Monday, October 31, 2011
- At the bus stop, a young man walks up to me and asks if he can practice his English. I say yes, and we talk at the stop and then on the bus. I learn that he is studying for a Masters degree in Economics. I ask him about the Chinese economy. How is it? I ask. He says that it is not so great because of the property soaps. I tell him he means property bubbles. We pass elevated Wuxi Metro tracks. I ask him if Wuxi needs a subway. He says he thinks it doesn't. He also says that subway is being built very quickly and will probably be shoddy when completed. He then tells me that I am the first foreigner he has ever talked to. I found this hard to believe. His English was at an advanced beginner level. I questioned him. He told me that he read a lot on his own, and listened to VOA.
- Confession: No matter how many times, I watch documentaries about Stalingrad, I always find myself wanting the Nazis to extract themselves. They didn't of course, which was a good thing. Only problem was the Soviets won which wasn't a good thing either, except for the fact that the Nazis lost. I cheer for the Nazis over the Soviets because they looked cooler. The Soviets were dour-faced and savage looking. This thought must be a strange residue from my childhood when I found myself happy that Trudeau won elections in Canada. He was cool-looking too.
- Someone asked how the Poles could like the Germans more than the Russians. The Russians, I said, were Barbarians. I mentioned that I was Latvian and how faced with a similar choice, they choose the Germans as well. The Germans did nasty things in WWII but they redeemed themselves. The Russians never did recognize the barbaric nature of the Soviet Union. Thinking more about it, I should have also mentioned that the Poles were Catholics and the Russians, especially the Soviet variety, were atheist. Catholics, have had to deal with thugs throughout their history, but they can't deal with people who want to destroy their Church. That is why they took the Fascist side in the Spanish Civil War, for instance.
- I am in China. I have been so for over seven years. Who would have thought it? I still see something, that so Asian and not to be seen in Canada, that makes me aware of the fact.
- Interesting dynamics at school with a full-pledged atheist and an avowed Christian in the same office. The atheist talks of converting the Christian. The atheist's hatred of the Christian is scary to behold. See the hatred, and you believe that the Devil exists. However, the Christian is loud in his own right, and says things as well that make me bristle.
- I have often thought that the two most annoying types are atheists and born-again Christians, but I will take the Christian over the atheist. Atheists, I notice, don't have to be held to any standard, so they have it easy.(Full disclosure: I want to be a Catholic.) Christians do have high standards that they must try to keep to. Anyone who tries to keep high standards is always going to look to be lacking. Christians are not perfect. They may often not seem better than those who aren't Christian, but they are often better persons than they would otherwise be because they are Christians.
- More than anything, I hate Communism. When atheists praise Communists for clamping down on religion, I have good reason to be religious. How can one live a life so devoid of spirit?
- One problem about having been in China so long is that I am completely out of the loop when it comes to my parents. My mother is out of the hospital, but she hasn't fully recovered from her surgery. Thankfully, my sister is there to help her for two weeks. But after that, Mom will be on her own. Dad may never be able to return home.
- Saturday night, the school held a Halloween Party. Tony came to it. He tried to steal the microphone of the party's hosts. When they took it away from him, he became very upset. He was only placated when someone allowed him to play Angry Birds on their I-Phone. However, Tony did like wearing a mask, and I was able to take good photos of him doing so. You can visit the Tony Kaulins blog to see them.
- Sunday evening, the K family went to a restaurant in the Nanchang Temple Market. The restaurant, set along a canal, was narrow. In theory, it was set up nicely. In practice, it had a shoddy feel to it, and the area besides the canal was filthy.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
- Walking outside, I was wearing a sweat top and a t-shirt. Last week, I would have sweated in this clothing; this week, I am almost freezing.
- I was trying to watch video of Super Bowl 3: the game where Namath made himself legendary by brashly predicting victory for his team.
- I talked to my father Tuesday morning. He is a hospital in Brandon, Manitoba. He seemed okay. His spirits were better than I expected. However, his memory wasn't all there. I put this idea in his head to phone Mom who was in another room in the hospital, and he hung up on me.
- Showing Tony the Microsoft Train Simulator program was a big mistake. Just before I put him in the van that was to take him to school, we had this argument about watching the diesel or steam engines. I wanted to use the diesel engines because they were easy to run -- Tony, not knowing this, insisted, and I mean, insisted that I play with the difficult-to-use steam engines.
- I found a great podcast about Chinese history.
- Tony on a bicycle
- Tony wants his Daddy.
- Tony rides his bicycle.
- What's happening in the Wuxi China Expatdom?
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Seven Billion people in the world and counting. I heard about this as I was listening to the latest Radio Derb Podcast.
Derbyshire said the following about World Population:
Is that too many, too few, or just right? Nobody knows, and there are cogent arguments on all sides. Only one thing is mathematically certain, and that is that our planet has some maximum capacity to support human life. What you think that capacity is, depends on your own personality and outlook. American conservatives, especially religious ones, are mostly philoprogenitive, while liberals and some irreligious conservative contrariwise favor fewer people. As always in a fact-free zone, people go with their inclinations and cook up arguments to support them. The really interesting numbers are comparative: fertility rates in the zone of barbarism compared with those in the zone of civilization, or fertility rates of the very religious when compared with those of the irreligious or casually religious..
My inclination, currently, is to say it is too few. I come from Canada where one doesn't see that many people and have seem a vivid contrast to this in China. I can't get my head around the fact that China can support so many people. I think now that this worry about overpopulation is overblown.
Asking Derbyshire's question to a group of students at an English Corner, all the students said they thought there were too many people. I told them I thought they were wrong and that the world, and China included could take on more people. I told students, rather crudely, that they probably hadn't been exposed to arguments questioning the assumption that China had too many people. The Chinese should have bigger families I said, adding that bigger families made for better people. To want to keep the population down I said was an indication of a hatred for the human race.**
I was asked how many children I had. I told them I had one and wanted more, and kept the regretful thought to myself about how, if I hadn't made screwy decisions in early adulthood and hadn't been living in a strange mental darkness, I would have had four or five.
I have seen people, using the overpopulation arguments, to justify the most monstrous of behaviors, ideologies, government policies, and lifestyles. I make the following observations:
- Abortion, the murder of the innocent, revels in the self-righteousness of keeping the population down.
- And the fewer children people have, the more self-righteous they become.
- The people who crave experiences in life are missing out on the best when they don't have children. Now, I don't mean to say that raising children is glamorous. It is torture for example to sit at a playground while Tony plays. There are times when I wish I could yank the Ipad from him and read a book I have on the E-reader App. Watching him practice his coloring is as dull as dishwater. But these little bits of suffering are necessary to make the moments of love more special. The good things in life are hard-won. We don't make the world better by shirking our duties and satisfying our inclinations.
** I have indicated a tendency to adopt the misanthropic pose myself. But I would be a conservative misanthrope, the type whose misanthropy is passive. I would shoot at the government official trying to intrude on my privacy. The Liberal or Socialist Misanthrope seems to revel in forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and forced asceticism on the lower classes.
I was able to phone my Mom, who is in recovering from hip surgery, Monday morning.
I reached her in her room at the Assinniboine Centre in Brandon, Manitoba, a place she used to work. It took four or five transfers before I was able to talk her, but they were quick transfers. Hearing her voice, I became all emotional.
I am happy to report she was sounding well. Other than being sore from her surgery, she tells me that she will probably be back home next week.
My father, is the same building as my mother, and I will contact him on Tuesday.
Friday, October 21, 2011
- That's Yue Yue in her mother's arms in a portrait. The Kaulins Family has similar style portraits on their walls.
- Yue Yue R.I.P. How I feel for her parents. It will be hard for them for now on.
- I had an English corner last night, and I broached the subject of Yue Yue. I had the feeling as I did so, that I was talking about old news with the students. The students who answered my questions said that the incident could have happened in pre-1980's China, could happen in Wuxi, and that Yue Yue's death won't change things.
- I have told the students that the world has watched the video. I have tempered my questions by saying that it could happen anywhere in the world. But there seems to be an admittance that there is a Chinese problem on display.
- Sometimes, one's efforts to cheer someone up don't work. We shouldn't tease. A teacher at school has lost his voice. He is teaching but we are trying to cheer him up through the ordeal. Most teachers, will teach, no matter what.
- I am still a Cainiac. Herman Cainiac that is.
- Is there anyone who really is enthusiastic about Mitt Romney? I haven't heard of such people.
- I want to phone my parents who are both in hospital but I am going to have to wait till Monday when I am not working. It seems that best time to phone them are in the early or very early morning. I haven't had an update from my sister so I assume no news is good news.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
- I first heard about Yueyue when my wife saw the video. Jenny watched the video of the little girl, Yueyue, in Foshan being run over by the van and became very upset. I then watched it and can only say it was horrific. It was a parent's worst nightmare.
- The aftermath, with the child being run over again and not helped by many passers-by, raises so many questions. What were these people thinking? Was this behavior an indictment of a region of China, all of China, Chinese culture, the Capitalist system, Socialism, a lack of religion, Modernity, Chinese law, the pursuit of material wealth, or Chinese's current peculiar form of government? Could this happen in other countries? Can any good come from this?
- I have so many thoughts about these questions that I don't know where to begin. Disincentives to helping people in need must be removed. I have been told over again that in China, that Good Samaritans run the risk of being made to pay if they help strangers in distress. One also has to have incentive to take responsibility for one's actions. I can understand, but not condone, the van driver's desire to run away. Yes, that would be my instinct too if I made such a horrible blunder. Hopefully, I would overcome my instinct, stop my van and help the child. I would have a stake in the child's being that is as great as the mother's. I would feel just as horrible for the driver as I would for the mother and child if he had stopped. We all make mistakes in life, and should feel lucky when no one else is hurt or killed. But he didn't stop and as far as I know, he hasn't turned himself in. (I have heard he offered to compensate the parents as long as he doesn't have to turn himself into the police) A driver's worst nightmare is to hit a child. Or as least it should be.
- But how does one have incentive to take responsibility for one's actions? If you base it on material values, there isn't any, except to make it much more expensive to run away than to help. But even then, it would be better to try to pay zero than amount X or amount 2X, because X would have to be big. One has to think of the consequences for one's soul. Religious people believe the costs involved would be infinite. Atheists would believe the costs fade away in time.
- I and other English teachers are going to be finding out what their students think about the incident.
- Update on my parents. My mother's surgery was successful. My father was said to be in a chipper mood. They are in the same hospital, in Brandon, but on different floors. I didn't realize, till my sister told me, that I could phone their rooms for updates and if lucky enough, get to talk to them. I have to work out the time zone differences to phone them.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I was at the electronics department of the supermarket near Casa K. I noticed this bald headed man screaming at the top of his lungs. He noticed me, said "hello" and carried on with what I was quickly classifying as caterwauling. I didn't know why he was doing this. I was hoping he could stop so I could look for my hdmi cable in peace. But he persisted in screaming, presumably, because he wanted to be served by someone in the electronics department. I noticed some clerks looking at him but not giving him any assistance.
Eventually, a store staff person, who looked to be senior in responsibility, dealt with the customer.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
- Monday is my Saturday. Ha Ha! I know some people whose Saturday is Wednesday. I know another guy who goes to church on what is his Saturday, but is Sunday to the proles. But like you, whatever day is your Saturday, I don't wear pants if I can help it. Unless I go to church.
- I boarded a bus yesterday and found a place to stand. I then looked at the video screen and saw my smirking visage. I had to turn away.
- I was at McDonald's on Sunday morning eating breakfast. I saw someone I knew take a seat down from where I was sitting but close to the service counter. This person, who I used to see all the time, didn't notice me, thankfully. (Or perhaps he did, but was doing the same thing I was: pretending to be blind) My instinct was to shirk the encounter. Like the star of the t.v. show Curb Your Enthusiasm, I hate stop-and-chats. One has to summon friendliness that has been figuratively packed in the bottom of one's backpack, only to be pulled out at an appointed time. I hate pass-and-greets as well, but that's another story that would take away from the smoothness of this narrative. So, then finishing my breakfast quickly, I exited the restaurant going a different way from what I normally would take to avoid the encounter.
- Being friendly takes supreme effort on my part, and I save the energy I have budgeted for friendliness on paying customers. Of course, if you have something interesting to say, and aren't a Left Wing Drone, I will be friendly to you, no problem.
- Cards and Rangers in the Baseball World Series. I suppose I will cheer for the Rangers because they are from Texas. You listen to Leftists and you would think Texas was the Soviet Union circa 1937 or China circa 1959. It is actually a grand place to be if you have ambition. Not so good if you a murderer though, but you can't please everybody.
- The Winnipeg Jets have begun their rebirth with three straight losses. They have are the only team, as I enter this entry, to not have earned a point in the NHL standings. I don't know what to say about this. There is any philosophical point to be made.
- I was hopeing to get to the Wuxi Computer Market (Mengzhidao) on Renmin Road to get an English version of Windows 7 for my new DELL Laptop. The Missus, however, is sleeping in, like today is her Saturday.
I got on the bus Saturday night and took my seat. Everyone on the bus was looking at me. I thought I was being recognized for being in a commercial that is currently playing on bus video screens.
Instead, I learned, from another passenger who could speak English, that I had forgotten to swipe my bus card when I boarded. This is like not paying.
I corrected my oversight. I returned to my seat about I then thought about the previous times I had boarded the bus, taken my seat, and wondered if I had remembered to swipe my bus card.
I also wondered if there had been times that I had gone to work, and forgotten to put pants on.
I am middle-aged now, so my memory is beginning to deteriorate.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
- I have to make an entry. I just have to! But, I don't know want to get on about.
- How about this? The Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals are playing in the National League Championship Series. They previously meet in the 1982 World Series when the Brewers were an American League team. Interesting.
- If Milwaukee wins, the city will be the first to be represented by one team for both the National and American Leagues in the World Series. There are many cities that have have been represented by different teams from different leagues in the World Series. The one that I can think of, are: New York (Yankees -- AL, Dodgers, Giants, Mets -- AL), Boston (Red Sox -- AL, Braves -- NL), St. Louis (Browns -- AL, Cardinals -- NL), Philadelphia (Athletics -- AL, Braves -- NL), Chicago (White Sox -- AL, Cubs -- NL), Los Angeles (Angels -- AL, Dodgers -- NL), the Bay area (A's -- AL, Giants -- NL), and Milwaukee (Braves -- NL, Brewers -- AL).
- The Tigers and the Cardinals seems like a sexy match-up for a World Series.
- An old man, wearing a Yankees Cap, sees me and Tony as we were waiting for the Kindergarten Van. He says "Jianada! Ni shi Jianada!" which means "Canada! You are Canada!". He obviously saw the commercial we appeared in when he was riding the bus one day.
- Both my parents are in the hospital in Brandon, Canada. That is the bad part of being an Expat. I am so far away, and I feel helpless. Nothing I can do but pray.
- Friday morning, I saw about nine vehicles lined up at a light to make a left turn. The three at the back of the line were black sedans. When the green left turn light was lit and the cars all stared to turn, the three black sedans impatiently passed the vehicles that were turning before them and merged with cars in the front of the line. I was flabbergasted that drivers would even consider performing such maneuvers.
- Outside a bank seniors were lined up, later than Friday morning. I always see seniors lining up at banks. I saw an old woman dancing to pass the time.
- In a small booth, I saw a man with a tanks full of crabs. He was tying the crabs' claws up to prep them for delivery.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
This is the final October holiday video. The others spoke for themselves. Or, I should say that I spoke in the videos and hence explained them.
I was silent in this video which I took as we crossed the Jiangyin Bridge.
I never fail to get excited when I ride this bridge.
I hope you can feel this excitement and watch this video.
Monday, October 10, 2011
- As I was saying in other blogs, I took Tony for a bike ride on Sunday night. Or rather, I should say, I accompanied Tony as he rode his bike in the area near Casa K. The bike Tony was riding was purchased by my wife in her hometown. It was cheap and we got what we paid for. The bike leans to a side, and now its chain keeps coming off. It just so happened that the chain came off on, Sunday evening, as we were wandering through a shopping plaza. It took me about five minutes to get the chain back on. It was a most annoying five minutes because I knew I was quite the sight -- a foreigner fiddling around with a bike chain -- to all the other shoppers. I hoped that we would be left alone. Pride or something on my part required that I fix the thing on my own. I made a point of concentrating as hard as I could on getting the chain back in place. I did hear someone come to us but I ignored him. He eventually went away and I eventually got the chain back in place for Tony to ride back home.
- Another great podcast I have found. An Australian and an American talk about a Frenchman named Napoleon. The podcast is enjoyable, informative, well-researched, and funny.
- The Wuxi Metro, the official NFL fantasy team of Wuxi Expats, have a record of three wins and two losses. They are now in a three-way tie for first place in their division.
- Here is another great podcast about the history of Rome.
- Wuxi China Expatdom Film Appreciation Society President to address the United Nations General Assembly.
Sunday evening, Tony was sitting on the couch and playing Angry Birds on his mother's mobile phone. His father seeing this decided that Tony should go outside. "A four year old playing video games! That just won't do!" reasoned Tony's father.
Hearing from his father that they were to go outside, Tony initially was very upset. He cried like a youngster would who was thinking he was being deprived of something. "No go outside! No go outside!" he screamed and pleaded at his father. But he quickly changed his mind when his mother told him that he could ride his bicycle. And he was out of the apartment before his father.
Tony lead his father to a public square near their apartment. He told his father to sit down while he rode the square's wide spaces.
All of sudden, Tony came to where his father was sitting, saying "pa le!" and sat on his father's lap which was very uncharacteristic of him. Tony's father then noticed that Tony had his ears plugged with his fingers. Dad then understood that Tony had been saying he was scared (pa le means I'm scared in Chinese), and that he wanted his father to protect him. Tony had been scared by loud noises that were coming from a nearby construction site. Dad knew that Tony was scared of Fireworks, of which there are lots in China, and told Tony that were no fireworks being let off. Saying this satisfied Tony and he went back to his bicycle.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I get up, I do my bit to get Tony to school, I take the bus to work, I work if you can call it that, I take the bus back home, and do my little bit to help Tony and Jenny -- that's my life. I don't go out of this well-grooved path much to see much and meet others. I get my news of the world through the Internet and I listen to a lot of podcasts. That is how I know and don't know whatever it is that I think.
Keep this disclosure in mind as I make my comments about the passing scene:
- The Wall Street Protest movement is the Left's version of the Tea Party. Some students have mentioned to me that they have heard about the Wall Street Protests. They look at me blankly when I say that there had already been protests about what was happening to the American economy -- the Tea Party protests. Something is obviously not right about America -- I will give that much to the protesters -- that is, the protesters who aren't kooks or parasites. Unfortunately, all that the protesters seem to advocate will only make matters worse -- the tragedy of the Left, alas.
- The Winnipeg Jets lost their first game of the season 5-1 to the Montreal Canadiens. Not a bad sign I hope.
- Steve Jobs died. I only had one Apple product in my life: the Ipad2. It is a wonderful device. I heard someone state that in 500 years, they will remember Steve Jobs. I question this statement. Jobs didn't produce the Light Bulb, Telephone, or Internal Combustion Engine. You can say he made a great telephone. But his devices simple built up on many things that were already there.
- Still, Jobs was a great capitalist entrepreneur. I wonder how many of the Wall Street Protesters have portable gadgets and take them so for granted. Some probably feel they are hard done by because they don't have an I-Phone. I have a cheap Nokia myself, and my prospects of getting an I-Phone in the future are very remote. Yet with my cheap Nokia, I can do things that I could only dream about when I was a self-absorbed teenage Leftist.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
- Here are some photos of Beixin People taken during my October Holiday. The link takes you to one, you can explore the site to see more.
- Here are some photos of Beixin animals taken during my October Holiday. Ditto about the links.
- The president of the Wuxi China Expat Film Appreciation Society survives an assassination attempt.
- Here are some photos of Tony taken while he was in Beixin. I have linked to one photo. You can explore the site to see the rest.
- One observation for today. A student tells me that business for his company is not so good because a customer of theirs makes windmills. The windmill maker is not doing so well because no one wants a power source that is periodic, not constant.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I wasn't able to access the Internet for four days. I was forced to write things down in a notebook. Here is what I wrote:
- At the bus station, I see a one-eyed man with his fly down. And he was looking at me strangely.
- Strange I am. Of that there can be no doubt. But am I that strange?
- Tony throws a fit because he doesn't get the front seat of the bus.
- The rest of my jottings for that day are ideas for my Wuxi Expatdom Blog. (Wuxiren can see it here)
- So far, no temper tantrums on my part except when I get annoyed at Tony.
- Bought a DVD, at a local shop, that was full of movies featuring apes. I didn't bring my glasses so I was thinking the DVD had some old Tarzan movies on it. But when I got back to my in-laws compound and put on my glasses, I saw that there were no Tarzan movies. I had instead bought a set of Planet of the Apes movies with some George of the Jungles thrown in.
- Unexpectedly, I got a bottle of Crown Royal from my mother-in-law. They hadn't touched it since we brought it to them from Canada in June 2010 which was fine by me! If they didn't want it, I sure did!
- The Crown is my second baby!
- I listened to four podcast episodes of a series featuring Susan Conroy. She worked with Mother Teresa in India. Her talk was sweet, kind, and yet didn't verge on the sentimental. She very much emphasized the cross was the suffering of love -- not at all an electric blanket.
- Chinese television was giving lots of coverage to the Wall Street protesters. I saw one text-messaging as she held a sign. Another protester had a nice hairdo.
- One more day!
- I have listened to 45 podcasts about: Catholicism, Mother Teresa, railroad workers, U.S. politics, Herman Cain, Charles De Gaulle, Nero, Caligula, Claudius, Canadian flags, smart meters, and dog food commercials.
- On Day Two, we went on a pointless trip to Taixing. We went for something to do. We ended up a wholesale market full of cheap toys and a four level playground. Thankfully, Tony didn't get any toys and didn't play in the playground.
- Watched Congo, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle of the Planet of the Apes, Return to the Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and the Fighter on DVD.
- Read long passages from Orwell's 1984 and Marshall's Principles of Economics on the Ipad.
- I had some shoes repaired.
- Tony was unwilling to share potato chips with me. He made a point of taking a chip, showing it to me, moving it in the direction of my mouth, and then putting it in his. It was galling because I had bought them for him in the first place.
- The pool hall next to my in-laws' compound has been turned into a carwash. Nuts!!!!
- Jenny tells me to listen to a chicken that is in the in-laws' coop. "That!" she tells me, "is the sound of a chicken laying an egg!"
- "Oh really!" I responded. "Is that how you sounded when you had Tony?"
- I then had to run for my life.
- I read King Lear.
- I read the Bible. If all else can't be brung, bring a Bible. It's got everything in it: stories, poetry, and some good advice.
- Chinese television seems fixated on those demonstrators in New York City. I wonder if they gave the Tea Party such coverage.
- Jenny and I don't discuss politics much; so I was surprised when she said that Obama may not win the election next year because he won't have enough votes.
- Tony tells me that a piece of shrimp has been placed in my bowl. He was imitating his mother.
- We pull apart the cheap train set I had bought Tony. Primitive, the set is and yet some of the technology in it is less than a hundred years old.
- Everything in the countryside is arranged in piles; whether it be rocks, the harvest, soil, coal, merchandise, tools, and garbage.
- Tony, sitting on my shoulders, has a plastic coke bottle in his hand, as I walk up a paved incline. Tony drops the bottle of coke. The contents, agitated, foam so the entire bottle has a light brown color. The bottle rolls, past us, down the incline. I eventually catch the bottle with my foot. Tony is still on my shoulders as I crouch down to pick up the bottle. Getting up then is straining -- so straining that my exertions cause me a sudden spasm of anger at Tony for having dropped the bottle in the first place.
- Last day! We're going home!
- Last night, I watched more movies...
- Tony did a strangely interesting thing. He the Ipad and Mom's touchscreen phone side-by-side. On both devices, he had the Talking Tom the Cat applications on so he could shout at both of them, and have two Toms repeat what he just said. (Talking Tom will repeat back things you have said to it.)
- Finished reading King Lear. Edmund is a bad guy. My middle name is Edmunds -- close enough to Edmund, drop the "s." No bad "Andis" in literature that I know of, unless you count my blogging as literature, which of course you don't.
For better or worse, AKIC is back...
...Back from Beixin!
AKIC had little access to the Internet while out in Jenny's countryside home town, but Andis took lots of photos and videos, and he jotted down some notes which he will eventually transcribe to this blog.