The craze of 2010 is the bicycle!!
Here I am with Edwards and Alex on the golf course having cycled from my house to the Bear's. Here Edwards picked up one of 4 bikes that Mr Eyles now owns and we cycled to Muza...which was not without incident. Have barely gone 200 yards, Alex fell off!! Poor performance from the lad who failed a previous hiking test with his shrieks of horror on encountering a leech... Anyway, from there it was across to Jing-Mei and a quick 18 holes which I was winning until near the end.
The weather turned on the way back and we all got soaked and lost Alex on the way....
While all the other lads are busy doing kindergarten at Happy Marion, I went a step further and started teaching at a PRE-Kindergarten! called Happy Baby. Started in December as a sub for some guy who went home to America for Xmas, but the quality of my teaching shone through and they offered me a contract! classes range from the 3 year olds, 2 year olds, 1 year olds.....and then the babies!
10 minutes of fun with some gurgling tots sat on potties...good to see my talent isn't wasted...
But It's not all babies...I also teach 9 year old's in the afternoons and here I am with the winner of the spelling bee...Eric. Note some of my class rules in the background!
The cycling mania continues...A trip round the coast, over Guan-Yin shan and back was a killer but maybe even topped by a 51km ride to Tucheng, over the mountain to Ang-Kan and finally to Xin-dien where Edwards and I tried to take the MRT home but were turned back by staff as this facility is only available at weekends. Had to leave my bike there and hot foot it to my class dressed in shabby, sweaty cycling gear...probably didn't smell too clever either.
My former Eurocentre secretary pal, Joanne is heading off to Germany for her studies...(going to be tricky when she can barely speak the language!) and I helped her prepare her application whilst sitting in my favourite breakfast joint...Laya Burger.
February was an eventful month with me at one point on the verge of no classes. I was saved however by the Happy Marion winter camp which involved showing the kids how to write comic books. The cynics would say these classes are only for kids whose parents don't want them around the house during their winter vacation, but I like to think these were creative youngsters desperate to express themselves through the medium of cartoon and caricature.
After a battle with the Eurocentre I finaly managed to knock Saturday teaching on the head which meant more opportunities for hiking/biking. However if the weather wasn't up to scratch Edwards and I would sometimes take in a cultural activity like a trip to the Modern Art Museum.....
And talking of the Eurocentre, I went straight from hiking to meet some of my students in On Tap before dashing off to play darts in the return leg of the Kuting Possee V Minzu Mob challenge at Tommy's house....needless to say we got thrashed again...but it were a good laff!
Having sold my house and now being in possession of the cash, I decided to treat myself to a new scooter. Upgraded to a 250cc Kymco which has that extra bit of power to burn pretty much everything else off the road! The pic below was taken just as I took my old motor in for the part exchange.
While most of the On Tap crew were heading to Thailand for a football tournament, Edwards and I decided to join Dan and go to Kaoshiung trip where he was meeting some business partner. This gave me the chance to see Joanne who had moved back to her hometown some months before.
With a general election coming up in the UK, an April Fools joke in the Guardian had this campaign poster of Gordon Brown threatening "Soft lad" David Cameron to step outside and settle things with a bit of fisticuffs...rather amusing and kind of typical UK laddish mentality.
The first hike was naturally enough to Monkey Mountain and four of us went on a four hour hike through valleys, woodland, farmland and a tea plantation where I have visited before on numerous occasions. I asked the lady, as she was pouring us tea if we could borrow some conical hats for a photo opportunity to which she assented...anyway, check out the webpage.
The White Monkeys, intrepid as ever set off for the mountains on a rainy day and despite having a few problems with a grumpy, hungover Edwards the trip was another success. See the vid on the White Monkey Page
World cup fever in Taiwan and as usual Englands expectations were sky high. Watched the games in On Tap which had a cracking atmosphere for the USA game and much less so for the Algeria game where we played like shite!!
I worked like a trooper the first week of July and spent the day of my flight rushing around signing contracts for the new teaching season. Bottled out of taking on a Kindergarten at Matt Wharton's old place after hearing too many horror stories....but could it really be that bad?
August was another big month because this time I flew off to Indonesia with three mates for a three week holiday. Finally got some colour to my skin and decided to get a crew cut into the bargain as well!
Before I knew it my holidays were over and it was back to work again, though with my weekend's free there was plenty of time for hiking and pubbing!
On the Mid-Autumn Festival, Edwards, Matt Wharton(Warden, Warthog...take your pick) headed off to the beach at Bai-Sha-Wan to get some end of season rays and play a little beach footy. I haven'y kicked a football around for literally years and it was fun to rifle a few shots into the onion bag as in years gone by (ahem!...ed)
Went to see these two bands and was impressed with both...The twins in the Deadly Vibes sometimes drink in On Tap and I've met them before...didn't realise that they rocked like The Cramps!!
Following weekend was Carnegies free party so I had to pay a visit and met Dave and Sharon there...Sharon is pregnant which is damned good news for them and I wish them well. I left early because I had a big hike planned for Sunday...
Monday was a rainy day so I sat in and did my website and got the Nina 2010 page online.....three months ago but seems like six.
A week of solid rain brought a sense of misery to everything, even in darts! We played the Tien-Mu team and got whipped just as everyone else had, though I felt that if Rob Mason had played and Keelung had been on form we could have done a lot better and maybe sneaked a win. Well, my Chinese class didn't last long. I got an e-mail saying she couldn't teach me anymore because her boyfriend didn't approve....After I bumped into them in Sababba on saturday night I can see what he was insecure about, definitely a case of a "fresh flower stuck into a cowpat" as the Chinese would say.
One of Joanne's friends was up for the weekend so we entertained her with, er...a few drinks in Carnegies where a bunch of the lads were inebriated after going to a wedding. Quick change of venue took us to Sappho and an evening of Jazz...always my favourite choice!!! Next Day I took her to Nanjing East road area to eat and we popped into the art museum to check out the India exhibition....pretty good actually!
The dreadful weather continued, I got an ear infection and a horrible burst blood vessel in my eye that looked awful but apparently is quite harmless....So not really set up for Halloween. A bit of a damp squib for me really, wore last years costume with sunglasses (to hide the eye) and although On Tap was pretty good we made the mistake of going to Brass Monkey which was nothing special...oh well better luck next year.
Well, after one girl cut me off from her life another one came in. Naomi started to making regular weekend visits to Taipei and helped resurrect my frequenting of fine restaurants!
It's singing time at Happy Marion and my kids will be doing the "Theme from Rawhide" Blues Brothers version.....A cracking little number!
Poker playing has made a re-appearance on the circuit and the "Red Baron" is helping to relieve hapless punters of their hard earned cash!
New Years Eve was spent at Dave Silver's house to watch the fireworks....Sharen Silver is 5 months pregnant...baby silver on the way!