Thursday, March 30, 2006

Barcelona: Sunshine!

From rain to sunshine! :)

When chatting about me going to Leuven I suggested that we meet elsewhere to celebrate her birthday. A quick visit to Ryanair's site revealed that we both could take cheap flights down to Barcelona from Stockholm resp. Brussels. A few minutes later it was set, and flights were booked. Turned out to be a beautiful sunny week, particularly since it was cold and raining in Sweden when I left.

I took a night-bus up to Nykoping, and Allan and Ding went with me to the station. Thx guys, I really appreciated that! Wen stayed over night at the Charleroi airport.

Wen's plane arrived first, but when I got out of the arrivals, there was no one there. I send a quick SMS, and she said she WAS there. It took a while to sort out the confusion. Thing was, she hadn't noticed her flight had been rerouted to the international airport and we weren't at all at the same place!

After a couple of more SMS and some trips with local transport we finally met at the Arc D'Triomf.

Since we hadn't basically prepared at all and had no guidebook with us, I think we were quite lucky about the place, St. Anna Hostel, where we stayed the whole week. It is a small place, just off Las Ramblas, run by an old woman and her family, for 40 Euros a night. We checked out a couple of other places first, and then just walked by this place, and they had a room free for us. We didn't find a better option for us during the rest of the week, so we stayed.
Funny thing was that, pretty much every day we bumped into new animals in the apartment! It was really like a little zoo, with all kinds of cute.. and not so cute.. little animals. I think our final count came up to 2 dogs, 4 cats, 2 kinds of the animal she has in her lap in the pictures, and numerous laud birds! At noon a old guy, who I suppose was the husband of the lady, took the dogs for a walk. The man really moved like in slow-motion, and when he talking he only uttered some incomprehensible whispers.
Most of our very relaxing week was spent strolling around on the streets and hanging out on the beach.

And we celebrated Wen's birthday in the harbor, trying to eat a whole cake by ourselves.
We did actually manage to see some of the main sights...

.. but I guess we were too distracted of just enjoying the weather and the city.

Central Barcelona is really a circus of tourists, beggars, street artists, thieves, freaks, old locals, and people living on the street. Very entertaining, but also quite nasty.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Next Stop: Kina?

Not quite, mr tram, but it is getting closer.

Next stop is actually Barcelona on the 28th, Brussels and Leuven the 4th. Maybe after that the next stop is China.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sunday Walk and Lunch

Sunday we took a little walk in the village.

Outside the kindergarten where my mum sometimes work, we practiced our creative abilities...

.. and destructive sides.

All this to build up an appetite.

Then, when everything that can be done in the Swedish country-side had been experienced, it was time to head back to Göteborg and Chalmers.


Saturday was spent on the ice! This winter has been unusual cold and the ice was more than half a meter thick. Still, it was hard to convince Tina that it wasn't dangerous. I told her that it would be possible to drive a truck on that ice, but she mostly looked at me as I just had insulted her. ;)

As everybody knows, equipment is everything when fishing on the ice. I'm of course talking about coffee, hot chocolate, blueberry soup, sandwiches, a fire, and hotdogs. A wind shelter also makes life much better. Oh, and it is also handy with some fishing equipment.

Here follows my little ice-fishing guide for the uninitiated. As a matter of fact, it is probably 10 years since I fished like this. First a hole has to be dug. Since the ice was so thick that was pretty heavy work. We used this kind of spear which is pretty effective to make a little bigger holes. For smaller it is perhaps more handy with a drill.

Next to the hole we set up this little fishing device. When the fish bites, the line will jump off and sway back and forth, triggering the gunpowder cork on the site. In the end we had prepared 19 sets. It is pretty fun fishing since there is always something happening.

Allan insert the hook and little fish in the hole. During the winter we buy the little fish in a store, while during the summer we catch them with net ourselves. The fish is actually alive and will be swimming around about a meter above the sea floor. When the fish bites, there will (or will not) be a bang, one put down the coffee cup or whatever you are doing, and run over to the hole. The fish will swim away with the bate, spit it out, and then swallow it. When it has swallowed it is time to hook it and pull it back. If this is done correctly, as Allan demonstrates below, there will be lunch on the table the following day!

This is a huge one ("Gädda") !! Biggest one we have ever got on a hook! It was actually a shock when it came out of the hole. Until the last second I actually wondered if he had anything on, since there was no fight. 9,5 kg!!

And yes, slightly bigger than the one I got. Size does matter.

6 kg! This kind ("Gös") is actually much tastier. Half of this fish was enough for us 5 people to eat ourselves completely stuffed the next day!

In the evening it was getting quite cold. My dad prepared the fish on the ice, and then we pushed our sledge back and got a well-deserved rest.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Skiing in Isaberg

Allan, Tina, Ding, and yours truly. Allan "snowman" Liu, as you can see, like to ski hard.

Allan asked me where you could ski around Göteborg, so I made couple of suggestions. One place is close to where my parents live, so I suggested that we would take the train to Värnamo, and then use the car to go to Isaberg, a small ski-resort not far away. This Friday morning we headed off 6.35 from Göteborg, came to Värnamo, took the car to Isaberg, and hit the slopes at about 13.00. We didn't return home until after 22.00!

Tina in a difficult position.

For Tina it was the first time to ski. It was probably a quite tiring experience. It usually is the first time.

Ding got the hang of it very quick.

The slope, Allan, and me. Tina took this picture, and unfortunately me and Allan got in the way. She obviously thought the slope was the main attraction :)

A beautiful day with lots of sunshine, plenty of quick runs down the slope, and spectacular crashes!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Kathy's Birthday Celebration

After playing some basketball with Allan, Rong, and David, I got invited to Kathy's birthday party.

Rong and Kathy are sitting behind Allan to the right in this picture. All in the picture are mainland Chinese studying at Chalmers.

It was really like being back in China, but still in Sweden. We ate a lot of great food, drank beer, listened to Britney Spears, made a lot of jokes, and played killer. Thx a lot Kathy and Rong for a great evening! All the best for the rest of your stay in Sweden!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

So What About The Thesis?

So, I'm finally come to some sort of final decision concerning what my thesis will be about. There should perhaps be an emphasis on 'sort of'. That means that I have received an invitation letter and that I have made one application for a scholarship. So no matter what, I will go to do something at Tsinghua later on this spring.

I'm really looking forward going to Beijing again, but I'm a little bit worried of what will happen after. There are a very interesting trainee program at the company SWECO that I would like to apply for, if I get an interesting Ph.D position I might go for that (really!), but after all, I wouldn't mind start working again. My hope is that I will make a couple of connections with this thesis. I've already got a couple of connections in Beijing that could be really useful. Worst case is that I would have to find a 'normal' job. Horror, such horror.

After Exam Hotpot

David, Allan, Tina, the Swedish dude, Taiwan girl, Kathy.

Yesterday I had hotpot together with a bunch of exchangers from the university. Really a good time to have hotpot, since it is freezing fucking cold outside. Well, it was warm and spicy inside! :)

Light at the end of the tunnel

So... after some 40 exams at the university it seems like I've finished off that chapter in my life. This last Friday was a real sad, when me and a couple of other sad asses were sitting in the reading room preparing for the last day in the exam period.

Soon I will have a paper that says I'm a M.Sc in Physics Engineering. Well, after have written my thesis that is. Just wonder what I will do with it. One thing is sure, it sure doesn't get one laid. If some pretty girl ever ask me what I do, I will say that I got a degree in physics. But only because I'm already in a relationship. Otherwise I would say I was a fireman.

On to new adventures.