Welcome to Our Apartment

On our first day ‘home’ we give a quick look at the general layout of our abode. Dan gives the comprehensive tour.

While things didn’t seem too ‘complete’ when we arrived, we’ve slowly begun to fill the house with our own character. Starting in the kitchen, we’re working on floor and wall treatments and will hopefully have some plants and perhaps a turtle in the short future.

Updates will obviously be published.

The Ice Palaces


Blocks of Ice. Piled high. Filled with fluorescents. Designed with slides. This is one fantastic playground! I don’t think I’ve had so much fun running around hand-made ice-structures in my life (granted I don’t know if I’ve ever run around hand-made ice-structures before). This was great and every slide was a blast. Solo, standing, belly first, down sides that were chest high or slides that came down from four stories up. The end was always the same; full boar into a pile of light fluffy powder. If you were lucky your face would be covered and you’d get a good laugh from everyone around as you brushed it off and ran back up the stairs. Though you were cold, bone chilled, you teeth hurt it was so cold, there was never a moment without a smile and a laugh and a let’s do it again!

Thank you Harbin!

Italians vs. Tigers

Why is it that I now have a bold distaste for Italians?

I’ve had some great experiences in their country, met neat individuals outside of it, and then you meet some obnoxious fools and it ruins your whole perspective. Disrespectful of the people, the animals, and the general rules for life, I don’t think they were ever told to not tease their pets. Perhaps they’ll never learn. Perhaps next time there won’t be such a substantial cage around their dumb-dumb brains.


Tiger Expedition

Even though they’re still in a cage where they’re gawked and taunted – albeit a really big cage – it was somewhat assuring to see China providing for these fascinating animals. Separated into types, each cage was a couple acres in size, enough that our bus could drive about in each one for roughly five-minutes. Within, the tigers banded together and sat, sans-purpose watching the busses drive by and waiting for the food-jeep to arrive. Every once in a while one would stand up and walk about, putting on a little show for the local and foreign passengers of the tour.

Maybe one day the Ligers will organize and hop the fences that hold them captive so they too may have a look at the other attractions of Harbin.

Harbin Layer Breakdown

With -16’C temperatures in Harbin, China we needed to load on the cold weather layers. Discussion turned bet, bet turned hilarity, hilarity makes good video, good video makes for beers all around.

watch for Dan..

Ice Skating Introduction


I suppose growing up in Southern California and then moving to Arid Arizona, ice, snow, and cold weather in general is quite a striking environmental condition. The novelty ranks with such greats as bacon on ice cream and getting a job. Through out our stay in Harbin, this naiveté helped to make the weekend stay significantly brighter in my mind and experiences. Even though a step outside wreaked havoc on your nose, the warm blood rushing to my face for large smiles and laughter made up for it all.

Snow – it’s still a funny thing.

Open My Beer!

Beer in China

A safety food for any foreign country, beer is processed to the point of sanitation (almost guaranteed) so we choose it to drink and drink often. Unfortunately, China is unlike The States and Europe where choice means unique. In this land of equality, choice means uniformity and so when it comes to the green bottle you can be assured mediocracy. But for RMB2.5 (roughly 40 cents USD) a bottle, you’re doing alright.

Next Step

A Letter:

In the last month I have been working to secure a six-month job with Aston Schools teaching English. In the last week I was told my Chinese visa was just about secured, I bought my plane ticket, and I found out that my traveling partner was a 100% “go.” So I concluded there was little more that would change my new direction.

I have taken a job in Hohhot (alternately spelled Huhehaote). The city is the capitol of China’s Inner Mongolia with a population of about 2.5 million and densities ranging between 400-26,000/sq mi. The weather and rain fall is fairly mild and many of the images I’ve seen make it look like the American Southwest. While ‘briskly’ cold (current temp is some -20′ C) during the early winter months, it would seem that it warms up quite quickly as it’s only at 3,500 feet. My friend, Dan Tuttle, whom I’ll be traveling and working with, is a close friend from school and has spent a good deal of time in China studying already and knows a great deal of the language. He assures me I’ll learn something of the language, which is nice to think about. However, while in China I hope to enhance my teaching skills and my language skills, understanding more of the language is a large priority with perhaps learning more about the cultural expectations in business as an unlikely second. Who knows what will really come across my plate. In any case it should be a neat way to explore another corner of the world while being paid (meagerly) to do it.

While I’m in CA now, I’ll head back to Arizona after the new year in order to make sure the house is ready to be without me for six-months and to move out. Then I will return to CA where I leave. The job will start March 1st, so I will be departing LAX February 18th, and will be returning (barring any changes) September 8th about ten days after my contract is over.

I think that’s my plan for now, though after I apply for The Great Race things may change. :) Very Good.
John Mizell

I’ve attached a couple of websites for more information about the program and the area.

Weather Averages for the city:

Wikipedia Article for the city:

Aston Schools Website: