Spiderman 3 Poster in Kunming, China

Ok, not sure if this is a national problem with the Spiderman 3 posters, but Jeremy just noticed that in Kunming all of the promotional materials are messed up. The Chinese is fine and some of the English is a little silly, but there is a colossal mistake repeated on every bit of their signage — including the window decals.

The English word “Spiderman” never actually appears on the posters. Instead, above “蜘蛛侠” and Spiderman’s outstretched arms in that Spiderman-y font it reads: “ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPRSTUVWY – 3”.

Spiderman 3 - Kunming, China

Anyone in Shanghai or Beijing see the same mistake? Other metro areas?

Sadly, you may notice even the alphabet is transposed incorrectly. The letters “Q”, “X”, and “Z” are missing.

sometimes I eat fish

Weekends are not so untouchable here in China. Today is Sunday and my Korean student, who attends high school in Kunming, told me she has her Friday classes. Yesterday, they had Thursday classes. May day is this coming Tuesday, and in order to extend the holiday through the following weekend, this weekend is being sacrificed — schools and businesses continue to operate as if they are normal weekdays.

This holiday schedule was announced by the government about a week ago. The alternative, I suppose, was to make this weekend the holiday and change the following weekend to be part of the working week. Anyway, these kinds of last-minute announcements are disorienting for me. Thankfully, our new school simply announced at the beginning of the semester that our vacation would be April 28 – May 6. Seems sensible.

Yesterday we had a school field trip to 抚仙湖 (Fuxian Hu), a lake about a 2-hour drive from Kunming. I was very excited about the chance to go swimming and even bought a bathing suit, but the weather wasn’t great. Too cold for swimming. That didn’t stop some lunatics from getting in the water.

Jeremy decided to swim

It was April’s birthday and I talked her into coming along. She used to be a tourguide here and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share her expertise. When we stopped at the flower market on our way to the lake, she turned to us and forgetting that this time her audience was a group of foreigners, she said, “Now, if you want to buy something don’t speak Putonghua [Mandarin]. You’ll need to speak Fanyan [the local dialect], or else you’ll get bad prices.” Of course, we don’t speak Fanyan, but obliged by trying out our best impressions of the dialect. (“It’s just like speaking Putonghua with your jaw kind of slack!” and “Remember to add ‘ga’ to the end of each sentence!”) She was appalled.

April in the flower market

It was a fun trip. There were over 150 people, including some kids. The kids were a great. Despite having different mother tongues, they all played with each other and were kissing and hugging … you could almost hear the song “we are the world.” One little girl took a liking to Jeremy on our boat ride.

<a href=http://092.me>nice</a> munchkin child with us on the boat” /></a></p>
<p>After the boat ride, April treated us to tiny grilled fish and beer.</p>
<p><a href=sometimes I eat fish

How lovely.

enjoying little swordfish

Not sure what we’ll do with the remainder of our holiday.

Anyway, a final note for the computer nerds:

Google Analytics

I geeked out last week when Tech Soup ran a feature on Google Analytics. The data they collect on your web traffic isn’t earth-shattering, but they sure know how to make an intuitive and beautiful tool. Wow, I love Google more and more.

Stupid

Well, my new school (Dong Fang, 昆明东方语言文化学校) is just as terrible as the old one (Shi Da, 云南师范大学). The main problem is that there are few opportunities to practice speaking in the classroom, and outside the classroom everyone instantly starts speaking English or their mother tongue. I’m not sure what contributes to this phenomenon, but it really sucks. At Shi Da, even when I had next-to no Chinese at all, I was still fumbling through normal small talk in Chinese. At Dong Fang, I feel stupid for trying to initiate anything (outside class) in Chinese.

My tutor says that my reading is improving. But my conversation skills are worse than before. Very frustrating.

I’m teaching English only on the weekends, which is good. It’s really hard for me to switch between languages, so limiting it to the weekends works for me. I find even after two days (6 hours) of teaching English, my head resists returning to Chinese. Anyway, it’s necessary to subsidize my expenses by teaching a little. I’m teaching kids one hour a week, and they asked me to do another 6 hours but I just can’t deal with that. It requires tons of preparation and energy. Plus, it doesn’t pay more than my one-on-one tutoring and conversation classes. Maybe I can find some more high school kids to tutor. They’re the best.

Meanwhile, my friend Audrey Hollis won here election for Alderman back in Missouri! I donated a website here: http://audreyhollis.googlepages.com