Wednesday, December 12, 2007

treasure, lost jobs and snow

2 weeks ago, after a night out at treasure island (nothing too hard core, but it is no secret the treasure is the Russian women on stage dancing) we failed to go skiing and ended up playing golf instead. Fortunately this was only at a driving range to save too much embarrassment since it was the first time I had ever picked up a golf club. Personally I think it was more fun, and much cheaper and easier, to just play golf on the Wii (although more tiring playing on the Wii!).

Last weekend we did manage to go skiing, since the night before we had a quiet one in, playing Risk; though actually it did get rather heated, and we contemplated filming it for youtube or a reality TV show! Despite choosing the closest ski resort to downtown Beijing, at only 45 minutes drive, it was actually incredibly good. The fake snow was top quality and they had several runs that allowed us to get some decent speed as well as plenty of ramps and moguls which were too demanding for me and most others that were attempting to go down them.

In fact, the observation was made, on reflection from looking at the photos, quite how i managed to move my arms and legs around so fast and so much whilst attempting to get 50cm in the air off of a jump. Well, I did, and it looked spectacular, if not elegant. It was, though, quite bizarre skiing on perfect white snow whilst all around was greyish-brown countryside and a few miles away the city of Miyun and some sort of smog/cloud enveloping it. Ironically it did then snow in Beijing the next day!

On the topic of skiing and the related issue of climate change (apparently the Scottish ski slopes are no longer in business any more, not that many Southerners, like me, ever considered them in business!), China is, as you are probably reading whilst the Bali UN negotiations take place at the center, along with the USA. Thus it will be interesting to see what China is forced to do... it has said it will not even consider trying to reduce its total carbon footprint until at least 2020 (its current promises are to be more energy efficient to emit less carbon)... but all of a sudden China is feeling the impact of climate change and might not be able to wait that long.

The latest (and hopefully last) update on the taxi incident is as follows:
-The story made it into the provincial newspaper
-The taxi company (or city taxi authority) sent me a 3 page apology by fax explaining that the taxi driver had lost his taxi license and been fined about 60 pounds
-The local TV station started a minor investigation into the issue of rip-off taxi drivers (it is not just us that got ripped off).

Now, on one hand we feel very bad for the taxi driver, since he did not do anything horrendously wrong (he just lied and then tried to ask for more money) and probably did not deserve to lose his job. On the other hand, the taxi drivers in Yulin are known to be unkind and an example needs to be set (even if they decide the 'foreign friend' should be the excuse needed to do it). Then i wondered what could i do to try to get him his job back, and figured... not much, since the taxi company would not do that, as it would lose face and it might have other knock-on effects. I mean, no-one ever thought this fiasco would arise in the first place, and i do not want it going on any longer or taking any other twists really!

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