Got my two year old a bicycle with training wheels. It’s a great investment so far. She talks about it every time and every day after work, we both take our bike’s out of our hallway and cycle around the compound.
It’s more than only simple paddling, this bike is a vehicle (pardon the pun) to so much more with a toddler:
- Basic directions (left/right/straight/stop etc)
- Spatial awareness
- Weather and day/night awareness
- Interaction with the neighbors
- Basic badassery -> Every time she gets stuck I resist my urge to help, I just give examples and make sure to give a high five once she overcomes the problem.
I find myself leaving my wallet at home more often. From principle point of view I’m against a cashless economy but convenience of paying and getting paid with smart phone is winning. I use it for:
- Charge phone credit
- Cinema tickets and the sorts
- Ordering food in
- Plane tickets
- At restaurants
- Uber like taxi (don’t even have to take phone out)
Just a tap and a QR to pay appears. So convenient. There are three players: tencent (wechat), alibaba (alipay) and apple. I use alipay. My wallet stays safely at home.
Well… close to…
I visited Hailuoguo glacier park today, about 600km southwest of Chengdu and got an astounding view of mountains up to 7500m. The largest was Gonga mountain (贡嘎山).
As a Dutchman (we have one ‘hill’ at 300m) I might be easily impressed but it was truly epic.
Alhough most recommended to go to the hotspring, really enjoyed the views so I spent up the mountain from morning until the maximum time for descending. The pictures tell it all, the mountain wasn’t easily photographed, size and clouds and all…
Slept in the small town of Luding, where life is simple and slow.
The glacier ‘tongue’ with ‘middle mountain’ behind it. Gonga moutain is on the right, behind the clouds. (click for large) For someone living in Chengdu, it was nice to see far for a change. This was so far that it was confusing. “Hey look at those moving.. oh those dots are humans!”
The ascent to the glacier (click for large)
Took the cablecart up (hiking path was closed) and visited the climbers memorial museum (of 22 that reached summit, 16 died on way down) and the temples.
“Red stone beach”
Some brought oxygen up.
I was so happy! Maybe it was the lack of oxygen…
Tibetan writing, I think. Looks very deep.
With the family out of town I decided to take a city trip. Woke up at 5:50am Saturday to take the first bullet train to Chongqing, arriving in Chongqing before 10am.
I took a taxi straight to the three gorges museum. Across the People’s Square is Three Gorges Museum, well worth a visit for its exhibits on the Ba culture and the area of the three gorges downriver from Chongqing. Also noteworthy are a series of exhibits on life in Chongqing during the Qing dynasty, the early republic, and the Word War II era. free.
Then I went to Eling park 鹅岭公园
Quite foggy day (aqi of 70 – so mostly fog)
Tap to see zoomed image
The park is right in the middle of Chongqing and features a tower which offers a brilliant 360° around the city. I just hang a around there to get a feeling for the city. I remembered that there is a famous metro station based inside a residential complex (李子坝). It’s quite funny, and a station with quite the view over Chongqing and the Yangtze.
I navigated to a high ranked hotpot place to try the local dish. Couldn’t find the place. I ended up walking 20 minutes looking for a hotpot place in Chongqing. Yes, the city is full of them but i managed to take all the roads without any.
Didn’t stay long but overall a city in a mountainous area with lots of lush green zones, spicy food and a cool monorail system, what’s nicer than that?!
Just three days ago our family grew once again: I’m the lucky father of Theo Dorresteijn. Welcome. Both mother, baby and (now 2 yr old) sister are doing great!
Beautiful day at mt. Emei (峨眉山) together with colleges Kai and Mark. We took the 7:20 bus from Xiannanmen bus terminal in central Chengdu. Which took about 2,5hr to arrive at the mountain side. We ate an early dumpling lunch and headed to the mountain.
First we visited the Qingyin Pavilion (清音阁), which means “Pavilion of Pure Sound,” built in 877.
We kept going up and walked the steps to Wannian Temple (万年寺) The Wannian Temple is one of main eight temples at Emei Mountain. Sitting 1020 meters above sea-level, with a Buddha statue over 1000 years old.
We then had to turn back in order to get back home but there are many other sights at this mountain to enjoy.
In the bus back my chair was behind an eight year old kid, tedious at first , turned out he wanted to practice English and had fun talking away, learned some Chinese from him as well.
All and all a great trip!
Just a nice weekend in korea. We visited the local pool and visited the science museum which featured a beautiful children park where our daughter changed her first car wheel! The science park featured a number of nice ways to combine learning (space, engineering, the body) and play, or daughter (and us) loved it!
With most of the entire city empty due to new years, low pollution and predictions for sunshine, I decided to take my bike and explore Chengdu a bit. I did not prepare anything but some water and a book and head off around 9am.
Cycling gives you a different perspective of a city. First discovery was an old factory converted to an artsy concert hall and coffee bar. I enjoyed an cappuccino on the terrace and explored the environment a bit. Chengdu seemed like a ghost town. Barely any vehicles on the road made my trip much more relaxed.
Continuing cycling eastwards, after 20km, passing the third ringroad, which involved me carrying the bike over an overpass, the suburbs finally seized and suddenly I was cycling in between the ricefields and forests. It was a lot of fun trying to get to a stretch of green with some water I located as my final destination for the day. Most road on my Google map made place for construction and thus I went’off-road’quite some times. However, it was 11:30 and I was getting hungry.
I passed some shops but everything was closed. The villagers had all gathered to play mahjong. Hairdressers and phoneshops had all turned to mahjong rooms for the day. Arriving at the green patch aka ‘Shiling Forrest park’ I made a round on the cycle patch and read a bit.
It was approaching 2pm and I had enough. Instead of a restaurant I settled for a bag of potato chips and a beer. Found a chair and enjoyed sitting in the sun. Initially I planned for a 6 hour drive but it knew that wouldn’t be the case anymore. Instead I relaxed and took it easy.
After I entered the city again, I cycled straight to my favorite restaurant, noticed I cycled 67km and had a meal for two.
Last October I was send a package to my office in Chengdu from The Netherlands. The shipping fee was about 30 dollars. The package never arrived, and information from the Dutch post company was cryptic. (contact local post branch)
Just when I considered the package lost, it successfully was returned to it’s origin address halfway around the globe. Three months after originally sending it off. Something as simple as the good old post system still seems to function very well, pretty cool!
Our spacious Dr Panda office is located at Raffles city in the center of Chengdu, China. After HR helped us find a house, I started working daily at the modern (air purified) office, which is a 10 minute walk for home. Working with the Dr. Panda team has been a great experience so far – with product-commited teammates from all over China but also Poland, Sweden, Belgium, France, US, Vietnam, Spain and The Netherlands; some speak only a bit of English, some speak only a little bit of Chinese, some both. For the interested there are free Chinese and English language courses in the office.
Meeting colleges outside office hours is normal in China, which is pleasant as a foreigner moving in. The office turns into a ‘cafe mode’ in the evening, some will go for dinner together, others keep on working (deadlines are fierce) but others just play board- or video games or play ping-pong in the after hours. Besides cozy evenings the mood is generally great at the office, free fruits, guess-where-we’ll-rank competitions for each app launch, and every now and then we have ‘happy hours’ with food and drinks.
At Dr. Panda, we make kids feel familiar with life through role playing games. I’m proud to be working on our next title. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been pitching new concepts and idea’s and now we are making actual playable prototypes. Today we delivered its second iteration at a product demo, we keep iterating and testing with kids until we get it right. Looking forward to the next steps.