    Hong Kong is an amazing place; I guess most places around the world are amazing if you’ve never been there though right? I’m about to say all the cliché things like the buildings are so different, the smells are strange, the lights all work backwards blah blah and it’s all true but I don’t suspect you will understand unless you’ve been here.

    The thing that did strike me first was the incredible difference between that which has been designed, as in it looks good and has had an artist work on it, and that which is just straight out functional. The housing buildings and office blocks are good examples. Housing buildings here are often tall grey ugly things that hang out over the edge of the sidewalks, and peoples washing hangs out even further. They have NO aesthetic appeal. They are just huge grey dimpled constructions that aren’t much fun to look at. And then there are the office buildings. These are the pretty looking things. They express power and prestige of the companies that built them. They are beautiful glass structures with cool crisp lines.

    Check out the difference in this photo. In the first you can see the HSBC bank office building and around it you see the high-rise apartments. I find the stark difference startling. I guess that in NZ the difference from building to building is not as pronounced because we don’t tend to have it right next to each other.



    I find this stark difference is present in nearly everything over here. One store will look very tidy and the one right next door is run down. One sign or advertisement will be well produced and right next door will be a sign with the letters falling off.  The impact on me is probably magnified given that I work in the communications industry, but I know I would rather visit the stores that put effort into their appearance. Having said that, while talking to John he pointed out that there are so many people over here that every shop does well. They don’t need to advertise or promote much because there are people everywhere and they all visit every store.

    I walked past three 7-eleven stores all right next to each other and all three were full of people. No one was doing better than the others. They all had enough customers to keep them busy. I guess that’s the great thing about running a business in a country with heaps or people.

    Our hotel room is tiny. The bathroom is even smaller. I had a shower and was touching three walls at any given time – I’m not even exaggerating!  I had trouble lifting my knee to wash my feet because there just wasn’t enough room. The one bed I’ve slept in so far was a single made for Chinese people, not surprising really. My head was touching the headboard and my feet hung out the bottom by 15cm. It was a very firm mattress. I slept for 12 hours straight. The flights and working hard over the last week must have finally caught up.

  • Photos of China trip on Flickr


    I'm going to post a few of these photos in blogs but not all of them. So I'm set up a flickr so you can see all the photos I've taken. Check this out for all the photos and some brief descriptions

  • Ahhh the joys of being a big guy on a plane

    I’m not that big I guess but then I’m larger than most. Unfortunately I was blessed with wide shoulders which is great for Rugby, not so great for air plane seats.

    I’m sitting in the middle seat on the flight from Wellington to Sydney. I had forgotten just how small the space is here. They served us breakfast, which was not bad, and I couldn’t even get my food to my mouth hahaha. I can see the benefits of sitting by the window - with an extra two inches, of the aisle with a heap of space. I think next flight I will try not to sit in the middle. Hahaha don’t suppose there is actually much chance of that happening though.

    I can bearly type as I sit here with my MacBook on the tray. I wonder what I would do if the person infront puts their seat back. I’ve been running those lines through my head

    “Hey dude, there ain’t no room back here”

    “Excus me, would you mind putting your seat up”

    “Oi, I’m huge and there isn’t any extra space”

    or maybe just screaming like my legs is broken and stuck hahaha I think that would be the most fun.

    Oh my goodness – John, my friend who is sitting by the window just had to get up for the bathroom. I couldn’t move my legs in any direction to let him out. I know squeezing past people when in a row is hard but on a plane, on this plane it’s nearly impossible! He moved a little, then I moved a little, then he pushed past a bit and I moved over there and he was free. Well that is till he had to get past the next person.

    I can’t wait for Premium Economy on our next flight.  I’m told we are flying on one of the new A380s. Bring on Sydney to Hong Kong.

  • The six weeks of travel begin

    It all starts now. Well actually I guess it all started about 5 days ago when I washed every piece of clothing I had in preparation to pack my bags for the busiest six weeks of my life.

    I washed my clothes with the best intentions of packing my bag on the Monday before I left for China on the Saturday. I got as far as doing the washing but nothing made it into my bag until last night, Thursday, at 12pm. I did manage to pack in 20mins though.

    I’ve just taken off from Wellington – I’m not sure I’m allowed my MacBook on just yet but meh, it’s on now. I have a slight headache from not enough sleep; I’m not complaining, just pointing it out. The last week has been fantastic but a little over the top. There have been many nights working till midnight and then up again working by 5am. Mostly because I get up to a heap of other stuff during the week like Rugby training and Church activities. My poor Girlfriend, Katherine, hasn’t seen or heard much of me this week and when I have talked to her I’ve been totally distracted. I think she has managed well given that we are doing distance anyway and that makes it harder.

    Today is Friday and I’m heading to Auckland to hang out with the Equippers Church crew. They are running an event that I would like to run in Wellington so I’m going to see how it’s run. Everyone tells me it’s great fun. The only bummer is that I have to be back in Wellington tonight, which means I have to leave half way through the event this evening. I should have enough time to see how it’s run and get an idea of what they do.

    I have to be back in Wellington tonight because I fly to China at 6am on Saturday. The thing that worries me is if I don’t make my flight from Auckland to Wellington, I’ll miss my flight to China. I’m on the last flight out of Auckland so there are no other options for getting home. I suppose I should have given myself a bit of breathing room but…well…meh who needs breathing room. Breathing room just takes all the fun and adventure out of life, or at least that’s what I’m going to tell myself today. My back-up plan if my flight is canceled will be to run to the motorway and try catch a ride all the way down to Welly. That would be an adventure.

    In a nutshell this is how my next six weeks look

    • Friday, 13 March – travel to Auckland and back
    • Saturday, 14 March – travel to China
    • Travel to 14 cities over about three weeks
    • Monday, 6 April – arrive back in NZ
    • Monday, 6 April - Travel to Taupo for Equippers Leaders conference
    • Thursday, 9 April – Hitch to Auckland for Shout Conference
    • Sunday, 12 April – travel from Auckland to Wellington
    • Work for a week
    • Friday, 17 – fly to Auckland, hire a car, drive to Hamilton
    • Saturday, 18 April – Attend Sarah and Jason’s wedding
    • Saturday/Sunday – Travel to Wellington
    • Monday, 20 April – take a break and sleep
  • Travel details and itinerary for my trip to China

    All times are for the country listed above it


    Leaving from


    Travel details

    Friday, 13 March

    Wellington, NZ

    Depart: 8:30am

    Auckland, NZ

    Arrive: 9:30am

    Air NZ

    Flight #412

    Friday, 13 March

    Auckland, NZ

    Depart: 9pm

    Wellington, NZ

    Arrive: 10pm

    Air NZ

    Flight #

    Saturday, 14 March


    Depart: 6am

    Sydney, Australia

    Arrive: 740am


    Flight #QF118

    Saturday, 14 March

    Sydney, Australia

    Depart: 11:55am

    Hong Kong, CH

    Arrive: 5:45pm


    Flight #QF127

    Sunday, 15 March

    Hong Kong, CH

    Shen Zhen, CH


    Sunday, 15 March

    Shen Zhen. CH

    Depart: 2pm

    Shanghai, CH

    Arrive: 5pm

    Flight #CZ3551

    Thursday, 19 March

    Shanghai, CH

    Depart: 9:10pm

    Beijing, CH

    Arrive: 11:30pm

    Flight #MU586?

    Monday, 23 March

    Beijing, CH

    Depart: 4:05pm

    Xi'an, CH

    Arrive: 5:55pm

    Flight #CZ6948

    Tues, 24 March

    Xi’an, CH

    Depart: 9:10pm

    Chengdu, CH

    Arrive: 10pm

    Flight #MU2431

    Wednesday, 25 March

    Chengdu, CH

    Depart: TBC

    Valley of 9, CH

    Arrive: 5:30am

    TBC – bus or train overnight

    Saturday, 28 March

    Valley of 9, CH

    Depart: 12:40am

    Chengdu. CH

    Arrive: 1:30pm

    TBC – bus or train

    Sunday, 29 March

    Chengdu, CH

    Depart: 9:05pm

    Guilin, CH

    Arrive: 10:35pm

    Flight #3U8777

    Tuesday, 31 March

    Guilin, CH

    Depart: 8:15pm

    Zhengzhou, CH

    Arrive: 10pm

    Flight #SC4752

    Saturday, 4 April

    Zhengzhou, CH

    Depart: 8:20am

    Guangzhou, CH

    Arrive: 11:30am

    Flight #CZ3391#

    Saturday, 4 April

    Guangzhou, CH

    Depart: lunchtime

    Hong Kong, CH

    Arrive: Afternoon


    5 April

    Hong Kong, CH

    Depart: 9:10pm

    Sydney, Australia

    Arrive: 7:55am


    Flight #QF128

    6 April

    Sydney, Australia

    Depart: 9:15am

    Wellington, NZ

    Arrive: 2:30pm


    Flight: #QF47