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Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015


Today is Tuesday. November 24, 2015 and I am sitting here in my English Literature class in Kunming, China making a blog post while my students translate some vocab words from "Animal Farm" which we are currently reading. Our previous book was "A Christmas Carol" and our next book will be "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".

There is a rumor that the students will have some sort of sporting event next week on Monday and Tuesday and that I and the school's other foreign teacher will not have to come into work which means we might have a 4 DAY WEEKEND.

I really hope we do because I'd like to take a trip to Lijiang via night train. I could leave Kunming around 10pm...ish and arrive in Lijiang the next day around 8 or 9am....ish.

I'd probably spend all day there and then take a 1-2 train or bus to Dali, spend the night there, spend Sunday there and then take a night train back to Kunming.

Something like that...or maybe I'd spend an extra day in Lijiang....or I could still return to Kunming on Monday and then visit the Stone Forest or the Zoo or something.

The winter holiday will kick off in about 2 months and I'm still not 100% sure which places I will visit but Siem Reap, Camobodia and Hanoi, Vietnam are high on my list. I'd also like to see the Great Buddha of Leshan, the Avatar Mountains in Hunan, Guilin and a few other places. I think I can actually see a lot of new places during the winter holiday and maybe during the summer I can re-visit Beijing or Guangzhou or some other familiar places.

I just realized that today is the 24th which means that I have now been in Kunming for a full two months and that is pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rats in the Walls - Strung Out

It was written I should be loyal to this nightmare that we're in
But something about all the sorrow in your heart that won't let me in
Like the hands of a fool with money to burn
In the breath of one last dying wish
We hear the call and it sounds like there's

Rats in the walls 
It's like the dark side of the moon
Serenade me with a whisper and let this nightmare in us bloom

Sunday, November 1, 2015

MVI 7561

Halloween 2015

So, this year's Halloween was a bit interesting. During the week my school treated me to dinner and drinks (lots of drinks) and invited me to attend some sort of event/Chinese speaking competition to be held at Yunnan Normal University on Halloween.

I guess I agreed to it because on Friday one of my co-workers reminded me of it and told me to be in the office (on Saturday) at 6:30pm.....I decided to just go with it because there didn't seem to be much going on in town.

I know some bars were having costume contests and stuff but none of them really interested in me and I was thinking of just staying in and reading some books or maybe going to Salvador's to enjoy some quesadillas....but I didn't have anything major planned.

So, I went to the office around 6pm on Saturday, as promised, messed around on-line for 30 minutes and then my Chinese driver, named Kevin, showed up and drove me to the event where I met with Sophia and the other teachers from school.

It was a much larger event than I had anticipated and was televised.

I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would and took a lot of pics and video footage.

I'm currently uploading video footage from last night to my youtube channel and once it is finished I will post one or two of the videos from last night.

It was definitely a unique Halloween for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My new friend

I hung out with this Italian Girl named Giulia (pronounced Julia) on Saturday and took several photos of her. She's cool, fun and really pretty. I hope I can hang out with her again sometime before she goes back to Italy in January.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Today is Wednesday. Not quite Friday, but also not Monday.

I am debating between going on a trip this weekend to a place like Lijiang or Xishuangbanna and just staying in and reading books and watching DVDs.

Last weekend I bought the Game of Throne seasons 1-5 box set for about $50 so maybe I should just stay in, watch that and save money.

I really want to explore Yunnan more, see some new places and take more photos but I also want to just spend a day or two in bed relaxing.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


It's raining today and I have a terrible head cold. Today is one of those days that I wish I could have just stayed in bed and slept until noon.

Tomorrow is Saturday but we're supposed to come in to work which I'm not looking forward to because I really feel like I need two days of sleep....and one day weekends are awful.

Still, I'll take what I can get right now and a one day weekend is better than no weekend at all.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday - September 21, 2015

Few celebrate a Monday but today is Monday and it is a Monday worth celebrating. I don't think I will ever use the word 'Monday' three times in a sentence again, haha.

I drove to the Chinese Embassy and received my passport and Chinese visa without any problems and it only cost me $160 which isn't too bad.

I then drove back home, got on-line and booked a flight from LAX to Kunming which departs this Wednesday at 1 am.

So, tomorrow night, maybe around 9 or 10 pm, I'll go with my family to the airport and prepare for my next adventure.

The flight from LAX to Shanghai will be about 14 hours and hopefully I'll be able to sleep a bit.

I will have a 2 hour layover in Shanghai and then board a flight to Kunming which will only be 3 or 4 hours long.

I will arrive in Kunming, on Thursday around 11:30am Chinese Time and I am really excited.

I've been waiting a long time for this and tomorrow will be my last day here in the USA for a while.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Yesterday, my work permit from China arrived.

I almost immediately drove to the Chinese Embassy in LA and this time my visa application was accepted and I was told it would be ready on Monday.

I'm glad that all this paperwork business is finally over....well, at least it will be by Monday.

Once I pick up my passport with my Chinese work visa I will book a flight for Wednesday or Friday and be on my merry way.

I can't wait.

Friday, September 11, 2015


So, today I woke early, grabbed my passport, a pen, my Chinese letter of invitation, some passport photos and the address of the Chinese Embassy in LA.

Took me about an hour to get there.

I went in, filled out an application and waited for about an hour to be called on.

I approached the window feeling satisfied that I would finally be able to get my visa.

And then it happened.

The clerk told me that I also need a work permit to apply for a work visa and that I would have to e-mail my school and ask them to mail it to me.

It took more than 10 days for my letter of invitation to arrive after it was mailed.

Today is Saturday in China so no one is working or will read my e-mail until the 13th of this month.

If they read my e-mail and mail me the work permit that day (which seems doubtful) and it takes another 10 days to arrive then I will receive it on the 23rd.

Let's say I receive it early on the 23rd and take it to the Embassy that day and pay extra for it to be available the next day...well, then I will have my visa on the 24th and still have to pack and book a flight and I won't book a flight until at least 2 days after I receive my visa so that I have time to pack and make sure everything is taken care of before leaving the country.

And this is all a best case scenario.

I've been preparing for this all summer long but it looks like I won't get to China until the end of this month or the beginning of next month...if ever.

Thursday, September 10, 2015



My Letter of Invitation from China has arrived. Finally.

It should have arrived a few weeks ago and I should already be in China but that's ok because now I have what I need to get a working visa.

After I have my working visa I will book a flight to China and begin to pack my luggage.

Today is Thursday, September 10, 2015 and it's almost noon.

The Chinese Embassy in LA's Visa office closes at 2pm so I don't think I can make it there in time today but maybe I should try anyway.

Or I can just wait until tomorrow and leave home early in the morning.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Getting there....

Spoke to my school recently and expressed my frustration with the lateness of my paperwork.

However, they and I looked into it and today my letter of invitation did arrive in San Francisco so it should not take long to arrive to my house here in Los Angeles.

I've enjoyed being back home and spending time with my family, however, I am more than ready to start working again as well as travelling and taking photos.

Travelling and taking photos are two things I really enjoy.

I think at least a year in China will be fun but I might end up staying for the second and maybe even the third year.

By 2018 I will be 38 and will need to decide what to do next.

Stay in China? Return to America and use my GI Bill? Try to find work in Europe?

These are some of the things I will spend the next 1-3 years thinking about.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Still waiting

It is currently September 6th, as of 33 minutes ago, and I am STILL waiting for my paperwork from China to arrive in order to go to the Embassy and apply for my working visa. That will take anywhere from 1-4 days to process and then I still have to book a flight which I am not doing until I actually get my visa and know for certain that I am good to go.

7 days ago the Superintendent of the school e-mailed me and told me that my paperwork would arrive in 3 to 4 days. Well, it's been 7 days, the school semester has started and I am still here in California waiting on that paperwork.

I am starting to question the competence of this school and as much as I don't want to arrive there with a negative mindset it's going to be difficult if my paperwork doesn't arrive here by Monday or Tuesday.

Hopefully, it gets here on Monday and I can go to the Embassy on Tuesday to begin processing my visa then return on Wednesday to retrieve it.

If that happens I might be able to fly out of here on Saturday or Sunday...maybe even Friday but I'd like to give myself a couple of days to pack and tidy up the room I've been staying in before I leave.

I could start packing now but I'm not going to until I have that visa.

Hopefully a week or so from now I will be posting a new blog discussing my arrival in Kunming.

Come on paperwork...get here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Any Day Now

It's August 20th, 2015 and in a couple of days I should receive my letter of invitation from China which I need to apply for my working visa.

Once I receive it I will drive to the Chinese Embassy in Los Angeles and apply for my visa.

The last time I was in China was in 2009 so it's been a full 6 years and I thought that I was done with China and would never return but after coming home and working for the military I have come to
realize what a great life I actually had in China.

I just didn't realize it at the time.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Met Gary Busey Today

I was walking around Point Dune Beach in Malibu today and taking pics, as usual, when someone sitting behind me told me the back of my legs were getting red and that I should put some sunscreen on them. I turned around and it was an elderly man in a t-shirt, shorts, sunglasses and a baseball cap. He was smoking a cigar. I told him he looked familiar and he smiled and said I might know who he was. Then I realized I was talking to Gary Busey and told him I love the Amazon Stick commercial he's in. It's a pretty funny commercial and they play it a lot on Hulu so I guess that's how I recognized him. We started chatting, I forget about what exactly, but ended up talking about Obama, the shooting in South Carolina, Racism in America, Some of the movies he's been in (Lethal Weapon, Under Siege, Black Sheep, etc.) and he told me he enjoyed working with Mel Gibson and Chris Farley. I told him I just got out of the Navy so we talked about that for a bit and he told me he plays a Marine in his new movie coming out soon "Candyland". I can't remember everything we talked about but we chatted for a good thirty minutes or longer which was really cool. Gary Busey is a cool dude.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Today I received an e-mail from my Chinese employer notifying me that I will be working in CHENGDU, SICHUAN which is exactly where I've been wanting to go!!!

I'm stoked to go to Chengdu because the food there is legendary.

It also borders Yunnan which is a province I really want to explore and photograph in addition to photographing Sichuan of course.

I'm really excited.

Friday, June 12, 2015

China Bound

I don't see the point in posting blogs on my "So I went and Joined the Navy" blog since I am no longer in the Navy (I transferred from Active Duty to Inactive Duty 7 days ago) so I guess I'll resume posting entries here.

Not much to write about really.

I've been back in California for a few weeks now and am staying with my parents for the summer and am getting along pretty well with them.

I've renewed my driver's license, registered with the local VA office, jammed with my friend Tommy, recorded some song ideas on my 8-track, applied for unemployment $ (still waiting for a reply), accepted a job in China (teaching English again) which will begin in September, did a ton of paperwork for the Visa I'll need to work there, turned in my military ID at the Point Mugu Base for a Veteran ID (awesome)  and a bunch of other stuff.

I've also visited Hollywood, Simi Valley (where I grew up) and Malibu and taken photos of the areas. I want to add pics of beaches, seagulls, palm trees, etc. to my portfolio.....actually, I already have but I want more. I really want to have "California" photos in my on-line portfolio while I'm here.

I will definitely be taking lots of pics in China and will include those in my dreamstime, fotolia, alamy and other stock photography profiles. I sold about 11 pictures of Guam on dreamstime the other day and I've been selling lots of Navy-related pics on fotolia lately so that's cool but the amount of money they pull in is ridiculously low.

What I need to do next is join a local gym and get back in shape because I am totally out of shape right now and since I'm not working this summer there's no reason for me not to.

I just hope my unemployment request will be approved because I need that cash flow.